Abu Dhabi attractions

Abu Dhabi attractions

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi (73.060 square kilometers), which is comparable in area to the state of Bavaria, consists mainly of sandy desert. Unimaginable amounts of oil and natural gas are hidden beneath the desert. The extraction of raw materials is the reason for the wealth of the country in the present and probably also in the next 150 years. The citizens of the emirate and their visitors owe the top sights of Abu Dhabi City to the coveted raw materials. The metropolis with a population of 1,2 million has a large number of fantastic crowd pullers.

Abu Dhabi for short term visitors

We recommend the sights presented below for visitors with limited time, such as those arriving by cruise ship. They harmonize well with a one- or two-day stay on a ship.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The most impressive building in the capital for us is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which opened in 2007. It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and one of the largest in the world. The church can accommodate up to 40.000 visitors. The prayer hall alone holds 7.000 people. The mosque looks like a fairy tale from 1001 Nights.

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The four 107 meter high, slender minarets cannot be overlooked. They stand at the four corners of the 17.400 square meter inner courtyard. It is said that the area is the largest marble work of art in the world. The inner courtyard offers space for 31.000 believers. 82 marble domes of different sizes tower over the mosque. The main dome rises 75 meters above the prayer hall. Its diameter is estimated at 32,20 meters.

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque portal
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque portal
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Columned Arcade
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayid Mosque - Courtyard access

A three-aisled column arcade leads from the inner courtyard to the mosque. In the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, visitors are allowed to keep their shoes on during their tour. Guests move along defined paths that are covered with carpets. The statistics name a total of 1.096 columns decorated with amethysts and jasper stones. The gigantic mosque stands on an area of ​​56 hectares. The magnificent building is named after Emir Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first President of the UAE.

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - inner courtyard
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - main dome
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - inner courtyard
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - minarets
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Columned Arcade
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - house of prayer
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - house of prayer
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayid Mosque - Chandelier in the prayer house

Access to the mosque is separate from the mosque on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. A huge, underground entrance area with restaurants, a mall and an entrance control awaits the visitors. After passing the admission control, electric sidewalks transport people along the "tolerance path" several hundred meters long to the vicinity of the mosque.

Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Entrance
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - escalator to the mall
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Mall
Abu Dhabi - Sheikh Zayed Mosque - the tolerance path


  Location The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is located approximately 25 kilometers from the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal. We recommend taking a taxi from the cruise terminal. The cost from the cruise terminal, including a tip, is around 16 euros. go to Google Maps
 Opening hours Saturday to Thursday from 9:00am to 22:00pm (last entry: 21:30pm) and Friday from 16.30:22pm to 00:XNUMXpm Visitors are offered free one-hour guided tours.
  Admission Free
  Tours A half-day tour is recommended for visiting the mosque from Dubai.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque from Dubai

The Fort Qasr Al Hosn

The oldest building in the city is the Qasr Al Hosn Fort. It is in the Al Hosn district. The fortress was the former seat of the ruling Al Nahyan family, the seat of government and the seat of the emir's advisers. The extensive complex has been used as a museum since the end of 2018. The fortress was built in the 1790s. The watchtower is a striking feature of the fort. Qasr Al Hosn consists of two areas: the inner fort and the outer palace. The palace was built in the 1940s.

Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn
Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn - Tradition and Modernity
Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn - historical watchtower
Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn

Using everyday objects, documents and photos, the museum describes the development of the sheikdom from an 18th-century settlement of fishermen and pearl merchants to a global metropolis. Also worth a short visit is the National Consultative Council Building on the site with the large boardroom.  

Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn

Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn

Boardroom of the National Consultative Council Building

Boardroom of the National Consultative Council Building 

The fort surrounded by skyscrapers, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation and a beautiful expanse of water are located on an area of ​​several hectares.

Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn

Abu Dhabi - Fort Qasr Al Hosn

  Location The Qasr Al Hosn Visitor Center is on Al Hisn Street. go to Google Maps 
  Website: Quasar Al Hosn
 Opening hours Daily from 10:00am to 21:00pm
  Admission Adults AED 30 (EUR 7,50). 
Buy a ticket in advance to avoid the queue.

The Presidential Palace Qasr Al Watan

Qasr Al Watan, the 380.000 square meter "Palace of the Nation", is the seat of the Cabinet and the Supreme Court of Abu Dhabi. In the snow-white magnificent building, which was completed in 2015, state visitors are received and summit meetings are held. The palace is set amidst expansive lush parks with pools and visual axes. The building is made of limestone and granite on the outside. Inside, marble walls dominate. Since March 2019 parts of the palace are open to the public.

Abu Dhabi - Presidential PalaceAbu Dhabi - Presidential Palace

Visitors begin their tour in the Great Hall, the "Great Hall". A dome 37 meters in diameter crowns the center of the palace. Visitors are always in danger of missing details. The ceiling constructions, the artistic archways and the diverse art installations are remarkable. The splendor is indescribable.

Abu Dhabi - Entrance to the Presidential Palace
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Front Hall
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Great Hall
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Great Hall Dome

Visitors are allowed to see the huge banquet hall and reception hall. The “Presidential Gifts” department is also open to viewing. In this room, the exquisite gifts of state guests can be admired. The room leads off a large hall, at the center of which is the intricately crafted sculpture The Power of Words.

Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Banquet Hall
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Reception Hall
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Sculpture Power of Words
Abu Dhabi - Presidential Palace - Sculpture

Two other areas of the palace are worth mentioning: the “House of Knowledge” and the “Library”. Visitors should also spare some time for the surrounding “gardens” and the view that is offered.

Abu Dhabi - Library of the Presidential Palace

Abu Dhabi - Library of the Presidential Palace

Abu Dhabi - Garden of the Presidential Palace

Abu Dhabi - Garden of the Presidential Palace 

The House of Knowledge includes a collection of rare works of art, historical maps and antiques. Visitors only get to see the huge entrance area of ​​the library, which contains around 50.000 volumes. A souvenir shop with high-quality souvenirs and a café round off a visit to Qasr Al Watan.  

  Location Al Ras Al Akhdar Peninsula; in the west of the city. go to Google Maps
 Opening hours Daily from 11:00am to 19:00pm The library is closed on Saturdays.
  Website: Qasr Al Watan

Adults AED 60 (EUR 15).
Buy a ticket in advance to avoid the queue.

Dubai City is famous for its fountain show in front of the Burj Khalifa. Abu Dhabi shines in front of the Presidential Palace with a light and sound show called "Palace in Motion". The event takes place every half hour after sunset in front of the palace.
Visitors are not permitted to enter the palace grounds independently. Shuttle buses transport visitors from the reception area to the presidential palace.

Saadiyat Museum Island with the Louvre Abu Dhabi

From the cruise ships, visitors can see the 27 square kilometer island of Saadiyat opposite. The island is a huge development project. Plans envisage creating apartments for 145.000 people on the island. Several cultural institutions and three outstanding museums are part of the residents' environment. One of the museums is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, opened in November 2017.

Abu Dhabi - Louvre

Abu Dhabi - Louvre

The museum cooperates with the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The cooperation provides for loans from French museums for the first ten years. In addition, temporary exhibitions with French museums are planned for the first 15 years. In addition, France is supporting the Louvre Abu Dhabi in building up its own art collection. These privileges can cost Abu Dhabi a high three-digit million amount in euros.

The building complex of the museum consists of 55 ashlar buildings placed next to and one on top of the other. A transparent-looking dome construction with a diameter of 180 meters stretches over the structure like the shell of a turtle.

Abu Dhabi - Water area in the Louvre
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Ceiling Construction
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Courtyard
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Courtyard

The collection establishes relationships between the masterpieces of different peoples and their cultures. The exhibits cover the period from antiquity to the present day. Lovers and connoisseurs of European painting will also get their money's worth. Artists of high standing are represented.

Abu Dhabi Louvre Hall
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Pharaoh Ramses II
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Armaments
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Rodin sculpture
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Claude Monet paintings

Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Vincent van Gogh paintings
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Edouard Manet paintings
Abu Dhabi - Louvre - Pittura pura Luce
  Location go to Google Maps
  Website Louvre Abu Dhabi

Adults AED 60, tickets for those aged 13-22 are AED 30.
Buy a ticket here in advance to avoid the queue.


Experience the Louvre in Abu Dhabi from a unique perspective on a XNUMX-hour kayak tour around
its outdoor installations
Kayaking in Louvre Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's Corniche

The term "Corniche" generally stands for beautiful coastal or embankment roads. Abu Dhabi's Corniche is a quayside street more than eight kilometers in length. The Corniche is lined with a promenade with benches and green spaces. The adjacent beach is sometimes more than 100 meters wide. City dwellers like to spend a day on the beach, especially in the Arab winter. The public bathing areas offer everything you need to relax: distance, sun loungers, parasols and pleasantly warm sea water. Cruise ships offer their guests guided bike tours on the promenade.

Abu Dhabi - Corniche - Sun protection
Abu Dhabi - Corniche - beach
Abu Dhabi - Corniche
Abu Dhabi - Corniche - View of the Fairmont Hotel

  Location:  go to Google Maps

Etihad Towers - Abu Dhabi view from above

In the west of Abu Dhabi, the Conrad Hotel in the complex of the five Etihad Towers offers a view of the metropolis, the Presidential Palace and the Emirates Palace Hotel. The "Observation Deck at 2" is located in tower 74 on the 300th floor. From a height of almost 300 meters, visitors can enjoy an unforgettable panoramic view of the city.

Abu Dhabi - Etihad Towers
Abu Dhabi - Etihad Towers - Observation Deck at 300
Abu Dhabi - Etihad Towers - Panoramic View
Abu Dhabi - Etihad Towers offer a bird's eye view
  Location Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers - West Corniche Road  go to Google Maps
  Website view the hotel on booking.com
Complimentary access to the Observation Deck at 300 is included for hotel guests

You have to pay for the view: In 2022, AED 95 (EUR 24,00) will have to be spent.
An AED 55 voucher is included in the price of admission. The value of the voucher corresponds to a sandwich,
a beer or a non-alcoholic cocktail.

Visit including afternoon tea:
The stylish afternoon tea, including coffee/tea and cake, costs 250 AED (62,50 euros).
How do you say? Noblesse oblige, (money) nobility obliges!

The Emirates Palace - the best hotel in town

As already mentioned, visitors to the Observation Deck at 300 look down on the upstream, palatial Emirates Palace Hotel. The best hotel on the square is managed by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and presents itself in all modesty as "A place like from 1001 nights". Guests choose between 302 splendid rooms and suites. They frequent seven restaurants, a café, three atmospheric bars and a private beach. The Emirates Palace is located in a huge park. It doesn't take more to spend an unforgettable stay in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi - Emirates Palace Hotel

Abu Dhabi - Emirates Palace Hotel

Staying at the Emirates Palace is an expensive treat. The lobby and the restaurants can be visited without additional costs
will. Appropriate clothing is required.

  Location West Corniche Rd. go to Google Maps
  Website view the hotel on booking.com

The Founders Memorial

The life and legacy of Sheikh Zayed is commemorated on an area of ​​33.000 square meters. As the first President of the United Arab Emirates, he significantly influenced its development. Set in a landscaped garden filled with native fauna, visitors see The Constellation in a 30-foot-tall pavilion; the colossal, three-dimensional portrait of the sheikh. It consists of cords and more than 1.000 geometric figures. Depending on the location and perspective, visitors perceive the image of the ruler.

We refrain from presenting a photo.
For reasons of media law, we are not permitted to show an image of the unusual monument.

  Location Intersection of West Corniche Road and Al Marsa Street. go to Google Maps

Al Mina district

In the sprawling Al Mina district is the Marsa Mina cruise terminal and dhow harbor with fishing boats, traditional dhows and a restaurant ship. Adjacent to Dhow Harbor is Abu Dhabi's traditional fish market.

Abu Dhabi - Al Mina - Cruise Terminal
Abu Dhabi - Al Mina Dhow Port
Abu Dhabi - Al Mina - Tourist Dhow
Abu Dhabi - Al Mina - Fish Market

  Location: go to Google Maps

Al Kasir Island

At the end of the Corniche and in front of the Emirates Palace Hotel, a road leads to Al Kasir Island. The tallest and most impressive building on the island can be seen from afar: the 5-star Hotel Fairmont Marina Abu Dhabi. The structure has two towering towers spanned by a gigantic arch. The hotel resembles the "Atlantis" a little Dubai's Palm Jumeirah Island.

Abu Dhabi - Fairmont Hotel

Abu Dhabi - Fairmont Hotel

Abu Dhabi - Fairmont Hotel

Abu Dhabi - Fairmont Hotel 

Other attractions on the island are the Marina Mall, which opened 20 years ago. Its landmark is the "Tower", a tower with a viewing platform and a rotating restaurant. Next to the mall is the Ferris wheel "Marina Eye". The tourist attraction is far from the height of the "Ain Dubai". Nevertheless, we imagine a ride on the Ferris wheel as entertaining.

Abu Dhabi - Marina Mall with tower and ferris wheel

Abu Dhabi - Marina Mall with Tower and Ferris Wheel

The tall mast with the flag of the UAE cannot be overlooked. It stands on Al'Alam Street between the “Emirates Heritage Village” and the “Abu Dhabi Theater”. The Heritage Village is the reconstruction of a traditional oasis village. It includes a souk, a mosque and a camp. Handicrafts are on sale in the souk. The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation theater offers contemporary performances. In between, the facility functions as a cinema.

Abu Dhabi - theater and flagpole

Abu Dhabi - theater and flagpole

Abu Dhabi - Emirates Heritage Village

Abu Dhabi - Emirates Heritage Village 

Next to the theater is the “Skyline View Point”. The name is program. Visitors enjoy uninterrupted views of Abu Dhabi's skyline from a breakwater.

Abu Dhabi - Skyline View PointAbu Dhabi - Skyline View Point

  Location: go to Google Maps

Yas Island

Yas Marina Circuit

yas marina circuit

Formula 1 enthusiasts know the "Yas Marina Circuit". A Formula 1 Grand Prix race is held on the circuit every year. Visitors "experience" the race track up close, possibly even as a driver or passenger in a sports car.

Superyachts from all over the world gather in the "Yas Marina" for the race. The futuristic and extravagant 5-star hotel "W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island" is worth seeing. The hotel, built halfway over the water, also spans the racetrack.

  The cruise terminal and the race track are 32 kilometers apart.
  Location go to Google Maps
  Activity 1

Visit one of the most modern Formula 1 racetracks on a guided tour of the Yas Marina Circuit.
You see places normally only accessible to racers and their teams and you explore the track
Tour of Yas Marina F1 circuit

  Activity 2

Slip into the role of a racing driver. Drive a car with a 6cc V3.000 engine.
Enjoy 20 minutes (9-13 laps) of adrenaline pumping driving with an experienced instructor.
Formula Yas 3000 driving experience

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

ferrari world abu dhabi

Another attraction on the island is Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, a Ferrari theme park. This huge theme park features the world's fastest roller coaster, a go-kart track based on a real Formula 1 race track and much more.

  Location go to Google Maps

Tickets for Ferrari World cost around 70 euros

Buy a ticket in advance to avoid the queue.

Yas waterworld

The 15 football field large Yas Waterworld shines with rides, slides, a roller coaster and other highlights.

  Location go to Google Maps

Tickets for Yas Waterworld cost around 60 euros.

Buy a ticket in advance to avoid the queue.

Miscellaneous on Yas Island

There is also a section of beach, the "Yas Beach". If you want to use the visit to Yas Island for shopping, visit the "Yas Mall", the second largest shopping center in the UAE.

Day trip to the garden city of Al Ain

Cruise companies offer day trips to the oasis city if enough guests decide to take a day trip to the university city of Al Ain, 160 kilometers from Abu Dhabi. Al Ain borders Oman. What is special: a high fence made of NATO wire divides the city and police officers monitor the border crossing. Abu Dhabi's second largest city has 496.000 inhabitants (according to estimate July 2015). The regulations of the city administration only allow the construction of a maximum of six-storey buildings in the center. People live in the outskirts. The city leaders are pursuing the idea of ​​creating a "garden city of the Arabian Gulf". The effort involved in greening the cityscape is correspondingly high.

Al Ain - Center
Al Ain - Flower Clock
Al Ain - Al Jahili Fort
Al Ain - Camel Market

Of touristic interest are - in addition to the impressive landscape - a historic fort, the archaeological park and the camel market of the country. Because of its cultural sites, UNESCO included Al Ain in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

January 2022

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