In Abu Dhabi there is so much to see and to enjoy, but if you have a very short time to visit Abu Dhabi, here there is my very short-shortlist of Abu Dhabi sights you can’t miss.
For each sight, at the end of the brief description, you will find the keywords / landmarks to be given to the taxi driver, so you can be sure to get quickly your destination: luckily all these sights are “easy to get”, as they represent some of the most well-known landmarks in Abu Dhabi.
As for Emirates Palace, you can get further information following the links to the posts where I will tell you about what I discovered in my personal experience.
1) Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Icon of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world, accessible to non-Muslims during visiting hours.
Built between 2004 and 2007, with fine materials from all around the world, including the Italian Lasa marble, the Great Mosque boasts several records as the world’s largest Persian carpet and the world’s largest Swarovski chandelier.
In the evening, the lighting of the Great Mosque is spectacular and changes according to the phases of the moon. Visiting after sunset is very impressive.
Admission is free.
The free guided tours are available during the week from Sunday to Thursday at 10.00 am, 11.00 am and 4.30 pm (or 5 pm). On Friday at 5pm and 7.30 pm (or 8 pm), Saturday at 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 2 pm, 4.30 pm (or 5 pm) and 7.30 pm (or 8 pm).
Visitors are requested to dress and conduct appropriately: remember, this is a place of worship.
Women must wear the abbaya provided at the entrance.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Grand Mosque
Here you can read more practical information and curiosities about Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
2) Emirates Palace
Called “the Versailles of the Middle East” and the “Palace of the Arabian Nights”, Emirates Palace was built as a palace representative of the United Arab Emirates and home to an incredible seven-star hotel managed by the Kempinski group. There are so many myths about Emirates Palace, so let reveal just that: it is not the residence of the Sheikh; it was recently built; you can visit the first floor for free without any reservation (oh yeah, I said free/without reservation); the staff is incredibly nice, also with the “simply visitors”.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Emirates Palace
Here you will find all the practical information to enjoy your visit at Emirates Palace
Here are some interesting facts about Emirates Palace
It is the promenade which runs along the Abu Dhabi public beach, complete with a bike path. When the weather is fine, Corniche is the place where to meet the “Abu Dhabi juice”: locals and expats, cyclists, joggers, families with strollers, workers who enjoy the day off, tourists, bloggers in disguise, snoopers. The beach can be enjoyed almost all year round, except for the hot summer and windy weather, of course avoiding the Ramadan time. The beach is well managed, guarded by security personnel and lifeguards.
With the sea on your right, walk straight, when you get the western end of Corniche, turn immediately right, and you arrive at Breakwater. Try to get around at sunset and if the weather is clear, you will enjoy an unforgettable show.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Corniche Public Beach
4) Gold Souk
I know about one person (ehm…) totally immune to the allure of gold and precious entered for the first time in this Souk, who spent here an entire afternoon in ecstatic contemplation. I can’t describe it, I can also say that it’s a place which deserves a visit, even if you can’t buy anything. It is not allowed to take pictures. If you are not immune to the gold and precious temptations, live your credit card at home.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Gold Souk or Madinat Zayed Shopping Center
5) Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
It is the largest amusement park in the world dedicated to the most famous “Italian Red”. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is on three levels, covering an area of 176 thousand square meters, and has a dozen attractions, including roller coasters (240 km per hour), a 3D cinema, a gallery of historic cars and the “Italy in miniature”.
Ferrari World is located on Yas Island.
The ticket price ranges from 225 to 325 AED.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Ferrari World, Yas Island
6) Yas Island
About half an hour from Abu Dhabi City, which is connected by a bridge, Yas Island is the island where the Ferrari World theme park is and the island dedicated to fun, intended to accommodate the theme parks Warner Bros, Movie World and Aquapark.
One of the main attractions in Yas Island is the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. At the heart of the circuit is the Yas Viceroy hotel, half on land and half on water.
In Yas Island there is also the Yas Links Golf Course, mentioned among the best golf courses in the world.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Yas Island
7) Saadiyat Island
Saadiyat Island, the “Island of Happiness”, is connected to the island of Abu Dhabi City and Yas Island by a bridge.
The Saadiyat Island is intended to accommodate the cultural district in Abu Dhabi with Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi Louvre, Abu Dhabi Guggenheim, the Maritime Museum and the Performing Arts Center.
Manarat Al Saadiyat hosts regular exhibitions. On the island there is the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club and the New York University Abu Dhabi, very active in the community for the innovative calendar of artistic events and performances. Also, there are private beaches, connected to the hotels, and an amazing public beach.
Since November 2017, Saadiyat Island hosts the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
You can reach the public beach on Saadiyat Island from Abu Dhabi even by bus: for more practical information you can read the post about Saadiyat Island public beach.
Keyword / landmark to be given as a reference : Saadiyat Island or Monte Carlo Beach