There is so much to do in Abu Dhabi, UAE irrespective of whether you are travelling with your friends, family, or as a couple. A few years ago we spent a few days in Dubai, but we had always wanted to explore Abu Dhabi too. Just so you have all things to do in Abu Dhabi in one place, here are 10 of our favourite experiences in Abu Dhabi along with a list of some of our favourite hotels in the area. And once you have read through all these details, definitely check-out our video from Abu Dhabi at the end of this article 🙂
Where to stay
Abu Dhabi is packed with luxury hotels. If you want to go all out, you could stay at Emirates Palace or The Ritz Carlton. We stayed at the Edition Hotel as well as Dusit Thani and really enjoyed both the hotels. The breakfast spread and healthy al-a-carte meals at the in-house restaurant, Market At Edition, are especially noteworthy – expect flavourful food, incredible coffee, and fresh produce.
If you want a great mid-range hotel Aloft Abu Dhabi is a great option. There aren’t too many good AirBnB apartments and budget hotels in Abu Dhabi, so make sure you read reviews closely before booking budget accommodation.
Getting Around in Abu Dhabi
It is easy to get a self-drive car or take taxis to commute within Abu Dhabi. If you intend on doing a lot of day trips, then you can also rent a car with a local driver. Having a local driver is more expensive than hailing taxis, but it makes the process of getting around Abu Dhabi easier.
10 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi
Here is a short list of ten of our favourite things to do in Abu Dhabi:
1) Sunset tea lounge at ShangriLa Abu Dhabi
The easiest way to enjoy a glorious sunset over Sheikh Zayed Mosque, is to over to the Sunset Tea Lounge at ShangriLa Abu Dhabi. The view is fantastic and the ambience serene.
View this post on Instagram
An Arabian Fairytale 🧡🧡 We just landed in Abu Dhabi- it’s our first time here and we are so excited to explore ☺️😊 Spent our first evening at the most scenic tea lounge ever – I’m completely smitten by this view. Now just waiting for Aladdin to magically appear out of somewhere🧡🧡🏺 ✨ ✨ @visitabudhabi #InAbuDhabi #sunset #bruisedpassports #fairytale
2) Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Nothing screams Abu Dhabi like Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It is an architectural marvel and one of the first places you need to visit in Abu Dhabi. Go early as it gets very crowded as the day progresses.
3) Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi is a unique museum because it’s a beautiful admixture of art and traditional middle-eastern elements (such as the gorgeous ceiling inspired by the unique ceilings of souks). Definitely worth a visit if you’re a photographer or art enthusiast.
View this post on Instagram
The rain of light ☀️💛💛 Have you ever wandered around in a traditional Middle Eastern 𝘴𝘰𝘶𝘬 (market), with sun beams seeping through the traditional bamboo ceiling? That’s pattern of light is what inspired the stunning ceiling of The Louvre in Abu Dhabi – talk about blending modernity & tradition. I love museums & enjoyed the exhibits here, but it was this CEILING that had us smitten. The rain of light indeed 💛💛 ✨ ✨ @visitabudhabi #InAbuDhabi #traveltips #museum #bruisedpassports
4) Dune Bashing in the desert
No visit to the desert would be complete without a spot of dune bashing. There are plenty of group tours in the area but you can also opt for a private tour if you want to customise your tour or spend longer in the desert. We booked with Emirates Tours and had a good experience.
5) Kayaking in the mangroves
If you like to work up a sweat on holiday and you’re looking for something unique, then we would recommend going kayaking in the mangroves of Abu Dhabi. Choose a slot at sunset if you can as it makes for a beautiful sight.
6) Enjoy a scrumptious meal at Namak
If you’re craving for an Indian meal, then definitely head to Namak at Dusit Thani hotel. Kunal Kapur’s restaurant offers an exquisite Indian dining experience inspired by global influences. Our favourites would have to be the scallops and the Kerala duck roast tart.
7) Yas Waterworld
If you are craving that adrenalin rush, Yas Waterworld is the way to go. Spend a day on fun rides with the family to make most of your vacation in Abu Dhabi.
8) Wahat Al Karama
Right opposite Sheikh Zayed Mosque lies Wahat Al Karama. It is a war memorial that isn’t popular amongst tourists but you definitely need to visit it if you’re a photographer – that’s because it affords a fabulous view of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, especially at night. Take a look:
View this post on Instagram
Have we walked into a postcard? 🕌💙💙 Here’s a budget-friendly travel tip for you – for the BEST view of Sheikh Zayad mosque, visit the Wahat Al Karama memorial after sunset. Entry is free and there are barely any people around. Imagine having this surreal view, all to yourself. A FEAST for the eyes doesn’t even begin to describe that reflection 💙💙 ✨ ✨ @visitabudhabi #InAbuDhabi #traveltips #bruisedpassports
9) Qasr Al Watan Palace
Qasr Al Watan is a new tourist landmark in Abu Dhabi, so you could go during peak hours and still have large parts of it to yourself. The Palace is absolutely stunning and the architecture will leave you spellbound.
10) Overnight stay at Telal Resort & drive to Jebel Hafeet
If you have 1-2 extra days in Abu Dhabi, we would highly recommend spending them at Telal Resort. The hotel is just 1.5 hours away from downtown Abu Dhabi, so it is easily covered on a day trip. But it is situated within such stunning surrounds that you will want to stay longer. Expect sand-dunes, an oasis, and local wildlife at every corner. Next morning, take the picturesque drive to Jebel Hafeet, before heading back to Abu Dhabi.
If you would like to see these places, in action as it were, check out this video we made on our favourite things to do in Abu Dhabi