I’ve shared a few holiday posts lately, including outfits and what we got up to in Abu Dhabi. As it was our second trip there (and hopefully not the last!) we’ve done a fair bit of exploring and sightseeing. So I thought I’d do a round up post of 6 things to do in Abu Dhabi.
The Sheikh Zayed mosque is a truly magnificent building (and very Instagrammable…yes that’s a word now!). The mosque, which opened in 2007, is one of the world’s largest, with a capacity for 40,000 worshippers. It has 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The design and construction of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is said to “unite the world” by using artisans and materials from many different countries. Last year we went inside, but this year we went in the evening to see it at sunset. It certainly didn’t disappoint…it was incredible. Entry is free, as is hiring an abaya if you need one…you can read about my insufficiently long maxi dress here!
We also went to Yas Waterworld last year and loved it so much we had to go back. Entry is quite expensive on the door, but you can get great deals from some of the hotels so it’s worth asking at the desk. What we also discovered is that although our hotel didn’t offer discounted child tickets it was actually cheaper to buy an adult ticket from the hotel than paying full price on the door for Isobel. So bizarrely it cost more for her than us adults. One to remember for the future.
There’s an area for smaller children that’s covered with canopies to keep it shaded. You can load up a wristband with credit and leave your valuables in the locker. That said, we found it to be very safe and felt happy leaving our bags by the sunloungers. It’s definitely worth spending a day at Yas Waterworld and making the most of all the fun slides and chutes. Even someone like me who usually steers clear of water slides had tremendous fun…you can read more about it here!
The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in November last year. Located on Saadiyat Island, on the periphery of the city, it is a little out of the way, but most definitely worth a visit. The plan is to transform the area into a new cultural heart, with the addition of a National Museum and a new Guggenheim, creating an island of museums and galleries. Inside the 23 galleries you will find everything from ancient Egyptian artefacts to modern art. The “rain of light” which filters through the lattice dome roof mimics the dappled sunlight that shines through the palm leaves. It’s a great way to escape the midday sun. Plus, kids under 13 get in for free. You can see more photos of inside the Louvre here.
Whether you’re a fan of F1 or not, being able to walk, run or cycle around Yas Marina Circuit is a pretty cool thing to do. On Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (ladies only) between 6pm and 10pm you can work up a sweat on the racetrack…and it’s free to get in! Bike hire is available but you have to be wearing trainers (no open toe sandals like us!). Due to my lack of suitable footwear we walked the 5.55km circuit which goes underneath the Yas Viceroy Hotel. Water stations are located around the track in case you forget your water bottle.
I always like to have a couple of things on my to do list if I plan on going back somewhere. These last two have been recommended to me by friends who’ve tried them and are top of my list for next time.
A desert safari is most definitely on my to do list for my next trip to Abu Dhabi. Depending on your preference and budget, there are various options, from sunrise safaris with camel trekking to evening excursions with a romantic dune dinner. You can also stay overnight in a traditional Bedouin camp. Thrill seekers will love the dune bashing in a 4×4 and sand boarding, while those looking for a more sedate experience will appreciate trying traditional dress and watching live dancing.
For a little slice of indulgence what could beat having afternoon tea at the Emirates Palace? If your budget doesn’t stretch to staying in this luxurious 5-star hotel, you can marvel at the stunning surroundings while tucking into finger sandwiches and scones for an afternoon treat. Alternatively, you can opt for a coffee…not just any coffee though…a Golden Cappuccino. Also known as the Palace Cappuccino, this cup of frothy loveliness is sprinkled in real 24 carat gold flakes! Well this is the UAE after all!