On our final morning in Abu Dhabi, we set off on a city tour with Arabian Adventures. Unfortunately for us, it was a very foggy morning, typical of winter in the Emirate. However, the fog lifted gradually during the day and by midday, most of it had cleared up. The fog may have spoilt our photos but we still got to see city’s main sights and landmarks.
Yassine from Arabian Adventures picked us up in a comfortable coach from the Royal Rose Hotel and we set off on the tour. Our co-passengers were from Canada and Germany. Yassine was originally from Tunisia, and he was quite an entertaining and informative guide. En route to our first stop, he told us about the history of the Emirates and its rulers.
Here are the things to do in Abu Dhabi on a city tour
1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The breath-taking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world and can accommodate 40,000 worshippers. It is also Abu Dhabi’s most visited attraction. A magnificent sight in pristine white marble, the mosque has 82 domes, over 1000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and giant floral marble inlays across the expansive courtyard. It also boasts the world’s largest hand-woven carpet and one of the largest chandeliers in the world. Yassine gave us an in-depth tour of the mosque, pointing out its main features, beautiful artwork and other interesting details.
Tip: Ensure that you are covered in loose, modest clothing or you will not be allowed in.
2. Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
The Heritage Village is a replica of an Emirati village. It showcases the Bedouin lifestyle and heritage. Here you will see exhibits like Bedouin tents, clothing and arms, and traditional artisan workshops like carpet weaving and glass blowing. My daughter was given a chance to try her hand at carpet weaving and she enjoyed it. The village is built by the seaside and across the waters you can see the contrasting, modern Abu Dhabi skyline.
3. Date Market
We made a quick stop at the date market where we were given different varieties of delicious dates to sample. Natural dates, dates covered in chocolate, dates filled with pistachio, date syrup and much more. Needless to say, we walked away with a few shopping bags.
4. Fish Market
The fish market was fascinating. We walked through the huge market where we saw all kinds of fish and crustaceans, including many varieties which we had not seen before. Here fresh fish is caught, cleaned, sold and purchased daily. There are fish cleaners on the side who will clean the fish you’ve purchased and there is a restaurant in the market that will cook and serve your fresh fish for you. One of the cleaners was an old gentleman who had been working there from before Sheikh Zayed became the ruler of the UAE (in 1971)!
The tour lasted for 5 hours. We drove through the city and along the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Yassine pointed out landmarks like the opulent Emirates Palace, the lavish Royal Palaces, the Capital Gate – the world’s most leaning building, and the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi. He told us interesting anecdotes along the way and gave us a better insight into Abu Dhabi.
Arabian Adventures is part of The Emirates Group. They offer tours all over the UAE. Visit their website to find the perfect tour for you.
Other things to do in Abu Dhabi
Visit The Louvre Abu Dhabi (Post coming soon)
Where to stay in Abu Dhabi