Abu Dhabi City Guide

Abu Dhabi City Guide
Quick Facts
Known Names:
Population:Approx. 1.5 million
Religion:Islam (most common)
Area Code:+971 2
Currency:UAE Dirham (AED)
Time Zone:Gulf Standard Time (GST) - UTC/GMT +4 hours

General Information / Guide

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a modern island filled with skyscrapers. The city, welcoming guests with its warm weather and golden beaches throughout the year, has a history dating back to the 3rd century BC. As one of the world's most modern cities, Abu Dhabi stands among the most preferred tourist destinations. The city, known for its natural beauty, pristine beaches, and azure skies, attracts thousands of tourists annually with activities like desert safaris, water sports, golf, and theme parks, catering to sports and adventure enthusiasts. Besides its natural beauty, Abu Dhabi is renowned for being a luxurious destination thanks to the abundance of high-end brands and modern structures. 


Climate / Weather / When to Go

Abu Dhabi experiences a hot desert climate, with long, hot summers and mild, short winters. The best time to visit is during the cooler months, from November to March when temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C. Summers, from June to August, can be scorching, with temperatures reaching up to 50°C.


How to Get There

Abu Dhabi International Airport, located 30 km from the city center of Abu Dhabi, is accessible via direct and connecting flights from various locations and serves as a major hub. To reach the city center, travelers can opt for buses with numbers X81, 240, 211, 490, and A1 depart from Terminals 1 and 2,  which operate 24 hours a day, depart for the city center every 40 minutes, and take approximately 40 minutes. Taxis are also available at the airport 24/7. If you prefer the convenience of renting a car for both reaching the city center and moving within the city comfortably, there are several rental car companies within the airport.


Food / Restaurants / What to Eat and Drink

Abu Dhabi's culinary scene offers numerous options from local delicacies to international cuisine, reflecting its multicultural heritage. But when in Abu Dhabi, some of the must-try dishes include but are not limited to the aromatic flavors of machboos (spiced rice with meat or seafood) in Al Machboos Restaurant or Siraj Al Mandi, the creamy goodness of luqaimat (deep-fried dumplings) at Sweet Corner and Al Ustadh Special Kunafa, and knafeh (cheese pastry soaked in syrup) in Abu Hailan Sweets and Kanafeh Habibi. The Lemon Tree Cafe, Coya Abu Dhabi, and Bentley's Kitchen are some of the many great places in Abu Dhabi.


Important Places / Places to Visit

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: A masterpiece of Islamic architecture, this grand mosque is a must-visit. Marvel at its intricate design, stunning domes, and the world's largest hand-knotted carpet.
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi: An art and civilization museum that showcases a diverse collection of global masterpieces. The building itself is a work of art, with its dome designed to resemble palm leaves.
  • Emirates Palace: A symbol of opulence, this iconic hotel is a blend of Arabian splendor and modern luxury. Even if you're not staying here, a visit to the grounds is worthwhile.
  • Corniche Beach: Enjoy the beautiful coastline and take a stroll along the Corniche promenade. The beach offers a relaxing escape from the city buzz.
  • Yas Island: Home to attractions like Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld, and Yas Marina Circuit, this entertainment hub is a paradise for thrill-seekers and families alike.
  • Heritage Village: Offers a compact yet insightful look into Abu Dhabi's history and culture, providing contrast with the modern city. A visit takes about an hour, offering a valuable perspective on the city's heritage.
  • Al Jahili Fort: Built in the 19th century with mud bricks, Al Jahili Fort is a historic landmark showcasing Arabian architecture. Home to a museum dedicated to desert explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, the fort offers a captivating glimpse into Abu Dhabi's heritage and history.


What to Do

Abu Dhabi has so much to offer to its visitors. If you want to explore the mesmerizing beauty of the desert landscape, embark on a desert safari. If you are seeking a thrilling experience, you should consider heart-pounding dune bashing, camel riding, and the opportunity to try a traditional Arabian dinner beneath the starlit sky afterward. If you want to delve into the aquatic wonders of the Arabian Gulf, you should try water sports, such as jet-skiing, paddleboarding, or boat tours. If gaining insight into Abu Dhabi's rich cultural heritage is of interest, you should visit the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. There, you can engage with these majestic birds and learn about the significance of falconry in the local culture.


Nightlife / Bars / Entertainment

Nightlife in Abu Dhabi is a captivating experience that caters to diverse preferences. For those who seek a lively atmosphere, Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, hosts some of the hottest nightclubs like Yas Island Club, The Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, and MAD Yas Island. The city's nightlife also boasts venues like Annex, The Exchange nightclub, and Trilogy nightclub, providing a range of options for a memorable night out.


Shopping / What to Buy

Abu Dhabi is a shopping paradise with diverse options. Yas Mall, one of the UAE's largest, boasts 250+ shops and dining spots. Marina Mall combines high-end and mid-range stores, while traditional souks like the Gold Souk and Al Mina Souk offer unique experiences. From electronics at Abu Dhabi Mall to designer goods at Galleria Mall, the city offers a fulfilling shopping adventure. Find treasures like gold, carpets, and textiles, as well as perfumes, spices, and unique souvenirs. Technology, fashion, beauty products, home decor, and culinary delights reflect Abu Dhabi's rich offerings for shoppers.


Festivals/ Events

March: Abu Dhabi Festival
March: The Ideas Abu Dhabi Festival
April- May: Abu Dhabi International Jazz Festival
April: Abu Dhabi International Dance Festival
October- November: Abu Dhabi Film Festival
December: Al Dhafra Festival
December- February: Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival
November- January: Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival


Holidays / Festivals / Important Days

1 January: New Year’s Day
1 December: Commemoration Day
2 December: National Day
3 December: National Day holiday
Eid al-Fitr 
Eid al-Adha 
Arafat (Hajj) Day


Things to Pay Attention to / Important Information

Demonstrating public displays of affection with your partner is discouraged.
Dressing modestly is encouraged, especially when visiting public and religious places. Visitors should adhere to clothing guidelines that include covering their shoulders and knees.
Abu Dhabi has a hot desert climate. Be prepared for high temperatures, especially during the summer months.



In Abu Dhabi, the best and most commonly used transportation method is taxis to get around the city. Taxis and ride-sharing services, such as Uber, are easily accessible throughout the city, ensuring a hassle-free way to get around. Additionally, the well-developed public bus system and the metro offer efficient and reliable modes of public transportation within the city. Rented cars are also highly popular, due to the well-maintained roads. 

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