From Beaches to Museums: Things to Do on Your Abu Dhabi Vacation


Abu Dhabi, the shimmering city on the Persian Gulf, is a place of wonder, excitement, and luxury. From spectacular beaches to towering skyscrapers, the city has much to offer for those seeking an unforgettable vacation experience. You might be asking yourself, what can I exactly do in Abu Dhabi? Well, in this post, we’re going to reveal all of the best things that this magical city has to offer. Whether you want to bask in the sun on a serene beach, sample exquisite dining experiences, or indulge in some luxury shopping, Abu Dhabi has something to offer for every traveler. From the desert adventures to the modern architectural splendors, this post will explore the ten must-do things that will make your vacation in Abu Dhabi unforgettable. Buckle up and get ready to explore the wonders of Abu Dhabi!

Introduction to Abu Dhabi as a vacation destination

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a beautiful and luxurious destination that offers a wealth of experiences to visitors from all over the world. From awe-inspiring desert landscapes to pristine beaches, modern architecture to rich cultural heritage, Abu Dhabi is the perfect vacation destination.

Abu Dhabi boasts of several high-end resorts, world-class dining options, luxury shopping, and thrilling outdoor activities that make it an ideal destination for couples, families, and adventurers alike.

One of the main attractions of Abu Dhabi is its impressive skyline of towering skyscrapers and modern architectural wonders, including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The city’s cultural attractions, including the Heritage Village, Qasr Al-Hosn, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, make it an enriching destination for those who cherish art and history.

This section will explore the delightful experience of vacationing in Abu Dhabi and why it is the perfect place to escape to for a fulfilling getaway.

Exploring the Desert Adventures of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a city of endless adventures in the desert. The desert landscape of Abu Dhabi offers an array of thrilling escapades to visitors. Exploring the rugged terrain of the desert can never get tired. The beauty of the sand dunes against the blue sky and the golden sunset is stunning.

Dune bashing is one of the most popular activities that visitors enjoy in Abu Dhabi. A thrilling ride over the dunes in a 4X4 is an adrenaline-pumping experience that must not be missed. Visiting the desert camps and Bedouin villages is another way to experience the local cultures and learn about their customs.

Camel riding is a must-do desert activity, a traditional experience that allows visitors to relax while taking in the stunning views of the desert. Riding the camels is a fun way to hop from one sand dune to another and to learn more about camel culture.

Another popular activity in Abu Dhabi’s desert is sandboarding. Visitors can rent a board and slide down the dunes for excitement and adventure. Exploring the desert on a quad bike or buggy is another adrenaline-pumping activity. Visitors can rent a quad bike or buggy and explore the sand dunes at high speed.

Visitors can also opt for an overnight desert safari with a Bedouin-style campsite. The overnight camping activities include BBQ dinner, belly dance performances, henna, and shisha smoking. Sleeping under the starlit sky is a surreal experience that makes the desert safari worth it.

Abu Dhabi’s desert experiences will forever remain an unforgettable memory, one that visitors will tell stories about for years to come.

Immersing in the Cultural Attractions of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of cultural heritage and has a variety of destinations that offer a glimpse into the United Arab Emirates’ rich traditions and history. The following are some of the cultural attractions that a visitor should never miss in Abu Dhabi:

Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The Grand Sheikh Zayed mosque is one of Abu Dhabi’s iconic landmarks and a representation of true Islamic architecture. The mosque boasts 82 domes with white marble, gold, and semi-precious stones, which make it an architectural wonder. Visitors are allowed inside the mosque and can stroll around, admiring the stunning calligraphy and the beautiful chandeliers that adorn the prayer halls.

Heritage Village

Heritage village is an outdoor museum that is constructed to depict traditional Emirati life. Visitors can experience camel riding, falconry, and bedouin-style tents that show the past way of life. The village features numerous traditional shops, pottery and weaving, and exhibits of folk art. It is an excellent place to learn and educate about traditional Emirati culture and customs.

Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn is Abu Dhabi’s oldest stone building, constructed in 1793, and served as the ruling family’s residence. This iconic landmark was also used as a defense fort, a consultative center, and government headquarters. Today it is a museum that depicts the region’s history and heritage, making it an excellent place for visitors interested in the rich history of Abu Dhabi.

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat is an art and cultural center located on Saadiyat Island. The center hosts various exhibitions and events that portray modern-day Emirati culture. Manarat Al Saadiyat features an art gallery, theatre, library, and numerous activities to showcase the region’s artistic side.

Abu Dhabi is rich in cultural heritage and traditions that should be celebrated and preserved. The cultural attractions mentioned above are only a few of the many landmarks and museums present throughout Abu Dhabi that showcase the country’s rich history and culture.

Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Emirati culture by visiting these amazing attractions during your next trip to Abu Dhabi.

Indulging in luxury shopping experiences in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is known for its luxurious shopping experiences and high-end fashion. The city is home to some of the world’s most famous fashion brands, from Dior to Prada, and its malls are impressive architectural feats that cater to even the most experienced of shoppers!

The city’s newest mall, The Galleria, offers a shopping experience that is unlike any other. With a unique mix of high-end luxury boutiques and stylish fashion brands, shoppers can browse through a wide range of contemporary and traditional fashion labels.

For a more traditional shopping experience, the Abu Dhabi Mall is a must-visit destination. With over 200 stores and a range of food outlets, the mall provides a diverse shopping experience that caters to everyone. Visitors can find everything from designer clothing and jewelry to electronics and toys in this sprawling complex.

The Marina Mall is another shopping destination that impresses with its waterfront location, stunning architecture, and variety of shops. It features a large department store, a cinema, bowling alley, and of course, luxurious fashion boutiques, including Louis Vuitton and Chanel.

But Abu Dhabi’s shopping experience isn’t limited to malls. Souks (traditional markets) still exist in the city and provide excellent opportunities for browsing, haggling and buying. The World Trade Centre Souk, for example, is a great place to buy unique Arabian crafts and souvenirs.

No matter which shopping destination visitors choose, they are sure to be impressed by Abu Dhabi’s elegant atmosphere and luxurious offerings.

Witnessing the modern architecture of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s modern architecture is a testament to the city’s vision for the future. It’s a perfect blend of creativity, style, and technology. The city has some of the most iconic buildings and impressive skyscrapers in the world. The architects have pushed the boundaries of engineering and design to create structures that are awe-inspiring.

The Emirates Palace is a great example of modern architecture in Abu Dhabi. This stunning hotel is known for its opulence and grandeur. With a blend of traditional Islamic architecture and modern design, the palace is a sight to behold. Standing tall, the Etihad Towers is another example of modern architecture in Abu Dhabi. It is said to be inspired by New York’s Rockefeller Center and features five towering structures that showcase the city’s innovation and sophistication.

The Capital Gate building is another example of modern architecture that is a must-visit destination in Abu Dhabi. With a unique and innovative design, the building is a marvel of engineering. It leans 18 degrees to the west, more than four times that of the Tower of Pisa. This skyscraper is an iconic landmark in Abu Dhabi, standing out from the skyline.

One more architectural wonder to witness in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Bridge. This award-winning bridge, named after the founder of the United Arab Emirates, is a perfect example of modern engineering. It connects the mainland to the island of Abu Dhabi and is considered one of the most intricately designed bridges in the world.

Visitors can take an architectural tour of Abu Dhabi and marvel at the impressive structures that dot the city’s skyline. The modern architecture in Abu Dhabi is a reflection of the city’s ambition, creativity, and innovation. It is a treat to the eyes, and one not to be missed!

Relaxing at the beach resorts in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s beach resorts offer visitors stunning views of the Arabian Gulf alongside luxurious accommodation, white sand beaches, and crystal-clear waters. The tranquil and exclusive atmosphere of these resorts is perfect for families or couples looking to relax and unwind.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is one of the best resorts for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in total relaxation. With access to a private beach and a world-class golf course, guests can spend their days lounging by the pool, sipping refreshing drinks from the poolside bar, or indulging in a spa treatment in one of the resort’s private treatment rooms.

The Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island offers a luxurious stay with magnificent views of the downtown skyline. The hotel’s private beach is perfect for water sports enthusiasts, who can find everything they need to enjoy activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and windsurfing.

The Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas, located on Saadiyat Island, is another great option for visitors seeking a tranquil, exclusive getaway. The resort boasts of an enormous pool and a plethora of delicious dining options. Guests can choose from Ocean Cafe, an all-day dining restaurant, Si Ristorante, an Italian restaurant that serves mouthwatering pizzas and pastas, and Hamilton’s Gastropub, a British-themed pub that serves an array of beers, cocktails, and dishes.

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers has an impressive private beach, sunbeds, hammocks and lounging cabanas perfect to get that winter tan. This resort also has an open access to Observation Deck at 300 that offers panoramic views of Abu Dhabi and serves slim yet tasty food and refreshments.

Visitors should also check out the luxurious Yas Island for its pristine waterfront resorts, such as the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi and its uniquely designed rooftop infinity pool, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, boasting a private beach and the luxurious Talise Spa.

In short, these beach resorts are perfect for total relaxation and spending quality time with family or loved ones, engaging in water sports activities or simply lounging by the poolside.

Sampling the exquisite cuisine of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s rich cultural heritage and cosmopolitan influences make it a culinary haven for food aficionados. The food scene here is diverse and eclectic, and caters to all palettes – from traditional Arabian flavors to contemporary international fusions.

One of the must-try dishes is the Arabic shawarma, which is a sandwich dish made of slow-cooked meat, usually chicken or lamb, wrapped in Arabic bread with lettuce, tomatoes, and garlic sauce. A variant of this dish is the shish tawook, which features skewered chicken marinated in yogurt, lemon, and spices.

Another popular Emirati dish is machboos, a spiced rice dish with slow-cooked meat or fish, tomato sauce, and an array of aromatic spices. For vegetarian options, you can try out the hearty thareed, a vegetable stew with bread, and balaleet, a sweet vermicelli pudding.

Seafood lovers can indulge in the catch of the day, which is often served grilled or fried with a side of Arabic salad and hummus. For those looking for fine dining experiences, there are Michelin-starred restaurants in Abu Dhabi, such as Zuma Abu Dhabi, which offers contemporary Japanese cuisine, and Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, which serves Cantonese dishes with an innovative twist.

Abu Dhabi also has a thriving café culture. Camel milk is a popular ingredient here, and you can try it out in various forms – from camel milk lattes to camel milk ice cream. Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Lounge has a rooftop terrace that serves artisanal mocktails, coffee, and desserts, while La Brioche offers freshly baked pastries and sandwiches that are perfect on-the-go snacks

With a wide range of culinary experiences to choose from, Abu Dhabi truly is a food paradise that has something to offer for everyone.

Experiencing the vibrant nightlife of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s nightlife is a delightful blend of Arabic opulence and modern sophistication. From trendy rooftop bars with stunning skyline views to chic nightclubs with international DJs, there is no shortage of entertainment options for tourists visiting Abu Dhabi at night.

One of the most famous nightlife destinations in Abu Dhabi is Yas Island. It is home to several exclusive bars, clubs, and lounges that offer an eclectic mix of music and entertainment. One such venue is the famous Rush nightclub, known for its lively entertainment and spacious dance floor.

The Etoiles rooftop lounge located in the chic Emirates Palace hotel is another popular spot to experience Abu Dhabi’s nightlife. The luxurious lounge serves delicious cocktails and offers stunning views of the palace’s illuminated dome.

For those looking for a more laid-back experience, the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is an excellent place to relax and unwind with some drinks. The Cloud Nine lounge located on the resort’s rooftop offers magnificent views of the sea and is a perfect spot for romantic sunsets.

The city also offers many bars and lounges that are ideal for those who prefer a more intimate setting. The Hemingway’s lounge located in the luxurious Radisson Blu hotel is a great place to enjoy some live music while sipping on a cocktail.

In conclusion, Abu Dhabi has a pulsating nightlife scene that is sure to entertain tourists and locals alike. Whether visitors are looking to dance the night away or enjoy a quiet drink with friends, Abu Dhabi has something for everyone.

Engaging in thrilling outdoor activities in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, with its idyllic climate and stunning landscape, offers a range of thrilling outdoor activities that are sure to get your heart pumping.


For those seeking an adrenaline rush, there is nothing quite like skydiving over Abu Dhabi’s breathtaking coastline. Skydive Abu Dhabi, located near the city center, offers an experience of a lifetime with a tandem jump from a height of up to 13,000 feet, providing stunning views of the city’s skyline and coastline.

Scuba Diving

Abu Dhabi’s clear waters and diverse marine life are perfect for scuba diving enthusiasts. With several professional dive centers offering certification courses and diving packages, visitors can explore the fascinating world of underwater life. Some of the popular diving spots include the Zirku Island, Abu Al Abyad Island, and the wreck of the MV Ludwig.


Paragliding is a thrilling way to experience Abu Dhabi’s stunning desert landscapes. Visitors can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the desert and mountains, with trained instructors to guide them. The best time to go paragliding is early in the morning or late in the afternoon, for the perfect conditions to soar above the dunes.


Zip-lining is another thrilling outdoor activity that one can enjoy in Abu Dhabi. The world’s longest zipline, measuring over three kilometers, is situated in the stunning mountain ranges of Jebel Jais in Ras Al Khaimah, only an hour’s drive from Abu Dhabi. Visitors can enjoy the experience of flying through the air while taking in stunning views of the mountains and cityscape.

Whether you are an adventure-seeker or an outdoor enthusiast, Abu Dhabi has something for everyone. From skydiving to scuba diving, paragliding to zip-lining, the city has endless opportunities for thrilling outdoor activities that will make your vacation unforgettable.

Conclusion: Why Abu Dhabi should be your next vacation destination

Abu Dhabi is a destination that offers something for travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation, an adventurous desert adventure, or an enriching cultural experience, Abu Dhabi has got it all.

With its luxurious beach resorts, high-end shopping experiences, modern architecture, and thrilling outdoor activities, Abu Dhabi is a dream come true for any tourist looking for an unforgettable vacation experience.

One of the most striking features of Abu Dhabi is undoubtedly its towering skyscrapers and ultramodern buildings that depict the city’s futuristic vision. Abu Dhabi’s combination of modern and traditional cultures makes it a unique destination.

Moreover, the city’s delicious and diverse cuisine will indulge any food lover’s taste buds, and its vibrant nightlife and entertainment options make for an unforgettable evening out.

Finally, those seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s rich heritage and natural beauty, can explore its many cultural attractions or engage in outdoor activities such as desert safaris, camel rides or snorkeling and diving in the crystal-clear waters.

In conclusion, Abu Dhabi should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. It’s not just another beautiful city, it’s a unique destination that must be experienced in person. Book your next vacation in Abu Dhabi and be prepared to have your senses transformed.

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Top 15 Luxury Hotels in Abu Dhabi

If you’re looking for the ultimate Abu Dhabi experience, these are the top 15 luxury hotels that you should consider staying at:

Hotel Name Rating out of 10 Starting Price (NIS)
Emirates Palace 9.5 2,500
The St. Regis Abu Dhabi 9.3 1,800
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal 9.2 1,600
Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island 9.2 1,600
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers 9.1 1,500
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas 9.1 1,400
The Abu Dhabi EDITION 9.0 1,400
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island 9.0 1,300
Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi 8.9 1,200
Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel 8.9 1,100
Saadiyat Rotana Resort & Villas 8.8 1,000
St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi 8.8 1,000
Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi 8.7 900
InterContinental Abu Dhabi 8.6 800
The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa 8.5 700

Frequently Asked Questions about Abu Dhabi Vacation

Here are some of the frequently asked questions about vacationing in Abu Dhabi:

  • What are some of the must-visit cultural attractions in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi’s cultural attractions are a sight to behold, and some of the must-visit destinations include the grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Emirates Palace Hotel, the Qasr Al Watan Palace, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum.
  • What kind of desert activities can I enjoy in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi offers several exciting desert activities that include dune bashing, camel riding, sandboarding, hot air balloon rides, and camping in the desert.
  • What is the best place to experience luxurious shopping in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi offers some of the best luxury shopping experiences in the world. The best places to indulge in this shopping spree include The Galleria, Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall, and Marina Mall.
  • What is the best beach resort in Abu Dhabi for families?
    Abu Dhabi has several beach resorts that cater to families with children. Some of the best beach resorts for families include the Rixos Saadiyat Island, the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, the Zaya Nurai Island, and the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi.
  • What kind of cuisine should I expect to find in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi is a melting pot of different cultures, which is reflected in its diverse food offerings. Travelers can expect to find traditional Emirati cuisine, Middle Eastern, European, Asian, and African food options.
  • What are some outdoor activities that I can engage in Abu Dhabi?
    Abu Dhabi has several adventurous outdoor activities that visitors can engage in, such as desert safaris, skydiving, scuba diving, parasailing, zip-lining, and dune buggy rides, among others.
  • What is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi?
    The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is from November to March, when the weather is pleasant and suitable for outdoor activities.
  • What is the local currency of Abu Dhabi?
    The local currency of Abu Dhabi is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED).
  • Do I need a visa to visit Abu Dhabi?
    Visitors need to have a visa to enter Abu Dhabi. However, citizens of some countries are eligible for a visa-on-arrival, while others may need to apply for a visa beforehand.
  • Is Abu Dhabi a safe destination for tourists?
    Yes, Abu Dhabi is generally a safe destination for tourists. However, like all major cities, visitors are advised to take necessary precautions and be aware of their surroundings.

Advantages of Vacationing in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has a wealth of advantages that make it an ideal vacation destination.

  • Luxurious Experience: Abu Dhabi offers a luxurious experience that is unmatched by any other vacation destination.
  • Diverse Culture: With a rich mix of cultures, Abu Dhabi is a destination of diverse experiences that give travelers the opportunity to explore multiple cultures within the same city.
  • Majestic Nature: From stunning beaches to awe-inspiring deserts, nature lovers can explore and experience the magnificent landscapes that Abu Dhabi offers.
  • Futuristic Architecture: Abu Dhabi’s modern architecture is nothing short of breathtaking. Tourists can explore magnificent skyscrapers and landmarks that are architectural wonders.
  • Diverse Food Scene: Abu Dhabi offers an extensive range of dining options, encompassing traditional Arabic food, luxury dining, and global cuisine.
  • Thrilling Activities: Abu Dhabi is an ideal destination for adrenaline junkies, with a plethora of thrilling outdoor activities, from skydiving to scuba diving, bungee jumping to zip-lining.
  • Luxury Shopping: Abu Dhabi is a paradise for luxury shopping enthusiasts.
  • Welcome Hospitality: Abu Dhabi is renowned for its welcoming and hospitable locals.