Abu Dhabi is one of the most exotic cities in the Middle East, and has grown into such an exciting place to explore. So what’s there to see in the capital? With a newly opened Louvre museum adding to its world-class cultural attractions, there are certainly some important sightseeing places in Abu Dhabi.
To help you out we’ve put together a list of the most important attractions you need to see on your next trip. From cultural attractions to animal encounters and dramatic desert escapes you’ll be set to cover the capital with the highlights below. Plus we're shared the perfect tip to cover them all - scroll to the end to find out more!
THE TOP SIX SIGHTSEEING PLACES IN ABU DHABI
1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This impressive mosque is the largest in the UAE, taking more than 11 years to complete. There are so many outstanding features to explore such as the world’s largest hand-loomed carpet which is a truly magnificent sight. At capacity it can hold up to 40,000 worshippers. The dramatic water mirrors, columns and glittering chandeliers along with the unique Arabic architectural features make this one of the most famous Abu Dhabi visitor highlights. There are daily guided tours that share not only key aspects of the mosque but also insights into Muslim religion. This is one of the most important sightseeing places in the Emirates.
2. Emirates Palace Hotel
Emirates Palace Hotel made headlines before it was even opened, thanks to the impressive build cost which totalled three billion US dollars. The hotel is extravagantly decked out in marble and gold, featuring six ‘ruler suites’ which are for the exclusive use of visiting royalty. There is a full time staff of ten dedicated exclusively to cleaning its 1002 Swarovski crystal chandeliers. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can get a decadent cappuccino sprinkled with 24 carat gold flakes. Live like a king if it’s even just for a coffee – this is one of the most important sightseeing places in Abu Dhabi.
3. Louvre Abu Dhabi
Image caption: View overlooking the sea © Louvre Abu Dhabi, Photography: Mohamed Somji
Designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is perfectly perched on the water’s edge of Saadiyat Island. The gorgeous main dome has a design inspired by the fronds of the desert palm, and the intricate design creates a striking ‘rain of light’ effect across 23 galleries. The museum will house 600 works from the Louvre’s own collection and as well as other leading galleries across France. Stand out works include a 3rd millennium BC standing Bactrian Princess, a 3000-year-old Middle Eastern gold bracelet with lion's head, Osman Hamdi Bey's A Young Emir Studying and Paul Gauguin's masterpiece Children Wrestling. This is the city’s newest landmarks, and has become the most important sightseeing places in Abu Dhabi for arts and culture.
4. Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
Go back in time at the Abu Dhabi Heritage village which recreates a traditional desert oasis. It has workshops and demonstrates the traditional Falaj irrigation system to transport water. Explore a traditional campfire with coffee pots and goat hair tents. You will be able to see traditional craftspeople showcase traditional metalwork, pottery, spinning and weaving. Make sure you make a visit the Zayed Centre within the Village to learn more about the UAE’s founding father who had the vision to unite the Emirates and lay down an inspiring future.
5. The Empty Quarter - Rub Al Khali Desert
If you’re going to visit the desert why not go for the biggest? Rub Al Khali is the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world is definitely something to see, offering much to explore for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers. The endless dunes and ever shifting sands present a multitude of breathtaking landscapes. A popular spot for 4WD and quad bike enthusiasts is the Tel Moreeb sand dune which is over 300 metres high and the 50 degree incline, many believe this is the tallest sand dune in the world.
6. Yas Marina Circuit
Thousands of F1 fans descend on the circuit for the finale of the Formula 1 Grand Prix each November, however there’s plenty of action to be had on the circuit year-round. You can race around the track on evening bike rides, or really put your foot on the pedal with hot laps in exotic sports cars - why not try your hand at racing a Ferrari or try out the Formula Yas 3000 race car and get a real feel of the track. There are often other motorsport events such superbike and drag racing too.
6. See it all on an aerial tour of Abu Dhabi
Why not see all the important sightseeing places in Abu Dhabi from the sky! Join us on our ultimate seaplane tour of the city and take in many of the famous attractions mentioned above. Check out the route here.
Soar over Yas and Saadiyat Islands, see the Louvre Abu Dhabi perched on the water’s edge, look down upon the Marina Mall, Emirates Palace and main corniche. Take in the gorgeous mangrove forests and fascinating waterways that make Abu Dhabi such a unique destination to visit. There’s nothing like seeing the city from 1500 ft high in the sky, and the pictures you can take are simply stunning.
If you really want to cover the city from the ground up, why not book our package that includes a half day private discovery tour that explores the city from ground level so you can be sure you’ll see all the important sightseeing places in Abu Dhabi along with our signature seaplane tour? You’ll have the added benefit of a personal guide and transportation in an air-conditioned car. Get in touch with us to find out more.