Are you planning a vacation in Abu Dhabi? There are plenty of things to do, with countless beach vacations, themed hotels, and amazing cultural activities to take part in. But with so many options available for your trip, it can be difficult to decide which places will be the best for you.
Abu Dhabi, the capital of UAE, is one of the most visited cities by people from around the world. With its rich historical background and spectacular architecture, this city has attracted many visitors every year. Therefore, to make it easier for you to enjoy your vacation, we created an article that shows the top places to visit in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is an impressive destination to explore, whether you are interested in art galleries and museums or prefer more active pursuits such as off-roading and horse riding. A trip to the Grand Mosque is a must and don’t miss the chance to get out onto the water at sunset for a cruise along the Corniche. These are just some of our top picks for places to visit in Abu Dhabi; read on for more information about what this incredible city has to offer visitors.
Abu Dhabi – UAE History, Economy, Culture, & Population
The capital and second-largest city in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is a well-ordered, industrious city with a pretty waterside location. First inhabited by the nomadic Bani Yas tribe in 1760, the settlement remained a small fishing village until oil was discovered in the late 1950s. The discovery transformed Abu Dhabi into one of the world’s richest cities and today it boasts some of the best shopping, resorts, and restaurants in the region. There’s certainly plenty to see and do here.
Top 8 Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is at the heart of the Emirates and home to many fascinating attractions. With a diverse mix of historic and modern landmarks, there’s something for everyone, no matter what your interests are. The following places make up the Best Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi.
Yas Marina Circuit is the world’s first purpose-built entertainment, leisure, and hospitality complex. It is a major initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. When it was developed, Yas was described as ‘the world’s most advanced, sustainable and tailored entertainment, leisure, and hospitality destination’ and ‘the world’s most advanced racetrack’.
The name ‘Yas’ is derived from an Arabic word for the capital city of Abu Dhabi and relates to the role played by Yas Marina in shaping Abu Dhabi’s image as a cosmopolitan marina city.
2. Qasr Al Hosn Fort Abu Dhabi, Heritage places in UAE
Then there’s Qasr al-Hosn, a mega-mall with over 30 world-class restaurants that will make you feel like you’re in Hollywood. And when you’ve got a taste for fine dining, there’s also a shopping center called the Great Mall at Al Ain Oasis where you can shop for designer brands like Gucci and Burberry.
3. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – Ferrari Branded Theme Park
And then there’s Ferrari World Abu Dhabi—the world’s first and only Ferrari theme park. This exciting adventure will take you through the history and innovation of Ferrari, from its earliest beginnings in 1947 to its most advanced models today. You’ll be able to see the first-ever Ferrari race car and drive an F1 car around Yas Marina Circuit.
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi opened in 2010 and has been attracting thousands of visitors ever since. This theme park has more than 20 rides for children and adults, as well as a 4D cinema experience and various racing simulators. It also has Italian restaurants, cafes, shops selling Ferrari merchandise, and galleries where visitors can learn about the history of Ferrari cars!
4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi Islamic Culture
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece, which blends Islamic architecture with contemporary design. The mosque has 82 domes arranged in clusters of three, over a central rectangular structure. There are four 107-meter-high minarets at each corner that give the mosque a majestic appearance. The mosque can accommodate up to 40,000 worshippers and visitors can enter free of charge between 9 am and 10 pm every day except Friday mornings. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque provides a great insight into Islamic culture, and visitors should dress appropriately for visits.
5. Yas Marina Island Sports & Entertainment Venue in Abu Dhabi
The island of Yas is located about 30 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and has recently become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the emirate. Attractions include Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, an indoor amusement park that opened in 2018.
6. Louvre Abu Dhabi – Ateliers Jean Nouvel
This relatively new museum on Saadiyat Island was designed by architect Jean Nouvel and opened its doors in 2017. The museum houses artworks from around the world that tell stories about humanity’s journey through time. Besides art collections, visitors can enjoy temporary exhibitions, live performances, educational workshops, films, and more at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
7. The Qasr Al-Hosn fort Ensemble
Qasr al Hosn is the oldest stone structure in Abu Dhabi. It was built as a watchtower around 1761 and later became the residence of the ruling family. In recent years it has been restored and turned into a museum that opened in 2018. This is one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi. There is an exhibit of old photos that show what life was like here decades ago and also some interactive displays where you can learn more about the history of this small building that was once so important to the city of Abu Dhabi.
8. Abu Dhabi Corniche Visit
The 8km long Corniche is one of the most popular places to visit in Abu Dhabi, especially at sunset when locals gather there for an evening walk or picnic on the beach. You can stroll along with it at any time with friends or families and enjoy views across the water towards Dubai’s skyline in one direction and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in another direction!
9. Al-Ain Oasis Abu Dhabi Culture
Visitors to Abu Dhabi often overlook this small but very beautiful city located just 120km from Abu Dhabi City. But those who make it here are rewarded by a true oasis town whose charm lies in its narrow lanes, traditional homes, and palm groves. Al-Ain is home to many of the UAE’s most important historic buildings and archaeological sites, including the remains of an early Islamic settlement at Hili that dates back to the 3rd century AD.
10. Al-Jahili Fort – Arabic Europe Culture
Al-Jahili Fort was built in 1891 to defend Al Ain Oasis and its surrounding settlements from raids. The fort was named after Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (1855 – 1909) who was nicknamed “Al Jahili” (The Ignorant) due to his lack of formal education.
The fort is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Al Ain, with a unique architectural design that merges both Islamic and European elements. The walls of the fort are strengthened by four corner towers which were used to observe the surrounding areas during a possible raid. The building is square in shape with two floors; the first floor contains rooms for housing soldiers while the second floor was designed for military purposes.
11. Emirates Palace Hotel – The Most Expensive and Standard Hotel
The Emirates Palace is one of the most expensive hotels in the world. This ultra-luxurious hotel sits on 1.3 km of private beach and has over 100 hectares of gardens. It features 394 rooms and suites, 80 meeting and conference rooms, two grand ballrooms (the largest can hold up to 2,000 people), two business centers, two health centers with spas, five swimming pools, a private marina, and a helipad. The interior is filled with gold leaf detail (over 60 kg or 132 lb) as well as marble from 13 countries. The hotel also contains 14 restaurants serving a variety of cuisines from around the world. A trip to Abu Dhabi would not be complete without seeing this iconic landmark at least once!
12. Heritage Village – The Old is Gold
The Heritage Village was created to give visitors an idea of what life was like in Abu Dhabi before oil was discovered. This open-air museum is located near the breakwater of the Corniche on Breakwater Island and showcases a representation of a typical Bedouin encampment with various artifacts that were used many years ago by the people in Abu Dhabi. The Heritage Village features hand-made pottery, weaving, jewelry making, and other traditional crafts. There are several shops where you can purchase handmade items as souvenirs or gifts.
So, if you have to spend time in Abu Dhabi for work or for pleasure, then the best advice would be to get out and explore. Whether you are here for a few days or a couple of years, see as much as you can of this magnificent city. You will find many different experiences and encounters as you traverse through its desert mountains, untouched beaches, lively markets, and historical ruins. It’s one thing to read about Abu Dhabi. It’s another experience totally to experience yourself.