Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must if you visit Abu Dhabi . In fact, it is one of the most visited sites in the United Arab Emirates . Many tourists travel from Dubai just to see this impressive construction. Keep reading if you want to know its history, how to get to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and some tips for visiting it .
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What do we tell you in this post?
- Everything You Need To Know To Visit The Sheikh Zayed Mosque In Abu Dhabi
Everything You Need To Know To Visit The Sheikh Zayed Mosque In Abu Dhabi
So from the outset, to impress, it is the largest mosque in the entire country . It has capacity for more than 40,000 people ! Its construction ended in 2007, although the project was proposed more than 50 years ago by the first president of the United Arab Emirates . The name of the mosque precisely honors this man, who passed away in 2004. The first ceremony that took place in the Sheikh Zayed Mosque was his burial, in fact his remains are still there.
But it is not only impressive how big it is. The combination of marble with gold and floral prints create a beautiful setting . Inside the mosque there are very valuable pieces, such as the world’s largest handmade carpet or 12-ton lamps made of Swarovski.
The exterior is also very worthwhile, around the mosque there are reflecting pools as beautiful by day as by night . When it starts to get dark, the mosque has a very special lighting system that reflects the lunar phases . The bluish tones of the lights change each day according to the lunar cycle.
Also Read: 20 curiosities of the United Arab Emirates
How Much Does It Cost To Visit The Grand Mosque In Abu Dhabi
Admission to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is free . They also offer free tours in English of the grounds each day.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque Schedules In Abu Dhabi
Mosque visiting hours
- From Saturday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mornings are reserved for Muslims to pray.
- During the month of Ramadan it is only open from Saturday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Free guided tour times in English
- From Sunday to Thursday: 10am, 11am and 5pm
- Friday: 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- Saturdays: 10am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 7pm
Tips To Visit The Abu Dhabi Mosque
What clothes to wear to visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque?
Although it is the main tourist attraction in the country, we must not forget that it is a religious building . Therefore, one must dress appropriately according to Islamic principles . That means having knees and elbows covered . In the case of women, the rule is extended to not showing ankles or wrists and wearing a covered head.
If you do not wear appropriate clothing, at the same entrance they lend robes to both men and women to be able to make the visit. Although, in practice, during our visit we saw many boys with shorts above the knee.
Also Read: 12 Best Tours and Excursions in Abu Dhabi
abide by the rules
There are a lot of security guards checking that no one breaks the rules . For example, don’t even think about taking off your headscarf to take a picture because they will immediately ask you to delete it. You also have to take into account that to access the main hall of the mosque you have to take off your shoes . There the floor is covered with very valuable carpets that would be ruined if everyone stepped on them with shoes.
Visit the mosque at sunset
The best time to see the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in all its splendor is around 5pm . You will be able to see it under the sunlight and also when it starts to light up. In addition, there is a guided tour right at 5:00 p.m. , with which you can get to know every part of this beautiful building. We recommend that you arrive a little earlier so as not to run out of space .
Don’t expect to find anything around
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is quite far from the center and there is nothing in the area . Do not go with the idea of eating nearby, because there is hardly a cafeteria inside the enclosure.
How To Get To Sheikh Zayed Mosque From Abu Dhabi
Taxi or car
The fastest way to get to Sheikh Zayed Mosque from the center is by driving or taking a taxi . The price is around 30-40 dirhams, about €8-10 . It takes about half an hour , depending on the traffic, which can be very heavy in the city center. If you go in your own rental car , there is free parking in the same enclosure.
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Bus 44, 54 or 163
This option will only pay you if you will use public transport more . To use the buses you must have the Hafilat transport magnetic card , which has a minimum cost of 5AED per person plus the balance you want to top up (or 30AED for unlimited travel for 7 days).
There are very few places that sell this card, so if you are in Abu Dhabi for a short time it will be more worth taking a taxi to go to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque .
If you want to save a bit, you can get to the mosque by public bus. The price per trip is 3 dirhams, just under one euro . The routes that stop closest are 44, 54 and 163 . Of course, arm yourself with patience because the city is very large, the buses go around quite a lot and you will most likely catch traffic or a thousand red lights. In total, the journey can take up to an hour . You can check online the closest stop to your accommodation and the schedules.
Free shuttle to Sheikh Zayed Mosque
A trick that our hotel told us was to take a shuttle with an intermediate stop. It is a service of the Majid store-museum, which is very close to the mosque . They pick you up at your hotel and make a stop there, where a very nice vendor will try to sell you pearls, gold, precious stones and others. They have an amazing exhibition of works of art: sculptures, embroidery, paintings, etc. They are a bit heavy for you to buy but they also tell you interesting things about everything that is there.
In about 15 minutes you will make the entire tour of the store and return to the shuttle. The next stop will be in front of the great mosque, in just 5 more minutes . If you are interested, tell your hotel staff in advance. They will call and in an hour you will have the shuttle at the door of the hotel. A great option to go to the mosque without paying anything and also see Arabic art halfway.
How To Get To Sheikh Zayed Mosque From Dubai
You can visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque from Dubai and return in the same day. If you plan to do so, we tell you the best areas and hotels to stay in Dubai .
The cheapest way to get to the mosque from Dubai is to take a public bus to downtown Abu Dhabi . There are two different routes, E100 and E101 . The first leaves from the Al Ghubaiba bus station and the second next to the Ibn Battuta metro stop. Both depart quite frequently, every 30 minutes or so, and take nearly two hours to reach the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station . The price per trip is 25 dirhams (€6.50 approx).
Once in Abu Dhabi, you can choose to take a taxi or take a local bus as explained above. But after the bus from Dubai we recommend you go by taxi, much faster and not expensive either.
Also Read: How to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
If you are looking for the most practical way to go to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, take a taxi directly . The trip lasts about an hour and a half and will cost you around €50 . It is noticeably more expensive, but it will also take half as long. We recommend it if you go with more people to split the cost or if you have very little time.
Shuttle Emirates / Etihad
If you are in the United Arab Emirates, you have probably arrived with one of these two airlines. Both Emirates and Etihad have a free shuttle service between Dubai and Abu Dhabi . You just have to show the trip confirmation email, the boarding pass or some proof that you have traveled with them.
The Emirates Shuttle departs from Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 and drops off at the Emirates Abu Dhabi office , opposite the Corniche. From there, you can take a taxi or bus to the mosque.
The Etihad bus departs from the Etihad Travel Mall and ends at Abu Dhabi International Airport . There you can take a taxi to the mosque, it will cost you about €10. If you want to ensure a seat on the bus, Etihad recommends booking online, at the departure airport or by phone.