A perfect offbeat itinerary for Abu Dhabi

Everyone knows that Dubai is a top tourist destination, but how many people are aware that Abu Dhabi is magnificently charming as well? Most tourists tend to cover Abu Dhabi as a day-trip from Dubai, but Abu Dhabi has its own charms, and the place deserves a longer visit. Here are some of the top things you should be doing in Abu Dhabi:

Go for a walk along the Promenade

Abu Dhabi has spotless and fantastic beaches with the sand so white and the sea so blue that you’ll wonder why you didn’t know about them before. Abu Dhabi’s Corniche beach is a must-visit for tourists and it has a lovely Promenade as well. As you walk along the sea, you’ll come across quaint eating-joints and cafes where you can grab a bite and appreciate the beauty of the city. You’ll also have great views of the skyline and more so, if you’re walking at sunset.

Promenade along the Corniche Beach
Grab a seat along the Promenade

If you walk far along, you’ll eventually reach the Marina Mall, where you can check out the Ferris Wheel. 

Marina Eye

Visit the Sheikh-Zayed Mosque

This is one of the obvious attractions of Abu Dhabi and once you visit it, you’ll be awed by its breathtaking beauty. The architecture of the mosque is simply mesmerizing and the intricate carvings on the pillars and walls are stunning. Pictures do not do justice to this mosque. 

Reflections of the Mosque
Intricate Carvings on the Walls

Women need to be completely covered before entering the mosque, so most likely you will need to wear the hijab before entering. You’ll get this at the mosque itself, and need to return it once your visit is complete. You’ll also need to take your shoes off inside the mosque. 

Visit the sand-dunes

This is one of the slightly offbeat charms of Abu Dhabi and most tourists don’t end up visiting them. The sand dunes are located close to Musaffah, and is slightly far from the city, it takes about 30-45 minutes to drive down there. However, once there, you’ll be in a peaceful spot far away from the city life. You can spend as much time as you like in the sand dunes, and stay for sunset if you can.

Sand dunes of Abu Dhabi

If you really want to get a feel of the desert, you must visit the sand-dunes. You’ll be amazed by the shapes made in the sand by the wind. You can climb on the dunes and look around you at the expanse of the desert. It’s one of those experiences when you realize you’re a small speck in the magnificent universe. 

Visit the Galleria Mall for a different view of the City

You may not  be interested in shopping or vising any of the high-end stores in Abu Dhabi, but do visit Galleria Mall at Al Maryah Island for great views of the city. You can walk around the area – it’s an upcoming commercial area. And, you can sit at the waterfront cafes and enjoy a good meal. 

Views from Galleria Mall
Galleria Mall, Al Maryah Island

Have dinner in a traditional setting 

We had dinner at Saudi Kitchen, and the setting is as traditional as it gets, and so is the food. Here’s us waiting for our food. The best part is that once you’re done eating, you can lie down as well, if you’re too stuffed. It’s a big restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor seating. 

Saudi Kitchen

Check out the Louvre for the art or the architecture

Now, I’m not a huge fan of museums, but on my last visit to Abu Dhabi, I was keen to visit the Louvre, just to check out its architecture. I visited it at sunset and was pleasantly surprised by its beauty. I do think that it would be better in the daylight however, and suggest you visit it during the day. In case you’re an art fan, then do a proper visit of the museum as well. 

Louvre, Abu Dhabi

Check out Saadiyat Beach for its clear waters

If you’re a beach fanatic, there is another beach which you should check out, and that’s Saadiyat Beach. It has clear-blue waters, so you can get in and swim or just laze around in the sea. There are changing rooms at the beach so you can easily clean up after a dip in the sea. 

Saadiyat Beach
Clear waters at Saadiyat Beach

I’m not a huge fan of racing / amusement parks so I didn’t end up vising Ferrari World, but if you are, that place is a must-visit for you!

So, if you thought that Abu Dhabi was to be covered in a day, you’re wrong! I’ve visited a few times now, and I still have several places which I need to visit. So, start planning your trip to Abu Dhabi now!


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