Abu Dhabi has erroneously been outshined by its neighboring counterpart, Dubai. As the largest as well as the capital city of the UAE, Abu Dhabi has its own special charm and character. From culture, history, and traditions to mindblowing nature to contemporary sights, it has everything that makes it worthy to be on top of your UAE holiday checklist. But, if you need help planning your holiday here, simply read this guide for all the top things to do in Abu Dhabi.
- Get Lost in the Beauty and Serenity of Sheikh Zayed Abu Dhabi Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture. But, if you think a visit to Sheikh Zayed Mosque is reserved for Muslims alone, the good news is that its doors are open for people who follow other religions and faith as well. It is one of the essential stops in any Abu Dhabi City Tour and the best thing is that entry here is free. So be sure to visit this breathtaking landmark that is beyond a place of worship; you can’t help but immerse yourself in its unrivaled capaciousness enveloped by sheer tranquility, mesmerizing beauty, and luxe touch that makes it a vision in white.
- Visit the National Aquarium Abu Dhabi
This is one of Abu Dhabi’s latest attractions. More than that, it is the Middle East’s largest aquarium where you will find over 45,000 water creatures from 300 plus species across its ten themed zones. See UAE’s Natural Treasures and be in awe as you experience the natural formation of oysters and pearls in this zone. You further get the rare chance to witness the biodiversity of the underwater world that represents the Arabian Red Sea, Ring of Fire, and Artic Sea, among many others. Dependent on your ticket choice, you can look forward to be part of some fascinating experiences like the Glass Bottom Boat Tour and Glass Bridge Walk.
- Discover Louvre’s Classic Exhibits and Luxe Architecture
Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the most captivating sights in the UAE. It is the largest of its kind in the Arabian world and is the only Louvre Museum outside of Paris, France. Besides its collection of over 100 art masterpieces created by some of the most celebrated artists of all time, Louvre is simply breathtaking for its Jean-Nouvel-designed architecture that appears like a white floating structure at Abu Dhabi’s cultural district, Saadiyat Island. The massive dome that crowns the museum is truly one-of-its-kind, thanks to its perforations that result in the magnificent rain of light phenomenon.
- Step Back in Time at Qasr Al Hosn
Being one of Abu Dhabi’s most significant National Monuments, Qasr Al Hosn has witnessed it all; it was once the residence of the ruling family and later remained the seat of government. Dating back to the 1790s, it is the region’s oldest building in the city. It now serves as a museum complex with two significant structures: the Inner Fort (built in the 18th century) and the Outer Fort (built between 1939 and 1945.) A vast repertoire of arts and artefacts that shed light on the Emirati past (as early as 6000 BC) is on view here. You will also find here some interesting segments, such as the House of Artisans and Bait Al Gahwa.
- Catch the Fantastic Views over the Cityscape
For this, head to Observation Deck at 300! Located at the second tower of Etihad Towers, on Conrad Abu Dhabi’s 74th level, it is a surefire vantage point that promises you unparalleled views over the cityscape and beyond from an altitude of over 300 meters. After all, it is the highest of its kind in the whole of the city.
- Unleash Your Wild Side at Yas Island
If you are in Abu Dhabi for endless fun and entertainment, Yas Island must be your first stop in the city. Rightly so, it is a man-made island that is dedicated to wholesome amusement and adventure in the heart of Abu Dhabi. A smorgasbord of theme park choices plus multiple shopping, accommodation, and dining options makes it an ultimate haven for leisure seekers. Some of the must-visits here are:
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: It is the world’s first Ferrari-themed park and is home to some of the most exciting rides including the fastest of its kind Formula Rossa roller-coaster ride.
- Yas Waterworld: It is the region’s largest water park that is designed to honor the Emirati pearl farming heritage. As an all-age facility, it is a hit among adults and kids alike.
- CLYMB Abu Dhabi: This indoor attraction is where you can indulge in record-breaking adventure sessions. There are two experiences including the world’s tallest climbing wall and the world’s largest sky diving chamber.
- Warner Bros Abu Dhabi: Rides and attractions across the six themed lands in this park journey you to a world of superheroes, cartoon characters, and more.
- Yas Marina Circuit: It gives you the chance to see the world’s most expensive F1 circuit up close and in detail. Not to mention, it hosts the grand F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix event every year.
- Desert Safari
Want to enjoy an outdoor activity that is a perfect mix of adventure, culture, and natural scenery? A desert safari trip is your answer! It is one of those Abu Dhabi tours that give you a slice of the ancient Bedouin traditions and heritage with a generous sprinkle of fun and thrill. The major draw of any desert safari is the 4X4 dune bash that introduces you to the pristine beauty of the Arabian Desert like never before. A spectrum of cultural experiences follows, such as camel rides, Shisha smoking, falconry, etc. Choose a morning or evening desert safari complete with BBQ dining and traditional performances like Tanura and Belly Dance.
- Hit Jubail Mangrove Park
No Abu Dhabi holiday is complete without making a tour of its mangrove sanctuaries. One of the must-visits among them is Jubail Mangrove Park, placed at Jubail Island, on E12 Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highway. Enveloped by the luxuriant charm and unequaled quietude, it offers an amazing retreat to get away from the city’s chaotic scene. There are several ways to take in the diverse wildlife and plant species that thrive here, from a walk through Mangrove Boardwalk to kayaking along the park.
- Relax at Abu Dhabi Corniche
This vibrant eight-kilometer-long waterfront destination in Abu Dhabi is a hub of activities and experiences. You can relax on its unspoiled white sandy beach (with the prestigious Blue Flag status), take part in water sports, and even play games like volleyball to name a few. With some of the region’s top attractions including Emirates Palace, Qasr Al Watan, etc in the vicinity, it is also a great place for a pleasant walk as well as a bicycle ride.
Abu Dhabi, all in all, is one of the most fantastic places to spend an unforgettable holiday in the Middle East, thanks to its vast spectrum of attractions and activities on offer. Whether you are in the capital city for its world-class museums, astonishing scenery, or unrivaled cultural or traditional landmarks, this list of Abu Dhabi things to do will get you started.
Note: The original author of the post is Neha Singh from Dubai Wikia.