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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 11, 2020
Headline for Things to Do in Abu Dhabi - Top Activities in Abu Dhabi
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Things to Do in Abu Dhabi - Top Activities in Abu Dhabi

As one of the most vibrant holiday hotspots in the Middle East, there's much to do and experience in the capital of the UAE. Here's a rundown of the top tourist activities in Abu Dhabi.


Explore the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Tipped to be one of the city's most iconic landmarks, a tour of the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must for all travellers heading to Abu Dhabi. The brainchild of the first president of the country, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, this mammoth religious edifice built in 1996 and completed in 2007 is a staggering architectural feat. As one of the biggest mosques on the planet, the mosque boasts a whopping eighty-two domes and over a thousand pillars. Its gold and white facade is among the most photographed sights in Abu Dhabi and the globe's biggest hand-woven carpet is also found within its confines.


Shopping Spree at Marina Mall

No holiday in Abu Dhabi would be complete without a shopping spree at the famed Marina Mall. Occupying pride of place close to the Heritage Village in the south-western fringes of the city, this massive department store is home to over four hundred shops. What's more, the venue also houses its own amusement park, film theatre, ice skating rink and arcade so tourists can indulge in a plethora of activities besides shopping during a visit to the popular mall. The large variety of cafes and restaurants in the mall also makes it a bit hit with foodies.


Spend Time at the Corniche

Regarded as the city's most popular recreational area, The Corniche is a picturesque stretch of oceanfront that stretches for over four miles in south-western Abu Dhabi. The ocean-facing promenade is not only home to some of the best-known restaurants and retail outlets in the city but some of its finest resorts as well. Offering visitors spectacular views of the Persian Gulf, one of the best ways to uncover the Corniche in all its glory is to rent a bike and cycle along its perimeter. Bike rentals are available on-site courtesy of FunRideSports which has over 4 stations where tourists can pick up a bike of their choice for an hourly rate. The northeastern edge of the Corniche now encompasses a water sports hub and swimming facilities as well.


Sign Up for a Desert Tour

No tour of Abu Dhabi would be complete without a desert safari in the Liwa Oasis. As one of the singular travel experiences that can only be enjoyed in an arid part of the world such as the Emirates, the Empty Quarter provides visitors with the chance to explore the vast expanse of desert in many ways. From dune bashing and camel trekking to jeep rides across the desert, the choices are endless when it comes to inventive desert tours. Travellers who wish to immerse themselves in the desert can also sign up for an overnight camping experience in the Liwa Oasis.


Tour the Al Jahili Fort

As a free attraction that's accessible to those based in Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara or any other Abu Dhabi resorts in the city, a tour of the Al Jahili Fort is a must for all first-time visitors. Dating back to the 1800s, the Arabian architectural style of the fortress, as well as the palm groves surrounding the edifice, are classic examples of the era in which it was constructed.