The chances are, if you’re visiting Abu Dhabi for an event such as the F1 you already have a pretty packed itinerary. But, if you do happen to find a spare day to explore the UAE’s capital, here are our tips on how to make the most of it.
We recommend starting the day early and going kayaking around the Eastern Mangroves before the heat gets too much. It’s definitely worth that dawn alarm call. We’ll hire the kayaks from Noukhada Adventure Company (Eastern Mangroves Promenade, 02 558 1889). Weave in and out of the lush greenery, keep an eye out for wildlife, find pristine white beaches and enjoy the sights.
Breakfast seems like the logical next step, and while there are plenty of places worth your time, we think Joud Café (Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Al Bateen, 056 525 8235) is one of the best. The Emirati-owned spot is ideal for an Americano and a croissant.
From there, make a quick trip to the Heritage Village (Corniche Breakwater, 02 681 4455) to explore the awesome reconstruction of a traditional Emirati settlement. It’s a really cool way to connect with old Abu Dhabi, with a souk, craft workshops and even a camel among the star attractions. The adjacent beach with a handful of abandoned wooden boats make for a beautiful picture opportunity.
Back across to the mainland, we recommend a chilled few hours at Nation Riviera Beach Club (The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Corniche West, 02 694 4780). Go to the stunning hotel first before taking the underground tunnel to the beach club. The pool is surrounded by palm trees and once you’ve swam, read and sunbathed enough, you’ll be ready for another bite to eat.
You can find dozens of green spaces and parks across the city. One of our favourites is Umm Al Emarat Park (15th Street, Mushrif). It’s Dhs5 to get in, but that’s nothing when you’ll get such a beautiful space to wander around. If it’s a Saturday, the Ripe Market will be on – the organic food market also has plenty of stalls selling individual handicrafts. There’s live music, too, and stalls selling food and drinks. If the market isn’t on, check out SALT (055 996 7381) where you’ll find one of the first food trucks in the UAE, serving excellent burgers.
After you’ve had a snack, you must head to the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street). You can join the free tours every day of the week except Fridays and it’s the perfect way to find out more about the incredible place of worship.
The sun will be setting by now, so why not head to Saadiyat Island and Louvre Abu Dhabi (Saadiyat Cultural District, 600 565 566). This just isn’t your average art gallery or museum. Even the building and latticed roof is amazing.
Once you’ve had your fill of culture, make a move to the nearby Buddha-Bar Beach (The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, 02 498 8888). Sit outside, right on the pure white sands of Saadiyat beach, or inside in the stylish bar area. Drinks are Dh35 from 5pm to 7pm enjoy the last light of the day in the dreamy setting with a holiday feel.
If there’s one place to head for your
evening meal, it’s Al Maryah Island. Here you’ll find the highest concentration of
top-quality restaurants in the capital. Prepare yourself for a culinary feast from COYA (02 306
7000) Time Out Abu Dhabi’s Best Restaurant in 2017. You’ll also find Zuma
(02 401 5900) and 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant (02 672 3333) nearby – you should
absolutely come back another day and check them out. For a more casual bite to eat, or just for drinks, go to
Loca (02 582 3639).
For a late-night experience, head to Yas Island, where you can chill out at Iris Yas Island (Yas Marina, 055 160 5636) at the incredible outdoor area that overlooks Yas Marina. Open until 3am, this is another super-hip venue that gets packed out with the city’s most fashionable and fun-loving crowd. If it’s the weekend and you’re up for a real party, head to its sister venue MAD on Yas Island (055 834 6262) where you’ll find top urban stars and DJs every Thursday and Friday night from 11pm.
In Partnership with Time Out Abu Dhabi