Extend Your Business Stay in Abu Dhabi and Enjoy These City Highlights
Considering spending an extra day or two in Abu Dhabi after your business trip? Do it. This compact city is ideal for any traveler wanting to capture the flavor of the Middle East in quick time.
In just 24 hours, it’s easily possible to get a taste of where this city comes from and where it’s going. Old Abu Dhabi nestles comfortably alongside towering skyscrapers and mega-malls. There are incredible buildings to admire, both young and old, and lots of cultural attractions, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
And there’s no shortage of fun in this city. Did you know that there are several world-class theme parks here? With great weather and excellent local cuisine as well, your extra time will be well spent.
Go ahead and book an extra night or two at your hotel in the UAE, then enjoy a few of Abu Dhabi’s highlights.
How to make the most of your time in Abu Dhabi
When you only have a day or two to see the best a city has to offer, it can be hard to work out an itinerary. To help you out, here are the city’s highlights and why they might appeal to you.
●For the essential Abu Dhabi experience: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Abu Dhabi’s most iconic building and one of the world’s largest mosques. Luckily, this incredible building is one of only a few mosques in the region that are open to non-Muslims.
It’s an architectural masterpiece and a truly breathtaking sight. Four striking minarets and 80 marble roof-top domes are held up by 1,000 beautifully decorated pillars. Inside, in the sunbathed prayer hall, look out for both the world’s largest chandelier and carpet, both painstakingly handmade. Outside, there is more beauty to be found with the spectacular landscaped gardens and tranquil reflecting pools.
●For some well-earned downtime: Corniche Beach
The white sands and waterside promenade of Corniche Beach are where you’ll find Abu Dhabi locals in their downtime. It buzzes with the sound of families and friends sharing good times.
The pedestrian promenade with its beautifully landscaped gardens is the perfect place for you to take a break, stretch your legs, and take in the vistas of Abu Dhabi’s spectacular skyline, day or night.
If you need to recoup, the beach provides a place to relax and cool down with sunbeds available for hire. Taking a dip in the warm, turquoise Gulf is an irresistible experience.
●For the city’s history: Qasr Al Hosn
If you want Abu Dhabi’s history in a nutshell, Qasr Al Hosn is the place to go. A visit to this former royal residence and fort in Downtown Abu Dhabi is an ideal way to get a feel for Abu Dhabi’s fascinating past.
Qasr Al Hosn’s watchtower is the oldest structure still standing in the city, dating back to 1760. And for much of its history, the fort has been home to Abu Dhabi’s ruling family. It’s also been a seat of government and a national archive.
Its long-standing importance to the city means that it is regarded as a national treasure. Since its extensive restoration, it has reopened as a cultural hub with galleries and historical exhibits. With regular performances and exhibitions, Qasr Al Hosn showcases Abu Dhabi’s rise from a small fishing settlement to a modern global business hub.
●For a taste of traditional Abu Dhabi: Dhow Harbour
If you’re an early riser, a trip first thing to Dhow Harbour is particularly rewarding. This is the busiest time, with the latest haul of fresh fish and lobster being eagerly unloaded, ready for the day’s fine dining. Colorful sights are accompanied by the laughter and chatter of fishing people, and the clinking of the dhows nestled in the water.
Fishing was once at the center of Abu Dhabi’s economy, and while times have changed in so many respects, Dhow Harbour is one place in the city which carries on as it always has. It’s a charming and completely timeless place to meander. Only a glance upwards to nearby skyscrapers will remind you that it’s actually 2019.
●For art lovers: Louvre Abu Dhabi
This sister museum to the Louvre in Paris, France was opened to much excitement in 2017. The museum celebrates “the universal creativity of mankind” and is home to works by internationally renowned artists.
Alongside pieces by European artists like Mondrian, van Gogh and Gauguin, there is a wealth of incredible paintings, sculptures and treasures from across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Look out for the page from one of the oldest copies of the Quran ever found and work by modern Sudanese painter Ibrahim El-Salahi.
●For souvenir shopping: World Trade Center Souk
If you’d like to find a gift for loved ones back home, this is a great place to head to. Under one roof, you’ll find spices, Arabian lamps, Persian carpets, artisan products, and trinkets galore.
Sadly, the original market was destroyed by fire. However, the new market building is a stylish (and air-conditioned) reinterpretation of a typical souk, complete with traditional woodwork and stained glass. Spending time wandering amongst colorful stalls and friendly stallholders makes for a relaxing hour or two.
●For thrill-seekers: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
There’s no shortage of theme parks and splash parks in Abu Dhabi, but this one is a favorite amongst locals and visitors. The driving-themed Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is found on Yas Island, close by the city’s Grand Prix circuit.
It’s probably best known for being home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa. Not for the faint-hearted, it reaches an incredible 240 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and makes drops of up to 52m.
There are plenty of rides, however, from the sedate to white-knuckle, so there’s something for everyone. If you’re desperate to get behind the wheel, this is the place for you, too. You can live your dream with a range of driving experiences.
●For a feast: Weekend Brunch
If your trip takes you into the weekend, then you have the opportunity to enjoy a relaxed brunch, Abu Dhabi style. The city’s restaurants have perfected this leisurely meal, which starts anywhere between breakfast and a late lunch and can last for several hours. During the weekend, you’ll find people of all ages enjoying brunch, some gathered in large groups, others taking some quiet time to themselves.