Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a tidy, productive city with a lovely waterfront setting. It remained a small fishing community until oil was found. Thanks to the revenues, Abu Dhabi was transformed into the thriving administrative and commercial hub it is today.
Abu Dhabi has a coastline ringed by beaches, making it one of the best places in the United Arab Emirates to combine sun, sand, and a city break. Although the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Louvre Abu Dhabi are the main tourist attractions, there are plenty of adventures and things to do nearby. Here are some of the 10 cool tourist attractions and things to do in Abu Dhabi.
10 Cool Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Abu Dhabi
1. Visit Sheikh Zayed’s Grand Mosque.
The stunning and enormous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is covered in white marble, is a city landmark and by far the most well-liked tourist destination in Abu Dhabi. The mosque combines design elements from Mameluke, Ottoman, and Fatimid cultures to produce a beautiful and thoroughly contemporary mosque that honours Islamic architecture.
On the interior and exterior, artisans used glasswork, mosaic tiling, and intricate carvings to stunning effect.It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and, like Fujairah’s Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the second largest mosque in the UAE, it can accommodate 40,000 worshipers. Both mosques are named after the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan.
All areas of the mosque are open to non-Muslims, including the sizable library. The mosque also offers frequent free guided tours. The Abu Dhabi City Tour is a useful tool for exploring the city. On this five-hour tour, a guide takes you to the Etihad Tower observation deck and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Transportation, hotel pickup, and drop-off are all included.
2. View the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Global Culture & Art Collection.
The Louvre the Abu Dhabi Museum, the most impressive museum in the Middle East, spans the entire history of human artistic accomplishments, from the Neolithic to the present. The museum’s contemporary architecture, with its galleries gathered under a vast silver dome, is a reason to visit in and of itself.
The wealth and diversity of art on display, from famous Picasso paintings to statues from ancient Egypt, is mind-boggling. Along with the permanent collection, which spans 12 galleries, numerous significant temporary exhibitions are presented annually. The Louvre is the first of three major museums that will open on Saadiyat Island in the coming years, and it is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural hub.
3. East Abu Dhabi Mangroves by kayak.
Enter the mangrove forests that still encircle the islands off Abu Dhabi’s coast to see a different side of the city’s steel and glass facade. Kayaking tours for people of all ages and skill levels are available, with paddling times ranging from 1.5 hours to three hours. The Eco Tour allows you to learn about mangroves’ important ecological role while also exploring these beautiful last pockets of the city’s forests. Another interesting activity for a truly unique experience is to join night tours to explore the mangroves while gliding through the water at night.
4. Relax on the sandy shores of Saadiyat Island.
Saadiyat Beach, located on the island’s western shore, has a small admission fee for beachgoers. It has excellent amenities, such as lifeguards on duty, a café for refreshments, and plenty of sun loungers and shade. Active sunbathers can rent kayaks and windsurfing equipment from the beach. A rim of protected dunes surrounds the beach, where hawksbill turtles nest. So that this area is not disturbed, access to the beach is via a raised wooden boardwalk.
If you want to spend a more luxurious day on the beach, head north along the Coast of Saadiyat Island to the private Saadiyat Beach Club. A day pass allows you access to this exclusive beach strip and all of its amenities.
5. Seeking Thrills at Ferrari World
It is one of Abu Dhabi’s top attractions for both families and adrenaline junkies, bringing the thrill of Formula One racing to the city. While thrill seekers can board the Flying Aces roller coaster, which travels at 120 kph on a 52-meter loop, small children can practise their driving skills on the Junior GT track (the tallest in the world). For true car nerds, there is also a Ferrari car collection with models from different eras, a Ferrari factory tour, and a Ferrari trivia game show.
6. Take a Cruise to View the City from the Water.
You should go out on the water for the best views of Abu Dhabi’s glistening skyscrapers. As you leave the marina, the views of the high-rises are absolutely breathtaking. Tours are offered by numerous different operators at various price points. Island hopping tours are very popular during the day and offer a leisurely way to see the sights. On several islands in the bay, they include time spent at the beach and snorkelling.
But if you want to see the city, go on a sunset or evening dinner tour so you can watch the city lights come on as dusk falls. There are also pearl tours where you travel into the mangrove region in a little dhow and discover Abu Dhabi’s history of pearl diving.
7. Catch some rays on Yas Island.
Yas Beach on Yas Island is a popular spot for an entire day at the beach. Day pass holders here have access to a variety of amenities that will appeal to both families looking for a laid-back beach day and groups of friends looking for an exciting beach adventure.
On-site, cafés, restaurants, and food stands serving a variety of cuisines are available. A large pool area with cabanas for rent, a large number of sun loungers and umbrellas for lounging on the sand, and additional seating areas away from the sand are also available. Yas Beach’s water sports offices rent kayaks and other active visitors a variety of items, and lifeguards are on duty all day.
8. Visit Warner Bros. World with the kids.
The rides at Warner Bros. World, the newest theme park on Yas Island, are themed after the heroes and villains of its comic books, movies, and cartoons. This is one of the best places for families to visit because six “lands” are contained under one roof (the theme park is indoors and air-conditioned).
From toddlers to teenagers, there are rides for them. While Gotham City and Metropolis are home to some of the big-hitter highlight rides that combine 4D interactive content with roller coaster-style thrills and spills, Bedrock and Cartoon Junction are designed specifically for children.
9. Formula one fueling at the Yas Marina Circuit
The Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix, held at the Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island in November, is the city’s major annual event. If you’re not in town for the race, you can still get a taste of the Formula One glitz all year. For Formula One fans who want to see the track and get a behind-the-scenes look at the circuit, there are regular guided tours that include visits to the pits, grandstand, and podium. Yas Marina Circuit, on the other hand, is where speed enthusiasts can book a variety of driving experiences (as either the driver or passenger in various styles of racing cars) on the Formula One track itself.
10. A Day Trip to the Sand Dunes
A desert safari to the south of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, either to the beautiful Liwa Oasis, which lies right on the edge of the Empty Quarter, or to the Al Khatim Desert near Al Ain, is the most popular day trip or overnight trip from Abu Dhabi city.
The Empty Quarter desert has the world’s largest sand dunes, and the dunes of both areas are a fantastic playground for anyone who wants to ride dune buggies, try sandboarding, go camel trekking, or simply soak up the vast star-strewn desert sky at a desert camp after dark. Most trips include stops to see a camel farm and experience traditional desert life.