Best Things To Do In Abu Dhabi For First Time Travelers

Abu Dhabi

Winter getting too hard where you live? Abu Dhabi is the perfect place for you to catch those golden rays of the sun this winter. This is a city where the sun never goes into hibernation, leaving behind damp, grey clouds to rule the skies. With unlimited forever golden beaches, desert adventures and water parks, Abu Dhabi is a holiday destination that you need to believe you deserve. It’s that good! Here are the top things you must do and see in Abu Dhabi as a first time traveler.

1. Tour the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

A mosque of truly titanic proportions, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a world wonder in carved Macedonian marble inlaid with semi-precious stones. The design of the mosque is a fusion of various design elements, which have come together to create a modern mosque that celebrates Islamic architecture. The mosque is gilded with mosaic tiles, glass-work, and intricate carvings both on the inside and the outside. It can hold 40,000 worshippers at the same time, and is the biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates. Non-Muslims can tour the huge mosque including its enormous library. Want more? How about the chance to see the world’s largest carpet and largest chandelier, ever?

2. Stroll The Promenade

The Abu Dhabi Corniche is a four-mile promenade seaside where people take their evening walks. It is the place to see, to be seen and to enjoy a nice picnic by the oceanside. You can stroll or bike the length of the Corniche. Notable sights on the way are the emirate’s flag, as big as a bus, atop a 360ft pole. Then there’s the Capital Gate building with a built-in lean of 18 degrees (Tower of Pisa slants to four degrees). The Corniche has access to lovely little private beaches, picnic and play areas for children. Walking the Corniche is one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi.

3. Enjoy Yas Island – Adventure Galore!

Close to the airport is the high-octane destination for adventurers, Yas Island, which has both the Ferrari World and Formula One Racing Track. Sit back and cling on to whatever you can hold till your knuckles turn white. Yas Waterworld is another for adrenaline junkies, reputed to be the world’s biggest water park. The best way to enjoy the beauty of Yas island is by booking a tour with Rayna tours which allows you to see the best of the adventure, entertainment at your comfort and convenience. Here you’ll find a dizzying array of slides, terrifying ravines, raft rides, and endless wave machines.

4. Learn How to Race At Ferrari World

Ferrari World has the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, which touches 150mph, and the Flying Aces rollercoaster, which touches 120 kilometers per hour on the tallest loop in the world (52 meters). Formula One racing freaks head to Abu Dhabi to experience the thrill of the race on actual Formula One racing tracks. Kids can learn to drive here on the Junior GT track. Adults can enjoy the collection of Ferrari’s cars, with models dating back to 1947 and the tour of the Ferrari factory and participate in the Ferrari knowledge game show for car nerds.

5. Explore The New Art District Of Abu Dhabi

Saadiyat Island will soon be the greatest art district in the Middle East, what with the city collecting famous art works already. The famous architect Frank Gehry of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is busy architecting the new Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, to open in 2018. The Abu Dhabi Louvre is almost done, and will soon showcase some of the world’s best art. Check out the art galleries and exhibitions here, and pick up something while it’s still affordable.

6. Watch The Desert Blooms In Al Ain

Al Ain, Abu Dhabi’s fabulous green oasis, is just an hour from the busy city. This pristine golden world offers many desert safaris and tours. Go on a 4×4 desert tour, peering over 100ft sand dune just before you come down the dune, bashing into it as it were. Al Ain is called the Garden City because of its greenery, its amazing gardens and verdant landscaping. Visit the Al Jahili Fort and check out the permanent exhibition detailing the life of the great British travel writer and explorer Wilfred Thesiger, who explored this region in the 1940s.

7. Get Your Fill Of The Golden Sands

No matter where you stay in Abu Dhabi, there’s a golden beach nearby. All the private resorts have access to miles of golden sands. Hawksbill turtles lay eggs on the beach sand dunes, and the little hatched turtles wiggle into the sands in the evening. The golden beaches are enticing and the sun’s always bright, and there are plenty of water sports and activities to enjoy while you’re there.

8. Go On A Mangrove Kayaking Tour

The islands surrounding the city are ringed with dense mangrove forests which present a different sort of adventure. If you’re into kayaking, sign up for a mangrove kayaking Eco Tour to explore the mangroves. The tour’s guides help you understand the important ecology of mangroves. Explore the last remnants of the city’s mangrove forests and the wildlife they contain. A mangrove kayaking tour at night is a special experience – you can see Abu Dhabi lit up for the night, as you glide through mangroves in the waters after dark.

9. Enjoy A Dhow Cruise Of Abu Dhabi’s Coast

If you want fabulous views of Abu Dhabi’s glittering skyscrapers, sign up for a boat cruise. The views of the city from the seas are just as spectacular as the views of the high rises themselves. Cruises begin at Abu Dhabi Marina, and there’s one for every timeline and budget. Another interesting way to explore the area is to go on an island hopping tour, which involve some snorkeling and beach time as well on various islands in the bay. Sunset cruises are very popular as you can enjoy fabulous sunsets over the water and city lights come up over the darkening sea.


You can enjoy great views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline from the 74th floor of the Jumeirah at the Etihad Towers hotel, the Observatory Deck 300. When you’re in Abu Dhabi, fabulous views are something you enjoy as a matter of course. It’s a very picturesque destination, so do take the time to explore it fully.

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