With hundreds of sights to see in this incredible city, it’s hard to know where to start. Our Abu Dhabi bucket list has already reached 100 places and counting – but rather than being paralysed by choice, we thought we’d start with a handful of the truly unmissable places in town. You know, the very best things to do in Abu Dhabi, the place that absolutely have to be seen, whether you’ve lived here all your life or whether you’re just visiting for a week! So, where are you off to first?
1. Walk the trails of Jubail Mangrove Park
A stroll along the boardwalks of Jubail Mangrove Park will lighten any heart. Maybe it’s the azure waters, the abundance of wildlife, or the tranquil scenes of the park, but a trip here is guaranteed to leave you at peace with nature. Not only that, but the park is a vital educational resource, and the mangroves themselves of course play a crucial role in protecting the Abu Dhabi coastline and supporting the region’s amazing biodiversity.
2. Marvel at the art inside Louvre Abu Dhabi
Paris can wait; we’re taking a trip to Abu Dhabi’s most influential art gallery first. Paintings by Piet Mondrian and Cy Twombly sit alongside permanent sculptures like Giuseppe Penone’s Leaves of Light in a world-class exhibition of art through the ages. The more adventurous amongst you can kayak underneath the Louvre’s dome on a moonlight night, but whatever your motivation for visiting, the Arab world’s most-visited art gallery can surely provide.
3. See a face in the stars at The Constellation
Public artwork dots the parks and open spaces of Abu Dhabi freely, but few hold as much significance as The Constellation. Honouring Sheikh Zayed’s legacy, the Ralph Helmick-designed installation uses 2000 lights and 1300 geometric shapes to bring the image of the late Sheikh to life once more. Paying a visit here is one the best things to do in Abu Dhabi, regardless of how long you play on staying.
4. Pay a visit to the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes
Taking a little detour out of the heart of Abu Dhabi is well worth it when the reward is some of Earth’s great fossil dunes. You’ll find 1700 of them at Al Wathba, and geologists estimate that they’re over four million years old – making them by far the oldest thing you can see on our list! You’ll be utterly enraptured by the jaw-dropping dunes, a sight that only becomes more impressive when the frequent light shows begin.
5. Be dazzled by the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Let’s face it, we couldn’t end this list with anywhere else, could we? Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is perhaps Abu Dhabi’s most instantly-recognisable sight, and it’s an absolute must-visit for anyone visiting the Emirates. The spectacular house of worship is both an impressive commitment to faith (it can hold up to 40,000 worshippers), and a testament to the ambition and flair of the architects who built it, with 82 marble domes and crystal chandeliers amongst the mosque’s features.