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Abu Dhabi, a city in the United Arab Emirates, is one of the most popular cities for travelers in the Middle East. The city has plenty to offer, from family-friendly attractions to sandy beaches to desert excursions. No matter if you want to explore the city or experience the beauty of the desert, Abu Dhabi has the best of both worlds. Have an unforgettable vacation when you experience these best things to do in Abu Dhabi.
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Abu Dhabi is home to one of the largest mosques in the world, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque took 20 years to construct and finally opened in 2007. The massive space and stunning architecture make this mosque a must-see for all types of travelers visiting Abu Dhabi, not just those of Islamic faith. Free tours of the mosque are offered here. Guests are advised to dress modestly, as this is a place of worship. Spanning the size of four footballs and able to fit 40,000 visitors, a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque will keep you busy for hours as you take in the reflective pools, marble domes, crystal chandeliers and intricate mosaic tiling. Don’t forget to bring your camera when you visit this Abu Dhabi mosque.
Take a guided tour through Abu Dhabi’s falcon hospital. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is both a veterinary clinic and an educational facility. As one of the leading falconry institutes in the world, guests will learn all about this bird of prey that holds such value in Arabian history and culture. The tours often offer hands-on experiences, like holding or even feeding the birds.
Visit a Ferrari-themed indoor amusement park during your stay on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. Ferrari World is home to the fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa. A trip to Ferrari World wouldn’t be complete without actually driving a Ferrari. This amusement park offers the “Ferrari Driving Experience” where you can cruise around Yas Island behind the wheel of a Ferrari. There is a “Passenger Experience” as well, where you can ride as a passenger as a trained instructor drives.
Experience Abu Dhabi’s skyline from the highest point in the city, located on the 74th floor of the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers. The Observation Deck at 300 offers a 360-degree view of the city. If you’re not staying at this upscale hotel, you’ll have to pay a fee to get up to the observation deck. There is a restaurant at the observation deck, which is known for its high-tea in the afternoon.
Yas Island, an island in Abu Dhabi, has grown into a popular tourist area. Shoppers will enjoy visiting the largest mall in the United Arab Emirates, which is found on Yas Island. However, the three theme parks here draw a wide variety of visitors. Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Warner Bros World are all family-friendly attractions. Yas Island is also home to a Formula One racetrack and a sandy beach too. Spend a few days in this area of Abu Dhabi to truly soak in everything it has to offer.
A visit to Abu Dhabi wouldn’t be complete without exploring the surrounding desert known as the Empty Quarter. The Empty Quarter is home to the largest sand dunes in the world. There are a number of ways to experience the desert here, whether you’d like to ride on the back of a camel, drive a dune buggy or jeep, or try sandboarding.
Beach lovers and foodies alike flock to this area of Abu Dhabi known as The Corniche. Stretching five miles, this waterfront area is lined with shops and restaurants, and also grants visitors access to the sandy shore. When you aren’t enjoying the beaches here, rent a bicycle to easily explore the entire five-mile stretch of The Corniche.
Head to the Empty Quarter of the Liwa Desert to stay in the blissful, earth-inspired Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort. In this resort, you’ll enjoy elaborate views of the desert landscape, and the Deluxe Terrace rooms even have terraces that overlook the dunes. There are several restaurants onsite that offer high-quality Middle Eastern food. There’s also a spa on site that specializes in massages, scrubs, and foot treatments.
If you can afford a luxury suite at the Emirates Palace, then you won’t be disappointed. This upscale, five-star hotel regularly hosts royalty and celebrities. A visit to the Emirates Palace isn’t just for the rich and famous, however; non-guests can visit the spa and hammam here. The humble traveler can feel like royalty after a gold facial from the on-site spa at Emirates Palace.
The Louvre isn’t just a Paris staple; this famous museum actually has a location in Abu Dhabi. Louvre Abu Dhabi is home to a wide variety of art, from contemporary pieces to historical artifacts to classical works. Famous painters such as da Vinci and Picasso have works featured here. The museum is a work of art itself, being a waterfront building with its massive silver dome structure.