Abu Dhabi vs Dubai
So, Abu Dhabi vs Dubai, which would I choose? Below are things to do in Abu Dhabi but I have also linked below to things to do in Abu Dhabi. Both are beautiful but as Dubai is a little more developed, and a lot more relaxed compared to how conservative Abu Dhabi is I think I prefer Dubai.
I would still highly recommend that you visit both Abu Dhabi and Dubai and make you mind up. I have shared a couple of posts on the blog with plenty of things to do in Dubai so below I am sharing things to do in Abu Dhabi to get your trip planning started.
- 1 Unmissable Experiences in Abu Dhabi At A Glance
- 2 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi | Abu Dhabi Sightseeing
- 2.1 The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi | Sheikh Zayed Mosque In Abu Dhabi
- 2.2 Abu Dhabi Souk
- 2.3 Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
- 2.4 Abu Dhabi Malls To Check Out
- 2.5 Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum
- 2.6 Yas Island & Abu Dhabi Desert Tours
- 2.7 Etihad Towers | Abu Dhabi City Tour
- 2.8 Abu Dhabi Corniche
- 2.9 Abu Dhabi Ferrari World
- 3 Emirates Palace and Where To Stay In Abu Dhabi | hotels in Abu Dhabi
Unmissable Experiences in Abu Dhabi At A Glance
- Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – one of the world’s largest Mosques.
- Take a stroll along Abu Dhabi Corniche, an eight-kilometre stretch of manicured waterfront, lined with restaurants and cafes.
- Check out Etihad Towers complex for breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. There is an observation desk at 300 on the 74th floor.
- Take a trip to Arabian Wildlife Park at Sir Bani Yas Island home to more than 10, 000 animals.
- Check out Warehouse421 – an exhibition of art and culture, design and creativity.
Things To Do In Abu Dhabi | Abu Dhabi Sightseeing
Although not as developed as Dubai, Abu Dhahi offers a plethora of things to do for the whole family. So whether you are visiting with friends or with kids, there is something for everyone. Below are some of the places we visited on the day trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. For more on what’s available in the capital check out the Abu Dhabi tourism board website.
The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi | Sheikh Zayed Mosque In Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque a work of art. Its located in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. It’s one of the world’s largest and the country’s largest mosque and is a key place of worship for Friday gathering and Eid prayers for many of the city’s locals. The mosque’s first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site. Build with a capacity to hold 40,000 worshippers.
It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. Reflective pools surround the mosque, amplifying its beauty. The striking white and gold colours shining in the sun are transformed at night by a unique lighting system which reflects the phases of the moon. This is an absolute must see in Abu Dhabi and the very reason people do the day trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai and many other emirates in the UAE. Be sure to know the dress code for the Grand Mosque.
Mosque Tours: The mosque offers complimentary hour-long guided tours. These run from Sunday to Thursdays at 10am, 11am and 5pm. Friday at 5pm and 7pm and Saturday 10am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm and 7pm.
Sheik Zayed Opening Hours: The mosques in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open daily to visitors apart from Friday mornings when its open to worshippers only. Open from 9am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday and 4.30 – 10pm on Fridays.
Abu Dhabi Souk
A souk is essentially just a market in much the same we have many must-see markets in London, Abu Dhabi has plenty of souks. There is a Fish Souk, Al Mina Fruit and Veg Souk, Carpet Souk, Al Ain Souk and many more to add to your list. Some of the tours will take you to the Fish Souk or Fruit and Veg Souk. Abu Dhabi’s souks are worth a visit for their bustling atmosphere, eclectic variety of goods, and to observe the traditional way of doing business.
Every morning, fishermen load their catch on to the quayside and prepare for a day of haggling. The Fish Souk at Mina Zayed, near Abu Dhabi’s main port area. Across the road from the Fish Souk is the Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Souk market is bursting with colour as each seller arranges his produce outside the shops. The choice is amazing, and you can buy by the kilo or the box. Even if you are not buying, this area provides excellent photo opportunities. Another Souk that is nearby is the Capet Souk, where more bargains can be had.
Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
This is a reconstruction of a traditional oasis village provides an interesting glimpse into the emirate’s past. Traditional aspects of the desert way of life, including a campfire with coffee pots, a goats’ hair tent, and a falaj irrigation system, are attractively displayed in the open museum. Many of the tours stop here but there isnt that much to see.
There is only one restaurant on site. It does, however, offer amazing views of the city as well as a cool spot to chill and shade from the city’s relentless sun. There are workshops where craftsmen demonstrate traditional skills, such as metal work and pottery, while women sit weaving and spinning. The craftsmen are happy to share their skills, and may occasionally give you the chance to try them out.
Abu Dhabi Malls To Check Out
Abu Dhabi’s malls are a welcome escape from the summer heat and offer a world of choice when it comes to shopping. In much the same way Dubai has plenty of malls and this is the meeting point for locals and tourists alike, Abu Dhabi is the same. The malls are a place to catch up with friends and for a family outing as well as a place to hang out in the evening.
There is a wide range of malls, shopping outlets all with restaurants, cinemas and a host of other activities. During festive occasions such as Eid or Ramadan, malls are venues for special events such as dance or cultural shows, often featuring international acts. Abu Dhabi Malls to add to your itinerary should include Yas Mall, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Wahda Mall and Al Raha Mall to name a few.
Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum
This is a first of its kind in the region and one with checking out if for the building itself. The museum’s aim is to bring different cultures together and shine and new light on shared stories of humanity. Among the exhibitions, you will find Arabic art in addition to exhibts borrowed for the Louvre in Paris.
Abu Dhabi Louvre Entrance Fee: 60 AED Adults and 30 AED for children.
Details of the prices, exhibitions and how to get there, check out the Louvre Museum website.
Yas Island & Abu Dhabi Desert Tours
If you have more time in Abu Dhabi you can take a 3-day tour to Sir Bani Yas Island which has incredible wildlife and as well as the theme parks on Yas Island – both indigenous and endangered roaming free and then at night check into the luxury desert lodges at one of the three five-star Anantara resorts. There are also evening excursions in the desert for an Arabian Nights Village offering and an authentic Emirati cultural experience.
Etihad Towers | Abu Dhabi City Tour
Want to get the best views of Abu Dhabi? This is where you need to head to. These beautiful towers are across from Emirate Palace Hotel and are a dramatic architectural statement in the flourishing city. On Tower 2’s 74th floor, the Observation Deck at 300 offers unbeatable cityscape and island views.
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. This is the place locals live, work, play, shop and dine. Its the one destination with panoramic city and Arabian Gulf views.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
This is another spot in the city worth visiting. The Corniche Road spreads across an impressive eight kilometers of manicured waterfront that includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach – a lifeguarded beach park.
Abu Dhabi Ferrari World
This is the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park is home to a winning mix of Ferrari inspired rides and attractions, the biggest Ferrari Store and a range of authentic Italian dining options. Beneath its gigantic, iconic red roof it houses numerous high-adrenaline rides including the most dynamic roller coaster on the planet “Flying Aces”, featuring the tallest loop in the world; the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, with a top speed of 250kmph in 4.9 seconds, there are family-friendly attractions, state-of-the-art simulators, electric-powered go-karts, live shows in addition to the shop with racing memorabilia!
Opening Hours: Sunday to Saturday 11am – 8pm. Open 365 days a year.
Emirates Palace and Where To Stay In Abu Dhabi | hotels in Abu Dhabi
An iconic landmark in Abu Dhabi. This beautiful luxury hotel blends Arabian splendour to create a magical and memorable experience. The main Palace building stretches over a kilometer 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 meters above ground. Gold, mother of pearl and crystals dominate the interior.
The Palace has 1,002 chandeliers, the largest weighing 2.5 tonnes. Another memorable Palace feature is its two handmade wall display carpets, portraying the Palace itself and each weighing a tonne. To get the latest prices and book your stay at Emirates Palace hotel click here.
For more on where to stay In Abu Dhahi see below:
- Abu Dhabi Apartments Rentals
- Abu Dhabi Beachfront Hotels and Resorts
- Abu Dhabi Budget Hotels
- Abu Dhabi Hotels – Mid-Range Budget
- Abu Dhabi Luxury Hotels
- Abu Dhabi Resorts
- Yas Island Hotels and Resorts
- What To Pack And Wear In UAE
- How To Get From Dubai To Abu Dhabi
- Things To Do In Dubai
- The Best Places To Stay In Dubai
- Top Hotels In Dubai Marina
- Abu Dhabi Airport Guide
Pin For Later
I didn’t think I wanted to visit Abu Dhabi until I saw your pictures of Sheikh Zayed Mosque. How Beautiful! Pinned for later. 🙂
Haha…That’s awesome to hear. You will definitely enjoy it. Tip, don’t visit in the mist of their summer. You will bake!
I am heading to Dubai in a few weeks time and have been trying to decide whether the new attractions in Abu Dhabi are worth the visit. Can you tell me if you can easily travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?
Hi Kendra, the Louvre, the grand mosque are well worth visiting I can tell you that. Also, I have a post on how to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. There are various options so depending on how much time or budget you can pick one that is best for you. The post is linked above. Enjoy your visit.
wow I am thankful to find your blog as I am visiting Dubai and want to also check out Abu Dhabi. I cannot wait to check out all the cool things to do in Abu Dhabi that you have highlighted. Just wondering if there are plenty of places to visit in Abu Dhabi at night as I would love to do 2 days in Abu Dhabi.
I was looking through some of your articles on your blog and I think its is really awesome! I actually had not idea there were this many fun things to do in Abu Dhabi. I thought it was all just religious stuff.
Abu Dhahi looks amazing. I had no idea they had so many fun things to do in Abu Dhabi. I am hoping to do a day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.