What can I do in Abu Dhabi During a 48-Hour Stopover?
All packed and almost ready to fly? You might find yourself wondering what can I do in Abu Dhabi in 48 hours? As the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is the most well-known city in the breathtaking Persian gulf. It is a dynamic city which attracts plenty of visitors from all over the world! Tourists enjoy the mix of modern and traditional culture and the city has a rich archeological history, gorgeous wildlife, including several rare animal and plant species and interesting and evocative landmarks, which makes it an exciting holiday destination. Let's take a closer look at ways you might fill your time with a short stopover in Abu Dhabi.
Why not snap an envy-worthy selfie at Ferrari World? This huge indoor amusement park is located on Yas Island and is the first park ever built by Ferrari. It's the largest space frame structure in the world and the world's fastest roller coaster - the Formula Rossa. Snap a picture in front of it or one of the vintage cars on display and make yourself famous! Ferrari World was named the "Middle East's Leading Tourist Attraction" in 2015/16. The bustling souks in Abu Dhabi are a colourful backdrop for selfies as are the sandy beaches in the city. Abu Dhabi is also home to the Rub' al Khali, the Empty Quarter Desert -the largest desert in the world. Take a tour to the Ruins of Ubar and the Fasad Sand Dunes and snap a selfie to remember the special moment.
The best Abu Dhabi attractions
Most visitors head to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque - one of the most famous landmarks in Abu Dhabi. The mosque is still used for Friday prayers and teaching. As many as 40,000 people visit the mosque during Ramadan and Eid celebrations and is also home to the world's largest carpet! Corniche Road is a beautiful, long waterfront roadway where you can see pretty fountains, stroll along winding paths and enjoy lots of lush parks. It is in the heart of the city and it is here that you will find all the best cafes, restaurants, playparks, paths for cycling and walking and the sandy Corniche beach. The Emirates Palace was once the residence of the royal family but today is a palatial hotel that has its own private marina, so if you want to splash out on some luxurious five star pampering this is the place to stay when visiting Abu Dhabi.
Sights and sounds!
The Mangrove National Park can be found just outside the city centre and is a protected area filled with beautiful birds and wildlife. It's biodiversity is incredible and the park contains most of the mangrove forests of the United Arab Emirates, along with mudflats, algal fields and salt marshes. This pristine setting is also the home of flamingos, crabs, foxes, fish, dolphins, dugong and herons. The mammoth Louvre Abu Dhabi is the largest on the Arabian peninsula and located on Saadiyat Island. The museum showcases art and artefacts from artists around the world. There are more than 8,000 square metres of galleries to be enjoyed at the museum! For an adventurous day trip consider taking one of the many wildlife safaris to see the Arabian oryx, sand cats and red foxes in the deserts surrounding the city, or on one of the offshore islands. Ideal activities for nature lovers.
Tasty local dishes and desserts
Abu Dhabi food is warm and welcoming and most dishes are spiced and flavourful. Khuzi is the national food of the Emirates and it is often served on special occasions. It can be found in most restaurants in the city and consists of roasted mutton or lamb served on a bed of spiced rice. Harees is a traditional blended creamed wheat and meat dish made with chicken pieces, coriander and spices. It can be sweet or savoury - depending on which spices and flavourings are used. Another favourite, Machboos, is a meat and rice dish made with chicken, lamb, mutton or beef and basmati rice, flavoured with limes, tomatoes, paprika and other spices. Nuts and raisins are often added at the end. Salona can be found at street vendors and eateries and is a curried meat and potato dish with added vegetables and spices that is served with rice and bread. Goat, beef and camel also form part of the menu in the city. Small, crunchy dumplings in date syrup called Luqaimat are the most popular dessert in the city.
Gifts to take back home
The city is well-known for its traditional carpets, quality dates, Arabic coffee pots and its sougha art - woven with palm fronds, animal skins and fabric to create artistic products. Buying gold is more affordable in Abu Dhabi than in any country in the world making it the ideal place to stock up on precious metal. Retail therapy is everywhere, but the best shopping can be found at Abu Dhabi, Yas and Al Wahda Mall among others. Shopping is plentiful in the markets as well and there are numerous arts, crafts, food items, sweets and handbags or soft furnishings and precious metals to buy. Try the Gold Souk, Souk Al Zafarana, Al Ain Souk and the Carpet Souk or Abu Dhabi Farmers' Market. Many duty-free items can be bought in the city including alcohol, cigarettes, watches and perfumes.