dubai to abu dhabi day trip – fit in all the best spots in one day

If you’re thinking about going on a “Dubai to Abu Dhabi day trip”, then keep reading. The main question I had when planning was, “What can I fit in a single day’s visit?”. I think this blog post will help answer that question. The emirate of Abu Dhabi is the largest in area, so it’s likely that there are other parts of the emirate you want to drive to, beyond the city. But for the purpose of this guide specifically, I will be focusing on the city of Abu Dhabi only. Here are my suggestions of places to see if you only have a day to spare in Abu Dhabi.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

ashleighrm standing in sheikh zayed mosque courtyard

I highly recommend an early start here. Of all the places that I will list, this has the potential to be the busiest. So if you can go in the morning, you have more time to yourself and can explore before the crowds arrive. No Dubai to Abu Dhabi day trip would be complete without a visit here. I have a blog post dedicated to getting the most out of your visit here, because there is so much to say. Go to that post for the breakdown of what to dress, and how to find the best photo spots.

Wahat Al Karama

Source: Abu Dhabi Culture

This site is currently closed because of Covid-19. However, keep checking the official website, because by the time you read this, they might have re-opened. The site is a memorial for the fallen heroes of the UAE. The best part is, it’s right across the road from the mosque! So it only makes sense to go across the road do a quick tour. Bookings for a tour can be made online. If you’re interested in learning about the heroes of the UAE, then do stop by here. I didn’t get a chance to visit this place, but I did want to mention it because many people don’t know about it.

Jubail Mangrove Park

Have you ever heard of mangroves? Essentially, their trees that grow in coastal swamps. The first time I ever saw mangroves was in Zanzibar. So what a treat to know we have such places in the UAE too. If you want a slice of nature in your Dubai to Abu Dhabi day trip, then include this stop. Entry is not free. I paid AED 15, which isn’t very much considering how well kept the place is. You can visit their website to make bookings.

So what do you do at a mangrove park? Firstly, you can enjoy a leisurely walk around the park on the elevated wooden walkways. For the photographers, there are birds and animals you can look out for, to get those epic shots. If you want a more active experience, why not kayak or paddle-board through the mangroves? I wasn’t in the mood for all of that (nor was I dressed for it!). But I know when I go back to Abu Dhabi, I’ll try the kayaking.

The Louvre

Your visit to the Louvre will not be like any other museum you’ve had previously. I guarantee it. How many museums can you say you’ve kayaked through? I’m guessing none. It’s one of the things that will make your visit to this museum special. To book your ticket, visit the official website. It costs AED 60, but if you want to do the kayaking, there’s a separate AED 126 fee for that. You can book the kayaking here. The art installations are just as spectacular. What I did find funny was that there was a piece whose “private bits” were removed. Well at least it looked removed to us. It makes sense since we are in a very modest country. But I thought it was hilarious lol!

Qasr Al Watan

I’m not sure if many people know of this place, but I was surprised that I hadn’t heard about it until I started googling things to do for my Dubai to Abu Dhabi day trip. Qasr Al Watan is the presidential palace. So this is where the cabinet and the federal supreme court council meet. They also host international dignitaries here. Entry is AED 60 and tickets can be booked here. On arrival, after paying for your tickets, you will take a shuttle to the palace. Please dress modestly. While the palace is not as strict as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, you still want to ensure that you look relatively modest (i.e nothing short or revealing).

You will be amazed when you see this place. It will take your breath away. The marble floors will pave the way for you into a gold-studded palace. Nothing short of the grandeur one would expect from a palace. For the photographers, the symmetry in here will blow your mind! In order to ensure you get the most out of your time here, you need to be aware that there are different zones. You can find a breakdown here. You can decide what to see. The most iconic structure for pictures is this gold dome in the picture. It’s actually a quote from Sheikh Zayed bin Al Nayan, written in Arabic. The sculpture is called, “The Power of Words”. It reads ” Wealth is not money or oil, wealth lies in people and it is worthless if not dedicated to serve the people”.

Conclusion

Does it sound like a lot for one day? It is. This means, you need to ensure you have a car or have money for a taxi to get around. You can also choose to take a tour company, but it ultimately depends on the type of flexibility you want to have for the day. I will be adding more stops to this list, so bookmark it for your next visit to Abu Dhabi!