Things to do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the largest oil producer of the UAE and one of the richest cities in the world. The socio-economic development that has occurred as a result means that Abu Dhabi is generally more tolerant than its neighbouring countries. Christian churches, Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras co-exist with mosques (although you won't find a synagogue).

Similarly, you'll find a variety of Asian and Western schools, cultural centres and cuisine from around the world. Fast food and South Asian cuisine are particularly popular and alcohol is sold in bars and restaurants within four or five star hotels.

Abu Dhabi is home to three football stadiums and a cricket stadium, and football and cricket are very popular in the city from a grass roots level up. Since 2009, it has hosted a Formula One race every year in at the Yas Marina Circuit, which also hosts the V8 Supercars series.


Water enthusiasts visiting Abu Dhabi can enjoy white water rafting, kayaking, surfing, fly boarding, fishing tours, scuba diving, boat trips and sailing. Those who prefer on shore activities can indulge in mountain climbing, hot air ballooning and a wide range of short or overnight desert safaris.

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Arabian Nights Village

Among the stunning sand dunes of Abu Dhabi lies the picturesque Arabian Nights Village. Experience the traditional Emirati life and camp in traditional Bedouin tents, palm houses, desert houses or the ‘Fort Tower’. Desert activities include camel rides, quad bike tours, desert skiing and snowboarding.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one the world’s largest mosques, with room for 40,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by an enormous chandelier.

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Abu Dhabi is home to three championship-ready courses: Saadiyat Beach golf club, Abu Dhabi gold club (ADGC) and Yas Links golf clubs. These are some of the world’s most scenic courses and offer enthusiasts a diverse range of playing options and fantastic year-round weather.

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Other attractions

Horse racing, camel racing, seaplane tours, cycling tours, helicopter tours, a Ferrari World theme park and driving experiences at the Formula One Grand Prix circuit – it’s all here. Frank Gehry is even designing a brand new Guggenheim for global art exhibitions and Middle Eastern contemporary art.

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Find everything from ultra-modern malls with the latest brands, to small, souk-like outlets where you can buy traditional perfumes, handicrafts, spices and carpets. Most shops open from around 10am to 10pm, and even later on weekends. Hours change during Ramadan.

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