SHEIKH ZAYED MOSQUE
The United Arab Emirates’ largest mosque and one of the few in the region that are open to non-Muslims, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque melds influences from various Muslim civilizations to create a truly unique architectural masterpiece surrounded by reflective pools and stunning manicured gardens. With a cavernous capacity for 40,000 worshippers and 24-carat gold chandeliers, the mosque also features more than 80 massive marble domes and four towering minarets.
ABU DHABI FALCON HOSPITAL
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital is the world’s largest animal care facility devoted to the falcon. An essential part of Emirati history, falcons remain revered to this day. A two-hour guided tour includes visits to the hospital’s examination rooms, the falcon museum and a free-flight aviary where you can witness falcons in flight. Online booking on the hospital’s website is required prior to your visit.
Streching nearly 5 miles along Abu Dhabi’s waterfront, the Corniche offers manicured park gardens, eateries, promenades, access to beautiful white-sand beaches and stunning views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline. Rent a bike from a bike-share station for a leisurely ride on the Corniche’s dedicated cycle pathway.
LOUVRE ABU DHABI
At over 99,000 square feet of gallery space, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a landmark cultural institution with a unique exhibit format that walks visitors through a chronology of artwork from the Neolithic-era on up. Designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, the museum’s artistic and architectural ingenuity includes features like a 7,500-ton lattice dome inspired by traditional Arabic architectural tradition.
QASR AL HOSN FORT
Abu Dhabi’s oldest building and most physical link to Emirati history, Qasr Al Hosn Fort was built in the late 1700s and endured as a royal residence until the 1960s. Its signature watchtower stood guard over the growing civilization on the island. This relic of Abu Dhabi’s past is now a museum with treasured displays that serve as a living memorial to Abu Dhabi’s storied past.
OBSERVATION DECK AT 300
For the best panoramic vistas of Abu Dhabi, Observation Deck at 300 (located on the 74th floor Jumeirah at Etihad Towers) offers unparalleled views of the city and Arabian Gulf at a height of 300 meters above sea level. The price of admission includes a voucher for food and drink.
AL MINA SOUKS
The Al Mina souks (marketplaces) offer traditional tastes and commerce experiences dating back generations, including a fish souk that is the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Guests can pick out their own fresh selection of seafood for grilling on the spot. While the fish souk offers a truly authentic experience, be forewarned that the smell of fish can be overpowering! If seafood isn’t your cup of tea, the nearby Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Souk is a vibrant farmer’s market where you can sample and buy a large variety of fresh fruit and vegetables.
1.5 hrs outside Abu Dhbai, Al Ain is an environment-defying, cool inland oasis near the border with Oman. The largest inland city in UAE and a protected UNESCO heritage site, the settlement is nourished by a natural springs that keep fruit-bearing date palm groves and lush greenery thriving. Breathtaking views can be witnessed from the top of Jebel Hafeet, a mountain overlooking Al Ain with tombs dating back to the Bronze Age. Archaeology buffs will also enjoy Hili Archaeological Park, numerous charming forts and Al Ain National Museum, where an abundance of local artifacts are on display.
Travel in to the heart of the legendary Rub’Al Khali, the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. Here one can explore the sun-soaked dunes as this foreboding landscape unwinds eternally in front of you. View desert wildlife and overnight in style surrounded by glorious Arabian decor that channels one of the world’s most ancient and revered cultures. Most of the topography is dominated by magnificent deserts, from low-lying white sandy coast terrain to the red sand dunes around Al Ain, the dunes in the Liwa desert exceed 300 metres in height. This variety makes Abu Dhabi unique for any activities and events in and around its deserts. The Liwa Oasis is the historical home of the Nahyan family, the leaders of Abu Dhabi Emirate and the UAE. It was historically, and remains to this day, a date-palm cultivating region for Bedouin tribes, especially the Bani Yas. The cultivated palm forests may come as a surprise in the middle of the desert.