Abu Dhabi is one of those cities that oozes elegance. Less than two hours from Dubai, this UAE city is as diverse as it is impressive. It has a stunning waterfront, picturesque desert landscapes, and a rich city that boasts world-class dining and entertainment. Your time in the city will be anything but boring, with activities ranging from exhilarating dune four-wheel driving to reflective visits to cultural institutes like Abu Dhabi’s The Louvre or Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Visit with the family, alone or as part of a business trip - there’s something for everyone!
11 best ways to experience Abu Dhabi in 2023
There's plenty to do in this jewel of the UAE. So much to do, in fact, it can be overwhelming. If you want to experience the best of what Abu Dhabi has to offer, and see a side to the city that most tourists never get to, let these companies take care of you. You'll come away with memories that will last a lifetime.
Best Desert Safari — Al Ain Desert Safari
The city of Abu Dhabi is as futuristic as they come, but the desert that surrounds it offers a glimpse of another world. Al-Ain Desert Safari lets you explore the desert that has shaped Arab culture for centuries. Travel over the world's highest sand dunes with a four-hour morning tour that lets you experience the stark beauty of the desert before it gets too hot.
Al-Ain also offers fishing tours, dhow cruises, dune buggy adventures, and tours of the city. Whatever you're into, Al Ain has you covered. You can reach Al Ain at 971 56 713 3703 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Solo Bike Rental — Al Wathba Cycle Track Bike Rental - Front Line Sports
If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, the Al Wathba Cycle Track is the place to go. This 30-kilometer paved path is located in the desert outside the city and is a unique place to go biking. Front Line Sports lets you rent a mountain bike and hit this trail hard. Bring plenty of water and see the desert from a unique perspective as you race along this iconic bike trail.
You can reach Front Line Sports at 971 55 566 4748 or email@example.com. For bikers and adrenaline junkies, this is a definite must-do while in Abu Dhabi.
Best Quad Biking/ATV Tour - Liwa Adventure Tours and Safari
For centuries, riding a camel was the only way to explore the deserts of the United Arab Emirates. That's still a great option for traditionalists. But if you want a more modern spin on a classic desert adventure, climb on board a powerful all-terrain vehicle and conquer the desert. This one-hour tour lets you race up and over the sand dunes and is guaranteed to get your heart racing. Contact Liwa Adventure Tours and Safari at firstname.lastname@example.org or 97150561154.
Best Desert Date Night — Capital Gate Tourism and Adventure
There's something romantic about desert scenery, especially at sunset. Whisk away your significant other for an unforgettable dinner in the stunning Arabian Desert. You'll be picked up from your hotel and taken to a private location with a delicious meal prepared for you. There'll also be musical entertainment while you dine. It's an experience your partner will never forget, and you can book it by contacting Capital Gate at email@example.com or 9712 556 5543.
Best 4 x 4 Tours — Arabiers Abu Dhabi
There are many different ways to explore the endless desert of the Arabian Peninsula. If you’d prefer to get your Lawrence of Arabia fix in comfort, contact Arabiers. This company uses luxury four-wheel-drive vehicles to get you out in the desert while still enjoying a smooth ride, air-conditioning, and all the other comforts of a modern vehicle. Along with their 4x4 Safari, the company also offers Bedouin Breakfasts, mountain tours, and other adventures. Reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 97142694222.
Best Outdoor Cinema Experience in Abu Dhabi - S.T. Marine
The Arabian Gulf offers plenty of water-based recreation, and S T Marine specializes in fishing charters, snorkeling, diving, and wakeboarding adventures. What really sets them apart is their Island Cinema experience. They'll take a group of up to five to a private island with an outdoor cinema where you can watch a movie under the stars. You can choose what you want to watch, but the ocean scenery and the stars above may be the real show here.
Contact S T Marine at email@example.com or 971503098242.
Best Abu Dhabi Day Tour — Emirates Tours and Safaris
Abu Dhabi is a city that is always changing. So even if you've been here before, there's always plenty more to discover. See the best the city has to offer with a day tour by Emirates Tours and Safaris. A four-hour tour will take you to the main sites of the city, such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, and the Dates market. A more in-depth daylong tour will also allow you to visit Yas Island and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. You can reach Emirates Tours and Safaris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 971 50 532 6837.
Best Combination Tour — Desert Rose Tourism
Abu Dhabi offers an impressive variety of things to do. If you can't decide on just one activity, consider the popular combination tour from Desert Rose Tourism. This tour will take you on a half-day adventure through the city, visiting the fabulous Sheikh Zayed Mosque and other iconic attractions. Then, you'll get a different view of the city from the water as you embark on a dinner cruise through the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. It's a perfect way to see different facets of the UAE. Book a tour at email@example.com or 971 2 44 66 346.
Best Watersports Adventure — VooTours Tourism
Abu Dhabi's location on the Persian Gulf makes it a great place to get out on the water. And in this desert nation, you may be surprised by how many water activities there are to do. VooTours let you go kayaking among the mangroves, deep-sea fishing, or jet skiing over the brilliant blue waves. They also offer parasailing, dinner cruises, and rafting tours. If you're longing to get out on the water, this is the company to call. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 97125505080.
Best Al Ain Tour - Desert Dreams Tours
Al Ain, known as the Garden City for its location on an oasis in the middle of the desert, is an unforgettable place to visit and one of the most popular trips from Abu Dhabi. Desert Dreams helps you reach this iconic location in a variety of ways. Explore Al Ain and the desert that surrounds it from the back of a camel or the back seat of a luxury four-wheel-drive vehicle and fall in love with the romance of the desert.
Best Way To See Abu Dhabi on a Stopover — Abu Dhabi Sightseeing
There's tons to see in this fascinating city, but sometimes, time is limited. Abu Dhabi Sightseeing specializes in short tours aimed at those stopping over on their way to somewhere else. These private tours are custom-made to fit into the time you have available, and you can choose what you want to see. Whether it's the stunning artwork of the Louvre, the beautiful cars of Ferrari World, or the traditional Bedouin culture of the region, this tour can help you get a glimpse of the United Arab Emirates in whatever time you have available. It's a great way to get a taste of a city you'll probably find yourself wanting to return to. Contact them at email@example.com or 971 50 534 1633.
A weekend in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is certainly a place that could entertain visitors for more than a couple of days, but if that’s all you have do not despair! It makes a perfect weekend getaway and two days is more than enough to tick off some of the major attractions. Plus, if you feel like you have more to explore, you’ll just have to return some day.
Use a luggage storage service in Abu Dhabi to get the most out of your short trip. Nobody wants to be stuck with their bags when they are already limited for time!
Wondering what you should see during a weekend in Abu Dhabi? Here are some ideas.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - This is Abu Dhabi’s number one attraction and for good reason. The stunning mosque is so architecturally impressive, you won’t know where to look. It has 82 white domes and is decorated with intricate paintings. Remember that culturally-appropriate clothing, including headscarves for women, is required at all times.
- Ferrari World - A close second in the popularity stakes, Ferrari World is loved by travelers of all ages. It consists of a theme park and a car gallery, making it well worth a visit.
- Yas Waterworld - nothing beats the heat like a waterpark. Yas Waterworld has more than 40 rides and slides to keep you and the family entertained in the city.
Abu Dhabi Lockers
Bag storage in Abu Dhabi is easy with Bounce. It’s a service that caters specifically to tourists, providing safe, flexible storage for your heavy luggage, smaller belongings, and everything in between. All you need to do is drop off your things, enjoy your vacation, then pick up your items when it suits you. No more waiting for a late check-in or being inconvenienced by an early check-out.
Off the beaten path in Abu Dhabi
Most people think of attractions like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island, or Emirates Palace when they think of Abu Dhabi, but there are some experiences that you will find off the beaten path. If you’re looking for something away from the main tourist path, we have some ideas.
- Eastern Mangroves - For a completely different way to experience Abu Dhabi, try a visit to the Eastern Mangroves. You can join a kayaking tour and see this beautiful city from the water.
- Mina Market - Immerse yourself in local traditions with a wander through Mina Market. You’ll see all sorts of products and be able to get a taste of local life.
- Khatt Springs - replenish yourself in the healing waters of this ancient hot spring. Though outside Abu Dhabi itself, this desert oasis is worth the journey.
What to do alone in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is a city that can be explored on one’s own, in a couple or with a group. It accommodates all types of travelers, so you don’t have to be worried about navigating the destination on your own. Whether you are in town on business or for a leisure trip, you won’t want to miss these attractions.
- Emirates Palace - This impressive hotel was once the residence for the royal family, which should give you a gauge of its grandeur. Both the exterior and interior design will have you in awe, and you can also enjoy the private marina.
- Corniche Road - The perfect spot to get active, Cornich Road is 8 kilometers of walking tracks with beautiful views. Go for a stroll, a run, or even hire a bike - either way, exercise will be a breeze with this scenery.
- Louvre Abu Dhabi - a local branch of the world’s most famous museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi is the biggest art museum in the Arabian Peninsula.
The best souvenirs in Abu Dhabi
Souvenirs are a great way to remember your trip or let loved ones know you were thinking of them while you were away. If you’re looking to find the best in Abu Dhabi, you should start at Yas Island. It has a huge shopping mall that seems to stock everything. For something a little more unique, try Mina Market. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to authentic UAE items. Gold is also a popular souvenir, but make sure you purchase at a reputable store. Madinat Zayed Shopping Center is a good option.