With world-class landmarks, impressive residential towers, thrilling attractions and stunning coastline, booking a sightseeing tour is highly recommended. We've outlined a few ways to explore the capital from road, sea or sky.
Taking a sightseeing tour is a popular way to check out a new destination in a limited amount of time.
Abu Dhabi has plenty of options for visitors who want to get a flavour of all it has to offer. You can enjoy tours by road, sea or sky.
Jalboot, offers visitors a unique perspective on Abu Dhabi from the water. Fully air-conditioned and with panoramic windows, you can sit back and relax whilst enjoying spectacular views of world-famous landmarks like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the world’s most tilted building at 18 degrees, Capital Gate. You can also enjoy return trips to and from the Louvre Abu Dhabi. There are 3 cruise options, you can choose between 3 hour, 4 hour or the Corniche Sunset Cruise or you can even charter your own boat. Remember to take your ID with you.
Tour operator Nirvana Travel & Tourism offer a variety of tours and excursions including desert safaris, seaplane trips, as well as city tours. The company can organise any transfers to and from the excursions, as well as arrange any sightseeing tours to Al Ain. If you book a safari tour, you can see the UAE’s wildlife up close, as well as experience the rich sands of the desert.
If your interest in sightseeing is more of the underwater variety, Al Mahara Diving Center offer diving and snorkelling excursions from the Emirates Palace Marina. Or why not sign up for a jet ski tour? For diving experiences, divers must bring their certification with them.
With Noukhada, you can also enjoy a wide range of water-based excursions for the chance to spot sea birds, flamingos and maybe even a dolphin or two.
The 1.5 hour guided kayak tour leaves near the Eastern Mangroves Marina and is suitable for complete beginners to experienced paddlers. The company’s instructors will point out various landmarks as you paddle round, as well as share the history of the Abu Dhabi mangroves and its wildlife. Prices do vary according to the time of year.
After your tour, stand-up paddle boards and kayaks are available for hire so you can go off exploring the mangroves independently.
Whilst we highly recommend exploring Abu Dhabi from the water, if you prefer to stay on dry land and still take in all the major sights, the Big Bus Tours offer a hop-on hop-off service which gets you to all the major landmarks including the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island, Emirates Palace to name a few. Around the city you’ll find various pick-up and drop-off points, which include Abu Dhabi Mall and Yas Island.
The Marina Eye, next to Marina Mall downtown, is a new addition to the city skyline which allows you to experience beautiful views towards the Corniche.
However, if you fancy sightseeing from the sky, take a look at the tour options available with Seawings. Soar over the city's coastline and experience incredible views above the city during a 30-minute tour.
A touch of tradition...
For something a little more special and close to the heart of UAE culture, why not book a fascinating Pearl Journey cruise? Step onboard one of the stunning wooden dhow boats, from the Eastern Mangroves Marina, and enjoy learning how Pearling, back in the 1900s, was the UAE’s leading industry prior to the discovery of oil. Daily tours include a full circuit, with views along the city’s Corniche and Yas Marina, as well as fascinating oyster and pearling demonstrations.
Or, why not relax onboard a traditional dhow vessel, which were used years ago by merchants and traders on the waters of the Gulf, and take in spectacular views of the sunsetting against the Abu Dhabi skyline? Abu Dhabi Dhow Cruises hosts day and evening cruise tours around the capital. Some also offer options to have dinner onboard, so you can dine as you enjoy the sights. Daily cruises begin and end from the Mina Port on the Corniche. If you fancy a romantic evening, requests for a couple cruise are also available. Alternatively, you might like to experience dining on a traditional Dhow, so try Rikks Floating Dhow, from Yas Marina.
Published November 2017