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20 Must See and Do in Abu Dhabi

Until the 20th century, Abu Dhabi's economy was entirely dependent on camel herding, date production and pearling on the Persian Gulf coast. With the discovery of black gold, oil, Abu Dhabi became a luxurious and modern city.

The city stands out for having several interesting places to visit. In this post I tell you the 20 essential things to see and do in Abu Dhabi.

Perhaps you are visiting the city on a long layover or decide to take an exclusive trip to the United Arab Emirates. If you want to know a little more about the country and visit Dubai, you can see all the related articles here.

que ver y hacer en Abu Dhabi, Emiratos Árabes


1. Guided tour of Abu Dhabi

This guided tour in Spanish lasts around 5 hours. You will take a tour of the most emblematic places in the city such as; The Grand Mosque (Sheikh Zayed Mosque), The Corniche, the famous Emirates Palace hotel and the Etihad towers.

2. Visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the most essential place to see in Abu Dhabi

An essential place to visit in Abu Dhabi, above any other place, is undoubtedly the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, or as it is popularly called the Grand Mosque.

The Grand Mosque is dedicated to Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, the country's first president. He himself ordered its construction in 1952 and his remains also rest in the complex.

3. The Etihad Towers, an essential thing to see in Abu Dhabi

Etihad Towers are a set of five buildings, some of them the tallest in the city. They form an incredible skyline of the city.

Tower 2 is 305 meters tall and is the third tallest building in Abu Dhabi. They are located next to the Corniche and in front of the Emirates Palace, one of the most famous hotels in the city, which I will tell you about later.

que ver y hacer en Abu Dhabi, Emiratos Árabes

4. Stroll along the Corniche

The Corniche is a perfect area to walk and enjoy the fresh air in Abu Dhabi in the afternoon when the heat is not so intense. It is a promenade next to the beach with several paths, parks, fountains... In addition, from here you will have beautiful views of the city.

5. Corniche Beach

One of the most beautiful beaches in Abu Dhabi is La Corniche Beach. It is located on the same avenue. The sand is white and the water crystal clear. You must take into account that in Abu Dhabi the heat is very hot, especially in the summer months, so if you travel in summer, it is not recommended to go to the beach until almost dusk. It's a wonderful place, you can't miss it.

6. The Jumeirah Hotel, an impressive viewpoint in Abu Dhabi

If you want to see Abu Dhabi from above (something essential to do in the city) from the 74th floor of the Jumeirah hotel you can enjoy 360º views of the entire city.

The entrance costs about €19 approx. And it includes a drink on the panoramic terrace of 50 AED.

It is important that you go well dressed, otherwise, they will not let you access.

7. Learn more about the city's past at the Heritage Village

Although the city is very modern, Abu Dhabi also has its past. And the government is encouraging travelers not only to get to know the city as it is today, but also to learn about its history. In the Heritage Village center you can learn about its history before the discovery of oil.

8. Go on a desert safari

One of the most recommended activities to do is a desert safari. You have the option of doing a 4x4 route through the desert both at dawn and at dusk. And there is even the possibility of spending the night in the desert. I leave you all the links of the tours:

que ver y hacer en Abu Dhabi, Emiratos Árabes

9. Do you want to go shopping? Abu Dhabi Marina Mall

Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is characterized by having some of the most luxurious shopping malls. Abu Dhabi Marina Mall is one of the most popular in the city. You will find everything from shops with exclusive brands, to restaurants, bars...

It is a good option to eat at noon, the air conditioning of the shopping centers is appreciated depending on what time of day.

10. Enter the Louvre museum, an essential cultural visit to do in Abu Dhabi

Yes, Abu Dhabi also has a museum called the Louvre, just like in Paris.

This museum is impressive and an essential stop to make in Abu Dhabi. It has the largest collection of sculptures, paintings and historical objects from the East and West in the United Arab Emirates. The building was inaugurated in 2017. It is worth spending a couple of hours to get to know this place.

11. Are you a lover of adrenaline and theme parks? You must visit Ferrari World

For car lovers or simply lovers of theme parks, you cannot miss Ferrari World. You should bear in mind that at least one day is necessary to enjoy the park.

12. Other theme parks to visit in Abu Dhabi

If you still want more, from Abu Dhabi you can visit and enjoy other theme parks such as Yas Waterworld or Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi.

13. Wander around Yas Marina

Yas Marina is the marina for Yas Island. You will realize as soon as you arrive that it is one of the most exclusive areas of the city. You will be able to see some of the most impressive and enormous yachts in the world docked in the port.

There are several places where to have a drink at night. Of course, the price of the basic consumption does not fall below 20 euros.

Staying at one of the hotels on Yas Island is recommended for those looking for a beach and luxury. In case you are staying here, you can access the Yas Marina beach and the club for free.

14. The Mangrove National Park, a different activity to do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, like Dubai, is characterized by its modern city. But if you have tired of skyscrapers you can visit El Mangrove National Park. A completely different landscape that you may not imagine exists in the United Arab Emirates.

It is a National Park full of mangroves. Here you can escape the noise of the city, rent a kayak and enjoy the place. It is wonderful. Do not miss it.

For those who do not want to rent a kayak, there is a route for walking through wooden paths.

15. The Saadiyat Public Beach, if you are looking for a beach in Abu Dhabi

For those who do not stay in hotels on the beach (with a private beach), one option to enjoy it is to go to the public beach.

It is located on the island of Saadiyat, half an hour from the city center. It is known for its white sand and crystal clear waters.

16. Visit the hawk hospital

Falcons are a sacred animal in the country. A hospital is located in Abu Dhabi to treat these injured birds. The hospital was inaugurated in 1999 and since then it has treated more than 80,000 patients. It is something very curious to see. In addition, if there are any hawk operations in progress, you will be able to see it and even see the hawks that are in recovery.

17. Take a bike ride on the Al Wathba Cycle Track

In Abu Dhabi you have the option of renting a bicycle to travel this exclusive two-lane route for athletes located in the middle of the Abu Dhabi desert. You can rent a bike and helmet right there. There are different routes that you can do of different distances.

It is located somewhat away from the city, about 50 minutes by car from the center. You can get there by rental car or hire a taxi.

18. Abu Dhabi Boat Tour

One of the best activities to do in Abu Dhabi when it starts to get dark and cools down a bit is a cruise. You have different options, from a dinner cruise to speedboat rides.

19. Take an excursion to Al Ain

A Al Ain is one of the most popular places among travelers. It is located right on the border with Oman. And it is a fundamental part of the heritage and cultural heritage of the country.

It is an excursion that you can do both from Dubai and from Abu Dhabi. It will take you the same, almost 2 hours of travel.

You can rent a car and visit on your own, paying the entrance fee when you arrive. Or you can book a guided excursion that includes transportation, a guide in Spanish, tickets...

I advise you to leave some time to climb Jebel Hafeet. It is the highest mountain in the country, with 1249 meters above sea level. From its viewpoint you will be able to appreciate Oman.

20. Complement your visit with a stop in Dubai

If you are going to travel to the United Arab Emirates, I advise you to combine Abu Dhabi with Dubai. You can dedicate 2 days to each city, and a couple of extra days to enjoy one of its amusement parks or take the Excursion to Al Ain.

If you want to get to know Dubai on your trip to the country, you can read all the information on 30 essential things to see and do in Dubai and where to stay.

If you don't want to go on your own, or you don't have time to extend the trip and you only have one day, there is the option of doing a 1-day excursion. That includes transportation, guide etc... It is a 7 to 8 hour excursion where you will get to know the most essential places in Dubai.

Are you going to make a long layover in Abu Dhabi?

Many flights to Asia have a stopover in Abu Dhabi, sometimes they are very long stopovers and you have the option of visiting the city. You can do it for free, accessing the country by applying for a visit visa, taking a taxi to the center and visiting some of the most essential places such as the Great Mosque. If you want to not miss any of the most essential places and you want to have everything organized to be in time to return to the airport for your next flight, you can book a specific tour for stopovers:


I hope you enjoy your trip to Abu Dhabi very much and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.

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A hug and see you soon!


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