By Expedia Team, on January 12, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Explore Abu Dhabi

CC by 3.0/FritzDaCat

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is also the largest Emirate and covers nearly 87 percent of the country’s land area. Located on the Arabian Gulf, this Emirate has a lot for a visitor to see ranging from lush gardens to skyscrapers. Here’s a checklist for first-timers to this dazzling city:

Discover Abu Dhabi’s finest

1. Yas Island: For the Fast and Furious

Home to the Yas Marina Circuit and the Ferrari World, this island is definitely meant for those who love speed. You can enjoy some of the finest Formula One races here or even sit in the fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa, in the Ferrari World. This man-made island will give you some spectacular views of the sea and the Abu Dhabi skyline. You can choose to stay at Yas Island Rotana.

Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island

Yas Marina Circuit – CC by 2.0/Rob Alter

Ferrari World, Yas Marina Circuit

Ferrari World – CC by 2.0/ Aziz J.Hayat

2. Zayed Mosque: The Most Beautiful Mosque in UAE

This is the largest and perhaps the most beautiful mosque in UAE and covers an area of more than 12 hectares! You’ll be left in awe at the spotless white columns of the mosque with a mirror-reflection in the pools beside them. You can also find some huge chandeliers here that will make your jaw drop with their intricate work. Do make sure that you wear sunglasses while visiting here to avoid the glare from sunlight reflecting off the white tiles and walls.

Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Zayed Mosque – CC by 3.0/FritzDaCat

Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Zayed Mosque – CC by 2.0/Leonardo Aguiar

3. Al Ain: The Garden City of UAE

Located at a distance of 160 kilometers from Abu Dhabi city, this green oasis is the largest inland city in the country. You will see extensive greenery throughout the city, be it on the road dividers or the vast gardens. You can also find some historical site near Jabel Hafeet, the second highest mountain in UAE, and Al Hili. A visit to the Green Mubazarrah is a must-do thing here with its lush hills and natural hot water springs. You can visit the top of Jabel Hafeet and get some sweeping views of the city too.

Green Mubazarrah, Al Ain

Green Mubazarrah – CC by 3.0/Shahinmusthafa Shahin Olakara

Al Ain

CC by 2.0/Jerry “Woody”

4. Qasr Al Hosn: The Oldest Stone Building in Abu Dhabi

This fort was built way back in 1761 as a watchtower and became permanent residence of Sheikh in 1793 after expansions. It served as the seat of the government till 1966 and today it is a museum where you can dive into the rich culture and heritage of the country. You can choose to visit it during the Qasr-Al-Hosn festival, which is a 11 day long event hosted in the grounds of the fort. During this time, you will also be able to visit some restricted areas of the fort.

Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn – CC by 3.0/Joestevens

The First Tower, Qasr Al Hosn

The First Tower – CC by 2.5/ X@x

5. Dalma Mall: Largest Shopping Mall in Abu Dhabi

Built in 2010, this mall is the largest in the city and features over 400 stores. You can shop to your heart’s content here and indulge in many entertainment activities. Kids will love to play games in the Fun City which also features PlayZone, a soft-play area. If you’re looking for sports equipment, you can head to the Adventure HQ. You can also watch latest flicks at Cine Royal, which is the largest multiplex in Abu Dhabi.

Dalma Mall

Dalma Mall – CC by 4.0/Dalma Mall

6. Mangrove National Park: Nature in Midst of City

Located just off the coast of the city, Mangrove National Park is a peaceful haven for flora and fauna away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can spot more than 60 species of birds nesting here like Greater Flamingo and Western Reef Heron. You could also indulge in some activities like diving and kayaking. You can also spot other species like the Mottled Crab here.

Mangrove National Park

Photo: @t_alsalman

7. Abu Dhabi Corniche: The Best Place to Walk in Abu Dhabi

Whether you’re looking to go out for a leisurely stroll, jogging or cycling, the corniche is the perfect place for you. On one side is the scenic skyline of the city and on the other you can see the Lulu Island at a distance with the glamorous Emirates Hotel. The corniche also has a few sandy patches and these have been converted into public beaches for you to relax and enjoy the beautiful views. The Corniche also has the UAE Flagpole which is the tallest in the world.

Abu Dhabi Corniche

Abu Dhabi Corniche – CC by 3.0/FritzDaCat

Abu Dhabi Corniche

CC by 3.0/giggel

Abu Dhabi has lots to offer in terms of entertainment activities, history and natural diversity. You simply cannot miss out on the sheer grandeur of the capital of United Arab Emirates.


[tab title=”Best Time to Visit” icon=”entypo-book”]The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is during the winter months when the temperatures are moderate and pleasant between December and March.[/tab]

[tab title=”Where to Stay” icon=”entypo-book”]You can choose to stay in Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi or Rosewood Abu Dhabi. Other hotels can be found at


[tab title=”How to reach” icon=”entypo-book”]Abu Dhabi International Airport is connected to all the major international airports around the world.[/tab]