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Best things to do in Abu Dhabi in 2023

Best things to do in Abu Dhabi in 2023

As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is one of the most important cities in the entire Gulf region. Though it was still a mostly desert landscape as recently as the mid-1970s, today it’s towering skyscrapers that form a remarkable backdrop to an exciting modern city.

The streets house a range of impressive galleries and museums, including the city’s own Louvre museum, along with some of the most majestic recent architecture in the Arab world, from the Grand Mosque to a series of elegant palaces and hotels.

Blue waters meet sandy shorelines along the Corniche and on several nearby islands, while those who venture further into nature will find a vast expanse of desert or the rivers of a national park. But with new openings constantly popping up, there’s plenty more to see and do in this ever-evolving city. If you’re looking for how best to spend your time in Abu Dhabi, here are the top things to do.

Stroll along the Corniche

The Corniche runs for almost five miles

(Getty Images)

The Corniche is a waterfront promenade that stretches for almost five miles, and includes over a mile of beach areas divided into different sections suitable for families, children and larger groups. Filled with pavements, cycle lanes, manicured public parks, plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants, the walkway is a popular place to spend a few hours.

On the western corner, the Heritage Village, a time capsule village built in the form of a traditional oasis settlement, sits near Marina Mall, a shopping centre with over 400 outlets. The opulent Emirates Palace, the site of a $3bn hotel project, lies just south; though a stay may be out of budget, you can take a guided tour of the famous complex for 150 AED (£32) or enjoy a brunch for 295 AED (£63). The Founder’s Memorial, dedicated to the late Sheikh Zayed, occupies a privileged space at the end of the main beach, and that area contains two gardens and an elevated walkway that provides excellent views of the city skyline, particularly at night.

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Marvel at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Qasr Al Watan

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an icon of the city

(Getty Images)

The religious focal point of the city, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is an architectural masterpiece. Inaugurated in 2007 by the late Sheikh Zayed, it has space for 40,000…

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