Abu Dhabi City Tour
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but its much greater and brilliant neighbour Dubai is sometimes overshadowed by its just 1 hour apart. On the other hand, Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place to spend a few days since it is often much cheaper than Dubai, and there are more and more tourist attractions opening all the time!
It is also a very secure area, and although Arabic is the official language, English is commonly spoken due to the city’s huge expat population. I lived in Abu Dhabi for nearly 4 years, so encourage me to share my favourite tourist attractions, restaurants, and hotels in Abu Dhabi with you!
Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, also known as The Grand Mosque, is Abu Dhabi’s most popular attraction, and for good reason: it is literally breathtaking! Many consider this to be the most majestic mosque in the country, with its white marble walls, 82 intricately detailed domes, and reflecting pools in the courtyard.
It also holds the world’s longest carpet and third-largest chandelier (both coated in Swarovski crystals) and is one of the world’s biggest mosques (it can accommodate a whopping 40,000 people inside)! It cost a half-billion dollars to construct!
You must dress properly since it is a sacred place of worship. Women would be given an abaya to wear if necessary, since they must be veiled from their wrists to their knees and have their hair protected.
Except on Fridays, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is available every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Since Friday is a holy day in Islam, the store is open from 4.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays. It is free for visitors to enjoy, but it can get very crowded, so come early to escape the queues as far as possible. It is also fun to visit right after sunset since it is brilliantly lit up at night.
A desert safari is a must-do on every trip to Abu Dhabi! The desert is just about an hour drive, and a desert safari is a thrilling adventure. You might go on a morning or evening safari, or even spend the night camping in the desert!
The evening safari, which typically runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., is by far the most famous since visitors get to see the sunset in the desert, which is absolutely magical. It involves pickup and drop-off, dune smashing, sandboarding, riding a donkey, carrying a falcon (the UAE’s national bird), and then a BBQ buffet and belly dancing demonstration at a Bedouin-style camp in the desert under the stars. It is a truly unique and thrilling experience that you cannot miss out on while in Abu Dhabi!
Many companies sell very similar desert safaris at very competitive prices. There are many desert safaris to pick from, including overnight stays and half-day excursions.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Even if you don’t like museums, the stunning Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, only a 10-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi, is well worth a visit. The Louvre Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2017, is the first of its kind outside of France.
The structure itself is a work of art – the roof is shiny and resembles a cosmic sphere! Natural light streams through the latticework, making a lovely illusion on the inside. The specimens here are quite interesting, and they contain civilizations from all around the globe, ranging from ancient times to the present day. They still include works by Monet, Da Vinci, and Van Gogh.
Ice Cream and Gold Cappuccino at Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace is the most recognizable hotel in Abu Dhabi. This intricate and grand hotel is stunning on the outside and inside, but it is much too pricey for most people to stay (the cheapest rooms start at $560 a night!). You will, however, tour the Palace for free to take in the grandeur and elegance of the floor-to-ceiling marble and gold.
Furthermore, you should visit Le Cafe in the lobby to sample the famous Palace cappuccino! This cappuccino is finished with 23-karat gold flakes (yes, they’re real!). If coffee isn’t your favorite, consider the 23-karat gold-covered vanilla and chocolate ice cream. I’ve tried all of them, and they’re both delectable! The coffee costs 60 dirhams, and the ice cream costs 40 dirhams.
When in Abu Dhabi, a stroll along the Corniche (seafront) is a must. It extends for 8 kilometers along the shore, but the most famous portion is near the Corniche Beach/Family Beach town, which is only a few minutes’ walk from Emirates Palace.
The pedestrianized promenade along The Corniche is rather chic and calming, and there are many restaurants and cafes along the way that provide stunning views of the beachfront.
Yas Island, about 30 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, provides a range of events. Ferrari World, Warner Brothers World, and Yas Water world are only a handful of the theme parks in Dubai. Ferrari World has the world’s fastest rollercoaster, reaching 240km/h (150mph), and Warner Brothers World has the world’s first indoor amusement park.
Yas Island is also home to the massive Yas Mall and the Formula One circuit. The Formula One race is held in Abu Dhabi each November and is a lot of fun! Yas Marina, which is nearby, has a cool evening vibe with a variety of nightlife choices. You can also book a Yas 3000 Driving Experience if you want to try driving a race car for yourself!
Visit the Mangroves
Travel to the Eastern Mangroves for some Stand Up Paddle boarding or kayaking for something a little fresh and to stay in condition on your journey to Abu Dhabi. The natural mangrove habitat is spectacular and host to a wide selection of aquatic life.
It’s really nice here, a long cry from fast-paced Abu Dhabi! The cost of two hours of paddle boarding is 140 dirhams per adult. If you want to do something different while in Abu Dhabi, you can go surfing at Saadiyat Beach or jet skiing at Yas Beach.
Sightseeing Boat Trip
Abu Dhabi is made up of over 200 islands, but seeing the region from the sea is the easiest way to do it! Jalboot offers an excellent boat tour of Abu Dhabi. It brings in all of the best sights in Abu Dhabi, from the striking landscape of downtown Abu Dhabi to Emirates Palace, past the Grand Mosque, and all the way down to Yas Marina.
Restaurants and Dining
Abu Dhabi is a multicultural area. It has inhabitants from a variety of nations, and its restaurants represent this. The number of cuisines available in this city is truly astounding! And, in Abu Dhabi, there is something to fit every tastebud and pocketbook, from award-winning restaurants to more affordable eateries! Restaurants specializing in Arabic cuisine are often less pricey than restaurants offering foreign cuisine.
Where to Stay?
The fact that there are so many hotels to pick from in Abu Dhabi is fantastic. However, before you begin searching at accommodation in Abu Dhabi, determine your budget. Hotel rates in Abu Dhabi differ widely, but there are several decent offers to be found.
You can also look at the chart and see which region you choose to linger in. Abu Dhabi is a sprawling city with no particular core, as new areas are continually being developed.
When to Visit?
The cooler months of October to April are ideal for visiting Abu Dhabi. This is the most famous period for visitors to visit Abu Dhabi since the weather is at its finest.
Temperatures cross over 40 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) on a regular basis from May to September. In the season, the UAE is very hot and sticky, and considering the superb air conditioning, it is very challenging to deal with the outdoor temperatures.
During this time, locals and inhabitants also stop going outside as far as possible. Hotel rates, on the other side, are far smaller and there are much less customers around.
Abu Dhabi has risen in prominence as a tourist destination in recent years. Since several nationalities are given a free visa on entry, an increasing number of citizens are using it as a stopover for a few days before beginning their journey abroad.
The modern structures and attractions that are continually springing up offer a pleasant contrast to the Arabian customs that are deeply ingrained in this area. With year-round sunlight and its designation as the world’s safest city in 2019, it’s just a matter of time until you’re booking a holiday to Abu Dhabi!