Abu Dhabi is one of the most interesting cities to see in the United Arab Emirates . It is indeed their 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, date 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 we tell you 25 things to do in Abu Dhabi . Don’t forget your travel insurance with a 5% discount to visit the United Arab Emirates.
Things To See And Do In Abu Dhabi
Falling 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 , this 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 undeniable and in recent years it has become one of the main monuments in the country. The building is huge : it is the largest in the United Arab Emirates and the 15th 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 . Curiosity 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.
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Stroll along the Corniche
There are few better ways to end the day than strolling down the Corniche . This beautiful avenue located next to the beach offers interesting parks, fountains and paths to stroll at sunset while breathing in the sea breeze. So that we understand each other, it is its promenade . You will not feel alone: both tourists and locals go out to exercise when the sun goes down. You will also have beautiful views of the city’s skyscrapers.
Bathe in the beautiful Corniche Beach
And 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 category of blue flag: it is an international recognition for those beaches that are clean and safe. We do not advise you to bathe during the summer, since the heat is extreme and the water hardly cools. However, in the other months it is a perfect option. The sand is white and the water crystal clear. Bathing in this beach is another of the things to do in Abu Dhabi that you cannot miss. 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.
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Marvel at 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 among the tallest in the city. Tower 2, at 305 meters high, 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.
Know Abu Dhabi from 300 meters high
And precisely, you have to take advantage of its height to have good views of Abu Dhabi. From the 74th floor of the Jumeirah hotel you can enjoy 360º views of the entire city. Admission costs AED 75 (approximately €19). Of course, it includes a drink on the panoramic terrace of 50 AED. It is important that you are well dressed, otherwise they will not let you in.
Visit the Emir of Abu Dhabi and the President of the country at the Emirates Palace
If you can afford to pay more than €400 per night to stay under the same roof as the emir of Abu Dhabi, you won’t forget it . The palace is spectacular. This hotel was built by the government itself. However, it is now run by the famous Kempinski 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. To contemplate this luxurious atmosphere without having to stay there, you can book a dinner at the Emirates Palace.
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 dared to challenge all records. During 2001 and 2003, at 122 meters, its flag was the tallest in the world.
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Go back in time at the Heritage Village
In Abu Dhabi not everything is synonymous with modernity. The government is promoting recognition of its past. In this center you can discover its history before the discovery of oil. Without a doubt, one of the most curious activities to do in Abu Dhabi.
Spend an afternoon at the Abu Dhabi Marina Mall
Abu Dhabi is synonymous with great shopping malls. One of the most famous is the Marina Mall. There you can find everything! Tips to save money Get a debit card to save yourself the bad exchange rates and commissions of conventional banks. We recommend using the Bnext card . Is free! We always use it to travel and it represents a great saving . If you want dirhams in cash for the trip, you can exchange currency from home at a discount through Ria Cambio de Divisas . They have a great exchange rate and send your money home safely.
Go on a desert safari
One of the most interesting activities to do in Abu Dhabi is a desert safari. We went in a 4×4 through the dunes and we were able to interact with hawks and we had dinner in the desert. The price is not expensive at all for everything it includes: about €50 per person . They pick you up at the hotel and it lasts about 6 hours. You can do it at sunrise or sunset .
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Get your adrenaline pumping at Ferrari World on Yas Island
You cannot leave Abu Dhabi without discovering the attractions of Yas Island . This man-made island boasts 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. The cheapest ticket costs AED 275 per person (approximately €71). There you can try some of the strongest attractions 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.
Have a blast at Yas Waterworld
Advice If you want to visit both parks and you don’t mind doing it on the same day, there is a very good offer. For an additional AED20, or about €5, you can enjoy unlimited entry to both parks. 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). This water park has 45 attractions for all audiences : you can experience everything from great sensations to quieter attractions for children. If you like water, attractions, and want to have a fabulous time, don’t miss it.
Cycle the Yas Marina circuit, an essential thing to do in Abu Dhabi
If you are passionate about the motor, especially F1, surely you will be bitten by the bug of drawing the curves like your idols. You can also do it for free , although without its single-seaters. Every day from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. you can train by bike or walk along one of the most spectacular routes in the world. If you prefer to do it by car or motorcycle you can also.
Go shopping at Yas Mall
As you can imagine, Yas Island could not miss a good shopping center either. For us, it is the best in town . There you will find everything. Also, for football fans, you will surely like the Champions League Experience. There you will find authentic relics of your favorite players.
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Have a drink at Yas Marina
Yas Marina is the marina on Yas Island. Some of the most spectacular yachts in the world are moored 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. If you stay at one of the hotels on Yas Island , access to this beach and its club is free. There you can enjoy its beautiful beach, swimming pool and numerous bars where you can have a drink. Great to unwind for a few days.
Appreciate the beauty of the Yas Viceroy
Another of the most famous hotels in the city is the Yas Viceroy, located within the Yas Marina circuit . He is world famous for his appearance in the famous F1 GP in Abu Dhabi. Staying there is not as expensive as it may seem: if you look ahead, you can find a room for around €150 per night.
Enter the Louvre Museum, a cultural visit to do in Abu Dhabi
We have not confused ourselves, 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 Eastern and Western paintings, sculptures and historical objects in the United Arab Emirates . The building was inaugurated in 2017 and is priceless. Its steel dome is very original , it lets in light creating a magical atmosphere.
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Disconnect from the city in the Mangrove National Park
Another option to disconnect, already outside of Yas Island, is to go to the Mangrove National Park. If you are looking for something curious and different to do in Abu Dhabi, do not miss it. There you can rent a kayak and walk 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.
Stroll through the beautiful Mushrif Central Park
In Abu Dhabi there are numerous parks. In our opinion, this is the most beautiful. Admission costs 5AED (about €1.30 approx) but it’s worth it. We advise you to go in the evening, since with the lights it becomes especially elegant. Without a doubt, walking around is a good way to end the day.
Feel in the Caribbean at the Saadiyat Public Beach
For many locals, this public beach is the best in the city. Located on Saadiyat Island, 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. In addition, the positive thing is that it is usually very quiet because it falls a little far from the center. Without a doubt, one of the best beaches in the country.
Meet the Gate Towers and guess what they look like
Among the many skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi, there is one that is especially striking. This is 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 prices that are frightening, starting at €360,000.
Visit the falcon hospital
Falcons are a sacred animal in the country, which is why a hospital exclusively dedicated to them could not be missing. There they treat injured birds with the latest veterinary equipment . Since it opened in 1999, it has already served more than 75,000 patients. You can visit it to see firsthand how falcons are treated and even operated on .
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Cycle along Al Wathba Cycle Track
If you want to enjoy the desert while doing sports , this place is ideal for you. These are two exclusive lanes for runners and cyclists , so nothing will bother you, only the dunes if they invade the road. There are several established routes of various distances. Right there there is a shop where they rent bicycles and helmets , so you only have to worry about getting there. It is about 45 minutes from the center of Abu Dhabi by car.
Go on an excursion to Al Ain
Al Ain is one of the most tourist destinations in the country. Right on the border with Oman, it is a fundamental part of the country’s cultural heritage. Partly thanks to its famous Oasis . It will take the same time if you travel from Abu Dhabi as if you do it from Dubai. In both routes the estimated time is 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you have time later, climb Jebel Hafeet , a mountain that at 1,249 meters above sea level is the highest point in the country. From its viewpoint you can appreciate Oman.
Escape to Dubai
And finally, the last of our proposals for what to do in Abu Dhabi is also different from the city itself. Dubai is only 140 kilometers away, approximately an hour and a half by car. Obviously, it is also a very curious city to visit. Do not miss it! We tell you how to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and vice versa . If you don’t want to rent a car, don’t worry. You can get there by public transport with buses E100 and E101. They leave quite frequently from the Abu Dhabi bus station and cost AED 25 (approximately €6).