Abu Dhabi Travel Guide

Explore Abu Dhabi

Not everyone loves the ultra modern but even if you don’t, Abu Dhabi might convince you otherwise. Even though the capital of the United Arab Emirates is one of the most modern cities in the world, you’ll still get to experience Emirati heritage while haggling in the souks, people-watching at the shisha cafes, or floating on a dhow.

There’s plenty of UAE history to be learned in museums and exhibitions, and even more entertainment to be had in its amusement parks and leisure centers.


Top Things to Do

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

A crown jewel of the United Arab Emirates, this masterpiece of architecture is also considered to be the key worship site in the country. Featuring iconic arches, round domes, sky-high minarets and an all-white exterior, the stunning complex is large enough to accommodate over 40,000 worshippers and is said to be the most beautiful mosque in the world.

Abu Dhabi Corniche

Stretching the entire length of the city’s northwestern shore, this waterfront boulevard is an excellent spot to kick back and watch locals going about their daily lives. Within the Corniche is a dedicated walking area and separate bike path great for leisure strolls and rides. From the Corniche, you’ll also get the best view of the skyline along the seafront.

Al Ain Souk

The biggest souk in town is also known as Central Market or Camel Souk, and is a perfect place to get lost, savour the local atmosphere and practise your bargaining skills. The souk itself is a rather ramshackle affair but it is definitely gives a more genuine sense of old Abu Dhabi than the other modern, air conditioned markets in the city.

Yas Island

Named the world’s leading tourism project at the World Travel Awards 2009, this 2500-hectare island is a multi-purpose leisure and entertainment hub packed to the brim with world-class attractions, pristine beaches, hotels, restaurants and malls. Families and solo travelers alike can easily spend days here exploring Ferrari World,Warner Brothers amusement parks,and F1 Marina Circuit.

Qasr al-Hosn

Also known as the White Fort or Old Fort, this historical site was constructed in 1761 as a conical watchtower to defend the only freshwater well in Abu Dhabi but was later expanded into a small fort and became the permanent residence of the ruling Sheikh. Today, it houses a museum displaying artefacts and pictures representing the history of the country.

Where to Eat and Drink

Cuisine from around the world mingle and melt in Abu Dhabi, with restaurants offering a vibrant and diverse concoction of international flavors. Whether you are Muslim or not, you won’t find a shortage of halal restaurants here and global restaurants serving food from around the world.


RECOMMENDED PLACES TO EAT

Sayad Seafood Restaurant

One of Emirates Palace’s signature restaurants, Sayad is said to serve the best seafood in town. It also has a perfect location by the sea, plus cool, contemporary décor. The restaurant is headed by Michelin star German television celebrity chef, Karlheinz Hauser, best known for his sea bass and lobster concoctions.

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Cafe Arabia

this halal diner is Abu Dhabi’s number one breakfast and brunch spot, with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere characterized by cushy sofas and a vintage decor. Besides delicious international breakfast dishes like Eggs Benedict and muffins, you’ll find artwork and books on sale.

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Saravana Bhavan

as part of a global chain, this Indian eatery has made a name for itself with unpretentious, wholesome vegetarian cuisine that draws in even the most hardcore meat lover. It’ll satisfy your craving for something exotic and at the same time give you a bang for your buck.

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Lebanese Flower

An Abu Dhabi institution, these budget restaurants is constantly packed with loyal followers who flood here for its cheap fezzes, shawarma, and salads. There are a few branches in Abu Dhabi; the one on Defense Street is the most popular with an atmospheric setting.

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Recommended Places to Stay

Emirates Palace

Extravagant and ultra-luxurious, this lavish Kempinski property is considered to be the best hotel in Abu Dhabi. With 394 rooms and suites, the five-star hotel also has a 1.3-kilometre pristine beach, landscaped pools and a private marina overlooking a natural bay.

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Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Centrally located in Abu Dhabi’s new business and government district and the Corniche, this modern hotel brings Thai-inspired design and hospitality to the heart of the UAE.

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Hyatt Capital Gate

This leading hotel in Abu Dhabi is housed in the iconic Capital Gate building, which is the world’s furthest-leaning manmade tower (at 18 degrees tilt).

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Qasr al-Sarab

Located in the legendary Rub’Al Khali, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world, this exotic oasis lets you immerse deep in the mystical desert while spoiling you with lavish villas decorated with local artefacts, your own plunge pool, and glorious day beds.

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Best Time to Go

Similar to Dubai, Abu Dhabi has a hot and dry weather all year round, with just two seasons in a year. Winter is from December to March, with the average temperature around 25°C and milder humidity. This is, however, Abu Dhabi’s peak tourist season, so expect to be surrounded by crowds if you’re visiting at this time of the year.

Summer runs from June to August when the city is practically free of tourists, but extremely high temperatures and smothering humidity can be hard to handle.

The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is between April and May or from September to October during the spring and fall shoulder seasons. During these months, you’ll be guaranteed pleasant weather, manageable crowds, and reasonable hotel rates.


Getting There

Many airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi, including Egypt Air, Etihad Airways, Gulf Airways and Qatar Airways. You can easily get direct flights from many cities in Saudi Arabia to Abu Dhabi. From Riyadh, the minimum journey time is under 2 hours.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Bus

    there are several bus routes that connect Abu Dhabi Airport with the city centre. Bus A1 goes to the Old Fish Market, while bus 490 goes to the Al Ain Bus Station and X81 goes to the Ruwais ADNOC Bus Station. A single fare costs 4 AED and the journey time to the city is approximately 45 minutes.

  • By Taxi

    24-hour metered taxis are easily available at the signposted taxi pick-up area outside Arrivals Hall for Terminals 1 & 3. A single journey costs around 70 to 100 AED from the airport to the city and takes around 20 to 30 minutes.

  • By Car Hire

    Another popular way to get around Abu Dhabi is by hiring a car at one of the car rental offices in Skypark Plaza, opposite Terminal 3. There are offices from Budget Car Rental, Europcar and Avis.



Extra tips
  • In Abu Dhabi and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, Arabic is the official language.

  • The currency in Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 0.98 AED.

  • United Arab Emirates uses 220-240 voltage.

  • The United Arab Emirates uses the three pin British system with square prongs.