One Day in Abu Dhabi Itinerary – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Abu Dhabi, UAE

Whether you’re in Abu Dhabi on a one-day stopover or you have a day to spare, there are loads of cool things you can see and do. Abu Dhabi has the cultural richness that seems to be disappearing from Dubai. People still follow the old ways here, in this history-rich capital city of the UAE. So, visit the city and learn how well old traditions can co-exist with modern sensibilities. One day here will be more than enough to become in awe of this amazing place.

One day in Abu Dhabi Itinerary


One day in Dubai Itinerary
One day in Ras Al Khaimah Itinerary

What’s the best time to visit Abu Dhabi?

The delightful city of Abu Dhabi is flocked by tourists all year round, but the ideal time to visit the capital city of the UAE is between April and May or from September to February.

How to get to Abu Dhabi?

If you’re arriving in Abu Dhabi from nearby Dubai or Sharjah, just hire a taxi. If you start early, you can spend your entire one day exploring the city. Taxis are reasonable in the UAE, and you can stop at interesting spots for photographs, as well. You can opt for a bus from Dubai, too.

Abu Dhabi Skyline
Abu Dhabi Skyline

Culture in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s culture is a combination of international influences and Arabia’s Islamic traditions. Islam governs the way people live here, including what they wear, eat, and drink. There’s a great tolerance of other cultures, and visitors are always hospitably received. Here are a few cultural guidelines to follow while you’re visiting:

– Avoid bare shoulders, bare backs and short skirts.

– Alcohol is allowed, but only in private nightclubs and bars.

– Drinking and driving is a punishable offense, even if you’ve had only a tiny sip.

– Public displays of affection are not allowed.

– Always check before you photograph important buildings.

The culture of Abu Dhabi’s residents

– Muslims have to pray five times a day, every time when the call to prayer goes up.

– Abu Dhabi promotes cultural and sporting events, such as camel racing, falconry, and dhow sailing.

– Men wear the kandura, a full-length robe in white along with a white or red checkered headdress, known as a ghutra.

– Important businessmen and sheikhs wear gold-trimmed robes during important events.

– Women wear long and loose black abayas and cover their heads with a headscarf called sheyla.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, Author: Jasmine Halki, Source: Flickr

One Day in Abu Dhabi Itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Abu Dhabi.

See the Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a spectacular concoction made of glittering white marble, with dozens of fabulous domes and minarets. There are a million sparkling gold-plated chandeliers as well, reflecting golden light around the mosque. Plus, you get to see the world’s largest carpet. Note that the dress code is strictly enforced here; women are expected to cover their heads and wear the black abaya. Men should wear long-sleeved shirts and pants. You can book the tour here!

Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi 2
Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, Author: Kyle Taylor, Source: Flickr
Sheikh Zayed Mosque interior, Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Mosque interior, Abu Dhabi, Author: Artur Malinowski, Source: Flickr

Climb the Etihad Towers

If you long for some nice panoramic views, get to Etihad Towers, which are located across the street from the Emirates Palace Hotel. Be sure to enjoy “a lunch with a 360-degree view of Abu Dhabi and the Arabian Gulf” at Ray’s Grill, a restaurant on the 63rd floor of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi
Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi

Take a boat in Palace Marina

Just off of the Abu Dhabi Corniche and in front of the exquisite Emirates Palace is the magnificent Palace Marina. The marina gives access to deep waters, which is why the rich sheiks berth their super-expensive 100-foot yachts here. Take a yellow boat ride along the city’s coast and enjoy the coastline and the amazing yachts lined up in front of you.

Visit the Emirates Palace Hotel

Want a taste of pure luxury? Head out to the Emirates Palace Hotel and stroll the lobby and the public rooms. Get a look at the fancy super-expensive cars lined out in front – Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royce’s. The Emirates Palace even has an ATM plated with gold inside!

Emirates Palace Hotel
Emirates Palace Hotel

Enjoy some amazing machines in Ferrari World

Ferrari World is just the thrill your heart desires, if you’re a Formula 1 fan. Get on the world’s fastest roller-coaster within the Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor amusement park. The park closes by 8 p.m., so get there early to enjoy looking at several Ferraris screaming down the F1 racing lanes.

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi
Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi

See what the Heritage Village has to offer

Want to get a feel of what the city was like before the oil boom? Get to the Heritage Village and observe how the tents are laid out. Watch local craftspeople peddle their craft. Observe the old-style buildings, explore the old souqs and discover Islamic traditions afresh.

Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi
Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi

Take a stroll along the Corniche

The Corniche is Abu Dhabi’s signature waterfront boardwalk. It’s fun to walk along, looking at the city’s amazing skyline and famous landmarks. You’ll pass the Emirates Palace, the Manarat Al Saadiyat (arts and culture hub) and several other notable architectural wonders.

Corniche Beach, Abu Dhabi
Corniche Beach, Abu Dhabi, Author: Guilhem Vellut, Source: Flickr

Treat yourself at the Iranian Souq

If you want to shop for carpets, perfumes, spices or gold, head out to the Iranian Souq. This is a traditional Arab-style market which offers amazing value for money. You can bargain here, but keep an eye out for cheats. The souq is a collection of stalls, hot and humid and filled with the smell of glorious spices.

See Qasr Al-Hosn Palace and Fort

Qasr Al-Hosn Palace and Fort was the very first structure built in Abu Dhabi and the home to emirate’s ruling Al Nahyan family in the 1760s. Made of coral and sea stone, the Qasr al Hosn was once a commanding watchtower. The shells used in the walls break the sunlight into a myriad of colors – it’s a lovely sight.

Go on a Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi

Don’t forget to sign up for a wonderful safari in Abu Dhabi’s red sands desert! If you time it well, you can visit the desert in the evening, towards sunset. Watching the desert sunset will be the highlight of your trip. Enjoy all the desert sports you can – dune bashing, dune driving, sand boarding, camel riding and more.

Desert Safari, Abu Dhabi
Desert Safari, Abu Dhabi, Author: Cesar I. Martins, Source: Flickr
Desert Safari, Abu Dhabi
Desert Safari, Abu Dhabi, Author: Kyle Taylor, Source: Flickr

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi?

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi

Al Maryah Island, Al Maryah Island

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi is located on the Al Maryah Island, right on the water, at one of the most exciting waterfront locations. This 5-star luxury hotel welcomes guests with bright, open spaces and amazing views of the city skyline. It features six creative restaurants and lounges, as well as the radiant Dahlia Spa – the luxurious Spa, with separate fitness and treatment facilities for men and women.


Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi

Al Muroor Road , 4th street

Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi is another 5-star luxury hotel, centrally located in Abu Dhabi’s new business and government district. Its prominent glass tower, innovative architectural design and Thai-inspired interiors make it one of the most iconic buildings for your stay in Abu Dhabi. It features an array of exquisite restaurants and facilities and services, including Namm Spa, Fitness Centre, and a rooftop pool that offers an amazing 360 panoramic views of Abu Dhabi’s skyline.


Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi

Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)

Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi is one of the most exclusive 5-star hotels, located in the iconic Capital Gate building – one of the most exciting Abu Dhabi’s icons. It features an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a whirlpool. The Rayana Spa is located on the 19th floor, which makes it the only one in Abu Dhabi overlooking the city.



If you plan properly, you can take in all of the listed sights in Abu Dhabi in just one day and get back to your hotel or to the airport by nightfall. This city has much more to reveal than we can fit into this article, so be sure to do your homework and research the places you want to visit. Make the best of your visit to this fascinating city!

Pin for later!

Best of Abu Dhabi - What to do and where to stayA complete one day itinerary for Abu Dhabi

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Abu Dhabi Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!Save

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip?

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Travel Blogger at Dubai Wikia

A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.