Planning a vacation to Abu Dhabi can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be! We share these tips for your trip to this overlooked UAE destination.
Known for its luxury experiences and impressive architecture, Abu Dhabi is a popular stopover choice for many traveling the world. You can visit the historic landmarks here, enjoy the high-end hotels and restaurants, and soak in everything the Emirate has to offer.
Abu Dhabi isn’t quite as developed as Dubai but this does mean you get a lot less crowds and can expect lower prices too!
Planning your vacation to Abu Dhabi
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi
When planning a vacation to Abu Dhabi, it is important to look at when to visit.
The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is from April to May or from September to October. These are the shoulder seasons of summer, offering pleasant warm weather with fewer crowds and fairly priced hotel rates.
December to March is the best time to visit if you are looking to avoid the heat; temperatures are mild at this time but it can be busy, especially in the tourist spots. Plus, hotel prices rise during this time.
Summer is incredibly hot, with high temperatures and high humidity levels. If you don’t mind the heat though, you can find some fantastic hotel deals, meaning you can enjoy luxury hotels at a discount.
Getting to Abu Dhabi
Now, for your vacation to Abu Dhabi, let’s focus on how to get there.
For those traveling between the Americas or Europe across to Asia, Abu Dhabi makes for a great stopover location. Direct flights can be found from the UK, Bangkok, Rome, New York, Madrid, Athens and many more.
From the airport, you could take a taxi from the arrivals or catch a bus into the city center.
There are lots of exciting things to do in Dubai but some choose to visit Abu Dhabi during their trip to Dubai and there are a few ways of getting to Abu Dhabi from its nearby emirate.
You could choose to rent a car and drive or take a group tour, with an Abu Dhabi Tour from Dubai being a popular choice.
There is also a bus available from Dubai to Abu Dhabi while many taxis will take you between the destinations, with the journey taking just over an hour.
Getting around Abu Dhabi
There are plenty of sights all over Abu Dhabi, so you will need to choose the best transport option for you when planning a vacation to Abu Dhabi.
Taxis are the easiest way to get around Abu Dhabi and you can flag these on the street or use the Abu Dhabi taxi app to book a taxi in advance.
There are also shuttle buses available to many tourist spots, stopping at the top hotels, landmarks, and attractions along the two routes offered.
You can claim a free shuttle bus pass when you buy tickets or book a hotel via the Visit Abu Dhabi website.
It is common for visitors to rent a car, especially if you are spending a week or more in the emirate, whilst cycling is also a good option for those exploring the emirate; there is a bike sharing app with over 50 ticked bit share stations available.
Typical prices in Abu Dhabi
Hostels aren’t too popular in Abu Dhabi but you can save money by staying in a budget room or homestay, with prices starting at 100 Dirham.
Midrange rooms in good locations begin at 150 Diriam while more luxury hotels and high-end branded hotels can be found from 400 when booked in advance.
A cheap meal in a local restaurant begins at 30 Diriam with fast food costing a similar price. Sit-down meals begin at 200 but international meals will cost more.
Save money in Abu Dhabi
The UAE can be an expensive place to explore but there are ways to save money in Abu Dhabi.
Firstly, visit in the summer for reduced hotel rates or stick to using the budget hotel chains.
Avoid the restaurants in the hotels to save money on food and instead, eat in the local restaurants and get yourself simple breakfast and lunches from the markets.
Enjoy the free things to do in Abu Dhabi like the Grand Mosque and the beaches then get an Abu Dhabi City Pass and Big Bus Tours combined ticket, which includes the hop on, hop off bus, as well as various tours as well as the observation deck at 300, located in the Etihad Towers.
If you want to visit the theme parks, and book tickets online to save money on admission, then enjoy an affordable trip to a local football match.
Best things to do in Abu Dhabi
Although often overlooked, Abu Dhabi has a lot to offer visitors.
Firstly you need to visit the impressive Grand Mosque, but then head to the other historic sights in the emirate, like the fort and the palace.
For impressive views, head to the Observation Deck at 300 and of course, enjoy plenty of luxury shopping malls in the emirate too.
Families will love the Warner Bros World Amusement Park and the Corniche, a waterfront area complete with beaches, playgrounds, gardens, and art installations.
Things to know before you go to Abu Dhabi
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this microphone for all our Youtube voiceovers.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favorite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.