Top 10 Famous Landmarks in Abu Dhabi

When it comes to famous landmarks in Abu Dhabi, there’s plenty for tourists to explore, so it’s worth planning ahead before your visit to the UAE capital. While the traditional design of mosques, palaces and forts are testament to Abu Dhabi’s culture and heritage, the contemporary look of modern skyscrapers, amusement parks and shopping malls are reflective of the emirate’s status as a fast-growing international city. Whatever your preference, check our suggestions on places to visit before planning your itinerary.

Remember, you can search for the best prices on flights to Abu Dhabi using the booking engine on this page, while fantastic car hire rates are available through our partner Hertz. For customised holiday packages in Abu Dhabi, including city tours, tickets to leading attractions and hotel bookings, contact the travel specialists at Hala Abu Dhabi.

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

One of the biggest landmarks in Abu Dhabi, the lavish Emirates Palace hotel was developed at a cost of US$3 billion (AED11 billion) and commenced operations in 2005.

Located on West Corniche Road, around 30 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport by car, the hotel offers 394 luxury rooms and suites, with many of the latter furnished in gold and marble.

Onsite facilities include two swimming pool areas, two gyms, a luxury spa, four tennis courts, dedicated ‘energy’ and ‘kids’ zones, and water sport facilities for sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing.

In addition, there are 15 dining venues, covering Emirati, Italian, Chinese, Lebanese and various other cuisine from around the world.

As you would expect, the surroundings of Emirates Palace hotel are equally impressive, with a flawless private beach that stretches over 1.3km, in addition to 100 hectares of stunning landscaped gardens with 8,000 trees.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

A trip to the world-renowned Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is highly-recommended during a visit to Abu Dhabi. The impressive monument is located on a 22,412 square metre site (the equivalent of five football fields) and has enough capacity for 40,960 worshippers.

Leading artisans from around the world were involved in the mosque’s design and construction, with a major focus on materials such as ceramics, marble, gold, semi-precious stones and crystals for their long-lasting qualities.

Once inside the mosque, keep an eye out for the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, which was completed by 1,300 Iranian artisans and can be found in the main prayer hall, where one of the world’s largest chandeliers has also been placed, weighing a staggering nine tonnes. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open daily to visitors, except on Friday mornings, which is only for worshippers.

General admission is free and complimentary guided tours are available for individuals and groups with a maximum of ten people.

Abu Dhabi Corniche

Abu Dhabi Corniche

As one of the UAE capital’s most popular landmarks, Abu Dhabi Corniche attracts in the region of 30,000 to 50,000 visitors each month, which includes both tourists and local residents.

Stretching around eight kilometres in total, the coastal promenade has dedicated areas for singles, families and the general public.

Visitors have access to numerous cafes and restaurants, shaded landscaped gardens, separate pedestrian and bicycle pathways, children’s play areas, and facilities for beach football and volleyball.

Of course, one of Abu Dhabi Corniche’s biggest draws in the lifeguarded beachfront, which has been awarded the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ status for guaranteeing clean and safe bathing water.

However, it’s not possible to swim too far out, as floating fences will keep you within 40 metres of the beach. To make the corniche more accessible, there are over 1,100 free parking pages within a five minute walk of the beach.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi has established itself as one of the UAE capital’s most popular landmarks, with more than 20 different attractions for visitors to explore, in addition to unique shopping experiences and a wide variety of Italian restaurants.

Located on Yas Island, the indoor theme park includes the fastest rollercoaster on earth, Formula Rosso, which accelerates from zero to 240km/hour in 4.9 seconds!

For more heart-racing experiences, head over to G-Force, where visitors are launched 62 metres in the sky while strapped in a Ferrari-style seat, or take part in the Fiorano GT Challenge, where a couple of GT coasters raceeach other on twisting parallel tracks.

For children, the likes of Junior GT, Junior Training Camp and Bell’Italia offer unforgettable entertainment, while families can unwind by learning about Ferrari’s history with The Racing Legends multimedia ride or view the ultimate display of Ferrari cars at Galleria Ferrari.

Capital Gate

Capital Gate

A stunning addition to Abu Dhabi’s iconic skyline, Capital Gate is the world’s furthest-leaning manmade tower, according to Guinness World Records.

With a total height of 160 metres, the skyscraper has a westward lean of 18 degrees, which is four times more than Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Capital Gate was designed by Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM) and developed by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company as part of the ambitious US$2.2 billion Capital Centre micro-city in close proximity to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

It includes office space, retail outlets, a food court, conference facilities, meeting rooms, business centres and a helipad. In addition, the five-star Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi hotel is located inside the building, offering 189 guestrooms and suites.

Great holiday snaps are guaranteed with this architectural masterpiece, so remember to take a camera along when you visit.

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village A traditional oasis village has been reconstructed at Abu Dhabi Heritage Village, offering a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the UAE capital’s past.

The landmark attraction, which is run by Emirates Heritage Club, can be found on a 1,600 square metre site overlooking Abu Dhabi Corniche, in close proximity to Marina Mall. It includes an open museum with examples of desert campfires, old-fashioned tents made from goat hair, sea houses made from palm tree fronds, traditional water wells, and the ‘falaj’ irrigation system.

Demonstrations are often held at the village too, with skilled craftsmen focusing on pottery and metal work, while women use their netting and weaving skills to make woollen socks, carpets and trays.

In addition, there are opportunities to shop around for handmade soap and dried herbs at the village store, and if you’re really lucky, falconry displays might also take place during your visit.

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi

One of the most eye-catching hotels in the UAE capital, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi illuminates the skies with its impressive canopy, which uses 5000 LED panels to produce a stunning kaleidoscope of colours that reflect over the neighbouring Yas Marina Circuit after sunset. The futuristic approach continues inside, with modern and cutting-edge interiors throughout the five-star hotel.

Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi includes 499 guest rooms and suites, in addition to 12 dining venues and lounges, which showcase cuisine from around the world, from Mediterranean specialities and homemade Italian fare to Japanese teppanyaki and regional Indian delights.

If you want to be pampered, the ESPA spa has nine treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge, and the Viceroy Presidential Treatment Suit, complete with its own hammam, steam room and Kinesis fitness equipment.

Other features of the hotel include a fully-equipped gym, boutique gift shop, executive lounge and business centre, and two rooftop pools.

Al Maqtaa Fort

Al Maqtaa Fort

Despite the rapid transformation of Abu Dhabi into a modern, world-class metropolis, there are a number of important monuments in the UAE capital that showcase its rich cultural history.

Al Maqtaa Fort, for example, was initially developed to protect the local area from invading bandits over 200 years ago. Located in the shallow waters that connect Abu Dhabi Island to the mainland, the simplistic design of Al Maqtaa Fortoffers a remarkable contrast to the modern splendour of Al Maqtaa Bridge, with both attractions located side-by-side.

Following a series of renovations, the well-preserved landmark now includes a visitor information centre operated by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, where historical insights are provided about the local area.

Although tourists are normally eager to have their photos taken at the fort, it’s important to note that the location also serves as a military zone and caution should therefore be exercised.

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Launched on 3rd October 1999, Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) has emerged as the world’s largest falcon hospital, with more than 50,000 patients in the first 12 years.

On average, this includes around 6,000 falcons each year from across the UAE, in addition to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. In addition to examining, treating and breeding the animals, the hospital was developed into a leading tourist attraction with the launch of a ‘Falcon World Tour’ in 2007.

Under the initiative, guided tours are offered to a falconry museum, where the historical relationship between falcons and the Middle East is explored, followed by a visit to the examination room, where feather repairs, pedicures and other activities are conducted.

Visitors also have access to a large free-flight aviary, where birds are kept, and can have their photos taken with a falcon on their arm in the hospital garden. A buffet lunch can also be purchased, served in a traditional Arabic tent and prepared by Abu Dhabi National Hotels' staff.

Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili Fort

One of the largest and most impressive forts in the country, Al Jahili is located in the stunning ‘garden city’ of Al Ain, around one-and-a-half hours from Abu Dhabi.

It was built in the late 1890s by Sheikh Zayed The First to serve as a defence stronghold, as well as a royal summer residence, with the cooler temperatures of Al Ain offering a welcome escape from the midsummer heat of Abu Dhabi.

Following an extensive renovation in 2007-2008, the fort has emerged as a major tourist attraction, with most of the rooms and towers open to the public.

It also includes a visitor information centre, retail outlet, café, and permanent exhibition about Wilfred Thesiger, who twice crossed the Empty Quarter (considered one of the world’s largest sand deserts) in the 1940s. Also known as Mubarak bin London, the noted British travel writer and explorer was a lifelong friend of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.