Day trip to Dubai

 Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE and the seat of the government. It’s undoubtedly quieter and more conservative than the glitzy and glamorous Dubai, but that’s part of its appeal. If you are staying in Abu Dhabi, we are sure you will have a nice quiet stay there.

However, we would recommend you take a visit to Dubai as a day trip to not miss the world’s tallest building, the largest mall, the Dubai Frame or the very famous Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood. At the heart of the glitz and glam, however, is a city with a rich cultural heritage. Dubai first made its name as a fishing and pearl village, and a strategic port on the Persian Gulf. Even with modern developments, the city’s sense of history is still alive today. One can savor a cup of traditional coffee, catch a ride on an old-fashioned abra or shop in a traditional souk.

Here is our guide on the top things to do in Dubai on a day trip if you are venturing out to see the city on your own. The best way to reach Dubai from Abu Dhabi is by taxi (RTA, Uber or Careem) and can cost you somewhere around $70 to $90 (AED 250 to AED 330) or take the RTA Bus from Abu Dhabi, which will drop you at the Ibn Batuta Bus Stop in Dubai and costs AED 25. From here, you can continue your journey via the metro, tram or taxi. Most of Dubai’s iconic places are well connected by the Dubai Metro. Here is our guide for you on how to use the Dubai Metro.

1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall & Dubai Fountain

The Burj Khalifa passed many important milestones on its goal to become the tallest man-made structure the world has ever seen with 160 storeys and 555m high. In just 1,325 days since excavation work started in January 2004, Burj Khalifa became the tallest free-standing structure in the world. Tickets to the Burj Khalifa can be bought online, inside the Dubai Mall or from the entrance of the Burj Khalifa. You can check out the views from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa or go up to the 148th floor and marvel at views of the city. The Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai also hosts the world’s highest restaurant, At.mosphere.

You can also take our private tour of Downtown Dubai to know more about the architecture of the marvelous buildings the area has. The Dubai Mall features the world-class Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo featuring thousands of aquatic animals and a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel. The aquarium houses world’s largest acrylic panel which made it to the Guinness Book of World Records.

There are around 40 displays here housing creatures such as piranha, penguins, crocodiles, lizards, snakes, otters and eels. You can take a ride on a glass-bottom boat to view over 33,000 aquatic animals and you could also go cage diving with sharks!

Tickets to the Dubai Aquarium can be purchased online or at the counter in the mall. The ticket is valid for one entry only. Visitors can stay if they want here. Frequent visitors can purchase a membership card and enjoy exclusive privileges. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater zoo are open 7 days a week. Opening times are Sunday to Wednesday 10 am to 10 pm, and Thursday to Saturday 10 am until midnight.

You can reach the Dubai Mall by taxi or by the Dubai Metro.

 

2. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and Dubai Museum

On your day trip to Dubai, you should not miss seeing how traditional life in the mid-19th century used to be at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, formerly known as Bastakiya, by joining us on our Old Dubai and Souk Tour. Located along the Dubai Creek, this district is a key heritage site that has preserved much of the original infrastructure. You can start your day with a private or a public morning tour at 10 AM with us in the old city.

Bastakiya

The traditional wind towers constructed from stone, teak, gypsum, palm wood and sandalwood represent only a small part of Al Fahidi’s history. Each alley, twisting pathway and breezy tower tells a story of life before the Emirates.

Today, these houses have been converted to art galleries, hotels (XVA Art Gallery and Hotel, museums (coffee museum and coins museum) and institutes such as the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.

Escape the skyscrapers and take a glimpse into how Emiratis from past generations lived their lives in this historical district.

Cross the Dubai Creek on an AED 1 Abra (boat) Ride

The Creek is the historic heart of Dubai, which once divided the city into two areas: Deira and Bur Dubai. Until the construction of Al Maktoum Bridge, the first bridge in Dubai in 1963, the only way to get from one side to the other was in a rickety little wooden boat called an abra. It’s still undoubtedly the most fun (and affordable) way across. Also, check our Old Dubai tour to see this part of the city.

We’re convinced this is the best cruise in the city!

Walkthrough the Textile, Spice and Golds Souks on our Walking Tour

Retail therapy in Dubai doesn’t necessarily mean heading to one of the (many) sprawling malls. For a more traditional experience, head down to one of the many souks lining either side of Dubai Creek. The Gold Souk has hundreds of retails offering a selection of jewelry, diamonds and other precious stones, while the Textile Souk has a wonderful selection of colorful fabrics

Dubai Museum

The Al Fahidi Fort, now known as the Dubai Museum was renovated during the reign of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum. It was opened in 1971 to be an official museum that displays the history of Dubai and its original heritage. In 1995, another underground museum was established and added to the old fort.

The underground museum displays the pearl diving section and tells the importance of the pearl diving industry in the history and formation of Dubai.  In the center of Fahidi Fort lies a spacious yard that is used for displaying models of local boats and bamboo houses with their traditional furniture.

Museum ticket only costs AED 3 per person and is a must-visit site when you are in Dubai. You can visit the Dubai Museum on our Old Dubai & Souk Heritage tour as well, where our guide will give you detailed information about everything.

For a more detailed guide, you can also refer to our blog on the top things to do in Dubai, Top 10 Free Things to do in Dubai, Which Dubai City Pass is the best.

If you would like to take a guided day tour to Dubai with pick up and drop off facility from Abu Dhabi, here is our list of the highly-rated tours for your reference.

  1. Dubai Sightseeing Day Trip from Abu Dhabi

The tour is well rated on Viator and is offered daily and is a great all in one day trip to Dubai. You will travel by air-conditioned coach while your guide will shed light on the region’s rich history and culture. You will visit attractions like Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al-Arab and the Burj Khalifa. You will visit the old town and cruise across Dubai Creek on a wooden ‘abra’ taxi and shop till you drop in the bustling gold and spice souks.

Cost: AED 321 onwards

Pick Up Time: 8:30 AM

Tour Duration: 9 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English

  1. Dubai Full-Day City Tour from Abu Dhabi

Another highly reviewed tour from Get Your Guide, we recommend you taking this tour since it is well priced and covers the major attractions in Dubai in a span of 8 hours. You will explore the Souks, visit the Dubai Mall and also stop at the Palm Jumeirah!

Cost: AED 300 onwards

Pick Up Time: 8:30 AM

Tour Duration: 9 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English and German

  1. Dubai City Tour from Abu Dhabi

Rayna Tours offer daily tours from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. This amazing tour, starting from Abu Dhabi, journeys you through the region’s prime highlights. You visit the Dubai Museum; admire awe-inspiring structures along Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Atlantis; and cross over the glitzy Sheik Zayed Road, taking in the vistas of stunning skyscrapers.

Cost: AED 245 onwards

Pick Up Time: 10 AM

Tour Duration: 10 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English.

  1. Dubai City Tour from Abu Dhabi

This is a must-do tour of Dubai! Be fascinated by Dubai’s rich history and tradition on a tour around the Al Fahidi Cultural Neighbourhood, Dubai Creek and the Gold and Spice Souks. You will explore the Dubai Museum to learn about times gone by and cross the Dubai Creek in a traditional abra (water taxi). In the afternoon, you will visit Downtown Dubai, and pass the Burj Khalifa and explore The Dubai Mall.

Cost: AED 245 onwards

Tour Duration: 9 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English and German

  1. Dubai City Sightseeing Tour from Abu Dhabi

From the signature Burj Al Arab hotel to Jumeirah Mosque and the fabulous gold souk, you’ll see all the sights that make Dubai famous and learn about them from a local guide.

Cost: AED 385 onwards

Tour Duration: 8 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English

  1. Dubai City Tour from Abu Dhabi

You will learn about the history and culture of Dubai, visit the Dubai Museum, walkthrough, and shop in the spice markets and the Gold Souk. We will visit the Dubai Mall and the Madinat Jumeirah and take insta worthy pics near the Burj Al Arab. Finally, you will drive past the Palm Jumeirah.

Tour Duration: 8 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English and German

Pick Up Time: 9 AM

  1. Dubai Day Tour from Abu Dhabi

On this tour, you will tour Dubai in search of its historical sights and famous icons for a day with the help of an English speaking guide, visit the oldest building in the city and see cultural locations such as the Dubai Heritage Village. You will get amazing photo opportunities at the iconic world-famous landmarks: Burj Al Arab, Palm Island, Atlantis Hotel, and the Burj Khalifa

Cost: AED 238 onwards

Tour Duration: 8 hours (Approx)

Tour is offered in English

Day trip from Dubai

Abu Dhabi is the capital and largest of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The city offers year-round sunshine, a clean, safe environment, and excellent beaches. Contrasting to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is quiet, conserved and has untainted cultural beliefs. Although the endorsed language of the city is Arabic, English is as extensively spoken, and visitors will not face any communication difficulties. Transport within the city and to neighboring cities is clean, cheap and much efficient.

Here is our guide on top things to do in Abu Dhabi if you want to explore the city on your own. The duration of the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is around 2 hours and you can commute either by Bus or by Taxi/Cab. The bus ticket for a one-way journey from Ibn Battuta MS bus station to Abu Dhabi will cost you close to $6.8 (AED 25). A taxi or Uber will cost you around $70 to $90 (AED 250 to AED 330). You can reach the Ibn Batuta Bus Stop by Dubai Metro (Ibn Batuta Metro Station). Here is our guide on how to use the Dubai Metro.

  1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This landmark building is worth visiting for the architectural masterpiece which represents a key fixture of the city’s architectural patrimony. The mosque has white marble domes, which reminiscent the Taj Mahal of India, and the complete structure was constructed with materials from countries around the world. These materials include marble, stone, semi-precious stones, gold, crystals, and ceramics. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center was designed as a place of day-to-day worship and Friday gathering. The mosque is large enough to handle the gathering of around 41,000 people. Inside the mosque, there is the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet which was crafted by 1,200 artisans along with attractive mosaics and intricate glasswork.

It will take around 20 minutes to reach the mosque from central Abu Dhabi by taxi. Visitors are required to cover shoulders and legs and women must cover their hair, robes will be provided free of charge. Also, check our guide for details on the dress code to enter the mosque. Entry to the mosque is free and visiting hours are from 9 am to 10 pm Saturday to Thursday, and 4.30 pm to 10 pm on Fridays. You can also find free guided tours between specific hours of the day.

In recent years, the Grand Mosque was listed among the top global attractions for its brilliant architectural delight.

  1. The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the Middle East’s most spectacular museum which has a large number of the permanent collection of pieces of arts displayed across around 23 state-of-the-art galleries. The museum traces civilization from all over the world and tells us the story of humanity’s artistic achievement from ancient times to the present day. This museum holds the art collection of some of the world-famous artists including the works by da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, and Matisse. The museum has mind-boggling diversity of art on display, from ancient Egyptian statuary to famous paintings by Picasso. The contemporary architecture, with its galleries gathered under an enormous silver dome, is itself a reason to visit this museum. The Louvre is the first planned major museum to open on Saadiyat Island which has become a cultural heartbeat of Abu Dhabi.

  1. Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn, also known as the White Fort or Old Fort, is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi and it is one of the major tourist attractions in the city. Dating from the 18th century, the palace was the residence of the reigning family, the seat of Government and sea stone watchtower. The interior of the Fort has been restructured and is now used as a museum with historical photographs and oral histories that traces the history and culture of Abu Dhabi. The courtyard and main northern gate which has magnificent tile work are among the notable features of this fort.

  1. Emirates Palace Hotel

Designed by British architect, Emirates Palace hotel is cherished Islamic architectural creation which is a combination of fundamentals such as balance, geometry, proportions, rhythm and hierarchical emphasis to create a unified whole. The grand dome at the center and over 114 smaller domes are spread over the building. The construction started in the year 2001 and the gates of the hotel open in 2005 with the construction costs of around 3 billion USD (11.02 billion AED) making it the third most expensive hotel ever built. Emirates Palace, which is Abu Dhabi’s most recognized hotel, allows non-guests to look around free of cost, making it one of the major tourist attractions in the city.  

  1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

The world’s largest indoor theme park will surely come under the city’s top things to do. There are numerous rides for children and adrenaline junkies can buckle up for the world’s fastest and tallest roller-coaster which can reach the speed of 120 kilometers per hour on a 52-meter loop. The theme park with various events and performs is aimed mainly at families and children. Some of the rides have restrictions of minimum height but most of the rides are open to all.

The park also brings the thrill of Formula One racing and a variety of exhibitions featuring vintage cars and racing simulators. Ferrari World holds a large collection of Ferrari’s cars, with models dating back to 1947. If you are a true car nerd, then you can also go for a Ferrari factory tour and Ferrari knowledge game show. The theme park opens daily from 11 am to 8 pm and Adult tickets will cost from AED 233 ($65) per adult online in advance.

  1. A day in the desert

If you want to experience a sense of space and peace, then you should not miss the day in the desert. You can go on a day trip or overnight trip from Abu Dhabi city for a desert safari to beautiful Liwa Oasis which lays on the edge of Empty Quarter or to the Al Khatim Desert near Al Ain. World’s largest dunes can be seen in the Empty Quarter desert and the dunes are a fantastic playground for sandboarding, vehicles riding in the dune, camel trekking, or simply soak up the vast star-strewn desert sky after dark at a desert camp. These trips include a stop to visit a camel farm and offer a taste of traditional desert life. The visitors having a short time to spend can go for the Evening Desert Safari, offering a six-hour tour into the emirate’s desert vicinities. After the tour to the dune scape, visitors will be taken to a desert camp to witness traditional Tanura and belly dancing followed by dinner.

 

If you wish to take a guided trip to Abu Dhabi, here are our recommendations for you.

  1. Abu Dhabi City Tour by Dubai by Foot

This Abu Dhabi One Day Tour covers about 75% of the city’s main attractions in a short, well-organized trip with our world-class guides. The tour will include pick-up and drop-off facilities along with the lunch for all the guests. Abu Dhabi city tour will focus on the heritage of Abu Dhabi and its connection with the Royal Family (Al Nahyan Family), and the vision of its rulers. It will cover top things to do in Abu Dhabi like Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Yas Island, Heritage Village, Saadiyat Island, Emirates Palace, Corniche, Ferrari World (Optional, subject to time availability).

Tickets: AED 360 per person or USD 99/person.

Tour Duration: 7-8 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM and will end at around 6 PM

  1. Premium Abu Dhabi Full Day City Tour

We recommend you take this premium and highly rated tour to Abu Dhabi from Dubai. The tour will cover all the major attractions in Abu Dhabi with stopovers for photoshoots as well. The tour package will include tickets to the Etihad Towers observation deck and the Palace, Garden, and other public spaces within the premise of Qasr Al Watan.

Tickets: AED 300 per person or USD 85 per person.

Tour Duration: 9 Hours

Pick up Time: 8 AM onwards

  1. Abu Dhabi City Tour

This tour package is crafted with cautiously picked highlights of Abu Dhabi to ensure that you don’t miss out to take in its significant sights. This is one of the most cost-effective tour packages which cover all the most visiting places in Abu Dhabi.

Tickets: AED 135 or USD 40 (Without Lunch) and AED 195 or USD 55 (With Lunch)

Tour Duration: 9-10 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 08:30

 

  1. Abu Dhabi City Sightseeing Tours

Explore the sights and landmarks of Abu Dhabi City with customized options along with your Abu Dhabi city tour ranging from Ferrari World to Louvre museum and Warner Bros. The tour will have photo stops at all the destinations and one-stop for lunch as well.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 295 or USD 80

Tour Duration: Full Day

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM

 

  1. Private Tour: Abu Dhabi Full-Day City sightseeing

Orient tours provide one of the top-rated private day trips to Abu Dhabi. The tour covers all the major tourist attractions like Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Zayed Centre, the Heritage Village, Saadiyat Island, and Ferrari World.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 1050 or USD 285

Tour Duration: 8-9 Hours

Pick up Time: Tour starts at 9 AM

 

  1. Abu Dhabi Small-Group Day Trip from Dubai by Private Dubai Tours

With this tour package you will enjoy an Abu Dhabi city sightseeing in a small group atmosphere. This is also one of the top-rated guided tour packages which covers the top major attractions in Abu Dhabi.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 1050 or USD 285

Tour Duration: 8-9 Hours

 

  1. Full-Day Tour of Abu Dhabi City by ABC Tours Dubai

Being a cost-effective tour package with good reviews, this is one of our recommended tour to explore the Abu Dhabi city.

Tickets: Package starting from AED 190 or USD 50

Tour Duration: 10 Hours

Abu Dhabi Bus Tours

This post provides a breakdown of the most popular Abu Dhabi bus tours, including pricing, discounts, reviews, and services.

  1. Hop On Hop Off by Big Bus Tours

Big Bus Tours is the largest operator of open-top bus sightseeing tours in the world, providing sightseeing tours in 22 cities across four continents.

You can hop on the bus to discover all the must-see monuments, landmarks, and architectures from the open-top Big Buses. You would have generally seen the buses in their maroon color. You can then hop off to explore the rich tradition at the Grand Mosque or the Heritage Village, explore and marvel at the Louvre and the Yas Island. You can easily spend the full day to travel and explore the city. Abu Dhabi has various pick-up and drops off points near all major attractions.

We will cover important details such as prices, what to expect, what you will see on your journey and additional activities that may be included.

  • Classic Bus Ticket

You can discover Abu Dhabi with this classic bus ticket in air-conditioned Hop on Hop Off Buses. There is pre-recorded commentary in 8 languages. There are 2 routes in Abu Dhabi with a total of 24 different stops.

Each route can be finished in under or around 2 hours, so it shouldn’t take more than 4 hours to see everything in the city. This should leave you plenty of time to hop off and enjoy some of the additional activities.

The first route is the red route, with the first stop at 9 AM with the first bus and at 5 PM with the last bus of the day.

The Abu Dhabi bus tour give you the chance to see the sights of Abu Dhabi from a unique, top-deck perspective. The City Tour (Red Route) has 14 different stops where you can hop on and hop off to visit top Abu Dhabi landmarks and attractions.

The Island Tour (Green Route) lets you hop on hop off and show you the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Louvre Museum and Yas Island, home to Abu Dhabi’s best adventure parks. This is the second route for the classic bus ticket with the first stop at 9 AM with the first bus and at 5 PM with the last bus of the day.

Tickets can be bought online or on street and are priced as under:

Adult price (Online): USD 40.80 (AED 150)

Adult price (on-street) USD 54.50 (AED 200)

Child price (Online): USD 40.80 (AED 150)

Child price (on-street): USD 54.50 (AED200)

  • Dubai & Abu Dhabi Tour Package

In case you are interested in visiting Abu Dhabi from Dubai, Big Bus Tours also have a combo ticket option which includes a free shuttle transfer to and from Dubai.

This combo pack also includes all of the additional activities that you would receive from each 1-day ticket.

  • 1-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Dubai Bus Tour
  • 1-Day Hop-on-Hop-off Abu Dhabi Bus Tour
  • Free Shuttle Service to and from Abu Dhabi
  • Entry to 10 Dubai Museums
  • Entry to Sky Tower
  • Dhow Cruise
  • Night Bus Tour
  • 4 Free Walking Tours

Tickets: USD 125.21/ AED 459 (Adults) and USD 81.39/ AED 297 (Children)

You’ll have a total of two days to enjoy both tours, so there won’t be any rush to take advantage of everything included with this package.

Both tickets can be used on any two consecutive days within 6 months of the original purchase date. This means you can buy the ticket package months ahead of time and possibly even save some money by getting it during a sale.

 

We will now provide details about bus tours that don’t allow you to hop on and off. In addition to covering what you can expect, we will also include information about prices, tour duration and what you will see on your trip.

  1. Gray Line Bus Tours

Gray Line Bus Tours offer an interesting deal if you want to take a day trip to Abu Dhabi and enjoy a tour of the city.

During this full-day tour, you’ll see sites such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island and Heritage Village. Entrance to the mosque is included, as are lunch and some free time at the Yas Mall.

Tickets: USD 97 (AED 356) for adults and USD 68 (AED 250) for children

Availability: Saturday – Thursday at 9 AM

Duration: 9 hours.

This is a great option for anyone who wants to see Abu Dhabi without needing a combo ticket from their competitors.

Pick-up and drop-off service are available from your hotel in Dubai.

Customers who decide not to take this bus tour can cancel their tickets up to 24 hours before the tour takes place.

  1. City Sightseeing Bus Tour

As with their competitors, this company also provides a combo ticket that combines a hop-on-hop-off tour of Dubai with a tour in Abu Dhabi.

However, the main difference between these two offers is that City Sightseeing only offers a guided city tour of Abu Dhabi instead of a full hop-on-hop-off experience.

To make up for it, they include a full 7-day ticket in Dubai and all of the additional activities that come with it.

  • Twin City Pass
  • 7-Day Dubai Bus Tour Ticket
  • Abu Dhabi City Tour w/ Pick-up & Drop-off
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Ticket
  • Palm Jumeirah Cruise
  • Dhow Creek Cruise:
  • Dubai Creek Walking Tour
  • Global Village Entry

Tickets: USD 180 for adults and USD 152 for children

Although they don’t offer a hop-on-hop-off tour of Abu Dhabi, their guided tour of the city does include stops at locations such as Yas Island, Marina Mall and the vegetable & dates market.

When you purchase this combo ticket, you will be asked to pick a preferred date for the Abu Dhabi city tour. You must take the tour within 1 week of redeeming your 7-day hop-on-hop-off bus tour in Dubai.

For more information on the 7-day ticket, check our hop-on-hop-off bus tours section.

  1. Wonder Bus Abu Dhabi City Tour

Wonder Bus is a unique water bus that can go to both land & water. Wonder Bus Dubai gives you an unforgettable trip with your family to go to creek water by bus and they also have a city tour in Abu Dhabi throughout the week. You will have stopovers at Ferrari World and Dates Market, drive through Corniche, visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

You can opt for the tour with or without lunch at the Courtyard by Marriott.

This is a much more affordable option than the hop-on-hop-off bus tours, but you won’t be allowed to jump off and explore at your leisure.

This is an excellent alternative for anyone who wants to see the city and take a cruise without spending a lot of time going all over the place.

Tickets:

AED 125 without Lunch

AED 175 with Lunch

 

Both Big Bus Tours and City Sightseeing work with the major attraction passes offered in Abu Dhabi to provide their services for a lower price. Whether you just want to pay one flat price for everything or get a discount on specific activities, this is a great way to save money while on vacation in Dubai.

Top 10 Things to do in Abu Dhabi

1. Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque: The signature tourist attraction of the capital city of Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is free to enter, open every day, and photography is encouraged.  Tourists of all faiths are welcome to visit, and many come to see the symmetrical architecture and to learn about one of the world’s great religions. There is so much to see here: Onion-top domes, courtyards, gardens, reflective pools, gold lettering, the world’s largest chandelier, and the world’s largest handmade carpet.  The idea for the mosque came from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted this mosque to showcase the Islamic world’s historical values of art and architecture.  The mosque was finished in 2007 and has become a major destination for the region.

 

2. Qasr Al Hosn: For over two hundred years whoever was able to control the walls of this fort, won the right to rule here. Built around the 1790’s, these towers overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the surrounding village.  In 2019 the fort opened after extensive renovations to house a modern museum and gallery space.  Admission to the House of Artisans, the Cultural Foundation, and landscape exhibit is free.  To enter into the hear to the fort and to gain access to the daily events, book tickets online here.

 

3. Qasr Al Watan: A visit to this Presidential palace will give visitors rare insight into the Emirati governance style and how decisions are made.  Opened to the public for the first time in 2019, Qasr Al Watan has quickly become a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike.  Great halls, libraries, and exhibits, showcase diplomatic history and provide context to the UAE’s rich cultural heritage.  A unique gift shop and Emirati restaurant make this a good place to linger and enjoy the ambiance.

4. Louvre Abu Dhabi: Opened in 2017, this museum is dedicated to world art and civilization with a focus on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. Indeed, the halls are filled with grand pieces that span centuries and continents.  The building itself is also a work of art with a web-patterned dome which gives the effect of rays of sunlight passing through date palm trees in the desert.  Seasonal exhibits mean that there will always be something new to explore here, and the dining facilities are first rate.

 

5. Emirates Palace: This is a luxury hotel and resort that has become an iconic landmark for the city. With more than 100 domes and grand outdoor staircases, the hotel looks like a fairytale castle.  The many cafes and restaurants make the resort accessible to non-guests.  Book an afternoon high tea or enjoy a gold flaked cappuccino in the grand lobby café.  Stroll through the hotel to admire the crystal chandeliers and the handmade carpets and get a sense for how wealthy sheikhs decorate their own homes.

 

6. Heritage Village: Located along the waterfront, this attraction is like going back in time to visit an original fishing and pearling village of the coast.  Wooden huts, Bedouin tents, and craft workshops will transport you to simpler time.  For hundreds of years, villages like these prospered through the global natural pearl trade.  Men made wooden boats by hand and for three months out of the year went into the sea to earn their fortune.  It was a hard life, and there were few luxuries.  But the fish is served fresh and the coffee was strong.  Save this spot for your souvenir shopping, and bargain for the best price!

7. Yas Marina Circuit & Ferrari World: These tracks host Grand Prix and Formula 1 drivers during the racing season.  The rest of the time, amateurs like you and me can hug the curves in go-carts or in high performance race cars (including Aston Martin).  Behind the scenes tours will delight racing fans, but the kids will want to go to Ferrari World.  The only Ferrari theme park in the world, the rides hear focus on speed and thrill (hello fastest rollercoaster in the world).  Best part, its mostly indoor, which is clutch if you find yourself here anywhere near the summertime.

 

8. Falcon Hospital: There is nothing more Emirati than falcon hunting.  Generations of Bedouins trained these majestic birds to hunt the Hobura bird and to scavenge for food.  Without the speed and skill of the falcon, Bedouin tribes would not have thrived in the harsh desert environment.  So, a trip to this hospital is really an introduction to the desert way of life and to experience the speed and power of these hunters up close.  This tour has emerged as a fan favorite since 2007.

9. Emirates National Auto Museum: 30 minutes from the city center, there is a large pyramid that sits next to a globe and an abandoned jet airplane. It is a weird place, and chances are you will be the only visitor there. Once inside though, you will see a most impressive classic car collection.  The cars come from all over the world and displayed in chronological order, all the way up to present times.  Who knew that 1980’s minivans already belong in a museum?  You actually have to see this place to believe it exists.

 

10. Big Bus City Tour: This tour is a great use of time to hit all the major sites in Abu Dhabi.  The two routes that they have (red and green) will get you to most of the places on our top ten list and back to your hotel.  The architecture of this city is often futuristic, so here you will learn about the landmarks as you cruise by taking photos.  Pre-recorded audio content will give you the background for everything you need.  This bus tour in Abu Dhabi is an efficient and cost-effective way to get around the city.