is abu dhabi an expensive city

Being a resident of Abu Dhabi for years, I’ve often been asked whether Abu Dhabi is an expensive city. Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as it seems. In this article, I’ll delve into the different aspects of living expenses in Abu Dhabi to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of whether this vibrant city is indeed an expensive place to live.

The Cost of Living

When it comes to the cost of living, Abu Dhabi is undoubtedly one of the more expensive cities in the world. From housing to groceries, almost everything comes at a premium. The high cost of living can be attributed to various factors, including the city’s booming economy, luxurious lifestyle, and the influx of expatriates.

Housing Costs

One of the major expenses in Abu Dhabi is housing. Whether you choose to rent or buy a property, be prepared to shell out a significant amount of money. Premium locations such as Corniche, Saadiyat Island, and Al Reem Island command sky-high prices for residential properties. It’s not uncommon to find luxury villas and apartments that cost a small fortune.

Utilities and Transportation

Aside from housing, utilities and transportation can also take a toll on your wallet. Electricity, water, and internet bills can add up quickly, especially if you lead a lavish lifestyle. While public transportation is available, many residents prefer to own or rent cars, which comes with its own set of expenses such as fuel, parking, and maintenance.

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Food and Entertainment

When it comes to dining out and entertainment, Abu Dhabi offers a plethora of options to suit all budgets. Fine dining restaurants, luxury cinemas, and high-end shopping malls cater to those with a taste for the finer things in life. However, there are also more affordable options available, especially in the bustling street food scene and cultural events across the city.

Education and Healthcare

If you have children, education is another significant expense to consider. Abu Dhabi is home to some of the best international schools and universities, but they come with a hefty price tag. Healthcare is also a crucial aspect, with top-notch medical facilities and private hospitals offering world-class services, albeit at premium prices.


So, is Abu Dhabi an expensive city? The answer ultimately depends on your lifestyle and spending habits. While it’s true that the cost of living in Abu Dhabi can be steep, it’s also possible to live comfortably within a budget. With careful planning and smart choices, anyone can thrive in this dynamic city without breaking the bank.


1. Is it possible to find affordable housing in Abu Dhabi?

While the majority of housing in Abu Dhabi is on the pricier side, there are also more affordable options available, especially in areas further away from the city center.

2. Are there budget-friendly dining options in Abu Dhabi?

Absolutely! Abu Dhabi has a diverse culinary scene with options to suit all budgets, including affordable street food, casual dining, and budget-friendly eateries.

3. How can I save money on utilities in Abu Dhabi?

Being mindful of your electricity and water usage, as well as comparing internet service providers, can help you save money on utilities in Abu Dhabi.

4. Are there any free or low-cost entertainment options in Abu Dhabi?

Yes, there are several free or low-cost entertainment options in Abu Dhabi, such as public parks, cultural events, and outdoor activities that don’t break the bank.

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5. What are some tips for saving money while living in Abu Dhabi?

Some tips for saving money in Abu Dhabi include meal prepping at home, using public transportation, taking advantage of discounts and promotions, and being mindful of unnecessary expenses.