Abu Dhabi is one of the most interesting cities to see in the United Arab Emirates. In fact it is its capital! It has great attractions that have nothing to envy its neighbor Dubai. Until the end of the 20th century, its economy depended on camel herding, dates production and the search for pearls on the coast of the Persian Gulf. With the discovery of oil, the landscape changed a lot and Abu Dhabi became a concrete jungle, as we know it today. A world reference city. In this post you can discover 25 things to explore in this amazing city.
25 THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN ABU DHABI
Table of Contents
1. Fall in love with the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, an essential thing to do in Abu Dhabi
If there is an essential activity to do in Abu Dhabi , it is to visit this beautiful building. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the main attraction of the city. As its name indicates, it is dedicated to Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan , the country’s first president . He himself ordered its construction in 1952 and his remains also rest in the complex.
Its beauty is unquestionable and in recent years it has become one of the main monuments of the country. The building is huge : it is the largest in the United Arab Emirates and the fifteenth largest in the world.
It does not fall near the center of the city. The fastest and easiest way to get there from the center is by taxi. In Abu Dhabi they are quite cheap. In addition, the entrance to the mosque is free . Without a doubt, the most beautiful building to see in Abu Dhabi.
|Interesting: At 5,627 m2, the carpet in the main room is the largest in the world. |
It weighs 47 tons and its estimated value is 545 million dollars.
It was made by about 1,200 Iranian women.
2. Stroll along the Corniche
Essential activity at the end of a day in Abu Dhabi is strolling along the Corniche . This beautiful avenue located next to the beach offers interesting parks, fountains and paths to walk during the sunset while you breathe in the sea breeze . You won’t feel alone: both tourists and locals come out to exercise when the sun goes down. You will also have beautiful views of the city’s skyscrapers!
3. Bathe on the beautiful Corniche Beach
One of the most interesting beaches in Abu Dhabi is the Corniche Beach. As its name indicates, it is located precisely on this avenue. It has the blue flag category: it is an international recognition for beaches that are clean and safe.
|Important: It is a public beach and very touristy. There is no problem if you bathe in a bikini. Of course, it is very important that when you leave the beach you dress properly.|
4. Admire the Etihad Towers, a spectacular set of buildings to see in Abu Dhabi
Another curious thing to see in Abu Dhabi is its skyline. The Etihad Towers are a set of five buildings, some of them the tallest in the city. Tower 2, at 305 meters tall, is the third tallest building in Abu Dhabi .They are located next to the Corniche and in front of the Emirates Palace, one of the most famous hotels in the city.
5. Go up to the Observation Deck at 300 ,Eithvad Towers for incredible views
If you want to see Abu Dhabi from above, we recommend you go up to Tower 2. From the 74th floor you can enjoy 360º views of the entire city. The entrance costs 95 AED (approximately €24), it includes a drink on the panoramic terrace of 55 AED. It is important that you go well dressed, otherwise they will not let you in.
6. Admire the beautiful Emirates Palace
This hotel is spectacular and is one of the most spectacular buildings to see in Abu Dhabi . It is a palace built by the government itself. However, it is now run by the famous Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. According to various New York Times analyses, it is said to be the world’s most expensive hotel ever built . Many of the rooms are adorned with gold! If you don’t plan to sleep there, it’s worth going to see one of the icons of the city.
7. Learn about the culture at Qasr Al Watan
The Presidential Palace of the United Arab Emirates has become one of the most interesting buildings to see in Abu Dhabi. Inside you will be amazed by its incredible state rooms, especially the Great Hall or the Presidential Banquet Hall.
Qasr Al Watan is more than just a palace : it will allow you to join an enriching interactive journey in a contemporary setting that reveals and reflects on the government, knowledge and crafts of the United Arab Emirates.
It can be visited as part of a guided tour or on your own. In addition, after sunset, the exterior of the palace is illuminated with a curious light and sound show that retraces the history of the country. It’s so worth it!
8. Spot the huge flag of the United Arab Emirates
Another thing to do in Abu Dhabi is to spot its huge flag. As you well know, Abu Dhabi is a city that, with the power of oil, was encouraged to challenge all records. During 2001 and 2003, at 122 meters, its flag was the highest in the world.
9. Get to know Qasr al-Hosn
During your visit to Abu Dhabi you cannot miss Qasr al-Hosn. It is the oldest stone building in the city! It was built in 1761 and the truth is that it causes a great contrast with the skyscrapers that characterize the Emirati capital. Also known as White or Old Fort, it was built as a watchtower to watch over the area’s growing shipping lanes and defend the only freshwater well on the island of Abu Dhabi.
10. Go on a desert safari
Join a small-group or private guided day trip from Abu Dhabi to the desert with hotel transfers included. Enjoy a dune bashing experience, watch the sunset from a Bedouin camp, take part in cultural activities, watch traditional performances, and savor a BBQ buffet dinner while watching the stars. Really unforgettable experience.
11. Spend an afternoon at the Abu Dhabi Marina Mall
Abu Dhabi is synonymous with large shopping malls. One of the most famous is the Marina Mall. There you can find everything! On its five floors you will find more than 400 shops, venues and entertainment options to take refuge from the high temperatures of Abu Dhabi. It is huge, its surface is equivalent to 44 football fields.
12. Take a trip back in time at the Heritage Village, one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi
Next to the Marina Mall you will find the famous Heritage Village. In Abu Dhabi not everything is synonymous with modernity. The government wants to promote recognition of its history. By visiting this center, you can discover the rich history of the region before the discovery of oil. The experience of visiting this town is like stepping back in time, where you will have the opportunity to explore an old world souk, mosque, and camp that are inspired by the country’s fascinating past.
Also they offer traditional craft workshops. It’s super interesting! You can also take home some of their precious souvenirs for family and friends. Without a doubt, one of the most interesting activities to do in Abu Dhabi.
13. Get your adrenaline pumping at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
You cannot leave Abu Dhabi without knowing the attractions of Yas Island . This artificial island has some of the best attractions in Abu Dhabi. One of them is the Ferrari World amusement park . Although it is quite expensive, it is worth it!
There you can try some of the strongest rides in the world, such as the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world. You will reach 240 kilometers per hour in 4.5 seconds. You can also get on F1 simulators, among many other things. One of the things to do in Abu Dhabi that you cannot miss !
14. Have a fun at Yas Waterworld, one of the most fun things to do in Abu Dhabi
Don’t worry about the distances. You can visit both parks in one day. They are very close to each other. They are also connected by a free shuttle service (Yas Express).
Yas Waterworld has 45 attractions for all audiences : you can experience everything from adrenaline pumping sensations to attractions for children.
15. Have fun at Warner Bros World!
This theme park is the latest addition to Yas Island. And you will have a great time! All of its attractions are based on Warner Bros. characters. There are attractions for both children and adults!
|Information: You can also choose to visit your choice of two Yas Theme Parks in one day with a convenient 1-day, 2-park pass. Have a blast at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, or Yas Waterworld. |
Buy your admission ticket :
16. Take tour at the Yas Marina Circuit
Embark on a guided tour (lasting 90 – 120 minutes) of the Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and gain exclusive access to the behind-the-scenes world of the glamorous Formula 1 motor racing. This experience is now available for the general public to participate in escorted track tours, making it an absolute must-visit for all motorsport enthusiasts and visitors to Abu Dhabi.
Travel by air-conditioned bus to the various key points within the circuit. Commence your tour at Yas Central, where the racing activities of the Yas Racing School are exhibited. Explore the different race cars used at Yas Marina Circuit, including the latest F1 model. Then, proceed to the North Grandstand to witness the stunning Du Arena View from the perspective of the spectators.
If there are no racing events taking place, the tour will continue through the race track by bus, passing significant areas such as the Drag Strip, Kartzone, Shams Tower, and Yas Marina View. Visit the F1 team pits and garages to gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to host a successful F1 race.
17. Go shopping at Yas Mall
As you can imagine, on Yas Island a good shopping center could not be missed either. Taking into account its enormous area, Yas Mall is the largest commercial platform in Abu Dhabi and the second in the country, only behind the Dubai Mall. You will find more than 400 stores and a fun entertainment center.
18. Have a drink at Yas Bay Waterfront
Yas Bay Waterfront is one of the major tourist centers on Yas Island. Some of the most spectacular yachts in the world are docked there. It is one of the most exclusive areas of the city. During the night, having a drink in one of its bars is a recommended activity to do in Abu Dhabi. The atmosphere is fantastic!
There is also a private beach club ideal for stretching out on the sand and enjoying the excellent Abu Dhabi climate.
19. Enter the Louvre
We have not been mistaken, Abu Dhabi also has a Louvre Museum like Paris. In fact, it is the only one outside of France. And what a museum! It has the largest collection of Middle Eastern and Western paintings, sculptures and historical objects in the United Arab Emirates .
The building was inaugurated in 2017 and its steel dome is very original .
20. Take trip to Dubai , one of the best excursions to do in Abu Dhabi
Obviously you cannot leave the United Arab Emirates without visiting Dubai , its most modern city. Dubai is only 140 kilometers away, approximately an hour and a half by car. Obviously, it is also a very interesting city to discover. Read my article and find out how to spend amazing and unforgettable 2 days in Dubai!
21. Discover amazing nature in the Eastern Mangrove National Park
You can rent a kayak and navigate through a beautiful environment. When you are in the mangrove water you do not have the feeling of being in Abu Dhabi, but in a completely different environment where peace and the sound of nature reign. This impressive park represents almost 75% of the total area of mangrove forest in the United Arab Emirates.
22. Relax at Saadiyat Public Beach
For many locals, this public beach is the best in the city. Located on the island of Saadiyat, it will take no more than 25 minutes by car to reach the beach. It is known for its white sand and crystal clear waters. Also, it is usually very quiet. Without a doubt, one of the best beaches in the country.
23. Get to know the Gate Towers
Among the many skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, there is one particularly striking- the Gate Towers , which are almost a carbon copy of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore . Although in this case it is not a hotel, but a luxurious residential complex with more than 3,000 apartments at huge prices, starting at €360,000.
24. Visit the Falcon Hospital
The falcon is a sacred animal in the country, so there is also a hospital exclusively dedicated to them. In the Falcon Hospital they treat injured birds with the most modern veterinary equipment . Since it opened in 1999, it has already treated more than 75,000 patients. You can visit it and see first hand how falcons are treated and even operated .
25. Go on an excursion to Al Ain
Al Ain is one of the most touristic destinations in the country. Right on the border with Oman, it is a fundamental part of the country’s cultural heritage. In part, thanks to its famous Oasis .
It will take the same if you travel from Abu Dhabi as if you do it from Dubai. In both journeys the estimated time is 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you have time to spare afterwards, climb Jebel Hafeet , a mountain that at 1,249 meters above sea level is the highest point in the country. You will even be able to appreciate Oman from its viewpoint!