Abu Dhabi is an immensely modern, technologically savvy, oil-rich island in the Persian Gulf. An amalgamation of picturesque deserts, traditional monuments, gorgeous shopping malls, vibrant theme parks and tranquil islands- this picture-perfect city is a tourist’s paradise and a transient escape into a world of traditional and contemporary. Head down the road not taken and ‘don’t complete your vacation in Dubai. There are so many places to visit in Abu Dhabi, we can assure you that you will not regret it!
Here is a list of all the amazing places to visit in Abu Dhabi to experience the modern and the ancient all in one place
15 Top places to visit in Abu Dhabi
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- Yas Mall
- Ferrari World
- Desert tours
- Mangrove kayaking trails
- Zaya Nurai Island
- Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
- Sir Bani Yas Island
- Warner Bros World
- Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
- Al-Hosn Fort
- Jebel Hafeet
- Masdar City
- Marina Obseervation deck
1.Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This gorgeous mosque housed amidst manicured gardens is a beacon of Abu ‘Dhabi’s grandeur. It was built in the memory of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, the founding father who ruled Abu Dhabi for more than 30 years until 2004. Clad in modern styles of Islamic architecture and Macedonian marble, it is a religious, educational and cultural hub.
The mosque is majestic inside and out. For one thing, this bedazzling structure can be easily spotted from the connecting bridges around Abu Dhabi. The 80 domes are replete with intricate inlay work decked with semi-precious stones. The highlight in one of the prayer halls is the ‘world’s largest carpet, which took two years and 1200 workers to complete.
As in any other mosque, a strict dress code is followed here too. Women are provided with free hijabs and burkas. Men who wear knee-length shorts are expected to tie Arab clothing around their waist called dishdasha. Guided tours for Muslims and Non-Muslims are available here too! A mosque is something one must not miss out on in the list of places to visit in Abu Dhabi.
- Timings: 9:00am to 10:00pm on Saturday To Thursday | 4.30pm TO 10:00pm on Fridays
- Entry Fee: There is no entry Fee. Free-guided tours are offered here as well!
2. Yas Mall
After a day of sunbathing in the beautiful sandy beaches of Yas Island we bet you would be craving a fresh breath of food, fashion and trend. For all the shopaholics looking to go sightseeing in Abu Dhabi – Yas Mall should be your number one destination. Yas Mall is the largest luxury shopping centre in Abu Dhabi making it the one stop shop for food, books, jewellery and electronics!
- Timings: 10am to 10pm
- Entry Fee: There is no entry fee.
3. Ferrari World
For the thrill-seekers, adventure buffs and car lovers, who are most likely also fans of Formula One Racing – welcome to the Ferrari World. Ferrari World is the ‘world’s first theme park inspired by Ferrari. Sitting on Yas Island, this amusement park features exhilarating rides, supersonic roller coasters, live performances, weekly events, eating joints, displays of real-life Ferraris dating back decades and Ferrari inspired gift shops. Ride until you drop!
If you are in the United Arab Emirates as a family and wondering what to do next, hit the amusement parks without a second thought! These are the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and are ranked the best in the world given their technological growth!
- Timings: 11 am to 8 pm
- Entry Fee: A single day ticket costs 295 AED (Around 80 Dollars)
4. Desert Tours
The most amazing day trip and sightseeing in Abu Dhabi is the Desert Safari. Head to Liwa Oasis or Al Khatim Desert for a crazy day in the sand dunes. This is an excellent place for families, backpackers and friends travelling together. Try a hoard of things for the first time, like camel rides, go sandboarding, ride wild dune buggies and so much more!
Desert safari or camping tours are usually organised by many agencies where every concern is taken care of. If a day amidst the sand dunes is not enough, you can also stay overnight at a camp nearby to experience real Arabian lifestyle. Settle down for dinner at the camp, with delicious local food, belly dancing artists for a great entertainment and relax under the stars before you turn in to bed.
- Timings: 8.30am to 11 am and some run all night long between 3.30pm to 9 am
- Ticket Price: Range between 145 to 250 AED
5. Mangrove Kayaking Trails
Did you think Abu Dhabi was simply desserts and skyscrapers? It is also home to the Mangrove forests where Kayaking tours are major points of interest in Abu Dhabi. You can also rent Kayaks if you can handle the waters yourself. Whether you are a novice or super skilled at Kayaking, these tours are suitable for all. By the end of this experience, you will not perceive Abu Dhabi the same old way any more! The tours usually last 1.5 to 3 hours and will teach you all about the forest and its importance. If you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, paddle away into the sunset!
- Timings: The tours last 2.5 to 3 hours and run in the mornings and evenings.
- Ticket Price: Ranges between 150 to 200 AED
6. Zaya Nurai Island
Zaya Nurai Island, a five-star eco-resort is a fantastic tourist places in Abu Dhabi! Floating in the pristine blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, it is a quick ten-minute private boat ride from Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The name comes from the Arabian word “”Nur”” which means light. The resort has over 30 private rooms, some with their own private pools and access to the beach.
Order a drink at the bar and hang out in the pool till sundown. There are oodles of sustainable dining options on this island as well, where many restaurants support the farm-to-table trend. Visitors can either buy day passes or check with them about stay options if you wish.
- Timings: 7.30am to 10 pm throughout the week
- Entry Fee: The most popular Day Pass costs around 420 AED per Adult.
7. Abu ‘Dhabi’s Heritage Village
Heritage Village is a perfect representation of the provincial ensemble that UAE was before the oil boom. Catch an elaborate insight into the Emirati life that revolved around fishing, agriculture, weaving and pearl trade. The Heritage Village is a spread of the Emirati lifestyle in the oasis villages. You will find Bedouin campfires, tents, Arabian coffee, weavers and potters. The craftsmen at the spot might let you try your hand at a few things if you request them.
There are myriad shops selling handmade soaps, silver jewellery and clothes. We have all wondered what the Emirates was before the oil boom and the answers lie in this small setup at the beach. Strike a conversation with a local to know more about the agricultural systems and pearl trade that gave meaning to the ‘locals’ lives. The Heritage Village is one of the paramount points of interest in Abu Dhabi.
- Timings: 9 am to 4 pm
- Entry Fee: No Entrance Fee.
8. Sir Bani Yas Island
Escape for a day into Sir Bani Yas Island, one of the biggest tourist places in Abu Dhabi transformed during Sheikh ‘Zayed’s reign. The name comes from the Bani Yas Tribe who were the first group of people to settle down in Abu Dhabi. Travellers can opt for walking safaris, jeep safaris and horse-rides to explore what was ‘Arabia’s largest wildlife park. Travellers also find themselves spending a few days at the Anantara Resort on the Island.
Since 1977 Sheikh Zayed passed a law to ban hunting on these grounds. He also marked this region as a part of his ‘Greening Of the Desert’ Program to make deserts more suitable for human settlement. Eventually, it became one of the biggest attractions in Abu Dhabi. You will be introduced to a wide variety of flora and fauna including Llamas, Sudan Cheetah, Striped Hyena, and the endangered Arabian oryx and Sand Gazelle.
- Timings: Ferry services are available from Jebel Dhanna every few hours.
9. Warner Bros World
The Warner Bros World is Yas ‘Island’s latest funky theme park and a monumental attractions in Abu Dhabi. Calling all the fans of Warner Bros creations – whether ‘it’s a comic book, movie, a hero or a villain you love! Find the best rides centred around your favourite characters and stories.
From Superman to Wonderwoman and Bugs Bunny to Flinstones, find all kinds of entertainment in the fully air-conditioned theme park for all kids, teenagers and adults alike! There are themed restaurants inside the theme park for those who like to dine in style.
- Timings: 10 am to 8 pm
- Entry Fee: Around 295 AED
10. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
The Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi is the first of its kind veterinary hospital for sick and injured falcons. It was set up in 1991 by the Environmental Agency with the goal to conserve and assist the national birds of the UAE. The facility provides guided tours for animal lovers who care to know more about what they do and how. The on-site Museum explains Falconry history. If you are willing and eager, you may hold the wounded and even feed them. Today they have been saving many species of birds and animals at the Pet Clinic and Dog Agility Clinic. Eventually dragged into Tourism, they take this opportunity to welcome visitors and share their stories with those who are interested.
- Timings: 8.30am to 6.30pm
- Tour Cost: Between 150 to 200 AED
11. Al-Hosn Fort
Popularly known as the Old or White Fort, Al-Hosn Fort is one of the oldest buildings alive today in Abu Dhabi that will be sure to pique your interest in history. This palace used to be the residence of the ruling family of Al-Nahyan way back in the days and was initially built in 1793. This was the first structure built in the region using corals and sea stones in the hope that it would stand upright.
With its notable tilework and intricate designs preserved over the last few hundred years, it is now a museum.
- Timings: 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 10pm
- Entry Fee: 30 AED per Adult
12. Louvre, Abu Dhabi
Having earned the title of the most spectacular museum of the Middle East, The Louvre is a beautiful museum of Art and Civilisation. It is located on Saadiyat Island and needless to mention, a part of the Cultural District. With a focus on preservation and conservation of culture and tradition, the aim is to remember the past in the times of the future. ‘What’s impressive is how well the artistic creations of humans from the Neolithic period up to now have been captured by the museum.
A French architect Jean Nouvel set out with a museum-city concept. The dome was built to create the Rain of Light effect inside the museum, protect those inside from the heat and sun and also reduce the energy consumption. If you are wondering ‘what’s inside – there are 23 buildings showcasing different aspects so you can take your pick! Do ensure you have done the research required before visiting places in Abu Dhabi.
- Timings: 9 am to 6 pm
- Entry Fee: Around 40 AED
Also See: Top 10 Indian Restaurants in Abu Dhabi
13. Jebel Hafeet
The best places to visit in Abu Dhabi are both the humanmade structures and ‘what’s out there in nature! Jebel Hafeet is the tallest mountain in the Emirates. This very mountain has been extremely important to archaeologists as many fossils have been discovered here at over 500 ancient sites of burial. As much as travellers head up to Jebel Hafeet for its history, it is the travel up to the mountain that interests many. The weaving roads along the limestone mountain up to the peak are on every ‘road-tripper’s bucket list.
A pit stop you should definitely make time for is the Al Ain Camel Souk which is a short drive from the peak. It is the last conventional camel market in the UAE that is still functioning. You will be taken back in time at this lesser-known spot of the country as you witness the camel trade taking place for centuries. Another exciting aspect is that this camel market is extremely conservative and even today, an all-male space.
- Timings: Open to the Public all day and night
- Entry Fee: No Entry Fee
14. Masdar City
The future we talk about so excitedly, the future we are attempting to achieve across the world in small ways – Abu Dhabi stands tall as an example of what is possible. Masdar City is a revolutionary attempt by the UAE. It is the first city to be carbon-neutral, zero-waste and run entirely by renewable energy. Amidst rapid urbanization, and a whole step further and ahead for UAE than the other countries, they too realised the need to be sustainable. Using ancient Arabic architecture combined with modern technology, this city is a modern marvel. A wind tunnel circulating a cool breeze stabilizes weather conditions.
Solar energy helps power the city. Instead of cars and bikes, there are electric vehicles called Personal Rapid Transport available as a sustainable means of transport. The city is not fully functional or suitable for human occupation, however it serves as a place of research and experiment.
- Timings: Open every day for the public to look around on their own
Further Read: Popular Bollywood Movies Shot In Dubai
15. Marina Observation Deck
Back when Dubai attracted every traveller and Abu Dhabi would host a handful, it was time to take share its place on the pedestal. Abu ‘Dhabi’s Etihad Towers was an answer to ‘Dubai’s renowned Burj Khalifa. The 74th Floor referred to as the Marina Observation Deck of the Jumeirah Hotel offers a breathtaking view of ‘UAE’s skyline. ‘Here’s an excuse for you to take part in a High Tea and feel like you rule the world as you look over the Arabian Sea! What is a better way than this to end your UAE travel tales?
- Timings: 9.30am to 10pm
- Entry Fee: 95 AED per Adult with a Credit Voucher of 55 AED which can be redeemed at the food counters at the top!
From the time of the first settlement by Bani Yas Tribe in 1761 to the 1900s, United Arab Emirates has accustomed to the modern ways rapidly. Abu Dhabi along with the other cities have come a long way from fishing villages. Today, they are a bustling business centre with an unrivalled political and economic hold in the world. Do check off all the stops in the list of places to visit in Abu Dhabi.