Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour
Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi, the capital of United Arab Emirates (UAE) is located on an island in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, has a perfect balance of cultural heritage and modern infrastructure.  This city has many world records – World’s largest hand-loomed carpet, the highest High Tea, the tower with the greatest lean, the fastest roller coaster, the largest cluster of the cultural building of the 21st century.  MARHABA (Welcome) to this beautiful city and know more about Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi City Tour. 

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary

Day 1 – Start your day with a cup of strong Arabic coffee known as Qahwah and then go for an Abu Dhabi skyline tour along Corniche – main city tour.

CORNICHE – A stretch of stunning 8 km. curve – city’s pristine and clean beach-front has gained Blue Flag status. This waterfront has well-maintained manicured gardens, beach-umbrellas, restaurants, children’s play area, a cycling track with a stunning skyline view.

ETIHAD TOWERS & EMIRATES PALACE HOTEL – Etihad Towers an iconic building which is prominently adorned Abu Dhabi skyline has Observation Deck on the 74th floor to get the glimpse of Abu Dhabi city. 

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
Etihad Towers

Emirates Palace which is a 7-star hotel is known for its regal opulence. It welcomes you with 24-Karat gold painted interiors, lavish chandeliers, ballrooms.  The tea and coffee are served here are garnished with edible 24 Karat Gold flakes.  High Tea is recommended here.  This luxury Palace also has a beach, landscaped gardens, and lovely fountains.  The even Gold vending machine is present inside, where you to feed the machine with cash or card and you will get Gold biscuit/bars.  A special Christmas lighting ceremony takes place during December and you can see the world’s most bejeweled Christmas tree here.

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Emirates Palace Hotel

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE – This masterpiece, magnificent architecture of Abu Dhabi has 80 marble domes, 1000 pillars and a perfect combination of modern Islamic design and architecture.  This mosque can accommodate up to 50,000 worshippers. About 90,000 tonnes of white Greek marble has been used with intricate floral patterns, which are then adorned with precious stones like agate, Amethyst, Jasper, Pearls and many other. When you enter prayer hall then you would be impressed by the world’s largest loomed carpet and a 24 Karat Gold galvanized chandelier with Swarovski crystals. 

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visitors are not allowed to enter the mosque during prayers timings. A strict dress code to be followed inside the premises by wear long ankle length loose-fitted trousers or skirts with full sleeve shirts and head scarf(for women). You can even borrow traditional attire for free on Security gates.  During and after sunset this mosque looks splendid and it is recommended to visit during that hours.

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Day 1 ends here and in evenings you can take Dhow (traditional style Arabic boats) Cruise along Corniche or go to Yas Viceroy hotel at Yas Island for special light effects on its unique roof. 

Day 2  – Best Things to do in Abu Dhabi city tour – starts with Adventure and ends with Art Tour.  There are three theme parks in this city – Ferrari World, Yas Water World(water park) and Warner Brothers World.  You can buy a combo ticket for the Ferrari World and Yas Water World.  Warner Brothers World is a huge indoor theme park which covers 1.65 million sq.ft. and is divided into 5 lands.

FERRARI WORLD – Take a ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster which is a Ferrari-themed adventure indoor park. There are nearly 20 adventurous rides which are a huge dose of adrenaline.  If you love speedy cars and various models of Ferrari then go for this. As weekends (Friday & Saturday) are very crowded, plan your trip on weekdays (Sunday to Thursday). There are many good tickets deals on Entertainer & Groupon like sometimes it Buys 1 and Get 1 free.  This park is located at Yas Island adjoining Yas Mall.  You can spend your whole day at this place and then proceed to Louvre museum.

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
The entrance of Ferrari World Theme Park

LOUVRE ABU DHABI – Located on Saadiyat Island, it is art and Civilization museum developed jointly by UAE & France. This museum presents a historical narrative of art from different eras and how art evolved from ancient times till today.  Its special 180m wide filigree dome, with geometric openings, represents interlacing of palm leaves roof, creates a Rain of Light effect in 23 galleries.

DAY 3 – Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  | GUIDE TO ABU DHABI 

Check beautiful skylines at other islands of this city – Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island.  Also, you can go for the world’s largest uninterrupted desert-sand dunes which starts at about one hour from city-center.  Also, you can plan your stay in virgin deserts where nobody is around – only shaded sand dunes, camels and stars.  I opted to stay a night in the desert at Tilal Liwa – Desert resort and had a beautiful desert sunset view, camel farms, and adventure in deserts.  Annually here, Camel Festival and Dates festivals are held where there are many competitions like Most Beautiful Camel, Camel Races and many more. 

If you love cars from the vintage era or some unique models then while going to this Liwa Desert area, you can plan a small stopover at  National Car Museum. This museum has a wonderful collection of huge, mini, truck-style, vintage cars.  

Architecture lovers should appreciate unique buildings of this city like Aldar Headquarters. Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Al Bahar Towers ( special latticed window panes which reduce interior heat gain by 50%), Gate Towers and Cleveland Clinic.  Also, you can take a tour os MASDAR CITY, which is a 100% eco-friendly city dependent on solar energy and other renewable sources.  Masdar city is the world’s most sustainable eco-city. 

Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
Aldar Headquarters
Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi City Tour  |  Abu Dhabi Itinerary
Al Bahr Towers

GUIDE TO ABU DHABI | ABU DHABI FACTS

Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi City Tour
Glittering Abu Dhabi at night

HOW TO REACH ABU DHABI – This city has the finest airports of the world with Etihad’s home ground and other major flights also connect this city.

If you are staying at Dubai then you can catch a public Bus or Taxi to reach here.  Intercity Bus from Dubai runs at every 20 minutes and is very comfortable, have luggage facility, air-conditioned and takes around 2 hours to reach Abu Dhabi.  You can take this Intercity bus from Ibn Battuta Metro station or Ghubaiba Bust station of Dubai and drop to Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahdah Mall Bus station.  One way fare for an adult is 25 AED approximately.  Check more about Intercity buses on the official RTA site

BEST TIME TO VISIT – October to April. December to February is peak tourist seasons with many open ripe-markets, Christmas markets, Art & Craft markets. These markets are usually held on weekends at beach fronts, water-fronts, and gardens.  One of the most famous is Ripe Market at Umm Al Emarat Park. 

Best things to do in Abu Dhabi City Tour | Guide to Abu Dhabi
Enjoy Desert Life in Abu Dhabi

CURRENCY & LANGUAGE – Dirhams. Arabic is the main language, but all people can speak and understand English. Other common languages which many people understand are Hindi, Urdu, Malayalam, French.

MODE OF TRANSPORT IN THE CITY – Taxis are very safe, reliable and not very expensive. You can also catch a city bus. For self-driving, you have to bring International License and the driving is similar to US-style – Left Hand Drive.  Check time-table of Abu Dhabi Bus – routes. 

There are many International Annual Events and Festivals held here and it is highly recommended to at least visit one of them. List of all these events and festivals are as follows-

  • Eid- Ul –Fitr is a major festival and this 3-day festival is celebrated with many events all around the city.
  • UAE National Day – National Day Celebrations takes place all over UAE. It comes on 2nd December and commemorates UAE Independence. There are special events arranged all over UAE.
  • Abu Dhabi Golf Championship
  • Camel Beauty Contest, Camel races at Liwa Desert (takes place in winter)
  • Red Bull Air Race World Series
  • The Emirates Photography Competiton andExhibition.
  • Formula 1 – F1 Race hosted by Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit
  • Liwa Date Festival – Festival of Dates harvest
  • Abu Dhabi Science Festival
  • Abu Dhabi Film Festival
  • Mother of the Nation Festival – 10 days long festival in March with many street performances.
  • Abu Dhabi Food Festival – International & Local chefs demonstrate their skills. Generally hosted in March.
  • Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
  • Bride Show Abu Dhabi
  • Abu Dhabi International Hunting & Equestrian Exhibition
  • International Jewelry & Watch show.
  • Qasr Al Hosn Festival
  • Al-Ain Aerobatic Show

BEST AREAS TO STAY – Corniche or Yas Island. 



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SHOPPING AREAS – WTC Souk for spices, Arabic style Kaftans, Attars, Saffron and many ethnic home décor.  MINA PORT for fresh farm produces like fruits, vegetables, Plant saplings, etc.  MARINA, AL WADAH AND YAS MALL for luxury brands, HAMDAN STREET – for touristy knick-knacks, huge Gold showrooms, fabric, souvenier, and leather goods. Hamdan Street is very vibrant and is located in the heart of the city.

FAMOUS BEACHES – Corniche, Saadiyat Beach, Yas beach, LULU Island, Al Maya Island, Al Bateen Beach, etc. Check Beach timings and days before going there as some beaches have specific Ladies Only days and time slots.

Best things to do in Abu Dhabi City Tour | Guide to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Marina Front

FOOD – Try Arabic food all over the city, Shisha cafes, and all cuisines from all over the world at various locations of the city.   

This capital city of UAE depicts rich Emirati heritage, beautiful harbors, absorbing peace at stunning Cornice, modern skyline and many more adventures.  Abu Dhabi is one of the richest cities on earth has wonderful wonders of white-domed mosques, romantic deserts, welcoming locals representing the true essence of beautiful Arabia.  Feel the speed at Formula 1 races – Yas Marina Circuit or traditional Camel races on burning-red sand dunes.  A place with a perfect blend of old traditions and modern wonders.  I lived here for more than 4 years and have been always impressed by its cultural heritage and modern infrastructure. Very safe city and a nice relaxing place.  Get in touch with me if you have more queries or guidance on this beautiful city of the United Arab Emirates. 

Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi City Tour
Feel the beauty of desert in Abu dhabi

Read about Al-ain attractions and go for Jabal Hafeet mountain drive.  Stay at Liwa Desert or Know about Dubai Attractions.  

SHUKRAN (Thank You in Arabic)

So, until then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………

All photos are taken by me and use of photos without permission would result in legal action.

DISCLAIMER – The content of the blog is solely my views of a place or a thing. This is not to offend any class, religion, ethnicity or nation. My views can change from time to time. This blog may contain some advertisements or links to commercial products and for that, this site is not responsible after you click those advertisements.  We are the independent owner of this site and views expressed in this are our own. All photographs are owned by me.  There can be slight differences in distances, locations or some details for which I (owner) am not responsible.  This post may contain some affiliate links, means at no additional cost to you.  I will earn if you will click through affiliates and make a purchase

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103 Comments

  1. This was a fabulous guide!! You have made me want to book a trip to Abu Dhabi, it looks amazing! Can anyone go in to the palace even if they aren’t staying there? It seems so fancy I would love to check it out!

    1. Yes, you can to Palace though you don’t stay there. Any visitor can go inside but with proper formal dressing, no swim or beach shorts type of clothing.

  2. The architecture looks stunning, and a big attraction to view the ornate details on the mosque, the bridge and various grand buildings. I am fascinated to learn there is a Louvre as well, a joint venture with Paris. Had no idea!

  3. I’ve never been to Abu Dhabi so really appreciate this guide, it’s very detailed. I’d like to try a coffee with 24-carat gold flakes, how decadent. The mosque is stunning from all the photos I’ve seen, so would like to see it for myself. The camel beauty content is hilarious, they’re such beautiful animals to me!

  4. OMG! Arabic coffee is the best coffee in the entire world!! I didn’t know they had a camel festival!!!! Those camels seem so much bigger than the ones I have seen in Jordan, and Morocco, lol…. the guys on the 4-wheeler look so tiny compared to them!

  5. I’ve never been to Abu Dhabi but this was a fabulous detailed guide. The camel beauty contest looks like an interesting experience! The Emirates Palace and the mosque look amazing- I would definitely want to check them out.

  6. I visited Abu Dhabi few years ago and never thought I would need to go back but your post surely makes me change my mind. Its always growing and there is so much more to do there now. I need to visit the Grand Mosque which is beautiful and was not there when I visited. Love the views from Corniche and the thrills at the Ferrari word. There is so much on offer for the entire family must say. Thanks for these tips and one I will use to go back again

  7. I love that the Grand Mosque lets you borrow traditional attire for free on Security gates (I think that is so sweet and such an encouraging way for people to experience that in a respectful way). I had no idea that Malayalam was an understood language (I didn’t think it was too common). Glad to know the city is safe!

  8. What a lovely itinerary for Abu Dhabi. I’m not that interested in the adventure parks but between the architecture and scenic recommendations, I can see spending three days in the area. I’d like to do the overnight in the desert too. But I’m especially looking forward to sampling some delicious Arab coffee and food and shopping!

  9. I hve never been to the middle-east so I loved this all the more. Such a beautiful view of the glorious city rich in gold and culture 😀 Would love to check out the skylines from beautiful islands and take a camel safari tour. The Eitihad tower is simply something you cant miss

  10. Great! Your report is really great and has shown me that I should definitely fly to Abu Dhabi. I like the huge skyscrapers, the architecture is impressive. Shopping could also appeal to me and Ferrari would be a must visit. I love car racing!

  11. I have never been to UAE, so never in Abu Dhabi so I appreciate seeing what there is to do there. It helps me consider if it should be on my bucket list.

    The Emirate Palace Hotel looks gorgeous! It is hard to believe that it is painted in 24 karat gold interiors – oh the opulence!

    The Grand Mosque looks like a must see as well! And interesting architecture on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Actually, it looks like the city should have an architectural tour.

    Thanks!

  12. Wow! Abu Dhabi is stunning! I’d love to visit the Grand Mosque. It’s so beautiful. My boys (husband included :-)) would absolutely want to visit Ferrari World and a stay in the desert would be a must-do experience. Those camels are huge!

  13. I love that day one involves local coffee, you sold me haha. Just kidding, you sold me on all the other awesome stuff to do in Abu Dhabi. I had no idea there were theme parks there, especially a Warner Bros. park. Thanks for the solid 3 day itinerary to Abu Dhabi and insight into the culture and extras like the best beaches and shopping. Hopefully I can use it someday!

  14. Will be in Doha soon. Would love to add Abui Dhabi to the itinerary. Do they have camel races like they do in Doha? I love the architecture and of course, how can you NOT love the coffee. 😉 Well, I suppose if you don’t like strong coffee.

    1. I think Abu Dhabi hosts best camel races in whole Middle East area. All regions of this part come here to take part in camel races.

  15. Wow!! That is amazing!!! I wanna go soon. I’ve been to Dubai but not to Abu Dhabi. Thinking about going back to Dubai next year and maybe go to Abu Dhabi for one day or two!! Saving this post. Very good one!

  16. Abu Dhabi is one of our favourite cities and we always try to do a layover here on our travels. The Grand Mosque really is breathtaking! I didn’t realise they had so many international events and festivals! During our last visit, we had royal high tea at the Emirates Palace, I would definitely recommend it!

  17. Abu Dhabi is not high on our bucket list, yet your gorgeous photos have done a great job changing our minds! I think that a lovely walk along the Corniche would be the absolute highlight for me!

  18. Such great tips, thank you! I know often people don’t consider Abu Dhabi as safe, even though it’s probably is. Did you try yourself taking a bus there? I so would love to visit, totally different experience, and Arabic food.. mmm…

    1. I always take Intercity bus that too all alone from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It is highly safe city and I think most safest in all the world.

  19. What an awesome trip! I haven’t made it to that side of the world yet but would love to visit! The architecture of that Mosque is gorgeous. I’d love to try the coffee as well 🙂

  20. Wow, lot of things to do in ABu Dhabi. The towers looks really amazing, wonder how it will look at night. And the famous Ferrari. I hope I can go there soon 🙂

  21. Great guide! I’ve only ever passed through Abu Dhabi airport. I never realised there was so much to do there. I’d love to see a camel beauty concert and races!

  22. Abu Dhabi is like a kid dream come true, especially with the ferrari world. What a fun place to tour and the opulence of the different buildings sound spectacular. I would love to have high tea at the emirates palace. So sophisticated. Actually, I wouldn’t mind staying there.

  23. I loved it all! So much to do in Abu Dhabi and it looks fabulous, my favorite part the Mosque. I hope to visit soon and your guide will be very useful.

  24. No better way to start the day than with Arabic coffee, one of the best coffees in the world. I am quite impressed with the variety of things there is to do. It is definitely worth spending a fe days exploring this area. The Mosque is exquisite and probably tops my places to visit. The beach and desert would probably follow after. Hope to visit one day

  25. I’ve been meaning to visit Abu Dhabi since a long time, especially since I have family living there at the moment. I had no idea that it had the world’s most bejeweled Christmas tree! The architecture looks really interesting. How are the beaches? Do the beaches have a dress code?

  26. Great tips for visiting, gonna bookmark it for my Middle East trip. I hear about Ferrari world, how did you like the rides? Also I heard it’s a bit pricy, but hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to get a deal 🙂

    1. There are many deals going on always and you can get a good price if you grab it wisely. I loved the rides and also the Italian circus show in Ferrari world.

    1. They have splendid collections of murals, statues, and many excavated pieces from all over the world. They have highlighted how we evolved historically and culturally by depicting all religions, civilizations and people living in different parts of world from ancient times till today.

  27. I have heard a lot about Abu Dhabi as someone we know stays there and whenever we would meet him, he had great things to share. But so far, could never venture. This Abu Dhabi itinerary looks great with amazing suggestions for a day tour. How majestic to be there for the special Christmas lighting ceremony and see the world’s most bejeweled Christmas tree at Emirates Palace. Gold vending machine and gold galvanized chandelier with Swarovski crystals..Seriously. The most beautiful camel competition sounds fun! With so many things to do in Abu Dhabi, think it would be a good idea to plan a few days to adsorb it all.

  28. I would love to visit since it doesn’t seem to be as over the top as Dubai. Most of all I’d like to go for the Louvre, that must be fantastic. I had a layover at Abu Dhabi some time ago. If I had known that it has so much to offer, I would have thrown in a little extra vacation 😉

    1. Yes Abu Dhabi is also worth visiting and next time when you have layover then you can take out some time for this beautiful city.

  29. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to fully explore Abu Dhabi! There’s so much to see and do, and the scenery is beautiful too! What time of year do you think is best to visit?

  30. Abu Dhabi looks gorgeous, with some of the most stunning architecture. Maybe it’s because I’m training for a half marathon right now, but as soon as I started reading about Corniche, I started thinking about how lovely it would be to go for a run along the 8km stretch. I had no idea there was a Louvre in Abu Dhabi as well! The city just looks so vibrant, and I’d love to experience the energy for myself.

  31. I always thought Dubai was everything that i wanted to see but your guide is changing my mind to start thinking of Abu dhabi. Forgive my ignorance but i actually had no idea that Emirates palace is a 7 star hotel!! wow, it must be such a sight

  32. This really has everything I could possibly need for visiting Abu Dhabi! A few years ago I went to UAE but stayed in Dubai the the whole trip. I’d love to go back and see some of the amazing architecture there, especially the Grand Mosque!

  33. Abu Dhabi is slowly becoming one of the biggest tourist destination in the world. It is fascinating how they are transitioning away from fossil fuels towards tourism. It will be interesting to see how it pans out in the future.

    Thanks for sharing. Keep travel blogging. Adventure is better shared with friends!

  34. i had the regret of not getting out of the airport when i had a 9 hour layover in the airport. Can you suggest some things i can do for when i have a layover next time? SOmething that is close to the airport and can be done in a few hours.

  35. Abu Dhabi is not really a place I’ve ever considered, except for a layover. Your images have inspired me though it looks fascinating. The Grand Mosque looks absolutely breathtaking.

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