Outside of the Grand Mosque
The Abu Dhabi desert, at Qasr Al Sarab Hotel
If I had a dollar for every time I was asked about my recommendations in the UAE…trust me I would be tanning in the Amalfi Coast sipping rose with Tom for the entire summer…haha! In all reality I love receiving all your questions about what to do and see in Abu Dhabi. Where to stay, what to wear and so on. Some of you are coming from the US for a layover in Abu Dhabi before jumping to the Maldives, India or the Seychelles and one of the questions I get asked the most (and also love to answer) is, is it worth staying a few nights in Abu Dhabi before flying to my final destination. My answer is always YES, it’s definitely worth it. This is a quick guide of what to do and see in Abu Dhabi in 48 hours.
Qasr Al Sarab: You will have to trust me on this one and this is also for those with an adventurous heart…after you land in Abu Dhabi the first thing you should do is head to Qasr Al Sarab. Its an additional 2 hour drive from the airport but as soon as you get to Qasr Al Sarab you will thank me. I wrote a detail post about Qasr Al Sarab here but if you are just joining the blog Qasr Al Sarab is a five start hotel in the middle of the Abu Dhabi desert. The desert offers a certain type of calmness that is hard to describe…its quiet and peaceful surrounded by sand dunes for as far as your eyes can see. Check in, relax by the pool, have dinner at Al Falaj (traditional Arabic bbq). The next day take an early camel ride and drive back to the city.
Visit the Grand Mosque: Over the past 2 years I’ve been in Abu Dhabi I think I’ve been to the mosque around 10 different times. It is definitely the number one attraction in Abu Dhabi and regardless of your religion, it is truly beautiful. The architecture details, the inside carpet and chandelier as well as the different domes and marble details… Make sure to dress conservatively (read more about it here) or you can also rent an abaya upon arrival, which is a very easy and effortless process. You will need some type of identification to rent the abaya. You can also do a self guided tour, pictures are allowed.
Have lunch in Saadiyat Island: Saadiyat Island is one of my favorite places in Abu Dhabi. It has the best beach in the city, endless of restaurants and hotels to choose from (St. Regist and Park Hyatt) and activities such as paddle boarding and kayak. Relax and enjoy one of the best strawberry mojitos at Turquoise in the St. Regist Hotel.
High Tea at Emirates Palace: Emirates Palace is one of the only 7 start hotels in world. Drive in and you will be instantly captivated by its massive architecture. Walk around the flashy interior, sit in the lobby restaurant and enjoy one of the most luxury afternoon tea experiences in Abu Dhabi. Emirates Palace is known for its gold flakes cappuccino, crazy… I know! A little secret about the Emirates Palace is…if you walk towards the back of the hotel, take the escalators down to the ground floor you will find a security guard blocking the doors to the outside. Tell him you are heading to the outside bar, walk towards the beach and enjoy a lunch or cocktail in front of the water.
Visit the Museum: If you are looking for a quick and easy introduction about how the UAE was founded and its history the Qasr Al Hosn museum is the place to go.
I hope this sheds some light for the next time you are planning a trip to the UAE or might have a quick layover in Abu Dhabi. Of course, if you ever have any questions regarding the culture, activities or hotel recommendations please feel free to reach out. You can also see a behind the scenes of my life in the UAE and all my travels on my InstaStories. Thank you for reading and I hope everyone has a great week ahead.
Location: Abu Dhabi