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10 Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do In The Coast City Of Abu Dhabi

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Photo of 10 Unexpectedly Awesome Things To Do In The Coast City Of Abu Dhabi by Adete Dahiya

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is the fastest growing hub of culture and business in the Gulf. From housing the world’s largest handwoven carpet and fastest rollercoaster to the largest cluster of cultural buildings in the 21st century, Abu Dhabi has evolved from being a simple fishing village to a luxurious metropolis in just half a century. Dotted with elaborate architecture, some of the world's best hotels, high-end restaurants, and the biggest shopping malls, the UAE's largest emirate is perfectly suited to the needs of the well-heeled traveller. And the best part? The Abu Dhabi lifestyle is laid-back, offering travellers a chance to really relax and get a sense of the local culture.

If you're planning a trip to Abu Dhabi, here are 10 experiences you absolutely cannot miss during your trip:

1. Marvel at the architectural brilliance of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Photo of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

One of the largest mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is an iconic examples of contemporary Islamic architecture. Constructed at the behest HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE, the mosque has 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, stunning white and gold interiors, and can host over 40,000 people. Inside, visitors can walk across the world’s largest handwoven rug, admire one of the biggest chandeliers in the world and be mesmerised by the the fusion of architectural styles of three different Islamic dynasties – Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman.

Timings and price: The mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 10pm. On Fridays, it is open only to worshippers, from 5pm to 11pm. Entry is free of charge

2. Witness the coming together of art from across the world at the Louvre

Photo of Louvre Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Set up in November 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art and civilisation museum, established as part of a thirty-year arrangement between the UAE and French government. The museum is spread over an area of 24,000 square metres, of which 8,000 square metres is dedicated to galleries. This is in fact the largest art museum in the Arabian peninsula and it showcases artwork from around the world, with a deep focus on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. The museum champions the cultural achievements of mankind, which is why the galleries are not organised by geography but by the chronological order of the artworks.

Timings and price: The museum is closed on Mondays. It opens at 10am on the rest of the days of the week. The ticket costs approximately ₹1,100 per person. Individuals aged 13-22 get the ticket at a discounted rate of approximately ₹550. Entry is free for children under the age of 13.

You can either buy the ticket at the museum entrance or pre-book it. If you book your visit to Abu Dhabi through a tour operator such as ezeego1, they can easily help you book your museum trip in advance.

3. Explore Abu Dhabi's coastline along the Corniche

Photo of Corniche Beach - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

The Corniche is a seaside promenade that stretches along the coast of Abu Dhabi’s Dhow Harbour for nearly 8km. It is lined with some of the city’s most popular hotels and eateries, but it is the beaches along the stretch that attract the most visitors. You can indulge in a number of water and beach sports here, or just spend the day lounging with your family. The Corniche also offers gorgeous views of the Arabian Gulf and the city’s skyline, which you can enjoy on bicycle, or on foot.

Timings and price: The entire stretch is open throughout the day and night, however the beaches welcome visitors between 8am and 2am. Access to beaches costs about ₹175 per person.

4. Set your heart pumping and adrenaline rushing at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina Circuit

Photo of Ferrari World - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Situated on Yas Island, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is an amusement park inspired by the luxury car brand and is home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster – the Formula Rossa, which travels up to 240km per hour. Although the most popular, the rollercoaster isn’t the only attraction here. The amusement park is home to a total of 19 different attractions, including three other roller coasters, a Ferrari-inspired version of the teacup twister ride, a simulated 4-D driving experience, and an interactive play area for toddlers (called Khalil's Carwash), amongst other things.

Timings and price: The park is open every day from 11am to 8pm. It is a great place to spend the day with children. For those taller than 1.3 metres the ticket costs around ₹4,100 and for those under 1.3 metres, the ticket is around ₹3,300. If you book your Abu Dhabi holiday through ezeego1, they will take care of all the ticketing and transport arrangements.

Photo of Yas Marina Circuit - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

If the park alone doesn’t satisfy your need for speed, head to the Yas Marina Circuit, situated right next to the amusement park, for your fill of fast cars. One of the world’s most innovative racing tracks, this circuit hosts the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. When the professionals are not racing here, however, visitors are welcome to test out a variety of vehicles, including go-karts, some Mercedes-Benz models, and even Aston Martins. You can also book guided tours of the facility to go behind the scenes.

Timings and price: The tours are offered between Tuesday and Saturday, from 10am to noon and from 2pm to 4pm, and cost about ₹2,000 for adults and around ₹1,000 for children aged 3-12. The cost for testing out the track depends on the vehicle you choose, and the time duration you opt for. A ride aboard an Aston Martin starts at around ₹26,000.

5. Show some love to beautiful birds at the Falcon Hospital

Photo of Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

The Falcon Hospital in Abu Dhabi is a functioning animal care unit, dedicated to taking care of falcons, who have long played an important role in Emirati culture. Opened in 1999, the hospital has since cared for over 8,500 falcons each year. While falconry has been a popular sport for thousands of years, hunting of these birds is now banned. The birds are revered creatures here and the domesticated ones are even granted their own UAE passports! The hospital now offers guided tours of the facility, if you’re interested in learning more about these beautiful birds. There are several points of interest within the facility, including the falconry museum, hospital’s examination room, and the aviary. If you are up for it, then you can even get a falcon to sit on your arm and get an epic selfie.

Timings and price: Tours are offered from 10am to 2pm, Sunday to Thursday and cost about ₹2,900 for adults and ₹1,000 for children aged five to nine.

6. Indulge in sheer luxury at Emirates Palace

Photo of Emirates Palace - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Emirates Palace, which occupies about a kilometre of the coastline along the Corniche, sets the standard for luxury lodging in the city. The sprawling resort has more than 100 domes, decorated with gold, crystals and mother-of-pearl gemstones. Their clientele is mostly visiting dignitaries and individuals from royal families, but you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy the hospitality here. You can reserve a table at the restaurant to enjoy an exquisite meal, or book time at the spa to experience the best of what the hotel has to offer.

Price: A night’s stay at the palace starts at around ₹35,000.

7. See a different world from atop Jebel Hafeet

Photo of Jebel Hafeet - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Located on the UAE-Oman border, Jebel Hafeet is the tallest mountain in Abu Dhabi emirate and the second tallest in the country. It stands at a height of over 4,000 feet and is a place of great historical significance. Several fossil discoveries have been made here and over 500 ancient burial sites have also been unearthed. Jebel Hafeet is also a hotspot for road trip enthusiasts, as it has some of the best drivable roads in the world. Those who have visited Jebel Hafeet, recommend watching the sunset from here. The hot springs at the foot of the mountain are also a must visit and are famous for having healing properties. For a hassle-free visit here, ask your tour operator to help you out with transportation. This package by ezeego1 already has everything taken care of.

8. Get a glimpse into Emirati history at Al Jahili Fort

Photo of Al Jahili Fort - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Built in the late 1800s, Al Jahili is the largest structure in the city of Al Ain, and is built with traditional Arab mud bricks. It was recently renovated and reopened for the public. The fort was initially constructed as a headquarter for the Oman Crucial Scouts – a group of soldiers entrusted with the task of protecting the region’s palm groves and preserving peace between the different tribes that once occupied the area. Today, visitors can explore the fort’s battlements and watchtowers that enclose an expansive courtyard, now used for outdoor concerts in the area. The fort also hosts exhibits from time to time and provides an interesting peek into the area’s history.

Timings and price: The fort is closed on Mondays and open to visitors from 10am to 5pm on all other days except Fridays, when it is open from 3pm to 5pm. Admission is free of cost.

9. Spend a day at the shopping haven that is Marina Mall

Photo of Marina Mall - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

The United Arab Emirates is a shopper’s paradise. And while the country (and its capital) has no shortage of traditional souks, the Marina Mall is also a popular shopping venue here. The mall houses more than 400 stores, in addition to an entertainment centre, a movie theatre, ice rink, and an amusement centre, complete with arcade games and rides. Of course, there are also a host of cafes and restaurants, offering everything from traditional Emirati dishes to all kinds of world cuisine. The observation deck at the mall is a highlight for many visitors as it offers panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf, Corniche and the Emirates Palace.

Timings: The mall is open from 10am to 10pm, Saturday to Wednesday, till 11pm on Thursday, and from 2pm to 11pm on Friday.

10. Take a break from city life and head to the Heritage Village to understand the origins of Abu Dhabi

Photo of Heritage Village Coffeshop - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Adete Dahiya

Abu Dhabi has preserved its culture and heritage beautifully and examples of this can be seen throughout the city. If you are interested in getting an insight into the fascinating history of the Emirates, plan a visit to the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village. Located close to the Marina Mall, this place shows you how the Emirati lived before skyscrapers. It depicts scenes from desert life, replete with Bedouin tents, wooden huts where you can see weaving and metal-work demonstrations, and other aspects of nomadic life. Before leaving, remember to stop by the several shops to get your hands on souvenirs and local spices and crafts.

Timings and price: Admission to the Heritage Village is free, and it is open from 9am to 4pm from Saturday to Thursday and from 3.30pm to 9pm on Friday.

If these incredible things to do have got you excited, then you should travel to Abu Dhabi now. For a smooth trip, book a package with ezeego1, which will ensure that you stay at the best possible hotels and experience the finest offerings of Abu Dhabi. They will even take care of all the entrance fees and tickets to attractions for you, so you can focus on having a great holiday. Get more details on the Abu Dhabi package here.

All pictures are courtesy of the Department of Culture & Tourism, Abu Dhabi.

In association with ezeego1.

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