Difference Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai (With Table)

The United Arab Emirates(UAE) is one of the richest countries in the world and also the most attractive country for tourists, investors, businessmen, and students for higher education. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two different emirates of a total of seven emirates of UAE, and both emirates have different emir.

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai

The main difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is that these are two different emirates, ruled by two emirs (Head or President of certain emirates), established in 1971. Abu Dhabi is the most focused place in the Middle East. Other than the oil of Abu Dhabi, Dubai shorts out for its real estate and luxurious tourism.

Abu Dhabi vs Dubai

Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE. Its emir is Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Abu Dhabi has the country’s most oil and gas reserves, which plays a major role in its economy by exporting oil and gas to other countries. Also, “Ferrari World” in Abu Dhabi is the largest indoor theme park in the world.

Dubai is the second largest emirate of UAE. Its emir is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Dubai is famous for its luxury lifestyle. Dubai has famous world-class hotels, Buildings, theme parks, indoor snow skiing, and more. Of course, the World’s tallest building, ‘Burj Khalifa,’ is famous worldwide.

a very tall building towering over a city

Comparison Table Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Parameters of ComparisonAbu DhabiDubai
Area67,340 km23,885 km2
ResidenceFewer people live hereMore people live here
EconomyHave more economycomparative less economy
Beach SystemOpen and free beaches Paid or membership beaches
Famous BuildingEthiad towerBurj Khalifa

What is Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE. The president of the UAE lives in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is famous for its rich oil and gas reserves and tourism industry. Abu Dhabi is a huge contributor to the UAE economy. 2/3rd of the total economy of UAE comes from Abu Dhabi only.

Abu Dhabi’s tall buildings, amazing architecture, and exceptional designs make it one of the most attractive destinations in the world. SHEIKH ZAYED MOSQUE is one of the prettiest mosques that witnessed the great craftsmen’s skills and architecture pieces.

Abu Dhabi is one of the safest places on earth as the crime rate is nearly 0% because Abu Dhabi has very strict laws, and people also show immense morality. The famous attractions include Ethiad Tower, Emirate Palace, Desert Safari, etc.

The Emirate palace with lights during nighttime

Apart from enjoying, you need a license to consume alcohol. In Abu Dhabi, it is strictly banned for Muslims to drink alcohol; hence, only non-Muslims can drink alcohol with a license.

What is Dubai?

Dubai, one of the emirates of UAE is the world’s number one attraction for tourists destination trips. Millions of international visitors come to Dubai to enjoy the world’s most developed, smart, modern lifestyle location.

Many businessmen also show interest in Dubai as Dubai has a huge number of multinational companies, allowing them to raise their business. Although Dubai is an emirate where Muslim law is followed, you can also find Churches, Temples, and other religious places. Here, people practice their religion with ease.

Dubai focuses more on architectural vanity sizing. The most famous attraction of Dubai is the Palm Jumeirah Islands. It is a man-made island that looks like a palm tree and is so big that it can be seen from space as well. This island has many hotels, resorts as well as an underwater aquarium.

Dubai offers a great destination wedding location with high-quality service in their large and expensive hotels, every year, many people book to have a fantastic wedding celebration.

Main Differences Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

  1. Although Abu Dhabi is the largest emirate in the UAE, most of the population lives in Dubai.
  2. Abu Dhabi has 92 billion barrels of oil reserves, and Dubai has 4 billion, Hence Abu Dhabi contributes more to the GDP of UAE than Dubai.
  3. More tourists are attracted to Dubai than to Abu Dhabi, as Dubai provides many more luxury hotels, monuments, theme parks, and other tourist attractions.
  4. Abu Dhabi’s infrastructure depends on road connectivity, while Dubai is well connected with its world-class metros.
  5. The cost of living in Dubai is much higher than that of Abu Dhabi.


Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two different emirates of a single country UAE. Both emirates are among the most famous tourist destination places in the world. Dubai is one of the fastest-growing emirates and earns much respect from the world.

People who want to enjoy the nightlife, partying in clubs and pubs, want to play in the casino, and want a luxury holiday trip can visit Dubai without any doubt. For people who want to enjoy beaches and adventurous sports like bunging, jumping, sky diving, etc, then Abu Dhabi is the best place for them.

Also, Abu Dhabi is greener than Dubai, Hence Abu Dhabi attracts people who love nature. Dubai has built its own Dubailand when Disney refused to make one in Dubai, which is double in size. They host diverse attractions and put Dubai on the family tourism map.

In Dubai, there is a 0% tax. That is why you will find many millionaires and billionaires businessmen in Dubai. You will also find the world’s largest shopping center, THE DUBAI MALL.

Abu Dhabi has the largest number of supercars worth millions on their roads. The Abu Dhabi police department has the largest supercar collection; you will find police with Ferrari Lamborghini. They also move into a squad, and it is impossible to escape from them. You will hardly see any cheaper cars.

In Abu Dhabi, there is a flourishing Arts scene making a huge impact on visitors. Abu Dhabi is building a whole city that uses only solar power. This idea was introduced to save fuel energy. Moreover, for this project, Abu Dhabi has raised 15 billion dollars.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275105000107

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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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