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215 215 9814

What to See in Abu Dhabi, the Luxurious Capital of the United Arab Emirates!

May 30, 2024 8 min read.

Abu Dhabi is the capital and second most populated city of the United Arab Emirates and the emirate of the same name. Abu Dhabi is located on a T-shaped island southeast of the Persian Gulf.

A simple tour of its streets is enough to feel in the middle of a city that mixes modernity, luxury, and ancient customs. The noises of the engines of the latest model cars, low and close to the asphalt, mix with old vehicles, generally used by the working class, mostly Pakistanis and Iraqis. The Emiratis walk with their tunics, almost all white, but there are also gray ones and of different lengths.

Everyone speaks Arabic there, and the alternative to English is for a few. But the universal language of respect and good customs always opens doors and solves any language problem.

This T-shaped island offers several tourist attractions, located southeast of the Persian Gulf. Of them, the impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum inaugurated at the end of 2017, and that from the outside looks like a flying saucer, and the Yas Marina circuit tour stand out.

Below we detail the main attractions of the city:

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

If there is an essential activity to do in Abu Dhabi, it is to visit this lavish and beautiful building. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the main attraction of the city, without a doubt.

As its name indicates, it is dedicated to Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country's first president. Its beauty is undoubted and in recent years it has become one of the main monuments of the country. The building is enormous: it is the largest in the United Arab Emirates and the fifteenth largest capacity in the world.

Its construction began in 1996 and was completed in 2007. It is one of the largest mosques in the world. It is capable of hosting more than 40,000 worshipers, including 7,000 in the main prayer hall, in its more than 22,000 square meters.

The approximate area of ​​5 football fields. The Abu Dhabi Mosque is one of the most important examples of contemporary Islamic architecture in the world. The first ceremony held in the mosque was the funeral of Sheikh Zayed, whose body was buried there.

The mosque has 82 domes decorated in white marble. Of these domes, the main one has an external diameter of 32 meters and a height of 70 meters inside and 85 meters outside. It also has around 1,000 marble columns covered in precious stones.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque houses 7 24-karat gold-plated lamps, with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. The main prayer room is dominated by one of the largest lamps in existence.

Made with Swarovski crystals, it measures 10 meters in diameter, 15 meters in height, and weighs more than 9 tons. A display of power that makes the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi delight the hundreds of tourists who visit it every day. Picture of Katerina Kerdi on Unsplash

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The most spectacular museum in the Middle East, the Louvre Abu Dhabi traces the entire history of humanity's artistic achievements, from the Neolithic to the present day.

The richness and diversity of the art on display, from ancient Egyptian statues to famous Picasso paintings, is mind-blowing, while the contemporary architecture of the museum, with its galleries gathered under a large silver dome, is a reason to visit in itself. same.

In addition to the permanent collection, which spans more than 12 galleries, several major temporary exhibitions are organized each year.

The Louvre is the first of three major museums planned to open on Saadiyat Island, which is set to become the cultural heart of Abu Dhabi in the coming years. The other two, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum, are still in the planning phases. Picture of Agnieszka Stankiewicz on Unsplash

Kayak tours

To see a different side to Abu Dhabi's steel and glass exterior, head to the mangroves that still surround the islands along the coast surrounding the city. There is a package of kayak tours available for all experience and age levels, ranging from 1.5 hours to three hours of paddling.

The Eco Tour allows you to understand the important ecology of the mangroves, as well as explore these beautiful last remnants of the city's forests.

Another interesting thing to do, for a truly special experience, is to sign up for a night tour and discover the mangroves gliding through the waters after dark. Picture of Ahmed Carter on Unsplash

Ferrari World (Ferrari World)

This brand-name theme park brings the thrill of Formula One racing to Abu Dhabi and is one of the best things in town for thrill seekers and families.

Toddlers can try out newly learned driving skills on the Junior GT track, while adrenaline junkies can buckle up and ride the Flying Aces roller coaster, which clocks in at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour on a 52-kilometer circuit. meters (the highest in the world).

There's also a collection of Ferrari cars, with models dating back to 1947, and a Ferrari factory tour and Ferrari knowledge game show for real car nerds. Address: Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island. Picture of Winston Tjia on Unsplash

Sail in Abu Dhabi

For the best views of Abu Dhabi's gleaming skyscrapers, you should head to the water. The views of the skyscrapers are quite spectacular as you move away from the marina.

Several different operators run tours for all types of budgets, but two of the most popular trips among tourists are island tours, which include some beach time and snorkeling on several islands in the bay, and sunset cruises that allow you to see the city lights.

The Best Observation Deck in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's answer to Dubai's Burj Khalifa is this observation deck, offering views of the skyline from the highest point in the city, on the 74th floor of the Jumeirah at the Etihad Towers hotel.

There is an entrance fee for non-hotel guests, but the ticket price can be redeemed for food and drink at the observation deck restaurant, which serves quick meals; drinks without alcohol; and in the afternoon, snacks.

Having tea here, with the city spread out below you, is an experience for your Abu Dhabi itinerary. Address: Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi. Picture of Roman Logov on Unsplash

The World of Warner Bros.

Warner Bros World, the latest addition to the Yas Island theme park, is dedicated to the heroes and villains of cartoons, movies, and comics with all rides based on these characters.

With six “lands,” all captured under one roof (the entire theme park is inside and air-conditioned), this is one of the best places to visit as a family.

There are rides suitable for small children and teenagers. Bedrock and Cartoon Junction are designed specifically for little ones, while Gotham City and Metropolis are home to some of the top rides, combining 4D interactive content with rollercoaster-style thrills.

Yas Island

Yas Island is one of Abu Dhabi's top luxury hotel destinations, with sandy beaches perfect for spending the day soaking up the sun.

This area is also home to the Yas Marina Circuit, which is where the Abu Dhabi Formula One races are held each year.

Sun-seekers should head straight to Yas Beach; Adrenaline fanatics can book a Formula One experience at the Yas Marina Circuit; and shopping lovers should head straight to Yas Mall, the city's main shopping destination. Picture of Thomas Lohmann on Unsplash

Desert Safari

The most popular day or overnight tour from Abu Dhabi city is a desert safari to the south of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, either to the beautiful Liwa oasis, which lies just on the edge of the empty neighborhood, or to the Al Khatim desert near Al Ain.

This desert contains the largest dunes in the world, and the dunes in both areas are a fantastic playground for anyone who wants to ride dune buggies.

Also, for sandboarding, camel trekking or simply soaking up the vast desert covered in stars, the sky after dark, in a desert camp. Most trips include stops to visit a camel farm and offer a taste of traditional desert life, as well as heading to the dunes.

The Evening Desert Safari is a great option for visitors with little free time. It offers a six-hour tour of the emirate's desert surroundings.

Visitors take a 4x4 tour of the dune landscape before settling down for dinner at a desert camp, with traditional tannura and belly dancing entertainment.

Once at the camp, guests can choose from a host of complementary activities, including sandboarding and camel riding. All transportation, with pickup and drop-off from Abu Dhabi hotels, and food is included.

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