Towering skyscrapers, modern high rises and brilliant flashing lights greet travelers who dock at this urban port. Abu Dhabi, the largest and wealthiest of the emirates, is ripe with ornate royal palaces, high-end shopping and even a Ferrari World theme park, but travelers looking to experience old-world wonder can get it by going beyond city limits.
How to Get to Abu Dhabi
These streets aren’t made for walking and public buses, though readily available and inexpensive, can be somewhat uncomfortable. Visitors can hire taxis for cheap, including pink cars that signal to tourists they are for females only. It’s also possible to rent a car in the cruise terminal. Signs in English and Arabic make roads easy to navigate, although parking can be a headache.
One Day in Abu Dhabi
Get a taste of Abu Dhabi’s unmatched wealth with a trip to some of its most impressive architectural wonders. Start with a visit to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque—the largest of its kind in the U.A.E. Opened in 2007, this place of prayer can accommodate up to 40,000 people. Its interior is decorated with crystal chandeliers, Murano glass, polished marble and the world’s largest hand-woven carpet. Then continue on to the Emirates Palace—a five-story luxury hotel that cost approximately $3 billion to build. Enjoy afternoon tea before wandering the impressive halls lined with Persian carpets and more than one thousand chandeliers. The hotel even has an ATM that vends gold at the going rate.
Ships dock at Mina Zayed, which is a 15-minute walk to the waterfront promenade. Because of the port’s industrial nature, it’s best to take a taxi to the nearby exit gate. Travelers have access to a visitor desk, ATM, Wi-Fi and a few shops inside the terminal. Dirham is the official currency and most people speak both Arabic and English. ATMs can be found in most shopping malls and hotels often exchange money for travelers. Women should avoid wearing tank tops and shorts. Men who plan to visit mosques will not be allowed in wearing shorts.