A blend of the traditional and the ultra-modern, Abu Dhabi is packed with interesting things to see. Whether you’re here on business and want something exciting to do on your down-time, or if you’re taking a family holiday to Abu Dhabi with the kids, the city offers up attractions for all ages. Here are our picks of the best so you can pack as much as possible into your time.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center
Also fittingly known as the Grand Mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE, and the 8th largest in the world. This remarkable building dazzles visitors with colourful chandeliers encrusted with crystals, while the wide-open courtyard is cool and tranquil. The mosque is a marvellous spot to sit and recharge your spiritual battery. Next to its beauty the Grand Mosque is a must-see if you want to learn more about the UAE’s cultural heritage as well.
The Emirates Palace
Even if you haven’t booked a room here, it’s well worth taking a trip to see the world’s only seven-star hotel. This exquisite hotel is also the epicentre for Abu Dhabi’s cultural activities, with concerts, exhibitions and events held here all year round. You can simply wander around the 100 hectares of perfectly manicured gardens, relax on the exclusive beach, or enjoy afternoon tea in one of the most opulent restaurants in the Middle East. Find out more about the future of the city at the Saadiyat Island Cultural District Exhibition, too.
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
This unique attraction gives you a fascinating insight into falconry, a traditional aspect of Arabian Bedouin life. The Falcon Hospital specialises in the care and rehabilitation of these beautiful birds, as well as housing a specialist museum where you can find out more about the ancient art. Why not try your hand at the sport, with one-to-one lessons and your very own falcon for the day? It is an experience that will be remembered for years to come.
The Heritage Village
While Abu Dhabi may be an incredibly modern city, it is built on ancient foundations. A great way to experience its culture is to visit the Heritage Village, right in the heart of the city. It is a living museum that gives you a chance to look at the traditional Bedouin lifestyle, as well as the pearl divers and fishermen that have worked the coastline for centuries. Explore a host of exhibits, including craft workshops where you can try out some of the artisans’ skills for yourself.
Observation deck at 300
Abu Dhabi’s skyline is renowned for its modern architecture, and the best way to see it is from the Observation Deck at 300, located on the 74th floor of Tower 2 Etihad Towers. If you have a head for heights, it’s a memorable experience – just don’t forget your camera.
Yas Marina Circuit
The venue for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Yas Marina circuit is a true petrol head’s dream. Just 30 minutes away from the city centre, it’s one of the most challenging and complex of the Grand Prix circuits, and a must for any motorsport lover. If you miss the Grand Prix itself then don’t worry – the circuit offers plenty of track day experiences to get your motor running.
This elegant waterfront is the heart of Abu Dhabi, and a great place for a spot of retail therapy. From luxury high-end fashion goods, premium quality leather goods and dazzling jewellery, it’s the perfect place to flex your spending muscles and pick up a souvenir of your time in Abu Dhabi.
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