Abu Dhabi in 48 hours - All that you need to know

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48 hours in Abu Dhabi

Photo of Abu Dhabi in 48 hours - All that you need to know by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Abu Dhabi, the capital city of United Arab Emirates is an interesting destination for those who want to engage with the culture of the Gulf countries. The city may lack the glitz and glamour of its illustrious neighbour Dubai, but it definitely offers unique experiences to all its visitors. The UAE capital is not just a hot and dusty city with its rich hydrocarbon wealth; the city with year-round sunshine has incredible architectural feats, affordable luxury and endless source of entertainment.

Abu Dhabi is located in the Arabian Peninsula adjoining the Arabian Gulf and is soon becoming one of the most visited cities of Middle East for its unique blend of modernity with cultural heritage. Abu Dhabi happens to be a popular layover city as well. And it would be a crime not to explore the city in that time. If you are looking for a 48 hours itinerary for things to do in Abu Dhabi, you have come to the right place.

I would say that 2 days are definitely not sufficient to experience the burgeoning city in entirety, but here is an ideal 48 hours guide for your stay at Abu Dhabi.

Day 1:

Day 1

Yas Island

Head towards the Yas Island to for an adrenaline packed day. Yas Island is a modern day entertainment and leisure destination and it has all the attractions to keep you hooked for the entire day. Yas Island and the Ferrari World are situated in the Yas Island, both these places are must-visit and iconic in their own right. If you are able to get a joint ticket for Yas Water World and the Ferrari World then do get it.

Yas Waterworld

Yas Waterworld is a massive water park and one of the best ones in the region. There are a number of varieties of water rides and slides including a giant rollercoaster. It is a perfect place for a city that enjoys the sunny weather all through the year. You will literally be spoily for choices here with so many water slides, tube rides and the lazy pools. But don’t get too overwhelmed so that you miss on the time. The rest of the delights await!

Courtesy: Flickr

Photo of Yas Waterworld - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Ferrari World

Once you have had your fill of water sports, head towards the Ferrari World situated just across the Yas Water World. But before that grab a bite, as you may be hungry after so much fun filled time at the Yas Water World. Ferrari World, as the name suggests is a Ferrari themed entertainment park, the first of its kind in the world. The park boasts of 20 unique rides that can really get your adrenaline pumping. With a host of 4D experiences, stimulation rides, exhibitions and roller coasters, this entertainment park will take you to the world of Fast and Furious. And do not miss a ride at the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster ride in the world. It accelerates from 0-240 km/hr within a span of 6 seconds – a recipe for extreme madness. Ferrari World is not only interesting for the motor enthusiasts, but also for kids and thrill-seekers.

Courtesy: Wikimedia

Photo of Ferrari World - أبو ظبي - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Yas Mall

After your dosage of thrill and adventure, do visit the Yas Mall. This is one of the largest malls in Abu Dhabi having unique and exclusive stores from most famous global brands. It has a terraced restaurant offering cuisines from around the world and flavoured shisha pipes. This is a perfect place to relax after the mad day of adventure.

Courtesy: Wikimedia

Photo of Yas Mall - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Yas Marina Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit is the place where the Grand Pix Finale takes place. This is definitely a must visit place for motorsports enthusiasts. Even if you were not one, I would recommend you to visit there before heading off towards your hotel. The sunset here is extremely beautiful.

Day 2

Day 2

The first day was well spent at the waterpark and Ferrari World. Use the second day to explore the city. You can avail the hop-on-hop-off bus service provided by Big Bus Tours to get acquainted with the attractions of Abu Dhabi. You can get a Classic 1-day ticket and explore the city at your own pace throughout the day. There are buses at every stop every 30 minutes. There are about 16 stops on the Big Bus Tours. Out of them, these are the must-visit ones.

Etihad Towers

Get a glimpse of these iconic buildings of the Abu Dhabi skyline. Located at the end of the Corniche Beach Road, the two tallest buildings in Emirates are known as the Etihad Towers. The towers look magnificent in day light. Also go all the way up to the 74th floor to the highest observation deck at Abu Dhabi. Observation Deck at 300 is a stunning lounge that offers 360-degree view of the entire city.

The place closes at 6 PM, so if you are planning to visit, do so before that.

Courtesy: WIkimedia

Photo of Etihad Towers - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This is one of most famous landmarks of Abu Dhabi and the pinnacle of UAE’s history and culture. This marvelous architectural masterpiece is surely to leave you stunned. The sheer grandeur of the mosque along with the intricately designed pillars and magnificent decors will definitely leave you awestruck. The mosque also has the largest Iranian carpet ever woven. The pure white marble minarets and the stunning domes across the backdrop of the blue skies are really a sight to behold. You will need atleast an hour to explore the beauty of the mosque. So plan accordingly. Also do keep in mind that the mosque remains closed on Friday.

Courtesy: Pi

Photo of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Courtesy: Pixabay

Photo of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Courtesy: Pixabay

Photo of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Abu Dhabi Corniche

This is the beach area of the city and one of the liveliest areas of the city. It stretches across a 8 km sandy beach and walking paths along with cafes, beach parks, restaurants, water sports and so many more. The crystal clear waters of the beach is quite inviting and you would definitely wonder whether to walk quietly along the beach or take a dip in the clear waters.

Corniche | Courtesy: Flickr

Photo of Corniche Beach - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

Heritage Village

The Heritage Village has been built like a traditional village of the Emirates. If history is your thing, then a visit to the heritage village is must. Walk around the village and explore the shops displaying crafts of metal work, carpentry and pottery.

Dhow Cruise in Abu Dhabi

This is an optional activity that you might want to indulge in. End the day with a relaxing cruise that sails along the north-western shore of Abu Dhabi (the Corniche shore) gliding past the glittering skyline of Abu Dhabi. It is 2 hours long cruise starting from 8 PM and includes dinner in a five-star international buffet. The cruise starts and ends near the Marina Mall and is one of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi at night. Tour Dubai operates the cruise.

Well, this was an itinerary for 48 hours in Abu Dhabi. There are so many things to do here, so when you plan you trip to the UAE, do keep some days for Abu Dhabi as well.

Night Skyline at Abu Dhabi | Courtesy: Flickr

Photo of Abu Dhabi in 48 hours - All that you need to know by Amrita (Tale of 2 Backpackers)

How to Reach Abu Dhabi

By Air: The Abu Dhabi International Airport is the hub of Etihad Airways and is serviced by all major airlines across the world.

By Road: Another way of getting in Abu Dhabi is by flying into Dubai and then take the road to Abu Dhabi. You will get buses to Abu Dhabi from Ibn Battuta Metro station (New Dubai) and Al Ghubabiba bus station (older part of Dubai). The travel time is around 2 to 2.5 hours.

Where to stay:

There are two popular places to stay at Abu Dhabi. You can either stay at Corniche, the liveliest part of the city or at a resort at Yas Island. Accommodations at YAs Islands are on the costlier side.

Best Season to visit Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi has the typical hot desert climate where summer gets temperature as high as 40-45 degrees. Temperature remains at its peak during June to September with a humid climate. Abu Dhabi should best be avoided during these months. November to March sees a drop in temperature and this period is the best time to visit the city.

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