Those who are fortunate enough to be spending a week in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi are truly in for a treat. Home to some of the Middle East's most popular landmarks and cultural attractions, this desert city is perfect for a 7-day getaway. From exploring its lesser-known highlights to camping out in the desert, here's a detailed itinerary anyone can use to spend an unforgettable week in dynamic Abu Dhabi.
After settling into the Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara or any other resort in the city, travellers should hit the ground running on their first day by crossing off items on their Abu Dhabi Things to Do list. A must-experience activity in the U.A.E is a desert safari, and tourists can venture into the arid landscapes of Abu Dhabi. It's crucial to choose a dune drive or desert safari tour that includes hotel transfers and refreshments. Engaging in activities like sandboarding, horse riding, and dune bashing in the desert can be challenging, so having the convenience of prearranged transport back to the city is essential. Those seeking a more immersive experience also have the option to camp overnight under the stars at one of the many glamping sites in Abu Dhabi, allowing them to stay connected with Bedouin culture until sunrise.
Allocate the second day of the trip to discovering the cultural hotspots and landmarks lining the city as venues such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque require an hour or more to explore in full. Open from 9 am to 10 pm, it is by no means the only architectural marvel in the city as the UAE Heritage Village and the iconic Al Jahili Fort are also worth checking out. Reserve the post-lunch hours to tour the sprawling Qasr Al Hosn, which is also dubbed "the birthplace of Abu Dhabi." Having served as the fortress residence of the Al Nahyan family since it was built in the 1760s, the venue is now a museum and heritage site where one can not only enjoy a look back at historical events but also witness traditional dance recitals and shop at local food stalls and markets.
A week in Abu Dhabi would not be complete without enjoying a shopping spree. Dedicate the third day of the trip to indulging in some retail therapy at mammoth department stores and malls such as Al Wahda Mall, the Marina Mall, The Galleria and local markets such as Dadelmarket. The latter is ideal for those interested in exploring traditional Arabian bazaars or souqs in Abu Dhabi.
The fourth day of a week in Abu Dhabi might be well spent touring the illustrious museums that dot the city. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the only overseas instalment of the French museum icon and is located on Saadiyat Island. Pop by Warehouse 421 to uncover the city's artistic prowess before heading to the Al Ain National Museum. Housed within the former residence of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, the venue dips into the complex history of Al Ain with some relics dating as far back as the 3rd millennium BC.
Day Five and Six
After spending most of the week engaged in sightseeing tours and desert adventures, the fifth and sixth days of the trip can be spent relaxing on Yas Island and uncovering the lifestyles of Abu Dhabi's movers and shakers. Take things easy with spa sessions and a day spent splashing around at Yas Waterworld while wildlife enthusiasts can also explore the island's vast wildlife sanctuary that is home to Arabian Oryxes. Ferrari World can be the destination for your sixth day in Abu Dhabi as this theme park with racing facilities and simulators is a playground for visitors of all ages.
Depending on the timing of the flight out of Abu Dhabi, travellers can spend their last day in the city embarking on a food tour. Delving into local treats and some of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi, this gastronomical journey is the perfect way to wind down a 7-day trip to the desert capital.