The Most Exciting Things to Do in Abu Dhabi This Season
Things to do in Abu Dhabi
Approximate Distance from Airport
Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
9 AM to 10 PM from Saturday through Thursday and 4:30 PM to 10 PM on Fridays
11 AM to 8 PM
The Falcon Hospital
8:30 AM to 2:30 PM Sundays through Thursdays and Closed on Fridays and Saturdays
The Heritage Village
9 AM in the morning and closes at approximately 5 PM on Saturdays through Thursdays. On Fridays, it opens at 3:30 in the evening and is open until 9 at night.
If there is one country that has retained its cultural heritage despite being progressive over the years, it has to be Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi offers some of the most exotic experiences to its travellers and visitors. The way in which the city has been planned and built, the marvelous architecture that speaks of heritage and workmanship, the limitless options in luxury it offers, the desert safaris, the breathtaking skyline, the learning curve in cultural expedition for a foreign visitor and the regal experiences, these are just a few things to do in Abu Dhabi. Check out these Abu Dhabi Holiday Packages and plan your trip now!
Your itinerary in Abu Dhabi cannot begin without a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Thanks to its architecture and the sense of amazement that it offers, we recommend this as one of the first things to do in Abu Dhabi. The speciality of the mosque is that it is visible from any of the ridges that connect Abu Dhabi with its mainland. Once you cross the idyllic garden, you can see the mosque rising in all its glory. The mosque was conceived by the United Arab Emirates’ first president Sheik Zayed and marks his resting place. For those of you who didn’t know, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the very few mosques in the region that welcomes people from all faiths and religions.
Architecturally, the mosque holds over a thousand pillars supporting over 80 domes built in marble. It stands as a testimony to the Islamic architecture, leaving its visitors for more. As part of the architecture, you can see some precious stones like the amethyst, lapis lazuli, abalone, Jasper, red agate and more. The mosque can accommodate over 50,000 people at once and once inside the prayer hall, you would see the world’s largest carpet that had mentioned earlier. Made from cool imported from New Zealand and cotton from Iran, the magnificent carpet involved over 1,200 craftsmen work towards finishing the carpet. Over 5,700 square meters of woollen threads were knotted over a cotton base for over two years.
There are guided tours available for you to know more about the place and you are allowed at times except for the prayer times. With strict dress code applicable, you need to maintain the dignity and decorum of the place and respect the local laws and rulings on the appropriate dressing.
Distance from Domestic Airport: Approximately 150km
How Much Time to Spend: 2 to 3 hours
Opening Hours: 9 AM to 10 PM from Saturday through Thursday and 4:30 PM to 10 PM on Fridays
For those of you looking for some thrill and adrenaline rush in Abu Dhabi, Desert Safari should be on top in your list of Things to Do in Abu Dhabi. The level of excitement it adds to your Abu Dhabi tour is phenomenal and that is why we recommend it as one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi. The Arabian desert stands mightily wide with numerous options to explore it. You can choose the one that suits your style and check out the desert. You can go for a laidback camel ride if you intend to explore it through the eyes of a camel. For a bird’s perspective, you can check out the bird’s eye balloon ride to see how the desert looks from the top. But if you want to explore the desert like the pros, you should get into a 4X4 and get the sands rolling underneath. Popularly known as dune bashing, the cars will take you on a ride that is no less than a rollercoaster. You would leap from high dunes, drift through the low ones, almost fall and shout in anxiety and adrenaline rush. Most travellers to Abu Dhabi share that dune bashing was one of the highlights of their tours. The primary reason we recommend it in our things do in Abu Dhabi list is because you hardly have such activities back here. So when in Abu Dhabi, why miss out on the action?
There are tons of tour operators who arrange for dune bashing or other rides for families. You can check them out online and book one after considering their years of service, reviews and repute.
Distance from Domestic Airport: Approximately 40km
Wait, our recommendations on adventures in Abu Dhabi isn’t over yet. If you are still unconvinced with our previous recommendation as an exhilarating activity, wait for this – the Formula Rossa. Or in laymen terms, the world’s fastest roller coaster. Situated inside the Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, this beast is not for the faint-hearted. When looking at it virtually, you could take the ride for granted and feel you could pull it off. But stand there right in front of it and see the gates opening to the ride, your mind starts throwing alternate decisions. Once seated in the rollercoaster, there is no turning back because it soars at approximately 240 kilometres per hour. And what’s more enthralling, the speed is reached within 5 seconds.
For all the science enthusiasts out there, you can experience close to half of the acceleration due to gravity at 4.8g all through your ride. The track stretches across over 2 kilometres and you need to wear a special glass, like the ones you wear for skydiving, to prevent contact with insects at such immense speeds.
Distance from Domestic Airport: Approximately 11 km
Yes, that’s actually a real place. At Thomas Cook, we believe travelling should open you up to unknown things and avenues less explored. That is why we consistently strive to recommend you offbeat things that will actually add value to your travel experiences. One such place that makes it to our list of exciting things to do in Abu Dhabi includes the Falcon Hospital. This entire place is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of falcons. One of the major reasons why there is specialized care unit for falcons is because they are an integral part of the rich heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Falconry has been an art and legacy in the UAE and they were used in the hunting and scavenging of food by the Bedouins. Today, it is seen as a major sport in Abu Dhabi and the city takes all the necessary steps in bringing out the importance of it.
The Falcon hospital is one such initiative that will orient you with falconry as an art and sports. The hospital offers you two guided tours and you will be taken to various places of interests that are part of the hospital. The guided tour will take you through a falconry museum for you to understand the history behind the sports, the exam rooms inside the hospital to experience how the Falcons are taken care of and an aviary, where you can see the Falcons in all their glory, flying with their mighty wings spread out majestically. And yes, the tour doesn’t end without giving you a chance to hold a falcon on your arm and taking a souvenir photograph. If you are someone who takes time to appreciate the finer things in life, you should definitely give the Falcon Hospital it visits. It not just adds diversity to your things to do in Abu Dhabi itinerary but lets you have an enlightening experience as well.
Distance from Domestic Airport: Approximately 15km
How Much Time to Spend: Half day
Opening Hours: 8:30 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. (Open: Sundays to Thursdays) (Closed on Fridays and Saturdays)
Would you believe if we told you that Abu Dhabi was once a quaint fishing village and that an epic skyline stretches right from the same location that accommodated the village? Well, this is just a minor piece of information that you would learn as part of your trip to The Heritage Village. We have added this to our list of exciting things to do in Abu Dhabi because of the number of insights it gives about the city and its development. Located conveniently at the Dhow Harbor, the Heritage Village stands as a living museum that walks you through a timeline of the evolution of Abu Dhabi from a fishing village to the sprawling cosmopolitan it is today.
Along with your journey, you would find Bedouin tents, huts made of wood that act more like places of workshops today that give you a glimpse of weaving and metal works and tons of local shops the sell the best of local crafts and souvenirs. One of the best aspects of the Heritage Village is that it is one of the few places of interests in Abu Dhabi that doesn’t charge an entry fee. You are free to walk in and know more about the city’s evolution as a major tourist attraction, travelling from its roots to its branches. If you had ever wondered how the place was like before luxe cars, fine dining restaurants and towering skyscrapers occupied the city, the Heritage Village is where you need to seek your answers from.
In case you are tired of your journey, you can also refresh yourself at some of the restaurants featured in the village.
Distance from Domestic Airport: Approximately 40km
How Much Time to Spend: Half day
Opening Hours: Opens at 9 a.m. in the morning and closes at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays, it opens at 3:30 in the evening and is open until 9 at night.
So, what do you think about our recommendations on some of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi. Diverse right? When in Abu Dhabi, we also recommend keeping a close eye on your dress codes because despite being a cosmopolitan city, Abu Dhabi is still conservative. Men and women are advised to respect the local rules and cultures and cover their knees and shoulders at all times.
Abu Dhabi is well connected with major Indian cities and you can easily find a flight from cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Cochin and more on a daily basis, this is a huge benefit to Abu Dhabi Tourism. You need to apply for a visa prior to reaching Abu Dhabi. However, if you have a US visitor visa or if you are a green card holder, you are eligible for a visa on arrival procedure. Your passport should be valid at least for a period of six months from your date of departure and your visa is valid from the date it has been issued and not from the date you visit Abu Dhabi. Before you apply, we recommend having return flight tickets and possessing confirmed hotel vouchers or a letter of invitation from a family or friend to make the process more seamless.
Abu Dhabi is an amalgamation of some of the best experiences in the world and we definitely want you to witness them firsthand. What are you waiting for?
A day dreamer by nature and writer by choice, Ratna is a movie buff and has an undying penchant for food. She is an avid reader and a dog lover. Her ultimate dream is to travel places and own a house in a secluded country like Bhutan.