We recently had only one day to show our guest the sights of Abu Dhabi. This put us to the test! We kinda felt like a double decker bus tour around San Francisco…only it was an SUV and no funny commentary to go along with the tour. Could we show her some fabulous places that summed up Abu Dhabi? Sure we could! But could we also make it kid friendly? You betcha! We started off first thing in the morning, making the 1.5 hour drive from Al Ain to Abu Dhabi.
Our first stop was the Grand Mosque. This is the one place you must visit when coming to Abu Dhabi let alone the UAE! It’s breathtaking! You can read more details on the Mosque here.
You are able to visit the Mosque on your own self-guided tour, but I highly recommend the tour guides as they will tell you all the wonderful details about the Mosque…like which parts are real gold, about the largest single woven carpet in the World, and about a ceiling that matches the carpet below!
Our next stop was to see the Emirates Palace. Another MUST see in Abu Dhabi. The lavishness of this hotel is just beyond words. Inside you’ll find a gold vending ATM machine, a scrumptious bakery, a mini Rodeo Drive, and outside…lavishly beautiful gardens.
My girls were amazed at the very large layered cakes…especially the one shaped like pillows. They were so enamored that the staff put them up on the counter to see the cake up close and personal. My girls also saw the gold ATM machine and so badly wanted to hit it up for some gold bars! Yeah, um, maybe next time.
While you’re here, sit for a moment in the cafe and have some delectable sweets, finger sandwiches, caviar, tea or coffee. Just savour the moment of sitting inside this amazing hotel. And, if you’re lucky enough to be able…spend the night! If you do, let me know!
After Emirates Palace, we needed some lunch. There is a “chain” called The Lebanese Flower in Abu Dhabi. There is the fancy one with a sheesha bar in the courtyard area, and then there’s the original hole in the wall location which is fabulous on authenticity and atmosphere!
Here we enjoyed some favorites like lentil soup, sheesh tawook, grilled shrimp, hummus, falafel, and lots of olives! Ask for juice and you’ll get the freshest juice out there! To finish off the meal, you’ll be served some delicious fruit! Have a lovely cup of Moroccan tea at the end, which I’m highly addicted to and now make at home.
Either location is sure to please.
You can then head to Heritage Village (which is also next to Marina Mall with great shopping). Heritage Village will give you a look into life in the UAE and the Bedouin people who are still to be found in the desert.
You’ll see mud houses, a traditional mosque, and what shopping is like in a traditional market. You can even take a camel ride for those of you needing to ride a camel on your short stay! Get there at the right time and you’ll see a demonstration of the sport of falconry.
Our last stop in our busy day was to the Central Market Souk. Here you’ll find a many stores full of trinkets, art work, gifts and more. The building is absolutely beautiful, and they have underground parking which is a huge bonus in Abu Dhabi!
As a special treat we got the girls some henna work done. You’ll want to do henna just for the experience if you never have before. There are plenty of places to find it around town if you don’t make it to the souk.
There you have it! ONE day in Abu Dhabi, and you’ve seen some amazing places as well as tasted some delicious food!