Visit Abu Dhabi

What to see & do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, embodies an intriguing blend of tradition and modernity. This cosmopolitan city boasts a secure and pristine environment, featuring numerous tourist attractions and diverse venues for both outdoor and indoor activities. Below you can take a glimpse at the myriad offerings this city has in store. For comprehensive information about the emirate you can download the free Visit Abu Dhabi mobile app.

We’re delighted to arrange a half-day safari desert group excursion for ArtsIT 2024 participants. Please find the information and sign up form here. The duration of the safari is approximately 6 hours (3.30 pm – 9.30pm) and will likely happen during the last day of the conference or the following day if there is enough interest. Guests from outside the conference are invited to register, even if they aren’t attending the event.

Qasr Al Watan

Qasr Al Watan, a functioning Presidential palace in Abu Dhabi, stands as a magnificent cultural landmark, welcoming visitors to explore the profound legacy of knowledge and tradition that has influenced the UAE’s trajectory. Beyond its role as a traditional palace, Qasr Al Watan serves as a testament to cultural comprehension and underscores the nation’s extraordinary history. Among the city’s most notable attractions, Qasr Al Watan hosts the family-friendly Palace In Motion event – a spectacular light and sound show that commemorates the UAE’s journey through three captivating acts unfolding in front of the main palace every 30 minutes after sundown.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, serves as a sacred space for individuals from diverse backgrounds who unite to appreciate the architectural splendor and gain profound insights into the religion and culture of the UAE. Ranking among the world’s largest mosques, it embodies the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, who aspired to create a welcoming cultural haven that inspires people from all walks of life. The construction itself was a testament to cultural collaboration. The magnificent structure was intricately designed and built by skilled teams from across the globe, featuring the craftsmanship of 1,300 Iranian artisans who meticulously hand-knotted the carpet in the main prayer hall – recognized as the world’s largest.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Enter the renowned Louvre Abu Dhabi, the inaugural universal museum in the Arab World, dedicated to translating and promoting a spirit of openness among cultures. Nestled in the Saadiyat Cultural District on Saadiyat Island, this haven for art enthusiasts showcases a vast array of works spanning historical, cultural, and sociological significance, encompassing epochs from ancient times to the contemporary era. Since its inauguration, the opening of this iconic museum has propelled Abu Dhabi’s art scene onto the global stage, instilling a profound sense of pride among both locals and residents

 

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace, Mandarin Oriental Abu Dhabi is an enchanting fusion of luxurious comfort, impeccable service, and unique dining experiences. From a distance, the hotel resembles something from an Arabian fairytale, with the main building stretching over one kilometer from wing to wing and expansive gardens covering 100 hectares. Featuring 114 domes, the central dome rises to an impressive 72.6 meters above the ground, meticulously adorned with gold, mother of pearl, and crystals. The building houses 1,002 chandeliers, with the largest weighing 2.5 tons, and showcases other visually striking features, including two handmade wall displays depicting the palace.

Heritage Village

Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village, a family-friendly destination offering a glimpse into the traditional desert way of life. This immersive time capsule features an old-world souk (market), mosque, and a camp modeled on pre-modern UAE life. Situated on the Marina Mall Island, close to the city center, this traditional oasis village serves as a window to Abu Dhabi’s historical past. Visitors can shop, explore artifacts, and witness artisans engaging in activities like pottery-making, glass-blowing, and fabric-weaving on a loom. The village is also the base for the Emirates Heritage Club, organizing workshops for traditional crafts. Here, craftsmen showcase skills in metalwork, pottery, weaving, and spinning yarn and may even encourage visitors to try their hand at these traditional trades.

Yas Island

Yas Island is an irresistible destination that offers a multitude of activities, ensuring visitors won’t want to depart. Ideal for families, Yas Island is conveniently situated just 30 minutes from the city and 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. Here, visitors will find an F1™ race track, renowned theme parks including Ferrari World, Warner Bros. World™, and SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, a top-notch links golf course, a picturesque beach, impressive hotels, a vibrant mall, and an array of other attractions

Saadiyat Island

Saadiyat Island is a tranquil haven that seamlessly merges culture and tranquility. Here, visitors will encounter the renowned Louvre Abu Dhabi and other pillars of Abu Dhabi’s cultural landscape, including Manarat Al Saadiyat, and the forthcoming Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, teamLab Phenomena, Natural History Museum, and Zayed National Museum – all envisioned by recipients of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. If you seek enlightenment through art, history, and culture, Saadiyat Island stands as the perfect base, especially with a selection of highly-rated resorts in close proximity. Feel the softness of the sand beneath your feet and take a moment to rejuvenate on one of Saadiyat Island’s pristine beaches. These shores, adorned with immaculate white sand and pockets of greenery, possess a unique charm. Keep an eye out for the critically endangered Hawksbill turtles that call this place home.

Jubail Mangrove & Mangrove National Park

Visitors can discover a tranquil retreat away from the urban bustle and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Jubail Mangrove Park and Mangrove National Park, sanctuaries for avian and marine species indigenous to Abu Dhabi. Jubail Mangrove Park offers expansive boardwalks that wind through the mangroves, offering glimpses of the park’s diverse inhabitants, including turtles, herons, and gazelles. The landscape is captivating, especially within the park, where the verdant mangrove forests of Abu Dhabi create a lush barrier between the sea and the shore. Birdwatchers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers will find this oasis truly enchanting.

Getting Around

Car Rental

Renting a car in Abu Dhabi provides the flexibility to explore the Emirate at your own pace, including destinations like Al Ain and Al Dhafra. Numerous car rental companies in Abu Dhabi offer reliable vehicles and comprehensive rental packages that include insurance, maintenance, and 24-hour assistance. To rent a car, you will need a valid passport copy, a credit card, and a valid driving license—either international or from your home country. Parking is convenient with Abu Dhabi’s Mawaqif paid parking system, costing between 2-3 AED per hour depending on the location.

Bikes

For a blend of exploration and exercise, consider hiring a bicycle in Abu Dhabi. You can use the Careem Bike app to rent bikes from over 50 docked bike-share stations throughout the Emirate, including Yas Island, Reem Island, and the Corniche. The app offers daily, weekly, or monthly rental packages.

Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus

The Experience Abu Dhabi shuttle bus provides a free and convenient connection to major tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi. These air-conditioned, wheelchair-friendly buses regularly stop at top hotels, landmarks, and attractions along eight key routes. You can use the bus to visit destinations in Abu Dhabi city center, Yas Island, Saadiyat Island, Jubail Island, and the Grand Canal area.

This free service is available to both local and international tourists. Simply hop on at any stop, scan the QR code, and enjoy the ride! For more information on the Experience Abu Dhabi shuttle bus, including timings and routes, click here.

Abu Dhabi Taxi

Abu Dhabi’s taxi network is operated by TransAD. To book a taxi through TransAD call 600 53 53 53 or download the Abu Dhabi Taxi App on GooglePlay and AppStore

Careem

Careem is an affordable, chauffeured car booking service operating in the Middle East. Get in on GooglePlay and AppStore

Uber

Uber has been available in the UAE since 2013

Public Buses

Public buses offer a cost-effective way to travel around Abu Dhabi, operating round-the-clock. To pay for a bus journey in Abu Dhabi, use a Hafilat smart card. “Hafilat,” meaning “buses” in Arabic, is a pre-paid card that can be used on any public bus to scan in and out of your trip. You can purchase and activate a Hafilat smart card at bus stations, shopping malls, and convenience stores throughout the city. The minimum amount that can be loaded onto a Hafilat smart card is 10 AED, with each journey costing 2 AED plus 5 fils per kilometer.

Plan your Abu Dhabi bus journey and find more information about Hafilat smart cards on Darb, the official source of information for public transport in the Emirate.