From one of the largest mosques in the world, to cutting edge modern architecture, Abu Dhabi is a bustling metropolis that is waiting to be explored.

It goes far beyond spectacular buildings, with world-class shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Take a tour of the city to get acquainted with the major sites, spend some time walking or biking along the Corniche, or enjoy a high tea 300 metres above the ground.

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DAY 1

Abu Dhabi City Highlights Tour

Start your visit to Abu Dhabi with a four-hour guided tour of the city, to get acquainted with the history and major city highlights. Start by visiting the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and marvel at its sheer size and learn more about what makes it unique. From here you’ll head to the Zayed Centre, a museum dedicated to the late Sheikh Zayed, credited for the development of the city of Abu Dhabi. Finally, step back to a time before Abu Dhabi was a booming metropolis at the Heritage Village, a recreated Bedouin camp. This tour will give you a great introduction to the history of the city, delivered by an experienced local guide.

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Shopping

Abu Dhabi is no stranger to shopping, with a number of great malls across the city, catering to different tastes and budgets. For a conveniently located mall with over 200 retail options, we recommend heading to Abu Dhabi Mall, which is connected to the Beach Rotana Hotel. Here you’ll find a number of boutiques such as Weekend MaxMara, Kate Spade and Zara, as well as dining and entertainment.

If you are on Yas Island, we recommend heading to the enormous Yas Mall, which features 370 stores and 60 dining options in a 2.5 million square foot complex. Yas Mall is 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi, or 10 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Iris

Iris is located on Yas Marina, 30 minutes from the centre of the city. It’s a great spot to sit by the water and enjoy a few handcrafted cocktails, and a range of tapas-style dishes. Whether you are just stopping in for a pre-dinner drink, a meal, or to party into the night, Iris will not disappoint. Iris is open until 3am every night of the week.

DAY 2

The Corniche

The Corniche is an eight-kilometre stretch of road along the Abu Dhabi waterfront, and it is a great place to spend one of the (regularly) sunny days in the city. The main feature is the long Corniche Beach, popular with both locals and tourists. The beach is expertly manicured, and the water is warm year-round. There are three separate sections of the beach, catering to singles, families and the public, and parking is abundant in the area.

If the beach isn’t your thing, rent a bike and enjoy a ride along the separate bike path, or take a walk along the pedestrian path, stopping at one of the many cafes or playgrounds along the way.

High Tea at Jumeirah

Enjoy a High Tea on top of the city, at Observation Deck at 300. Located on the 74th floor of Tower 2 at Etihad Towers, the ‘300’ represents the number of metres in the air that the observation deck sits at, so this is a great spot to sit back and relax with a variety of drinks, nibbles and sweet treats.

Entry for the High Tea costs 175 AED (roughly 60 AUD or 65 NZD), and it’s recommended that you book a table in advance to avoid missing out. You’ll enjoy a range of savoury and sweet delicate snacks, and luxury teas from all over the world, whilst taking in the spectacular view. It’s safe to say that there’s no better view of Abu Dhabi than from Observation Deck at 300.

World Trade Center Souk & Mall

Where contemporary meets history, this is your chance to experience authentic Emirati culture with a modern twist! Located in the heart of the city, the intricately carved wooden structure boasts a fusion of traditional Arabian and modern architecture. It is here where you will find traditional artifacts, henna, spices, oils, hand-crafted jewellery, Arabic perfumes, clothing and accessories - the options are endless. The crowning glory of the Abu Dhabi skyline, the WTC Souk also features state-of-the-art amenities and a central atrium with a retractable roof and rooftop gardens.

DAY 3

Friday Brunch at Zuma

Friday is the start of the weekend in the UAE, and brunch is a popular way to get it started. This isn’t your usual brunch - it’s a big event with huge amounts of food, drinks, and a DJ spinning tunes all afternoon. Zuma, located on Al Maryah Island, offers high-end Japanese dining, with multiple drinks packages available. Start with a range of appetisers to share, before heading to the sushi and robata counters where they are preparing the delicate dishes with precision. Order from one of their signature mains, and make sure you save room for dessert!

Abu Dhabi Skyscrapers and Iconic Sights Tour

This five-hour guided tour will showcase some of the architectural achievements in Abu Dhabi, and explain how the city grew from a small fishing port in the 1950’s, into the global city it is today. After pickup from their Abu Dhabi hotel, guests will head to Masdar City, an ambitious building project of an entire city run on renewable energy. From here, they will head to the artificial Yas Island, and get a chance to see the Yas Marina F1 circuit and Ferrari World. The tour then heads to Saadiyat Island, a centre for art and culture, before finishing at the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

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Hakkasan

This iconic restaurant offers modern, high-end Chinese cuisine at Emirates Palace. With a restaurant, bar, lounge and four private dining rooms, diners can experience signature Hakkasan dishes like Peking Duck with Caviar, alongside new dishes created specifically for the Abu Dhabi restaurant. This is the perfect way to end a trip to Abu Dhabi, or to celebrate a special occasion.

Where to stay

Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi

This property is ideally located in the centre of Abu Dhabi, just a 12-minute walk to the Corniche, and 1.5 kilometre walk to Marina Mall. Rooms have city views, air conditioning and free WiFi. There are seven dining options, a rooftop pool and gym.

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Jumeirah at Etihad Towers

These magnificent glass hotel towers stand out in the skyline of Abu Dhabi. Alongside a private beach and spa, guests can enjoy spectacular views from their rooms or take tea at the capital’s highest vantage point, Observation Deck at 300.

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Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Rooms at this hotel overlook the serene Arabian Gulf. In a great location, the hotel has easy access to the Abu Dhabi Mall and the public beach. Facilities include a swimming pool and a luxurious cocktail bar. Spacious rooms all have views of the Arabian Gulf or the city.

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