A Quick Guide to Abu Dhabi: Everything you must do in Abu Dhabi

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While its close neighbour, Dubai, is often in the spotlight for hitting world records almost every other day, Abu Dhabi is in fact the largest city in the United Arab Emirates and the capital ofย the U.A.E. With much to offer and located just a short drive from Dubai, visitors to each city should make the effort to visit the other, as both have very different highlights. Here’s a look at everything you must do in Abu Dhabi!

Mosque Abu Dhabi - Must See Abu Dhabi

A Quick Guide toย Abu Dhabi

Prior to Arrival

Etihad calls Abu Dhabi their home base, so be sure to check their site for good deals on flight prices or look at some of their partner airlines around the world. Many nationals do not require a visa to enter the UAE, as well as many others qualifying for a (free) visa on arrival. See a full list here.

On Arrival

The most convenient means of transport into the city is by taxi, offered at a flat rate of 75 dirhams (around $20 USD / $25 AUD). The journey takes around 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

Getting Around

The easiest way to get around Abu Dhabi is by car and by international standards, taxi fares are still quite reasonable. It is also possible to walk on foot, however the heat is likely to deter most.

Getting By

Visiting the UAE as a foreigner isn’t nearly as scary as one might be led to believe. Sure, there is a slight culture shock… but as in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is full of international expats making it a very international city. There are certainly some laws to be aware of as this is a Muslim state, mainly:

Dress semi-conservatory with no short shorts or skirts and not too much skin showing. Of course in mosques the dress-code is much more strict, with women being required to cover their head, ankles, and wrists (at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi you can rent an Abaya to cover yourself).

Don’t engage in public displays of affection – i.e. kissing or cuddling in public.

During Ramadan, no one is permitted to eat or drink in public places as this is the Islamic month of fasting.

What to See

Sheik Zayad Mosque – see a full guide to the Grand Mosque here.

Emirates Palace – An impressive display of ultimate opulence. The high tea is delightful!

Ferrari World – As it sounds, this is a large amusement park based on the car brand.

Where to Stay

The city of Abu Dhabi is full of swanky digs, some favourites include:

Emirates Palace – A lush Arabian palace that will leave you feeling like royalty the minute you enter.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr – Modern and swanky with views of the Grand Mosque.

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort – A desert escape outside of the city with desert walks, camel treks and endless star-gazing opportunities.

What to Eat & Drink

Arabic food will likely surprise you. Be sure to try hummus, falafel, grilled halloumi, tabouleh, baba ghanoush, and fattoush. Arabic sweets are also pleasantly surprising!


Italian – try Frankie’s Italian for home cooked Italian at its best. Open for lunch and dinner @ the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

Japanese – try Zuma for delicious typical Japanese cuisine and a great cocktail hour. Open for lunch and dinner @ The Galleria.

Lebanese – try Li Beirut for a taste of the Middle East. Open for lunch and dinner @ Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Get Out

Dubai is very nearby and under 2 hours to drive. Taxis are also available for the commute. Desert safaris are also popular and available daily.

Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Mosque Abu Dhabi Mosque Mosque Abu Dhabi - Must See Abu Dhabi Head covered - Grand Mosque abu dhabi grand mosque Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi

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  • admin@6th.com.au'
    Perth escorts
    January 19, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    This is an amazing place, you must visit it once in life.

  • ckmac@hotmail.ca'
    December 31, 2015 at 1:15 am

    I live in Abu Dhabi, so thought I’d chime in here – a taxi from Abu Dhabi to Dubai (one way) costs about $100 USD. Renting a car costs about $40 USD per day and the road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is a straight highway, very straightforward. The only tricky thing is that traffic in Dubai can be quite stressful and the roads are not well organized, so it’s easy to get lost. However, most cab drivers in Dubai don’t know how to find destinations either, so you might as well drive yourself! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • daniela.rifai@gmail.com'
    November 26, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Arabic architecture will never stop fascinating me! Beautiful pictures! I hope I will visit this city very soon.


  • slakos@hotmail.com'
    November 24, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Hi Brooke! Do you mean โ€œthey are both in Europe?โ€โ˜บ๏ธ

  • Raguil7079@gmail.com'
    Adrian Aguilera
    November 24, 2015 at 2:09 am

    What dates did you visit Abu Dahbi and what camera/lens did you use for your pics? I was there on Nov 21,2015

  • milanakrmenjac123@gmail.com'
    Milana I The Backpackers
    November 23, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I love your posts, you always have great advice and suggestions.

    Abu Dhabi and Dubai are on my bucket list for a long, long time and it is finally going to happen next summer. I am so exited, even more when I read your post and see the pics. I just can’t wait to get there.

    Thanks for the post!

  • d_theodosiou@hotmail.com'
    November 23, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    On my bucketlist really soon! Do u think it is convenient to hire a car and roadtrip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?

    • Brooke Saward
      November 23, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      If it were me I would pay a cab fare – cheaper than hiring a car and saves the hassle ๐Ÿ™‚

  • zookii.zookii@gmail.com'
    November 23, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Iโ€™d love to visit Abu Dhabi. It looks absolutely amazing.

  • kayleighbaker09@hotmail.co.uk'
    Kayleigh - Leni & Me
    November 23, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I’d love to visit Abu Dhabi. It looks absolutely beautiful <3

  • darasugrue@yahoo.com'
    November 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Looks stunning. I have been to Dubai but didn’t get as far as Abu Dhabi..definitely on my list of places to go.

  • maryshoppingsblog@gmail.com'
    November 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Beautiful pictures!
    Thanks for the tips ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jenniferdstevens@gmail.com'
    Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite
    November 22, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I had no idea how close Abu Dhabi was to Dubai! I cannot wait to explore those cities soon. Also, LOVE the pics. Beautiful composition.


  • karmapoliice@gmail.com'
    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    November 22, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    I’d love to check out Abu Dhabi, I’ve transited through the airport a couple of times but have never gone into the city. It looks so beautiful!

    Tessa at

  • vonnydu@hotmail.co.id'
    November 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Abu Dhabi is really beuatiful. <3 <3 <3