Abu Dhabi RECOMMENDATIONS See all

3 Days in Abu Dhabi: Suggested Itineraries

By Viator, December 2014

3 3 Reviews | Add your review

The capital of the United Arab Emirates—as well as the largest and richest—manages to hold on to its cultural heritage while modernizing at a dizzying rate. Known for its beaches, excellent museums, religious structures and over-the-top opulence, the emirate and the island city by the same name have plenty to keep you occupied.

Day 1: Culture and Religion

Where Dubai has rapidly Westernized as it grew, Abu Dhabi has remained distinctly “local,” and you’ll have a better appreciation for the desert city once you understand its history and culture. Start with a morning visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, where you’ll see white marble imported from around the globe, the world’s biggest marble mosaic and the world’s biggest carpet. Check out the model of old Abu Dhabi and the collection of cultural relics at the Cultural Foundation before heading off to learn about a popular local pastime, falconry. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital treats more than 6,000 birds each year, and visitors can tour the facilities and watch the animals up close in the free-flight aviary.

When the afternoon heat begins to pick up, join the locals at the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Cool off in the clean waters at Corniche Beach or rent bikes for a ride along the waterfront promenade. As the sun sets, watch the local boats return to dock at the Dhow Harbor.

Day 2: Past and Future

Abu Dhabi pre-oil boom would be almost unrecognizable, and to see what life was once like, spend the morning at the charming UAE Heritage Village. This open air museum includes reproductions of traditional desert-dwelling tents, an old mosque and workshops in local crafts like metalwork, weaving, spinning and pottery.

After lunch, experience modern Abu Dhabi with a visit to Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park where you can ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster. If amusement parks aren’t your thing, take the short trip out to Saadiyat Island, the in-progress development project set to define the future of Abu Dhabi tourism.

At very few places in the world is a hotel one of the must-see attractions, and Abu Dhabi is one of those places. The grand sand-colored Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi’s seven-star resort, looks particularly lovely at dusk, so plan your visit in the evening for dinner or a drink.

Day 3: Day Trip to Al Ain

Al Ain, another significant city in the emirate, is only a two-hour journey through the rolling red sand dunes from Abu Dhabi. This tree-lined, green city is known for its sprawling date palm park, the Al Ain Oasis. It’s also worth driving or biking to the top of nearby Jebel Hafeet for views of the city below and the desert stretching into the distance (all the way to Oman). If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to visit the Al Ain camel souk, one of the few remaining in the country.

Tours & Tickets

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Private Tour: Abu Dhabi Sightseeing with Transport from Dubai

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 21 Reviews

Explore Abu Dhabi with a private guide on this full-day sightseeing tour of the United Arab Emirate’s second city! While visiting the city’s showstopping ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $72.31

Dubai Seaplane Flight from Abu Dhabi Including Dubai Mall and Return Transfer

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Fly above desert landscapes and architectural marvels as you soar over the Arabian Gulf on a 45-minute seaplane flight from Abu Dhabi to Dubai! Take off from ...  Read more

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

From USD $395.00

Conservation Drive With Refreshments at Al Maha Desert Resort and Transport from Dubai

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Discover the fauna and flora of the UAE desert on this fascinating 5-hour conservation drive tour from Dubai. Traveling in a Mercedes-Benz G Wagon with a ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $165.00

Al Ain City Sightseeing Tour - The Garden City

4.5 star rating: Recommended 20 Reviews

Surround yourself with the greenery and sights of the ‘Garden City’ of Al Ain on this full-day tour from Dubai! Board an air-conditioned coach and cross the ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $55.79

Abu Dhabi City Sightseeing Tour - The Arabian Jewel

4 star rating: Recommended 149 Reviews

See Abu Dhabi’s top city sights on a full-day sightseeing tour of the United Arab Emirates’ capital city! With a knowledgeable guide, visit impressive ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $55.79

Abu Dhabi Modern Architecture Tour from Dubai

4 star rating: Recommended 4 Reviews

Learn about Abu Dhabi’s fast-paced development and pioneering architectural projects on a full-day city tour from Dubai! With an expert guide, travel by coach ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $56.25

Big Bus Abu Dhabi Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Including Yas Island and Sky Tower

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 13 Reviews

Explore the United Arab Emirates city of Abu Dhabi at your own pace, with a 24-hour hop-on hop-off bus ticket. The air-conditioned double-decker coach includes ...  Read more

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $60.00

Private Tour: Al-Ain City Sightseeing with Transport from Dubai

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Visit Al-Ain, the United Arab Emirates' lush Garden City, on a day trip from Dubai with a private guide! Flanked by mountains, deserts and greenery, Al-Ain is ...  Read more

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

From USD $70.58

Abu Dhabi City Highlights Tour: Sheik Zayed Mosque, Zayed Centre, and Heritage Village

3 star rating: Worth doing 3 Reviews

Visit three highlights of the United Arab Emirates capital on a 4.5-hour tour, led by an expert local guide! After taking a tour of Abu Dhabi’s grand mosque – ...  Read more

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $42.67

Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Falcon Hospital Tour in Abu Dhabi

Visit two of Abu Dhabi’s star attractions – Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan Mosque and the Falcon Hospital – on a full day tour of Abu Dhabi. With a friendly ...  Read more

Location: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $122.67

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