Spectacular natural phenomena, brand-new art museums or magnificent religious buildings: Abu Dhabi delights with its mix of nature, culture and tradition. Look forward to deserted islands with dream beaches, lush green mangrove forests or impressive desert landscapes. Experience the art metropolis of the Arabian Peninsula or feel the magical, Arabian splendor from One Thousand and One Nights!
Tip 1: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi is undoubtedly one of the most impressive structures in the United Arab Emirates and one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
Made of white Italian marble and decorated with floral patterns, golden accents and mother-of-pearl, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque exudes a venerable charm. The builders paid particular attention to the small details. The artistically handcrafted carpet from Iran, which covers an area of approximately 5,600 square meters, is impressive. The magnificent brass and stainless steel chandeliers, studded with Swarovski crystals, were made in Germany. The mosque bears the name of the UAE’s founder and first president Sheikh Zayid Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose tomb is located on the grounds. No photos or filming are allowed of it. It was his last will that a truly great mosque should be built in Abu Dhabi. For this purpose, he left about 350 million euros from his private fortune.
The sacred building is located in the southeast of the city near the Khor Al Maqta estuary. It offers space for about 40,000 worshippers in its halls and courtyard. Compared to many other mosques, non-Muslims can visit the house of prayer daily.
Tip 2: Louvre Abu Dhabi
With his design, the Frenchman Nouvel has achieved a perfect symbiosis of Arab building tradition and high-tech modernity. The glittering dome made of steel and aluminum has a diameter of an incredible 180 meters. It is a marvel of futuristic engineering: translucent and delicate, it seems to float in the air – and yet it is about as heavy as the entire Eiffel Tower in Paris. The domed roof consists of eight finely crafted layers that refract, filter and dampen the glistening light of the desert sun. Inside the building complex, visitors thus enjoy a play of light and shadow – depending on the position of the sun, it looks like a magical shower of stars. The unusual structure of the domed vault is reminiscent of traditional roofs made of natural palm fronds. The date palm is considered a tree of life in the region.
This enormous roof encloses around 8,000 square meters of exhibition space. This makes the Louvre Abu Dhabi the largest museum on the Arabian Peninsula. After the sublime experience that the starry dome provides for the arriving visitor, the architecture inside the cultural oasis stirs up the desire to discover: 55 simple individual buildings make up a real little museum city. Here, too, the inspiration comes from ancient traditions: The complex is modeled on an Arab medina with its winding alleys. In addition to sunlight and shadows, the architectural composition also pays tribute to another characteristic element: water. Louvre Abu Dhabi is open to the Arabian Gulf, and seawater flows through canals into pools between the buildings, giving the atmosphere an extra dose of depth and tranquility.
Tip 3: Ferrari World
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is a paradise for horsepower fans. The world’s first Ferrari theme park impresses with fast-paced rides, attractions about the history of Ferrari, the world’s largest Ferrari store and authentic Italian dining options. The huge Ferrari World, with a red roof bearing the Ferrari logo, can be seen from afar. Ferrari World houses 37 rides, including several that hold world records. Among the most famous attractions are the “Flying Ace Ride” with the highest roller coaster loop in the world and the “Formula Rossa” as the fastest roller coaster in the world with a speed of 250km/h.
The Ferrari Word is open 365 days a year and convinces not only with fast-paced rides but also with family-friendly attractions, state-of-the-art simulators and live shows. Ferrari World offers a unique experience for every age group. For some time now, two more spectacular experiences have been available for booking at Ferrari World: visitors free from giddiness can climb the roof of Ferrari World on the “Roof Walk” and enjoy a gigantic view of Yas Island. In addition, the new Zip Line promises pure thrills: Hanging on just one rope, guests can fly through the Flying Aces roller coaster loop.
Tip 4: Emirates Palace Hotel
It is one of the most luxurious, most expensive and probably also most impressive hotels in the world – the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Not only hotel guests are thrilled by this palace, but also external visitors come again and again to this extravagant hotel at the southwestern end of the city to admire it from the outside alone.
What many do not know at first: The Emirates Palace was originally supposed to be a palace of the sheikh family of Abu Dhabi. They had this luxurious building built to hold important business meetings there. However, due to a death in the family, the plans were quickly changed and it was decided to use the luxurious building as a hotel from then on.
Since the Emirates Palace, as the name suggests, was once intended as a royal palace, the hotel has been one of the most expensive and luxurious hotels in the world since it opened in 2005. In fact, the cost of construction was around $3 billion, double that of the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai. In the meantime, it even held the title of “most expensive hotel in the world,” although it has since been replaced by another luxurious and high-priced hotel.
Tip 5: Corniche
The heart of Abu Dhabi runs along an approximately ten-kilometer-long waterfront road on the city’s main island. Where the city center meets the Arabian Gulf, the Corniche is at home. The glamorous beach promenade is the most popular destination in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Whether visitors are big or small, locals or tourists, the boulevard attracts people in droves with palaces, monuments, skyscrapers, beaches, parks, shopping malls and typical Arab bazaars. So there are plenty of opportunities to spend a varied day along the boulevard.
The Corniche runs across almost the entire width of the main island directly on the shore of the Arabian Gulf. In front of it are the islands Al Marina and Al Lulu. At the eastern end, the Corniche is bordered by the large port area of Zayed Port, while in the west the promenade ends at the presidential palace Qasr Al Watan. Travelers who want to explore the highlights of the Corniche in detail will find bikesharing a perfect solution to get around easily and flexibly. The bike rental system has set up numerous bike stations along the promenade, where users can rent and return bikes. This makes the 10-kilometer route easy to master and cyclists can take as many breaks as they like along the way.