Abu Dhabi is an exotic city where the modern blends with the traditional. If you’re travelling to or from Asia, it might be easy to add a one-day layover in Abu Dhabi and get a taste of this Middle Eastern city. Use this itinerary to plan your perfect day in Abu Dhabi.
10 a.m.: Visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Image via Flickr by lam_chihang
First, drop off your bags and check in at the Intercontinental Abu Dhabi on Al Saud Street. This hotel offers luxury accommodations with gorgeous views of the Arabian Gulf and the city’s skyline.
Start your one-day itinerary with a visit and a few Instagram snaps of the the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. This impressive mosque can hold up to 41,000 worshippers, and its interior is so beautiful it will take your breath away. Respect the dress code, and cover your arms and legs.
12 p.m.: Choose Shopping or History
For a glimpse into Abu Dhabi’s past, don’t miss a visit to Heritage Village. Located near Marina Mall, this is a reconstruction of a traditional village where craftsmen demonstrate their ancient arts and skills. Entrance is free.
If you’re looking to bring home some souvenirs, head to the souks. You’ll need bargaining skills at the Carpet Souk, located near Abu Dhabi’s main port area. Al Ain Souk, or Old Souk, is the most traditional souk, and provides amazing photo opportunities. For a more contemporary experience, head to Souk Al Zafarana, the most modern marketplace that also has a section for women.
2 p.m.: Hit the Beach!
Image via Flickr by Panoramas
Located on the northern side of the city, the Corniche Beach is an attractive white sand beach that recently earned the Blue Flag status for its clean water. Have a quick lunch in one of the many cafés, and then do as much or as little as you want. Soak up the sun at one of the beach clubs, hire a bicycle and explore the area, or go on a dhow cruise along the Corniche.
And if you’re traveling in Abu Dhabi with kids, don’t forget to check out the new A’l Bahar area, which is a family-friendly area with a playground and tons of activities for kids, both paid and free.
7 p.m.: Try a Foodie Destination
Abu Dhabi offers a wide selection of restaurants, and it’s indeed a foodie destination. You can find delicious food from the Middle East, Asia, or. anywhere else. If it’s a special occasion, book a table in advance at Cipriani. Here you can find a mix of Italian and Japanese cuisine and enjoy an outdoor terrace with great views over the marina. Expect steep prices and dishes so beautiful they’re almost painful to eat.
9 p.m.: Enjoy a Drink With a View
Here’s a little secret. The best views over Abu Dhabi are at the Etihad Towers complex, but not necessarily at the Observation Deck at 300. Head down a few floors to Rays Bar instead. Located on the 62nd floor, the bar offers breathtaking views, a DJ area, and gorgeous cocktails.
11 p.m.: Call It a Night
Unless you want to head to the manmade Yas Island and experience Abu Dhabi’s nightlife, it’s time to call it a night. Check out the best hotels in Abu Dhabi. Sweet dreams!
There is much more to see in Abu Dhabi if you happen to have more time. If you don’t, this one-day itinerary covers the most important spots.