Inspiration Middle East United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi-Do: 5 Things to Do in Abu Dhabi on a Stopover 

Abu Dhabi-Do: 5 Things to Do in Abu Dhabi on a Stopover 

|the courtyard of sheikh zayed grad mosque in abu dhabi|a view of the fairmont marina abu dhabi||||||||||||||

Discover the best things to do in Abu Dhabi in a tight timeframe, from sipping decadent coffee topped with 24-carat gold to discovering beautifully embellished marble mosques.

Abu Dhabi has long been a central transit hub for international flights, with a bustling airport filled with thousands of travellers. On your next stop in Abu Dhabi, why not explore this cosmopolitan metropolis? Break away from the everyday airport behaviour and easily fill your stopover time with interesting, iconic and luxurious experiences. Discover a glistening coastal promenade, a historic village oasis and unforgettable afternoon tea perched high above the city, all less than an hour’s drive from the airport. Here’s our list of the best things to do on a short trip to Abu Dhabi. 

Want to make it more than just a stopover? Have a look at our handpicked Abu Dhabi escapes

Explore the architectural masterpiece of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

An astonishing piece of Islamic architecture comprised of more than 100,000 tonnes of Greek and Macedonian marble, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is an unmissable Abu Dhabi attraction, just a 20-minute drive from the airport. Majestic domes rise from immaculate gardens to create the sprawling complex, which is particularly striking at sunset. Inside, marvel at Swarovski crystal and 24-karat gold-plated chandeliers and stroll past mosaic artwork and tranquil reflective pools. Entry is free, though modest clothing is required for admittance to the mosque. 

Wander an immaculate coastal promenade on Corniche Road

Abu Dhabi is famous for its consistently warm weather, and Corniche Road allows visitors to make the most of the near-constant sunshine. Spanning eight kilometres, this seaside boardwalk is dotted with restaurants and cafes set on silky-white beaches, only a 30-minute drive from the airport. This gorgeous promenade will keep the whole family entertained, with perfectly-manicured kids’ play areas, sunbeds placed along the sand and trendy beach clubs where adults can relax with a cocktail in hand – all while overlooking the turquoise Arabian Gulf. 

Step back in time to a bygone era at Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village

Be transported to the United Arab Emirates before the 20th-century oil boom as you enter Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village. This family-friendly and immersive time capsule found 30 minutes from the airport, gives you an insight into Abu Dhabi’s culture, history and traditional way of life in the desert. Here, you’ll find an oasis village with a souk, mosque and museum, alongside artisans demonstrating traditional skills such as glassblowing, pottery and metalwork – a must on the list of things to do in Abu Dhabi. 

Treat yourself to sky-high afternoon tea at Observation Deck at 300

With just a few hours to explore, you have to take advantage of sky-high buildings to observe Abu Dhabi from above. And what makes an already glamorous experience more idyllic? Treating yourself to afternoon tea at Observation Deck at 300 – the highest vantage point in the city found on level 74 of Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, 30 minutes from the airport. Experience the firsthand drama of elevator doors opening to reveal uninterrupted views of the city from 300 metres high before grazing on scones, savouries and mini desserts.  

Indulge in an extravagant gold-flaked coffee at Emirates Palace hotel

Luxurious sophistication awaits at the world-famous Emirates Palace hotel, home of the undeniably extravagant Emirates Palace Cappuccino. Glide into this architectural masterpiece, 30 minutes from the airport, and embrace the regal ambience as you sip like Middle Eastern royalty on freshly-roasted coffee sprinkled with flakes of 24-carat gold. Expect a fragrant cup of coffee delivered on a silver platter alongside a sweet date and piece of dark chocolate as you enjoy what will surely be the most decadent coffee break of your life.  

Want to make it more than just a stopover? Have a look at our handpicked Abu Dhabi escapes.  

Looking for next-level dining after your 24-carat coffee? Check out The World's Most Romantic Restaurants.

About Georgia Pearce
Getaway guru Georgia is the go-to girl for uncovering the most fabulous travel destinations! From sandy-white beaches to snow-capped mountains, and everything in between she takes it upon herself to explore, experience and share every aspect of the adventure.

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