With two full days to enjoy Abu Dhabi, there’s plenty of opportunity to experience the city’s main sights and surrounding attractions—from the desert dunes and waters of the Persian Gulf to the leisure hot spots of Yas Island. Here are a few ways to maximize your 48 hours in the UAE’s action-packed capital.
Devote the morning to Abu Dhabi’s sights and getting your bearings. View the highlights easily on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, disembarking at your choice of 24 stops. Otherwise, delve deeper into the sights on a bus tour that includes guided visits to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and other attractions.
As the midday heat takes hold, head for the cool of the contemporary Louvre Abu Dhabi to see the stunning art displayed in its sun-dappled galleries. Or hotfoot it to the spectacular Emirates Palace hotel to enjoy a cup of its decadent, gold-speckled cappuccino topped with genuine gold-leaf sprinkles.
As the sun sets, zoom into the desert on one of Abu Dhabi’s many sports-and-dinner tours that include a 4x4 dune drive, sandboarding, camel ride, and starlit barbecue supper. Nature lovers, meanwhile, might prefer a gentler sunset cruise around Abu Dhabi’s mangroves to look for gazelles, cormorants, and other wildlife.
With your sightseeing sorted, spend today focusing on Abu Dhabi’s leisure heavy hitters. Adrenaline junkies will love an ATV ride in the dunes, while water babes might prefer a kayak around the mangroves. Alternatively, see how falcons—the UAE’s national bird—are cared for at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital.
Up the fun at Yas Waterworld, enjoying its high-speed chutes, various pools, and lazy river. Alternatively, rent a Jet Ski to zip over the Persian Gulf waves. Those keen to escape the sun should make a beeline for Ferrari World, where indoor coasters, racing simulators, and other adventures await.
Finish your Abu Dhabi stay with a dinner cruise aboard a fairy-lit wooden dhow. Cruises typically glide by the Corniche to showcase the city’s glittering skyline and include an Arabian-style buffet. Otherwise, consider booking a romantic beach dinner for two, replete with butler service and a private, tented oceanside table.