Best things to do in Abu Dhabi in Three Days

Gearing up for a mini three days getaway in Abu Dhabi? Great choice; Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s largest and capital city with endless possibilities for fun, amusement, and entertainment. And full 72 hours in Abu Dhabi will give you solid time to experience its world-class theme parks, explore its untouched nature and even venture into the sights and experiences that give you a glance of its rich cultural past and heritage. But if you don’t know how to tackle these many attractions and experiences in this available time, we’ve created this Abu Dhabi itinerary for three days which will definitely prove helpful for you.

A GUIDE TO THREE DAYS IN ABU DHABI & ITINERARY | Outside Suburbia

Abu Dhabi is not just the capital, it is also the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates after Dubai.

A GUIDE TO THREE DAYS IN ABU DHABI & ITINERARY

Day 1: Strike Off Abu Dhabi’s Must-See Attractions

Today, after breakfast, set out to take in Abu Dhabi’s celebrated landmarks. Make sure that you include the following in your sightseeing checklist.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque: This is one of the Islamic world’s most stunning architectural gems.  With a capacity to accommodate 40,000 worshippers at any given time, this all-white religious place of interest will blow you away with its sheer size, magnificent architectural elements and striking tranquility. Precisely, this is a definite-see on your Abu Dhabi visit; the best thing is that entry to Sheikh Zayed Mosque is free and its doors are open to non-Muslims as well.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque: This is one of the Islamic world’s most stunning architectural gems | Outside Suburbia
Sheikh Zayed Mosque: This is one of the Islamic world’s most stunning architectural gems
Sheikh Zayed Mosque: One of the Islamic world’s most stunning architectural gems | Outside Suburbia
The inside of the mosque is just as gorgeous as the outside!

Observation Deck at 300: Abu Dhabi is unrivaled for its glitzy cityscape and you can catch a glimpse of all and beyond from one of the region’s highest vantage points at Observation Deck at 300. You’ll find this on the 74th floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Qasr Al Hosn: Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s richest cities where modernity and age-old culture and traditions go hand in hand. And for a genuine look into its past, nothing probably comes closer to Qasr A l Hosn; it is the region’s oldest heritage site.

Qasr Al Hosn
Qasr Al Hosn

Heritage Village: Want to know how life was like for Emiratis before the oil boom? Make a stop at Heritage Village which is modeled to recreate an authentic Arabian settlement. Surely, this not only gives you a glimpse of the region’s ancient lifestyle, but also lets you discover the intriguing local arts and crafts such as pottery, weaving etc.

UAE Heritage Village: A glimpse of the Emirati lifestyle | Outside Suburbia
UAE Heritage Village: A glimpse of the Emirati lifestyle

Date Market:What’s an Arabian holiday without shopping some dates? And this traditional Date Bazaar is one of the best places in the UAE to buy finest quality dates.

Marina Mall: Shopping malls in Abu Dhabi are more than a destination for shopping. But Marina Mall goes over and above your expectations; after all, it is home to the city’s largest Carrefour store, along with an array of recreation options such as a multiplex cinema, a bowling center, and an observatory.

Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi | Outside Suburbia
Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi

Qasr Al Watan: Whether you wish to discover the royal grandeur or want to check out the enlightening arts and artifactsthat shed light on the Emirati past, you should definitely visit this palace complete with some captivating sections and exhibits.

Emirates Palace: This is one of the most luxurious hotels not only in Abu Dhabi but in the UAE itself. Even if you don’t have plans to stay here, do visit here for the fantastic photo ops it offers.

Emirates Palace is one of the most luxurious hotels not only in Abu Dhabi but in the UAE | Outside Suburbia
Emirates Palace, one of the most luxurious hotels not only in Abu Dhabi but in the UAE

Abu Dhabi Corniche: After your hectic sightseeing, relax and unwind at this beautifully laid-out destination. It’s rife with opportunities means you’ll get to take part in a variety of activities including football, volleyball, watersports etc.

Abu Dhabi Corniche - 3 day Itinerary | Outside Suburbia
Abu Dhabi Corniche

Dhow Cruise: Give a perfect end to your day one with a dhow cruise along Corniche. This laid-back cruise aboard a traditional Arabian vessel allows you to see Abu Dhabi’s flood-lit city skyline. The sail lasts for about two hours and comes with the finest in dining and entertainment.

A dhow cruise along the Corniche - One of the best things to do in Abu Dhabi | Outside Suburbia
A dhow cruise along Corniche

Top Things to Consider for Day One

  • Make sure that you start early as most of these places can later get crowded.
  • With so much to cover in a single day, it’s recommended to admire above attractions on a Big Bus Tour or an all-inclusive Abu Dhabi city tour arranged by a professional service provider.
  • Dhow cruise is not included in a sightseeing tour, but you can enjoy both city tour and cruise for a single rate with a value-packed combo pass.

Day 2: Take Your Pick From The Attractions And Experiences At Yas Island

Did you know that Abu Dhabi has an entire island dedicated to absolute fun and entertainment? Visit Yas Island to experience it for yourself! Yes, it’s worth spending a full day in this island destination which is home to several theme parks and other exciting attractions that are ideal for all age groups. Just make your desired choice from the following:

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: This place is a pure bliss for ardent Ferrari fans. Rightly so, it’s the world’s first Ferrari branded theme park. Be it fast fun, kid-friendly or everything in between, Ferrari World has it all. For those who don’t know, it has to its credit Formula Rossa – the world’s fastest roller coaster ride.

Entrance to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

CLYMB Abu Dhabi: It’s one of the island’s recently added attractions; a visit here allows you to experience both the largest skydiving chamber and the tallest climbing wall in the world.

Yas Waterworld: For water park lovers, this park is unmissable. It’s Abu Dhabi’s largest water park where you can make the most of its mix of innovative, exhilarating, milder and kid-specific rides, slides, games etc. Interestingly, they are themed around the story of the Lost Pearl.

Warner Bros Abu Dhabi: It is an ultimate haven for the aficionados of superhero and cartoon based rides and attractions. Thanks to its six unique zones that excite both your kid and kid within you.

KidZania Abu Dhabi: Joined by your little ones from 4 to 16 years, let them take charge of this mini metropolis at Yas Island. This allows your kids to step into the shoes of an adult as they live their favorite profession with all enthusiasm and earn as well with KidZos currency.

Yas Beach: Want to take a break from heart-racing actions and rides? Spend some time at Yas Beach endowed with picturesque surroundings and majestic waters.

Yas Beach

Yas Marina Circuit: It’s a must-see being one of the world’s most expensive race circuits. It’s also the venue of the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Formula One.

Top Things to Consider for Day Two

  • Al through admission to Yas Island is free, you’ll need separate tickets to access its diverse attractions.
  • Pre-reserve your desired tickets to beat long queues and skip any unnecessary hassle.
  • Choose combo pass that offers access to two or more of Yas Island’s attractions for one low rate.

Day 3: Absorb Abu Dhabi’s Untouched Nature & Inspiring Culture

Take any list of things to do in Abu Dhabi; they are incomplete without exclusive journeys that introduce you to the region’s unscathed environs. So why don’t dedicate this day for nature, culture and distinct adventure? Kick off your day with a trip to Mangrove National Park, later make a stop at Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, and then embark on a desert safari tour.

Mangrove National Park: It may be just a few minutes’ drive away from the city centre, but it retreats you to a world away from the concrete jungle. It occupies close to 75% of the country’s overall mangrove forest means this hidden gem in Abu Dhabi is a treat for nature lovers and birdwatchers. For an in-depth look at this lush setting and its flora and fauna, you can go on a kayaking tour, sign up for standup paddleboard tour or simply join a boat cruise.

If you have a couple extra days to spend away from the city centre, then stay at one of the most popular 5-star hotels in Abu Dhabi, located right across the mangroves. Head out into the desert for adventure, then unwind with Turkish hammam rituals at this Anantara Resort in Abu Dhabi.

Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum: Art Lovers, be sure to add this breathtaking museum to your Abu Dhabi travel itinerary. Located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District, it’s more than its name (which reminds you of the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris)or its extraordinary exhibits including the masterpieces created by Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent Van Gogh. Louvre Abu Dhabi is the Arab world’s first universal museum; more than that, it’s easily identifiable for its astonishing architecture with a massive perforated dome that results in the rain of light effect.

Desert Safari: In the evening, get ready for an incredible off-road journey that promises you the fun and thrill of a lifetime. A desert safari in Abu Dhabi not only transports you to the depths of Arabian dunes, but also lets you be a part of a variety of exciting experiences. Enjoy 4X4 dune bash, ride a camel, get your hands adorned with stunning henna designs, and try Shisha smoking. Before you wind up your desert tour, sink your teeth into a lavish BBQ dinner and further watch traditional performances like Belly Dance, Tanura and Fire Show.

Top Things to Consider for Day Three

  • With limited time, make sure that you opt for guided tour to explore the region’s pristine nature.
  • For absolute peace of mind, don’t forget to add roundtrip transfers at the time of booking.

Abu Dhabi Tours

Where to Eat in Abu Dhabi

At Milas, tucked into the first floor of the Shangri-La, try rosemary lamb chops, grilled halloumi, and dill kashmiri: a dill bread filled with potato and green moong sprout and served with a tamarind-yogurt sauce and mint chutney.

Li Beirut is considered one of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi. Try the Flavors of Beirut set menu if you are new to Lebanese cooking.

Mezlai, inside the Emirates Palace hotel, is another great place to eat in Abu Dhabi. It is designed to look like a Bedouin tent-turned-royal residence and the menu features items made with traditional Gulf ingredients like za’atar, saffron, and rosewater.

Stop at the Umm Al Emarat Park to try some chicken tacos with cured lemon slaw, smoothie bowls with açai, chia seeds, and granola or chicken sliders with guacamole, hummus, and tahini at Parkers. It is an airy space that feels like a greenhouse.

If you have more time, visit Sir Bani Yas Island

Did you know, Abu Dhabi is an archipelago made up of over 200 islands? If you have a few more days in Abu Dhabi, head to the remote island of Sir Bani Yas and stay at one of the Anantara properties. Sir Bani Yas Island is a wildlife sanctuary just off the coast of Abu Dhabi, home to free-roaming animals, including the near-extinct Arabian Oryx, ostriches and giraffes.

Al Sahel Villas is an intimate cluster of 30 luxurious villas and Desert Islands Resort & Spa that was once a holiday retreat of Emirati royals.

An Arabian Sand Gazelle

From forts, tombs that date as far back as 5,000 years to oasis on the ancient caravan route, you can also visit a few UNESCO World Heritage sites in Abu Dhabi if you can manage some extra time in the city.

Final Thoughts

Abu Dhabi is an ever-evolving, multi-faceted Arabian metropolis means a visit here can be overwhelming for first-timers and revisiting travelers alike. But with this travel guide, we hope you have now got enough ideas and inspiration to spend an unforgettable holiday in Abu Dhabi.

Neha is a full time travel blogger.  Her itchy feet and passion to see the world brought her to this profession, she claims. She is an avid reader and loves to travel. You can visit her facebook page Dubai Wikia.

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