If you've managed to steal an entire weekend for yourself at the end of a busy business trip to Abu Dhabi, you're to be congratulated. If you have only 2 days to spend in one of the loveliest cities in the world, we say plan for each hour of your time, to get the most of Abu Dhabi. We'll help you see and enjoy the top attractions, and participate in activities that you won't find elsewhere. So get ready to explore Abu Dhabi for 48 whole hours! It's not about how much time you have on hand; it's about what you do with it. So go on, Abu Dhabi is waiting for you!
1. Abu Dhabi City Tour A fabulous way to see the best of Abu Dhabi is via an Abu Dhabi city tour. The city tour takes you on a guided trip to various landmarks on a fully-air-conditioned bus. You will be provided with headsets through which they can hear the guide's commentary in a language of your choice. You'll be supplied with cool drinks and water on the tour, along with a lovely lunch at a good restaurant. No, you won't be rushed through different landmarks – the tour operates want you to truly enjoy yourselves, which is why they provide plenty of time at each notable destination.
2. Abu Dhabi Desert Safari Be sure to include a desert safari Abu Dhabi in your 48 hours Abu Dhabi tour plan. A desert safari is Abu Dhabi's desert is a unique experience. Pick up and drop off services are included. At the desert, you'll be welcomed into a Bedouin tent with soft drinks, a henna painting session and local entertainment. After which many adventures await you, such as dune bashing, sandboarding, camel riding and much more. If you sign up for an overnight safari, you can enjoy a fabulous Emirati BBQ dinner and a blissful night under the stars as well. You decide!
3. Tour of Liwa Liwa is a lovely oasis, with a collection of Bedouin villages at the Northern edge of the Rub al Khali. The leaders of the UAE, the Nahyan family, originally came from Liwa Oasis. A good portion of the oasis is covered with date palms which are cultivated in the desert by the desert tribes. You'll be stunned at the size of the desert dunes here. If you want to learn more about Bedouin culture, this is the best place to do it. Be sure to pay a visit to the most impressive dune in the Emirates, Moreeb dune or Tal Mireb, south of the Liwa settlements. If you're here in July, don't miss the Liwa Date Festival. A horde of airconditioned tents filled with various types of dates will be on sale then, along with Bedouin handicrafts.
4. Al Ain City Tour The Al Ain City Tour will take you to the picturesque city of Al Ain, also known as Abu Dhabi's Garden City owing to its stunning lush greenery. Take time to explore the Hili Archaeological site where historical structures and ancient tombs have been standing since the Bronze Age; some are even older than 4,000 years. Check out Al Ain's National Museum which showcases fabulous finds such as gold pendants from the second millennium BC and a reconstructed Grand Hili tomb. Then you'll be driven to Jebel Hafeet, Abu Dhabi's highest peak, for a dip in the hot water springs at the base. The Camel Market will delight you with its vibrancy and noises. Finally, you'll visit Al Ain's Zoo, which has last remaining white lions and tigers in the world, safely enclosed amidst the zoo's magnificent gardens.
5. Abu Dhabi City Tour With Ferrari World
If you're into racing and are a fan of Formula One racing in particular, sign up for the Abu Dhabi city tour with Ferrari world. On this tour, you will enjoy rides designed to thrill, such as intense G-force of world-class roller coasters, go-kart races, and Formula Rossa, one of the most intimidating rides ever ridden. Ferrari World also puts up Ferrari-inspired shows featuring acrobats, gravity-defying stunts, optical illusions and more. There's also an honest-to-goodness race track where you can race a Ferrari to your heart's content.
6. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
While you're in Abu Dhabi, don't forget to pay homage to the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is no less a grand poem in Macedonian marble. The mosque accommodates 41,000 worshippers and probably one of the very few that are open to non-Muslims. The mosque is crowned by 80 marble domes, which are held aloft by more than 1000 marble pillars. Four 107m-high minarets rise high into the sky. The pillars and walls are beautifully carved in floral designs and inlaid with semi-precious stones, such as lapis lazuli, red agate, amethyst, abalone, jasper and mother-of-pearl. The world's largest carpet lies in its glory within the mosque, and the world's largest crystal glass chandelier swings from the ceiling. No visit to Abu Dhabi can be complete without visiting this magnificent mosque.
7. Stroll Along The Corniche
The Abu Dhabi Corniche is a fabulous coastal promenade that stretches for four miles. There are several picnic areas alongside the Corniche, complete with barbeque facilities and kids play areas. You can stroll the entire length or explore it on a rented bike. Stop at the bus-sized emirate's flag, set atop a 360ft pole. Be sure to take pics of yourself against the remarkable Capital Gate building which leans 18 degrees to the left. Check out the latest fashions at the Avenue at Etihad Towers. The Qasr al Hosn fort is just a few blocks away; it's the oldest building in the city and is of great historic significance.
If you have the time, do sign up for a night kayaking tour of the thick mangrove forests that line Abu Dhabi's coasts. If you're not a kayaker, then hire a paddle boat to take you exploring the mangroves. You'll be stunned at the beauty of the forests, and the sight of Abu Dhabi's city lights reflected in the water. Abu Dhabi is exciting by day, and by night, and it's only left to the adventurer in you to fully enjoy everything this city has to offer.