18 Essential things to see and do in Abu Dhabi

Until the 20th century, Abu Dhabi ‘s economy depended entirely on camel herding, date production and pearling on the Persian Gulf coast. With the discovery of black gold, oil, Abu Dhabi became a luxurious and modern city.

The city stands out for having several interesting places to visit. In this post I tell you the 18 essential things to see and do in Abu Dhabi.

Perhaps you are visiting the city on a long scale or decide to make an exclusive trip to the United Arab Emirates.

1. Guided tour of Abu Dhabi in English

This guided tour in English lasts around 5 hours. You will take a tour of the most emblematic places in the city such as; The Grand Mosque (Sheikh Zayed Mosque), The Corniche, the famous Emirate Palace hotel and the Etihad towers.

2. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque , the most essential place to see in Abu Dhabi

An essential place to visit in Abu Dhabi, above any other place, is undoubtedly the Sheikh Zayed Mosque , or as it is popularly called the Grand Mosque.

The Grand Mosque 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.

3. The Etihad Towers, an essential thing to see in Abu Dhabi

Etihad Towers are a set of five buildings, some of them among the tallest in the city. They form an incredible skyline of the city.

Tower 2 is 305 meters tall and 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, which I will tell you about later.

4. Stroll along the Corniche

The Corniche is a perfect area to walk and enjoy the outdoors in Abu Dhabi in the afternoon when the heat is not so intense. It is a promenade next to the beach with several paths, parks, fountains… In addition, from here you will have beautiful views of the city.

5. The Corniche Beach

One of the most beautiful beaches in Abu Dhabi is La Corniche Beach. It is located on the same avenue. You must bear in mind that Abu Dhabi is very hot, especially in the summer months, so if you travel in summer, it is not advisable to go to the beach until almost dusk. It is a wonderful place, you can not miss it.

6. The Jumeirah Hotel, an impressive viewpoint in Abu Dhabi

If you want to see Abu Dhabi from above (an essential thing to do in the city), from the 74th floor of the Jumeirah hotel you can enjoy 360º views of the entire city.

Admission costs around €19 approx. And includes a drink on the panoramic terrace for AED 50.

It is important that you go well dressed, otherwise they will not let you in.

7. Learn more about the city’s past at Heritage Village

Although the city is very modern, Abu Dhabi also has its past. And the government is encouraging travelers not only to get to know the city as it is today, but also to learn about its history. In the Heritage Village center you can learn about its history before the discovery of oil.

8. Go on a desert safari

One of the most recommended activities to do is a desert safari. You have the option of doing a 4×4 route through the desert both at dawn and at dusk. And there is even the possibility of spending the night in the desert.

9. Do you want to go shopping? Abu Dhabi Marina Mall

Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is characterized by having some of the most luxurious shopping malls. Abu Dhabi Marina Mall is one of the most popular in the city. You will find everything from shops with exclusive brands, to restaurants, bars…

It is a good option to eat at noon, the air conditioning of the shopping centers is appreciated depending on the time of day.

10. Enter the Louvre Museum, an essential cultural visit to do in Abu Dhabi

Yes, Abu Dhabi also has a museum called the Louvre, like in Paris.

This museum is impressive and an essential stop to do in Abu Dhabi. It has the largest collection of Eastern and Western sculptures, paintings and historical objects in the United Arab Emirates . The building was inaugurated in 2017. It is worth spending a couple of hours to get to know this place.

11. Are you a lover of adrenaline and theme parks? You must visit Ferrari World

For car lovers or simply theme park lovers, you can’t miss Ferrari World.

You should keep in mind that at least one day is necessary to enjoy the park.

  • Entry to Ferrari World

12. Other theme parks to visit in Abu Dhabi

If you still want more, from Abu Dhabi you can visit and enjoy other theme parks such as Yas Waterworld or Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi.

  • Entrance to Yas Waterworld
  • Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi Tour

13. Stroll through Yas Marina

Yas Marina is the marina on Yas Island. You will realize as soon as you arrive that it is one of the most exclusive areas of the city. You will be able to see some of the most impressive and enormous yachts in the world moored in the port.

There are several places where you can have a drink at night. Of course, the price of the basic consumption does not fall below 20 euros.

Staying at one of the hotels on Yas Island is recommended for those looking for beach and luxury. If you are staying here, you can access the Yas Marina beach and the club for free.

14. The Mangrove National Park, a different activity to do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is characterized by its modern city. But if you have already tired of skyscrapers you can visit El Mangrove National Park. A completely different landscape that you may not imagine exists in the United Arab Emirates.

It is a National Park full of mangroves. Here you can escape from the noise of the city, rent a kayak and enjoy the place. It is wonderful. Do not miss it.

For those who do not want to rent a kayak, there is a route to do on foot through wooden paths.

15. La Saadiyat Public Beach, if you are looking for a beach in Abu Dhabi

For those who do not stay in hotels on the beach (with a private beach), one option to enjoy it is to go to the public beach.

It is located on the island of Saadiyat, about half an hour from the city center. It is known for its white sand and crystal clear waters.

16. Visit the falcon hospital

Falcons are a sacred animal in the country. In Abu Dhabi there is a hospital to treat these injured birds. The hospital was opened in 1999 and since then it has treated more than 80,000 patients. It is a very curious thing to see. Also, if there are any falcon operations in progress, you will be able to see it and even see the falcons that are in recovery.

17. Take a bike ride along Al Wathba Cycle Track

In Abu Dhabi you have the option of renting a bike to ride this exclusive two-lane route for athletes located in the middle of the Abu Dhabi desert. You can rent a bike and helmet right there. There are different routes that you can do of different distances.

It is located somewhat away from the city, about 50 minutes by car from the center. You can arrive by rental car or hire a taxi.

18. Abu Dhabi Boat Tour

One of the best activities to do in Abu Dhabi when it gets dark and it cools down a bit is a cruise. You have different options, from a dinner cruise to speedboat rides.

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