Abu Dhabi

15 Must-Visit Attractions in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital and the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates after Dubai.

The core of Abu Dhabi is a wedge-shaped island connected to the mainland by the Maqta and Musaffah bridges. The wide end of the wedge forms the city center, with the Corniche running along the coast and a road variously known as Airport Rd or Sheikh Rasheed bin Saeed al Maktoum St running lengthwise out to the bridges.

Abu Dhabi invites you to discover the awe-inspiring Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, to have an adrenaline rush while challenging the world’s fastest roller coaster in the largest indoor theme park, to take a stroll in the relaxing Al Ain Oasis, to feed the animals in the emirate’s engaging zoos, or to have a great day out on the UAE capital’s landmark Corniche.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque | © Makalu/Pixabay

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands out as one of the world’s largest mosques, and the only one that captures unique interactions between Islam and world cultures.

The tourists from all around the world who can witness the spectacular onion-top domes, the reflective pools that engulf the courtyard and the iconic prayer hall.

The mosque is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers, while the main prayer hall can hold over 7,000. There are guided tours of the interior several times a day.

the Corniche Abu Dhabi
The Corniche | © Dr. Thomas Liptak/FLickr

The Corniche

Abu Dhabi’s spectacular waterfront stretches for 6km from the Breakwater near Marina Shopping Mall almost up to the Mina Zayed port. There are also many activities like go-cart riding, playgrounds and even stages for shows.

Saadiyat Public Beach

Saadiyat Beach has maintained a reputation as one of the most desirable beach locations in the UAE. The local authorities in Saadiyat Beach are dedicated to preserving the natural environment with a dune protection zone with restrictions on development while access to the beach made possible via a wooden boardwalk.

Facilities on offer include lounge chairs, showers, lockers, changing rooms, towels, umbrellas, and parking. The beach is also a natural nesting ground for hawksbill turtles. Tourists can also enjoy beach yoga classes, eco-friendly water sports activities such as windsurfing and sailing.

Located just past The Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island. The beach is easily accessible from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Sir Bani Yas Island

Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the eight which make up the Desert Islands in Al Dhafra. Awarded as the ‘World’s Leading Sustainable Tourism Destination’ in the 2014 World Travel Awards, more than half the island is made up of the Arabian Wildlife Park and it is one of the region’s largest wildlife reserves.

The island is also home to UAE’s only discovered Christian monastery, built around 600 AD and it can be visited during a Desert Islands Resort & Spa Culture Tour.

Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace | © Raventhorne/Pixabay

Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace is a luxury five star hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates operated by operated by Mandarin Oriental. The main Palace building stretches over a kilometre from wing to wing, and its gardens and surroundings spread across 100 hectares. The hotel features 114 domes, with the central dome at an imposing 72.6 metres above ground.

Guests and visitors can wander through the majestic halls and corridors – a showcase of Arabian design, with grand central passageways and arched ceilings. The construction costs were around 3 billion USD making it the third most expensive hotel ever built.

Heritage Village

Heritage Village gets you entry to a modest collection of dusty replica buildings, traditional wooden boats, and handicrafts stores with a pretty beach with a great view of the city.

It includes also several large green spaces, many of which include play areas and equipment for children, and the city is studded with lovely fountains, swathes of neon light, and the occasional sculpture.

Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi | © Andre Wislez/Flickr

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art and civilization museum and it is part of a thirty-year branding and training agreement between the city of Abu Dhabi and the French government but it is an entirely separate museum from the Louvre in Paris. Artworks from around the world are showcased at the museum, with particular focus placed upon bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art.

Ferrari World
Ferrari World | © stellahyc910/Flickr

Ferrari World

The alpha-male motorsports den of Yas Island features a world-class motorsports racetrack which held the final Formula 1 race of the 2009 season and it was on the race calendar for 2010. The Ferrari theme park features water park an enormous shopping mall.

Al Jahili Fort
Al Jahili Fort | © Joe/Flickr

Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili Fort, one of the largest forts in the United Arab Emirates, was built in the late 19th century by Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa the First.

Al Jahili Fort has been a cultural and focal point of activities associated with the philosophy and heritage of Abu Dhabi in the Garden City. The fort is located on the southern part of the city of Al Ain close to Al Ain Castle Museum.

Warner Bros World
Warner Bros World | © Ankur P/Flickr

Warner Bros World

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is an indoor amusement park, located on Yas Island near Ferrari World and Yas Waterpark.

It is organized into six themed areas; Gotham City, Metropolis, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros. Plaza and features characters from Warner Bros.’s franchises, such as Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, and others.

Yas Mall
Yas Mall | © Abdulla Al Muhairi/Flickr

Yas Mall

Yas Mall is the largest mall on Yas Island Abu Dhabi offering an incredible shopping, dining and entertainment experience for residents and tourists alike, all under one roof. Located at the heart of the iconic Yas Island, Yas Mall is 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Yas Mall is laid out in a series of streets, avenues, boulevards, and squares, with a focus on light and space. The mall is directly linked to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

Zaya Nurai Island

This private island resort Zaya Nurai Island is just a short 15-minute boat ride off the shores of Abu Dhabi. A piece of paradise like nowhere else, the private island resort features a world-class oceanside spa, five fine and casual food and beverage outlets, a beach club, and a calendar of exceptional activities on land and on the sea.

Mangroves Marina

Acting as a barrier against ocean currents and waves, the mangroves fronting Abu Dhabi provide visitors experiences such as kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, and trips in the mangroves.

The mangroves act as carbon sinks and are destinations for migratory birdlife, including flamingos.

Etihad Towers
Etihad Towers | © Dr. Norbert Heidenbluth/Flickr

Etihad Towers

Etihad Towers is a complex of buildings with five towers in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The complex includes three residential towers and the 280 meter high, five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel.

The Avenue at Etihad Towers is one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive collections of boutique shops, with many having luxurious private rooms for private, VIP shopping.