Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates travel guide

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a city in continuous evolution. Located in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi stretches over approximately 200 islands, both natural and artificial. However, the city preserves the ancient Bedouin traditions and the Islamic rigidity that combines with modernity. Here you will discover modern elements, impressive buildings, luxurious malls, but also traditional mosques and centuries-old buildings. Considered one of the most modern and luxurious cities in the world but also an important cultural center, Abu Dhabi is an ideal vacation destination if you want relaxation and a luxurious experience. In what follows, I have prepared a complete guide with recommendations for accommodation, restaurants and tourist attractions for an unforgettable vacation.

Useful information

Transport - How to get to Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi International Airport is located 30.6 km from the city, in the following we present some ways to reach the central area.

The bus is the most accessible option, there are several lines that run directly to the city center and the price of a ticket is 4 AED. The trip takes about 45 minutes and the buses run 24/7 every 40 minutes. taxi is the most expensive option, the starting price being 25 AED to which 1.6 AED is added for each kilometer traveled, taxis are available 24/7 at the exit of the terminal. You can find more details and transport alternatives here.

Accommodation – Where are you staying in Abu Dhabi?

Being a new and modern city, the accommodation alternatives are extremely diverse. You will find luxurious hotels that offer excellent conditions and facilities such as swimming pool and sauna at affordable prices. Here are some of our recommendations for a peaceful and relaxing stay.

  • Jannah Burj Al Sarab located in the heart of the city, this 5-star hotel offers incredible conditions at the price of 115 euros per night for two people. The rooms are modern, spacious, the hotel is equipped with a fitness room, swimming pool and for 13 euros you can have a varied and delicious breakfast.
  • Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort a 5-star hotel that offers access to a private beach and where you will have the best services. The rooms are spacious, modern and with a superb view of the city. The price for a double room is 165 euros and breakfast costs 19 euros.
  • Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center, Abu Dhabi a 4-star hotel with an interior garden, swimming pool, fitness room and many other facilities, located in the central area near the World Trade Center Mall. You can opt for a double room with a panoramic view of the city at the price of 156 euros per night, this price also includes breakfast.

Tourist spots Abu Dhabi - What to visit in Abu Dhabi

Yas Mall

Yas Mall is the largest mall in Abu Dhabi, with an area of 235,000 square meters and over 400 stores, an ideal place to relax and shop. Here you will find everything you can imagine, from luxury brands to local brands, to restaurants where you stop for a delicious meal. You will definitely find something to do here and the time will pass extremely quickly.

Saadiyat Public Beach

An oasis of peace, this beach with fine white sand and clear water is the ideal place to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The beach offers private parking for 200 spaces, various activities that include water sports such as windsurfing or kayaking, as well as cafes and shops. The beach access fee is 25 AED and prices for umbrellas and sunbeds start from 50 AED. 

Al Lulu Island

An artificial island located near Abu Dhabi, an ideal place for a promenade where you will discover numerous places full of relaxation from beaches to cafes and restaurants. Here you can walk, practice water sports, relax in the sun and admire the modern buildings.

Mushrif Central Park 

One of the oldest and most famous parks in Abu Dhabi, located right in the central area, is an ideal place for a walk in the evening. With specifically Islamic architectural elements, with pavilions and unique fountains, this park has a botanical garden full of tropical plants waiting to be discovered, but also an area with animals perfect for the little ones. The park is open daily from 10 am to 10 pm.

Marina Mall

With hundreds of shops waiting to be discovered, Marina Mall is the ideal location for shopping lovers. Here you will find hundreds of luxury brands as well as numerous other activities. Bounce, a space with trampolines, ziplines and slides of over 40m is the perfect place for adrenaline lovers who want to try something else besides the classic shopping.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre

The largest mosque in the Emirates and the eighth largest mosque in the world, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, is a truly imposing monument. A place where spirituality merges with cultural elements, the mosque was a cultural collaboration between several architects from all over the world. The marble walls, the golden chandeliers, the unique mosaic are just a few elements that will surprise you. Access is free, but we recommend you book a tour here.

Heritage Village

Heritage Village is the place where a traditional Arab village is reconstructed, an interesting place for both adults and children. Here you can learn more about Arab culture, traditions and how people used to live in the old days. Here you will even find a shop with various traditional spices, which can be a great souvenir, you will learn more about the local gastronomy and the life of the people in the desert. Access is free and the experience is unmissable. 

Desert Safari

A desert safari is definitely one of the experiences you have to check off when you arrive in Abu Dhabi. Such a trip is unique and full of adrenaline. You will be able to take walks among the sand dunes, you will be able to admire the camels and you will be able to take some sensational pictures. Such a tour starts from 50 euros, but the price may differ depending on the package chosen, you can find more details here.

Ferrari World

Located on Yas Island, this theme park is a dream come true for car lovers but also for those who love adrenaline. With numerous attractions and possibilities, here you will find something for all tastes from carousels, to rides in Ferrari cars with instructors or even to a zipline ride that has become a symbol for this place. Here you will find numerous souvenir shops and places where you can have a snack to recharge your energy. The price of a ticket is 325 AED for adults, and you can find more details here.

Emirates Palace

One of the most beautiful buildings from an architectural point of view, Emirates Palace seems like a building taken from an oriental story. The hotel offers numerous services in addition to accommodation. You can come here to enjoy a delicious dinner or if you want a relaxing day you can buy a ticket that will give you access to the spa, swimming pool and other facilities. There is even a private tour that costs 150 AED where you can see part of the interior of the palace.

Warner Bros World

A place full of magic where the most famous characters will come to life. Here you will be able to see Tom&Jerry, Looney Tunes, the Filnstone Family and many other characters that will remind you of your childhood. This theme park is interactive, full of adventure and new experiences. You will be able to enjoy numerous roller-coasters, carousels, shops and many other attractions waiting to be discovered. The price of a ticket for adults is 325 AED, and you can find more details here.

Louvre Museum

Inaugurated in 2017, the museum impresses from the first moments with its unique architecture. With its low structure, in the form of a floating, circular vault, the museum is spectacular both externally and internally. Here you will find over 700 works of art and artistic works from every period and civilization from prehistoric times to the present. The museum is a symbol of tolerance, a union between worlds and is definitely worth a visit. The price of an adult ticket is 63 AED, and tickets can be purchased online here.

Al Ain Palace Museum

The Al Ain Palace Museum was built in 1936, initially being the residence of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates and the administrative center. It was later renovated and transformed into a house museum, currently being a cultural and historical location where visitors can learn more about the private life of the ruling family of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. It is an excellent place where you can learn new information and where you can admire oriental architecture, and an important aspect is that access is free.

Etihad Towers & Observation Deck 300

A landmark of the city, the five towers that rise as if infinitely towards the sun are a symbol of modernism. Designed by Australian architects DBI Design, the towers offer an amazing panorama over the vibrant city and the Arabian Sea. The price for a visit to Observation Deck 300 is 95 AED, and you can find more details here.

Jubail Mangrove Park

A unique park in the world that has enjoyed immense popularity since its inauguration. The park is located between Yas and Saadiyat islands, above the water, surrounded by mangrove bushes and wooden walkways. There are 3 pedestrian routes, on which you will be able to walk and admire various species of birds, fish and plants. The longest route is 2 km long, the park is open daily from 9am to 10pm, and entry is free. 

Khalifa Park

An ideal place for a walk to disconnect from the city crowd. This park is among the favorite spots of the locals, with long alleys, well-kept gardens and fresh air. In the park you will also find an interesting cultural point, a library, but also a maritime museum with various and unique attractions. It is worth spending at least a few hours in this location to end the day on a relaxing note.

Data Market  

Considered a local delicacy, dates are one of the most used and loved ingredients in oriental cuisine. The dried fruit market is a real sensory experience that you should not miss. Here you will find various kinds of dried fruits, not only dates, extremely delicious. You can try as many dishes as possible and at the end you can take some for your loved ones as a souvenir.

Gastronomy & Restaurants

Arab gastronomy is fresh, diverse, light and delicious. Focused mainly on cold and refreshing salads perfect for the warm season, but also on meat cooked on hot coals seasoned with various spices full of unique flavors. Below we recommend some dishes that you must try if you visit the United Arab Emirates.

  • Humus served as an aperitif or as a snack, this chickpea paste with tahini and lemon juice is full of flavor and creaminess. 
  • Manakish a kind of traditional food that can be compared to a pizza. A fluffy dough on which various toppings from cheese, minced meat or even zaatar are added. A quick, filling and delicious snack.
  • Tabbouleh a refreshing salad based on bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, finely chopped onion and a dressing of olive oil, lemon and mint. An ideal food for hot days, extremely refreshing and aromatic.
  • Falafel a staple snack, falafel is a fried patty made from chickpeas or fava beans and a blend of delicate spices. Perfect for a quick snack, it can be enjoyed with a tahini sauce and a hot stick.
  • Shish tawook one of the most loved dishes from the Middle East is shish Kebab, a skewer based on grilled meat and extremely well seasoned. It is often served with leeks, grilled vegetables and various sauces.
  • Shawarma a kind of food that needs no introduction, when you visit the Arab Emirates you must definitely try a Shawarma made in the oriental style, the explosion of tastes will surely impress you.
  • Umm Ali an extremely delicious traditional pudding, which can be found everywhere. With a creamy texture, this dessert is often served with crunchy pistachios or nuts.
  • Al Fanar Restaurant & Cafe – Yas Mall a restaurant with a natural and welcoming decor, a warm atmosphere and a varied menu. Here you will find dishes from traditional cuisine, dishes based on seafood, but also vegan and vegetarian alternatives. The prices are moderate and the location is ideal for a delicious lunch.
  • The Cafe known for its dishes based on seafood and shells, this restaurant is welcoming and offers a memorable experience. Overlooking the beach, here you can enjoy a delicious dinner with your loved ones. The menu is varied and the prices are reasonable.
  • Kamoon a restaurant with a superb view in the evening, where you can admire both the illuminated city and the port. The ideal location for a delicious dinner in a romantic atmosphere, with a select menu containing reinterpreted traditional dishes, seafood and vegetarian alternatives.

Abu Dhabi is a modern, luxurious city ideal for those who love shopping and want a vacation full of relaxation and new experiences. A few days here will recharge your batteries and you will return home with the most beautiful memories.  

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