How to visit Abu Dhabi on a Budget
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, a buzz of cultural activity and host to world-class events all year round. It’s easy to splurge on coastal resorts and desert retreats, but if you’re visiting Abu Dhabi on a budget there’s still plenty of ways to see the capital for less.
As well as luxury resorts, you’ll find many 3 star hotels in Abu Dhabi to suit your budget without skimping on quality. Premier Inn hotels in Abu Dhabi offer great deals on stays in the city centre or close to the airport, making it a convenient and cost-effective stay in Abu Dhabi. We’ve also shared our favourite things to do for less, and free family activities in Abu Dhabi that will help your budget go further.
Staying in a budget hotel in Abu Dhabi
Take a step back from Abu Dhabi’s corniche and private beach resorts, and you’ll discover a wide choice of hotels to suit any budget, with a selection of 3 star hotels in Abu Dhabi offering superb quality for less.
Arriving by plane? Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport is connected to the airport making it a quick and easy transfer to your hotel room*. You can rest easy on a super comfy beds, safe in the knowledge you’ve got the best rate by booking direct.
If you’re planning on attending one of Abu Dhabi’s events or conferences, staying at Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Capital Centre will put you within walking distance of ADNEC. This budget hotel in Abu Dhabi is opposite Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, and also a short drive from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – one of the greatest attractions in the Middle East.
Budget doesn’t have to mean basic. Premier Inn hotels in Abu Dhabi have swimming pool and gym facilities for guests, along with an all-day dining restaurant, Nuevo serving our legendary all you can eat breakfast every morning. There’s also Lounge One, where you can relax with a drink or two with colleagues and friends.
Rooms are fully equipped with en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee facilities and our super comfy Hypnos beds, guaranteeing a good night’s sleep.
Affordable public transport
The best way to get around Abu Dhabi on a budget is to use the city’s comprehensive bus routes. The fare system is relatively simple, with a set fare for rides within Abu Dhabi City, a slightly higher fare (around AED4) for a one-way ticket on a regional bus, or DAE80 for a monthly Ojra pass. Make sure that the bus stop you’re at has the DoT sign, otherwise you may be waiting for a bus that never turns up!
Abu Dhabi is quite compact, so you can easily find your way around on foot. Be aware, though, that daytime temperatures in the summer can get high so don’t go out walking in the hottest part of the day unless you’re used to the temperatures. Jaywalking is illegal, so always cross at pedestrian crossings.
You can also hire a bicycle, and it’s a popular way to explore Abu Dhabi’s 8km-long Corniche. The ADCB Bikeshare scheme has bike stations across the city (especially around the Corniche and city centre). It costs Dh20 for a day’s hire.
Where to Eat for less
You can eat well in Abu Dhabi without spending a fortune. With a huge variety of cuisine on offer, you can try local specialities or keep it simple with a burger and fries at a fast-food outlet. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture, though, look for falafel shacks selling hot snacks all day long, and Indian restaurants selling a great choice of budget-friendly food, including a wide choice of vegetarian options. If you have a sweet tooth then look out for the Lebanese bakeries, especially around the central Khalidiya, Al Zahiyah and Al Markaziyah districts. Grab a tasty Manakish (flatbread) for breakfast, and wash it down with some sweet mint tea or strong coffee.
At Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport, you’ll find a taste of Emirati cuisine on the menu at Nuevo Restaurant alongside international dishes to suit every palate.
Free stuff to do in Abu Dhabi
There’s lots to do in Abu Dhabi for free or at prices that everyone can afford. From sightseeing to sports, souks to parks, here’s a quick look at the best free and low-cost things to do in Abu Dhabi.
Parks and Gardens – Abu Dhabi may be known for its skyscrapers, but it’s an incredibly green city too. Look out for parks in Abu Dhabi such as those next to the Corniche, which are free to enter and filled with flowers all year round. Khalifa Park is the largest park in the city and charges a small entry fee. However, it’s well worth the price of admission as once inside you can wander around the aquarium, sit by the fountains, or check out the children’s play area. It’s a great spot for a picnic on a balmy evening, or an early morning jog.
The Heritage Village – a great chance to find out more about the history and culture of the region, the Heritage Village has displays of crafts and farming methods, as well as camel rides and events, music, and dance festivals. The Village is at the Breakwater near Marina Mall.
The Corniche – This 8km-long strip is an absolute delight in the early evening, when the cool sea breeze brings a little welcome relief from the heat of the day. Hire a bicycle and explore the gardens and souks, or head for the beach, which is free to use and has excellent facilities. The beach is popular with families, and the water is warm and shallow, perfect for a paddle.
Adventure Sports – Abu Dhabi is a hotspot for adventure sports, from wake boarding and diving to game fishing, and go-karting. The go-kart track at Al Ain Sportplex will test your skills to the max, or you can slow things down a little and go sailing at one of the city’s many yachting and sailing clubs.
Reasons to book direct
Book your stay direct with Premier Inn hotel in Abu Dhabi and save up to 20% with our Member Rates. You can also request early check-in from 9.00am and late check-out until 4.00pm (subject to hotel availability) to make the most of your time in the city. There’s also discounts available on dining, tours and attractions making travel on a budget in Abu Dhabi much easier.
*Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport is located beyond passport control, therefore necessary visas are required to stay at the hotel.