Abu Dhabi - Ultimate One Week Guide
Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is known for hosting major sporting events and producing millions of barrels of oil. This oil rich country also has so much to offer as a tourist destination. Find out the best way to spend 1 week exploring Abu Dhabi and other parts of the UAE in this guide.
Day 1: Abu Dhabi City
Abu Dhabi is the perfect place to start, as flights into here are widely offered by lots of airlines and we found them to be reasonably priced at around £300 return from London.
Visit the Corniche for a stroll along the beach, but note you are only allowed to take photos on your phone here.
In the afternoon visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi. This floating museum actually weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower, and houses some exquisite art. Though more staggering is that Abu Dhabi reportedly paid France $525 million to use the “Louvre” name.
Depending on which way round you want to plan your own itinerary, you can spend a few more days here at the beginning, or return after exploring other parts of the UAE first, which is what we did.
Day 2-4: Explore the Liwa Desert and stay at Qasr Al Sarab
The Liwa desert, also known as the Empty Quarter is one of the largest uninterrupted deserts in the world, and one of the most picturesque areas in the Arab Emirates. It is well connected to Abu Dhabi if you have a car. Rent a car in Abu Dhabi or at the airport and drive 2-hours towards Qasr Al Sarab. Spend some time stopping along to way to admire the scenery - if you're not from these parts of the world you're in for one hell of a time!
Check-in to Qasr Al Sarab for 2-nights and enjoy it's surroundings - you won't regret it!
Day 5: Zaya Nurai Island
Back to Abu Dhabi. Spend the next day at Zaya Nurai Island, sipping a cocktail at 'Smokin' Pineapple' beach bar and chilling on the beach swings & hammocks.
Getting to Zaya Nurai was stress free and easy - we had pre-booked with myconcierge.com and arrived at the Welcome Centre for the first boat of the day.
The island has two main beach front areas for day guests and another private beach for it's residents. The 'Smokin' Pineapple' beach, a pineapple themed beachfront with an infinity pool, beach beds, tipis for protection from the sun, hammocks, a furnished garden and bar area is where you're going to want to spend most of your time!
Apart from a very faint view of the city skyline on the horizon, we could not believe we were in Abu Dhabi.
Day 6: Dubai Day Trip
Time to head to Dubai for the day - only a 90 minute drive North of Abu Dhabi.
Dubai is one of the worlds most unique cities and home to the worlds tallest building - the Burj Khalifa. It's well worth the drive to see. Spend your day exploring Downtown Dubai, home to the famous Burj Khalifa, it's observation deck and dancing fountain.
The temperature in Dubai felt much warmer than in Abu Dhabi which was a welcome surprise in the evening.
We do not recommend visiting the Palm Atlantis, too much of a tourist trap. However if you do, don't do valet parking unless you're willing to fork out over $50.
Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa
Day 7: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Check into the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi as a base to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Whilst the rooms here are a little dated - the facilities and views were stunning.
Wake up early for a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is open Saturday-Thursday 9am to 10pm, and closed on Fridays to tourists. Check their website if you travel during Ramadan.
Abu Dhabi Best Hotels
Best Time to Visit Abu Dhabi
For a combination of the best weather, crowds and hotel rates; try to visit between September and April. During the summer months the temperate can be almost unbearable to do much outdoors.
Abu Dhabi is home to various sporting events including the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which takes place in November, so bear these in mind.