Abu Dhabi: the best sights and tours
Are you planning a stopover in Abu Dhabi? Then you will find the highlights and sights as well as the best tours for your stopover here.
Table of Contents
- Abu Dhabi Attractions
- Architecture buildings
- Amusement parks and theme worlds
- Tours and excursions
Abu Dhabi is Ethiad Airways' home airport and hub, so many travelers switch there on their way to Southeast Asia (or other destinations). If you want to stay more than a few hours, you will see a lot.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and - like other stopover destinations in the region (e.g. Dubai or Doha) - easily fills a program for several days.
Abu Dhabi Attractions
Whether impressive skyscrapers, spectacular museums, one of the largest mosques in the world or fast-paced theme parks: the metropolis has many highlights. We introduce you to the best sights and tours in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The charm of the white Sheikh Zayed Mosque unfolds especially at night. 40,000 visitors find space here in the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and at the same time the third largest mosque in the world.
The mosque, which opened in 2007, is surrounded by pools of water and is a superlative building with over 1,000 columns and 82 domes. One of the largest chandeliers in the world, which is located in the central prayer hall and was designed by a German company, is particularly beautiful.
Unlike other mosques, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open to visitors every day. You will learn a lot of interesting facts when you visit them on a guided tour .
Address: Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St
Qasr Al Watan Palace
The Abu Dhabi Presidential Palace houses the seat of the Supreme Court and Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates. The offices of the President, Vice President and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabis are located here.
For a long time, the magnificent presidential palace was not open to the public. In early 2019, the Qasr Al Watan Palace then opened its doors to visitors. The Palace of the Nation is part of the Presidential Palace and offers insights into an otherwise hidden world. As part of a guided tour, you will see the imposing Great Hall of the palace, find out what a majili is and visit halls where events such as official summit meetings are usually held.
Particularly worth seeing are the extensive Qasr Al Watan library with valuable documents and the Palace in Motion light show, which takes place every evening from 7.30pm to 7.45pm.
Sometimes the palace is temporarily closed to the public. It is best to find out before your visit whether the palace has just opened. You can buy tickets online in advance .
Address: Qasr Al Watan Palace
Emirates Palace Hotel
The luxurious five-star Hotel Emirates Palace is a dream of 1,001 nights and one of the most expensive hotels in the world. The construction cost around two billion euros.
The hotel opened in 2005 and has 394 rooms and suites. A night in the Palace Suite of the Emirates Palace normally costs around 7,500 euros, for example. An overnight stay in a double room in this fascinating palace is "already" available from around 400 euros a night (look at Booking.com / Agoda ). Certainly an unforgettable experience.
You come to the hotel dressed as a visitor. A special experience is the Tea Time, which you can book in advance on the hotel website.
Address: West Corniche Road
From the observation deck of the second Etihad Tower, you have a fantastic panoramic view of Abu Dhabi from the 74th floor. The platform is the highest vantage point in the city and is located in one of the five towers of the Etihad Towers complex.
Fast and Furious fans should be familiar with the towers from the final scene of the seventh film. The Etihad Towers are located opposite the Emirates Palace Hotel.
Address: Corniche West Street, Opp Emirates Palace Hotel
Amusement parks and theme worlds
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
Fans of fast cars will get their money's worth in the first and only Ferrari theme park. A total of twenty attractions await you on an area of 25 hectares.
The highlight of the park is Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world, which accelerates to 240 km / h in 4.9 seconds.
Other attractions include a ride through miniature Italy in a 1958 Ferrari, a go-kart track, a Junior Grand Prix for small racing drivers and other fast-paced roller coasters.
You can buy day tickets for Ferrari World in advance . A visit is also included in some day tours .
Address: Yas Island - Yas Dr St
On the island of Yas is the water park Yas Waterworld , which covers an area of around 15 soccer fields. The park offers over 40 attractions for all ages. Outstanding attractions include the 235-meter-long, hydromagnetic tornado water slide, the Bubble's Barrel wave pool with wave heights of up to three meters, and one of the world's longest surfable waves for flowboards and bodyboards.
Also worth seeing is the Pearl Diver Exhibition, which provides information about Abu Dhabi's cultural heritage.
Address: Was Waterworld
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
The construction of the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi theme park opened in 2018, one of the largest theme parks in the world, cost one billion US euros.
The indoor park is divided into six themed worlds, which extend over 150,000 square meters.
Must-do's of a total of 29 attractions are, for example, the running attraction “The Joker Funhouse”, a walk through the legendary Hall of Justice, which leads to the themed trip “Justice League: Warworld Attacks”, a spaceship carousel in Dynamite-Gulch or the 3D “Superman 360: Battle for Metropolis.” Attraction
Address: Abu Dhabi - Al Falah Rd
Yas Marina Circuit
A must for Formula 1 fans is a visit to the Yas Marina Circuit, which opened in 2009. The permanent race track was designed by the German race track designer and engineer Hermann Tilke.
In 2009 the first race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, took place here. On a tour of Yas Marina, you will explore the racetrack.
Address: Yas Marina Circuit
Umm Al Emarat Park
A trip into the greenery allows a visit to the palm-lined Umm Al Emarat Park, one of the oldest and largest parks in the city.
There are many attractions in the well-tended park, especially for children, such as playgrounds, a petting zoo and an animal enclosure, as well as a botanical garden or an amphitheater. You can visit the park for a small entrance fee.
Address: 15th Street, Mushrif Area
Louvre Abu Dhabi
The dome of the Louvre Abu Dhabi rises majestically. The art museum opened in 2017 is located on an artificial island. The exterior view is already an eye-catcher.
The museum, which is based on the Paris Louvre, was designed by the famous French architect Jean Nouvel. Twelve years ago, the Musées de France sold the Louvre name for thirty years for 400 million euros to the United Arab Emirates and put together a 1 billion euro deal that included the loan of 300 works of art over ten years, including the curators.
The museum's collection includes works from antiquity to the 21st century, including paintings by Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci and Gauguin. The pictures are either on loan from French museums or owned by the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
In addition to a permanent exhibition, there are changing special exhibitions. If you book a ticket in advance, you can go to the museum without queuing.
Qasr al Hosn
A visit to the Qasr al Hosn cultural site is a journey into the past. The oldest building in Abu Dhabi was built in 1761 as a watchtower, later expanded to include a fortress and even became the main residence of the then sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab Al Nahyan.
Today, the former fortress is a museum that gives insights into the development of Abu Dhabi from a small pearl village to a global metropolis. There is a market in the fortress. Cultural events as well as performances or creative workshops take place regularly in Qasr al Hosn.
Address: Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum St (2nd St)
If you want to learn more about the history and traditions of Abu Dhabi, you should visit the Heritage Village. The reconstructed traditional oasis village shows how people used to live and live.
It includes an open museum with a desert camp, mosque and workshops. There are handicrafts, spices and other souvenirs on the market. In the restaurant you can enjoy authentic Arabic food with a great view of Abu Dhabi.
Address: Abu Dhabi Theater Rd, Corniche - Breakwater Rd
The Corniche was once the port of the fishing village in the 1970s and is now a popular promenade. A walk on the eight-kilometer promenade on Corniche Road offers a great view of the skyline and decelerates from the hustle and bustle of the mega city.
There is also a beach there, Corniche Beach. You can take a break in one of the cafés or restaurants, and there are playgrounds for children. If you like, you can rent a bike and explore the route from the saddle.
Address: Corniche beach
About half a kilometer east of Abu Dhabi is the public Saadiyat Beach on the island of the same name. You can reach the stall from the Corniche in about half an hour.
Saadiyat Beach is really a dream beach with crystal clear turquoise water and fine white sand. Admission, which is admittedly not that cheap, including sun beds and parasols, is worthwhile for cleanliness.
Address: Saadiyat Beach
A visit to Yas Beach provides a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Guests of the nearby resorts have free admission, other visitors have to pay admission.
The beach is well maintained and ideal for relaxing in the sun. Sporty visitors can go jet skiing, kayaking or banana boating, fly flyboarding or play a game of volleyball.
Address: Yas Beach
Yas Mall is the largest shopping center in Abu Dhabi with more than 370 shops and over 60 restaurants and cafes. Here you can buy clothes, cosmetics, interior decoration and books.
The mall is suitable for all budgets, offers well-known budget chains such as H and Zara as well as luxury labels. Delicious food is available in the food court.
Practical: the mall is located on the island of Yas opposite Ferrari World. A visit to both sights can be combined well.
Address: Yas Mall
Souk Central Market
You won't find a traditional oriental souk like the one found in Dubai, for example, in Abu Dhabi. There is a replica souk in the mall of the World Trade Center. If you don't have time for a trip to Dubai, a trip to Souk Central Market is definitely an alternative to buying souvenirs like clothes and spices.
Address: Hamdan Bin Mohammed St, The Mall World Trade Center
Tours and excursions
Abu Dhabi sightseeing tour
A guided tour of Abu Dhabi is the best way to see as much of the city as possible in a short amount of time. A tour program with a guide is ideal for a stopover or day trip.
A classic is the hop-on hop-off day tour with stops at 26 stops. A half-day guided city tour of Abu Dhabi is also recommended.
Sir Bani Yas Island
Abu Dhabi has some islands, the most spectacular of which is Yas Island.
On the 25 square kilometer island there are some luxury hotels and sights such as Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi's largest mall or the Yas Waterworld amusement park.
You can also spend a day at Yas Beach for a fee. Yas Island is around a 30-minute drive from central Abu Dhabi.
Address: Sir Bani Yas Island
Abu Dhabi is located on the Rub al Khali, the largest sandy desert in the world. What could be closer than a tour of the desert?
A desert safari takes you for a day, a night or several days into the impressive natural landscapes of the desert.
The desert safari with BBQ, sand boarding and camel ride is popular . Early risers or people with little time book the four-hour morning desert safari . Another experience is a camel ride in the sunset . On a night desert safari , you will spend the night in the desert camp.
Kayaking through the mangroves
Did you know that Abu Dhabi has mangrove forests? Go kayaking or stand up paddling to explore the vast forests of Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park.
The trip through the canals offers a great view of nature and also leads past sandy beaches, which are ideal for swimming, resting and picnicking.
Day trip to Dubai
A trip to another emirate is worthwhile: Dubai is only an hour and a half drive from Abu Dhabi.
In the luxury metropolis, visit a traditional souk, experience the view from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, or shop in the Dubai Mall.
The easiest way is a trip to Dubai as part of a guided day tour that conveniently takes you to important sights.
Al Ain Excursion / Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum
The oasis city Al Ain is the perfect destination to escape the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi. Al Ain is the hometown of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan, the first President of the United Arab Emirates.
The roots of today's Emirate of Abu Dhabi lie in Al Ain, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a green paradise in the desert. Here you can visit the Al Ain National Museum and Jebel Hafeet Mountain above the city.
The highlight is the Sheikh Zayed Palace, once the residence of the ruler and sheikh Zayid, now a museum and one of the best preserved forts in Abu Dhabi. The Sheik Zayed Palace Museum, also known as Al Ain Palace Museum, was built in 1937 in Bedouin style. Today the palace shows what the ruling family's life was like before the oil boom. Admission is free.
You can make the trip to Al Ain, around 170 kilometers away, either on your own or as part of a guided day tour.
Address: Hessa Bint Mohammed Street Sultan bin Zayed I Street