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Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital, was usually sidelined compared to Dubai in terms of tourism. However, this notion is slowly changing. Abu Dhabi has been introducing new tourist attractions almost every year. Abu Dhabi offers the perfect combination of cultural and entertaining attractions, making it ideal for a family holiday. If you plan to visit the United Arab Emirates, do not limit your visit to Dubai. Instead, keep aside a few days to explore Abu Dhabi; we are sure you will be amazed by the variety of places to visit in Abu Dhabi.
Salt Lake Abu Dhabi is the latest attraction that has attracted the attention of locals and tourists alike. Located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba, the Long Salt Lake is a manufactured lake where the artificial water combines with the already existing salt flats or sabkha, which are a by-product of the arid coastal climate of the place. The result is two gorgeous lakes with crystallized salt at the borders and lily-pad-like salt structures to jump around. The beauty of the palace is enchanting and Instagram-worthy. Apart from day trips, Salt Lake in Abu Dhabi is a great place to enjoy barbecue and even go camping.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi. Known as the largest mosque in the UAE, the Grand Mosque was built by former President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Adorned entirely in white marble and embellished with intricate work, including precious stones and gems, the mosque is the epitome of Islamic architecture. The highlights of the mosque are the large prayer hall (which can hold more than 40,000 people) and the handmade carpet (the largest in the world). The halls of the mosque are decorated with some of the largest crystal chandeliers in the world. You can explore the mosque on your own or join a free guided tour that will give you information about the architecture and Islam.
If you are a fan of Formula One or love speed, visiting Ferrari World would be the highlight of your tour. Located on Yas Island, Ferrari World is spread across 86,000 square meters and is home to thrilling rides and attractions. Some of the most famous rides in Ferrari World include Scuderia Challenge, Flying Aces, and Turbo Track, but the star of this theme park is Formula Rossa, the fastest rollercoaster in the world. You can also go on a Ferrari factory tour and see a collection of classic Ferrari cars, some dating back to 1947. Apart from this, you can also participate in a game show where your F1 knowledge is tested. Ferrari World also has retail stores where you can buy F1-related gifts, souvenirs, and memorabilia.
Most of us have grown up reading books and watching shows and movies made by Warner Bros. So wouldn’t it be exciting to visit a place that has so many memories of your childhood? Head to Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, another attraction on Yas Island, for a day filled with excitement and adventure. This theme park is divided into six zones: Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Metropolis, Gotham City, and Warner Bros. Plaza. Each zone has rides, attractions, and shows based on its theme. While Gotham City and Metropolis are known for thrilling rides and rollercoasters, Cartoon Network and Bedrock are dedicated to the kids. Warner Bros. Plaza is the place to hang out while dining at one of the restaurants or shopping at retail stores.
Located in Saadiyat Island Cultural District, Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest museum in the Arabian Peninsula. While the museum exhibits are worth visiting, the same can be said about the structure of the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The web-patterned, silver dome makes for an impressive architecture of the museum. Inside, you will find 12 galleries that house the works of some of the most famous artists worldwide, including Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Jacques-Louis David, Leonardo Da Vinci, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, etc. Apart from the permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts temporary exhibitions every year.
Before the oil boom, Abu Dhabi was a simple Bedouin village that thrived on pearl diving. If you want a glimpse of the past Emirati life, a visit to Abu Dhabi Heritage Village is a must. The place is a reconstructed village complex with traditional Bedouin-style homes, a souk, a mosque, and even a fort. As you explore the palace, you see craft demonstrations such as weaving and metalwork. During the tour, you also learn about pearl diving and local agriculture. Apart from metal and weaving workshops, you also learn about the falaj irrigation system, shop from a spice shop, and see carpet weaving displays here. A visit to the beach at the end of the Heritage Village is also worth a visit.
Abu Dhabi is a well-developed city, and one of the best ways to enjoy the amazing view of the palace is by visiting the observation deck at Etihad Towers. Located on the 74th floor of the Hotel Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, this is the tallest observation deck in Abu Dhabi. You will enjoy a 360o view of the entire city from this vantage point. Guests at the hotel can enjoy free entry to the observation deck, while others have to buy an entrance ticket. This entry ticket can be redeemed for snacks and beverages at the observation deck. To make the most of your visit, go for high tea here, where you can enjoy the view and some delicious quick bites and drinks.
If you visit Abu Dhabi with kids, the Emirates Park Zoo is a place you shouldn’t miss. Home to 1700 animals, this zoo is a haven for animal lovers. In the wild animal section, you will see zebras, white tigers, elephants, giraffes, and even Siberian bears. The place also has a sea lion enclosure, different species of monkeys, and a flamingo park. You will also find a petting zoo here, with animals like horses, ponies, donkeys, and goats as inhabitants. The Emirates Park Zoo also offers unique experiences like Breakfast with Giraffes, Breakfast with Parrots, Dinner with Elephants, and Big Cat Brunch.
Qasr Al Watan, or the Presidential Palace, is one of the significant cultural landmarks not just in Abu Dhabi but also in the UAE. The first thing that strikes you is the grandeur and opulence of the palace. The architecture, with its huge domes, grand arches, crystal chandeliers, exquisite marble, and intricate mosaic and muqarnas detailing, is awe-inspiring. However, Qasr Al Watan is more than its grandeur. The place strives to preserve the history and culture of the palace as well. You get to learn about the formation of the UAE and the laws, traditions, and values that govern the country. History and culture buffs would have a great time exploring the House of Knowledge and the Qasr Al Watan Library, which are lined with books, manuscripts, and other resources that highlight the country’s contribution to the fields of literature, modern science, and art. If you visit Qasr Al Watan in the evening, you will get to see a sound and light show depicting the UAE’s history.
These are just a few of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi. Apart from these, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Qasr Al Hosn, Marina Mall, etc., are a few other places to check out here. Moreover, going on a desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi is also a good idea.
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