Places of interest and ideas for your own excursion in the capital of the United Arab Emirates
- Regular berth: Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal
- Port shuttle: free to World Trade Center Mall
- Taxis: usually available at the cruise terminal
- Buses: well-developed bus network
- Car hire: Sixt, at the airport
- Car hire: Hertz, Al Reem-Marina Square and at the airport
- Car hire: Avis, 403 Hamdan Bin Mohammed St. and at the airport
- Car hire: Europcar, Shabeeb Al Dhaheri Building, Khalifa Street and airport
- Car hire: Budget Khalifa Residential Complex B Bldg and airport
- Post office: Murour Rd, Zayed City Beside Gold Souq
- Tourist information: in the Cruise Terminal and Nation Towers Corniche, Building B
- Banks and ATMs: distributed in the city centre
- Cruise ship berths
The itineraries of the Orient Cruises almost always include a stop at the capital of the United Arab Emirates. At the end of 2015, a separate area was opened at the huge container port Port Zayed, which is also called Mina Zayed, which in turn provides space for up to 3 cruise ships. In the modern Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal located there, cruise guests will find a tourist information stand, ATMs and various small shops. Free Wi-Fi is also available in the terminal and various tour operators advertise their tours.
The city center is about 7 kilometers away from the cruise port, and like the tourist highlights of the city, very difficult to reach on foot. The distances are simply too great. In front of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal there is a taxi rank, a stop of the sightseeing buses, as well as a stop of the public buses of lines 9 and 44. There is also Marsa Mina, an area for food trucks with all kinds of delicacies and a central children's play area with seating.
- Dress code
The dress code for tourists is seen quite relaxed in Abu Dhabi and much is tolerated. Out of respect for the locals and the Arab culture, you should still dress appropriately and refrain from revealing and tight outfits. In most cases, it is sufficient if at least the shoulders and knees are covered. Exposed bellies and open rear views should generally be avoided. This applies equally to men and women. However, stricter rules apply when entering a mosque, especially for women. Here the wearing of headscarves is mandatory. In addition to wide, loose-fitting clothing, covering arms and legs is also strictly mandatory. Men have it a little easier with at least a T-shirt and long pants. Tattoos must always be covered.
On beaches and in water parks, wide swimming shorts are recommended for men and women should leave thongs in the cabin of the cruise ship. Being "topless" or even completely undressed is strictly prohibited. In the case of couples, holding hands and giving kisses is also extremely reluctant in public, and should therefore be avoided. When choosing clothes, you should also keep in mind that the interiors of the publicly accessible buildings are always and quite cool air-conditioned. If you stay during the winter months of November to April, it can also get a bit fresher in the early evening. From this point of view, wearing longer clothes is not necessarily a disadvantage.
- Shuttle buses
Free shuttle buses can be found in front of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal. They commute at regular intervals between the cruise port and the World Trade Center Mall, which is about 7 kilometres away. About 10 minutes of travel time can be planned in each direction. In earlier years, the much more distant Marina Mall was served. Since changes are not excluded, it is advisable to inquire with the driver before starting the journey where the journey should go for better planning of your own trip. The shuttle buses are usually available during cruise ship layovers from 9:30 a.m. to approximately 11:00 p.m.
The official taxis in Abu Dhabi are painted silver and have a typical yellow taxi sign on the roof. More than 6300 vehicles are said to be on the road in the city, all of which are equipped with a taximeter, which must also be used compulsorily. During the day, the base fare from the port or airport costs AED 25, otherwise AED 5 and each kilometre driven is charged AED 1.82. Service life costs AED 0.50 per minute. Payment is possible by credit card or cash, which can be handed over in local currency and often also in US dollars or euros. For foreign currencies, a surcharge is usually required. The drivers are obliged to issue a receipt and are happy about a small tip.
Excursion offers and admission tickets from
Abu Dhabi has a very well-developed bus network, on which modern air-conditioned buses are used. To use them, you need a Hafilat Smart Card for AED 10, which can be topped up with any amount of money. The pure travel costs are then debited with 2 AED, i.e., around 0.50 euros per trip. For correct billing, the smart card is held up to the readers in the buses when boarding and disembarking. Payment with cash has not been possible for several years. Unfortunately, the Hafilat Smart Card is only available at the airport, at bus stations and in a few malls. For day visitors to the city, the "Temporary" variant is interesting. Buses 9 and 44 stop in front of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.
- City sightseeing tour
In Abu Dhabi, Big Bus Tours open-top double-decker buses operate on two routes. On a drive along the Red Route "Abu Dhabi City Tour", you will pass the most important sights of the city. Hop-on hop-off is possible at any of the 14 stops. During the trip you can listen to the audio guide via headphones in German, English and 6 other languages. Normally, there is a bus every 30 minutes from 09:00-18:00. For a complete round about 1 hour and 50 minutes are needed.
The original Green Line loop leading to Yas Island has recently been converted into a shuttle service to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which takes place four times a day. Buses depart from Abu Dhabi Mall at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00. Back from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at 11:30, 13:30, 15:30 and 17:30. Tickets can be purchased online in advance and the central starting point of both lines can be found at the Abu Dhabi Mall. In conjunction with a valid ticket, you will be taken by bus from the cruise port to the Abu Dhabi Mall, and later back again.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates has several, sometimes very extensive shopping centers, which are usually open daily and at least from 10:00-22:00. At the top is Yas Mall as the largest in the city and second largest in the country. Located in the middle of Yas Island, it houses over 300 shops and 60 restaurants, but is not optimally accessible due to the distance of around 31 kilometres. Here you should plan a day stay and visit the other sights of the island.
At a distance of about 6.5 kilometers and thus much closer to the cruise port, Galleria Mall is located on Al Maryah Island. It was significantly expanded in 2019 and is now very popular with locals. Here are numerous shops and some very luxurious boutiques, as well as restaurants for gourmets. About one kilometre away is the Abu Dhabi Mall, which opened in 2001. It is one of the oldest shopping temples in the city, extends over 3 floors and has 200 shops and a food court. Outside the door, the tours of the dark red sightseeing buses start and end.
In the southwest of the city, you will find the 3-storey and also popular Marina Mall. In addition to numerous shops, there is also a large children's play area and the eye-catching observation tower Marina Mall Sky Tower. At the center building there are stops of the hop-on hop-off buses and the Ferris wheel Abu Dhabi Eye invites you to a relaxing ride. The distance to the cruise port is about 13 kilometers. About 2.5 kilometers south of Marina Mall, the manageable Nation Tower Mall can be found. The highlight here is the Lamborghini showroom. Not unimportant for cruise guests is the location of the World Trade Center Mall and the fact that the free shuttle buses from the port stop right outside the door. Located almost in the middle between the Abu Dhabi Mall and the Marina Mall, you can easily get on by taxi from here. Inside the mall there are two huge slides that extend over all floors.
- Galleria Mall Al Maryah Island (en)
- World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi Mall (en)
- Heritage Village
About 1.6 kilometers, or 20 to 25 minutes’ walk from the Marina Mall, you will find the Heritage Village. This is the reconstruction of a traditional fishing village, with various exhibits and many small exhibitions that give an insight into the former life of the inhabitants. Occasional demonstrations deepen the impression. It is open daily from 09:00-16:00 and on weekends until 22:00. Access is barrier-free and free of charge. From the peninsula you also have an excellent view of the skyline of Abu Dhabi and the hop-on hop-off buses stop at the entrance.
- Etihad Towers and Observation Deck
To the south of the Marina Mall are the Etihad Towers, a complex of buildings with five handsome skyscrapers. They reach heights of 217 to 305 meters and are used as a hotel, residential and office building. The tallest of the 5 towers now houses the Conrad Etihad Towers Hotel, which belongs to the Hilton Group and operates an observation deck on the 74th floor at a height of 300 meters. The so-called Observation Deck at 300 is accessible Monday to Saturday from 12:00-20:00 by elevator and is the highest viewpoint in Abu Dhabi. In addition to an excellent view of the city, it also offers a nice café.
Guests of the hotel receive free access to the platform. All others pay AED 95 per person. However, the price includes a food voucher of AED 55, which can be redeemed during the stay in the café of the Observation Deck. Tickets are available on site at the counter or in advance online at Tiqets. If you want, you can also book here for afternoon tea with delicious pastries. This is possible Monday to Saturday from 14:00-18:00, with prior reservation only and costs AED 250 per person. Appropriate, sporty, elegant clothing is important here. The Etihad Towers are about 12 kilometers from the cruise port, for which a taxi takes 15 to 20 minutes.
- Conrad Etihad Towers Hotel HolidayCheck
- Emirates Palace Hotel
From the Etihad Towers, you can see directly the opposite Emirates Palace Hotel, completed in 2005. The generously equipped and orientally designed building has numerous rooms and suites that are up to 680 square meters in size. The prices for an overnight stay start here in the low season at about 250 euros. Access to the public areas and thus a visit to the luxury hotel is possible daily from 10:00 am, even without booking a room. However, the areas of the accommodations, the pool area and the approximately 1.3-kilometer-long private beach are closed to day visitors.
In order not to be rejected by the security people, you should observe the required dress code. Access with sleeveless shirts, shorts and/or open shoes, such as flip-flops, is not permitted. If you feel like it, you can enjoy delicate chocolates, the finest cakes, an ice cream covered with gold leaf or an Emirates Palace cappuccino in the hotel's own Le Café. This is decorated with real 23-carat gold flakes and costs AED 75. As an extraordinary souvenir you can also get gold bars at the vending machine. The cheapest variant is 1 gram light and costs around 160 AED depending on the gold price.
- Emirates Palace Hotel HolidayCheck
- Presidential Palace Qasr Al Watan
Close to the Emirates Palace Hotel is the magnificent Presidential Palace Qasr Al Watan. The impressive building stands on a spacious area and was completed in 2015 after about 4 years of construction. Since then, it has been used as a government building for official state visits and special occasions. Since March 2019, parts of the palace have been open to the public and can be visited. Access is via the Qasr Al Watan Registration Center, where there is a large, free parking lot. Tickets are available here or online in advance for AED 65 per person. Children up to 3 years old are free of charge and children aged 14 and under AED 30 are required.
The visitor center is a good distance from the palace. Shuttle buses are used for this route, which must also be used. A visit is possible daily from 10:00-20:00 on your own or as part of an English-speaking guided tour, which can be booked on site for an extra charge. Different opening hours may occur. The entrance fee includes the light and sound show "Palace in Motion", which takes place daily after sunset. The start time can vary but is usually between 18:30 and 19:30. From then on, the façade and the exterior of the presidential palace Qasr Al Watan will be atmospherically staged for 15 minutes. If you only want to admire this spectacle, you pay AED 25 in the evening, children AED 12 each. Last admission is 30 minutes before the start of the show.
- Qasr Al Hosn
Located in the middle of the city and not far from the World Trade Center Mall, is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi. The Qasr Al Hosn fortress was built in the 18th century and was significantly expanded and expanded between 1935 and 1940. Today, the original seat of the ruling family is open to the public as a museum and national monument, where you can immerse yourself in the history, creation and transformation of Abu Dhabi. Among other things, you will also come across exhibits that are up to 8000 years old. It is open Saturday to Thursday from 09:00-22:00 and Fridays from 14:00-22:00. Admission costs AED 30 per person. Children aged 6 to 11 pay half and children under 6 years old can visit Qasr Al Hosn for free.
- Qasr Al Hosn Fast Track Tickets
- Corniche Road and Beaches
Between the port area and the Etihad Towers stretches the approximately 8-kilometer-long Corniche Road. Abu Dhabi's well-kept waterfront invites you to take a long walk and has a continuous cycle and footpath, with park benches, beautiful green areas, playgrounds, as well as occasional cafés and restaurants. On the Corniche there are also two beautiful beaches with the Abu Dhabi Beach and the Corniche Beach, which have a low swell and allow a shallow entry into the water. The upstream, artificially created island Lulu Island serves here as a breakwater and lifeguards monitor the mostly free accessible beach sections. Showers and toilets are also available. In addition, there are also paid areas, which can only be used by families, for example.
- Yas Island
One of the highlights of Abu Dhabi is definitely Yas Island. The approximately 25 square kilometer natural island is located near Abu Dhabi International Airport and has several sights and destinations to offer. On Yas Island, for example, is the Yas Marina Circuit, where the annual Formula 1 race, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held. Right in the middle are the numerous berths of the marina Yas Marina. If you want to go shopping, you are in good hands in the huge Yas Mall, the largest shopping center in the city.
For a game of golf, the areas of Yas Links are available and at Yas Beach you can spend your time on the beach. If you have a thirst for adventure and want to experience some action, you can visit the theme parks Ferrari World, Warner Bros World or Yas Waterworld. The island with its leisure activities is 31 to 42 kilometers away from the cruise port but can be reached by taxi or rental car in 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the route chosen. For a longer stay before or after the cruise, there are some, sometimes very luxurious hotels available in Abu Dhabi and Yas Island.
- Yas Beach
Would you rather enjoy the sun with fine sand under your feet? Then the luxurious Yas Beach Club may be a good choice. It is open daily from 10:00-19:00 and costs AED 60 per person on weekdays and AED 120 on weekends and holidays. Sunbeds and umbrellas are already included in the price. Children from 8 to 16 years pay half and children under 8 years old are free of charge. You don't have to bring your own towels. Lockers and showers are also available. Free access to Yas Beach Club is included during your stay at some hotels.
- Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Abu Dhabi Yas Island
- Ferrari World
With around 40 exciting rides and experiences, the Ferrari World theme park has a lot to offer under its imposing roof construction. Here everything revolves around the Italian sports car. Particularly noteworthy here is the world's fastest roller coaster, which accelerates its cars from a standing start to 240 km/h in just 4.9 seconds. Open daily from 11:00-20:00 and there is a charge of AED 325 per person. Depending on the current exchange rate, this corresponds to about 85 euros.
- Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
Almost right next door is the Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the largest indoor theme park in the world. Opened in 2018, it features 29 state-of-the-art, thrilling rides, as well as interactive, family-friendly attractions and unique live entertainment. In the lovingly designed areas you can, for example, immerse yourself in the world of Bugs Bunny and Co, the Flintstones family, Harry Potter, Batman and Superman. Warner Bros. World is open daily from 11:00-19:00. On weekends, the park is open an hour longer, until 20:00. Adults also pay AED 325 for admission.
- Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi (en)
- Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi
Right next door is Yas Waterworld, which opened in 2013. In the well-kept water park, you can try out more than 40 different slides, which can be mega gentle or powerful. There is something for every taste. Parasols and sun loungers are available free of charge. Towels can be rented on site for AED 40 and lockers for storing valuables cost AED 42 per day. Food and drinks are not allowed. To purchase these in the park, the use of a waterproof RFID wristband is recommended. This can be topped up with any amount. Any credit will be paid out when leaving the water park. Access costs AED 270 per person and is open Monday to Sunday from 10:00 to 19:00. Since the sun in Abu Dhabi is usually quite intrusive, flip-flops are not unsuitable for walking around.
- Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi (en)
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Moschee
In the eastern part of Abu Dhabi is the famous white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, the third largest in the world, was opened in 2007 after only three years of construction and offers enough space for up to 40,000 believers in the large prayer hall. The approximately 550 million US dollar structure was built using the best and finest materials. Among other things, the world's largest hand-knotted carpet and the world's largest chandelier, which incidentally was made in Germany, can be admired in the premises. This has a weight of 12 tons and a diameter of 10 meters.
For a visit to the mosque strict rules and also a dress code applies. Shorts, uncovered shoulders, tight and transparent garments are absolutely taboo, women must cover their heads so that no hair is visible, and tattoos may not be shown either. Inappropriately dressed for the visit? In the visitor centre there are restaurants and small shops selling headscarves, Abaya's for ladies from 45 AED and over, and Kandora's for men from 50 AED and over. These robes are usually worn loosely over "normal" clothing.
However, before you are allowed to enter the entrance area, you must first register free of charge at on-site vending machines or better online in advance. Access is then via the underground visitor center, which is located south of the impressive structure. From there, you can walk by conveyor belts, escalators and/or elevators to the eastern side of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Everything is barrier-free and wheelchair accessible.
Tourists can only move within a predetermined and marked path. So-called photo stops are set up on the tour for taking pictures. Only from there you can take your pictures. It should also be noted that nothing may be touched. Hugging, holding hands, kissing, smoking and eating is strictly prohibited throughout the premises. Admission is free and open Saturday to Thursday from 09:00-22:00, as well as on Friday from 09:00-12:00 and from 15:00-22:00. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a good 21 kilometres from the cruise port. This route takes about 25 minutes by rental car or taxi. The taxi ride costs about 40 dirhams, the equivalent of about 10 euros.
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Moschee (en)
- Wahat al Karama
To the east and directly opposite the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the Wahat al Karama Memorial. Officially inaugurated on November 30, 2016, it spreads over an area of around 46,000 square meters and honors the heroes of the United Arab Emirates. Their names can be found in the Pavilion of Honour on metal plates taken from decommissioned, armoured vehicles of the UAE armed forces. At the round and shallow water basin you have an excellent view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is also impressively reflected in the calm water surface. Especially beautiful is the sight in the evening hours, when the mosque is illuminated and illuminated. Wahat al Karama is open daily from 09:00-22:00 and is accessible free of charge. A shuttle bus shuttles between the memorial and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and a pedestrian bridge connects the two areas across the wide main road.
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
When approaching the capital, a building complex with a domed roof stands out on the left side. This has a diameter of 180 meters and belongs to the art museum Louvre Abu Dhabi, which is closely connected to the famous Louvre in Paris. In the 12 galleries of the exhibition, which opened in November 2017, exhibits from antiquity to the 21st century is shown. In addition, changing special exhibitions take place. The museum is open Tuesday to Thursday from 10:00-18:30 and Friday to Sunday from 10:00-20:30. Closed on Mondays. Although the exhibitions close in the evening, the area remains accessible until midnight. Admission costs AED 63 from the age of 18, i.e., around 15 euros. Younger guests have free access, but children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is about 8 kilometres away from the cruise terminal. For this route, a taxi takes about 15 to 20 minutes
- Saadiyat Public Beach
A good distance behind the Louvre begins a quite popular, but also paid beach section with fine white sand. Saadiyat Beach stretches over a total length of around 8 kilometres and is also largely used by the adjacent hotel resorts. The part that is open to the public from 08:00 in the morning until sunset is relatively natural and accessible from a payment of AED 25. If you want to use a sunbed with a parasol, you pay over AED 50 per week and AED 75 on weekends. At Saadiyat Public Beach there are toilets, showers, changing rooms, lifeguards, as well as beach bars with snacks and drinks. From the cruise port you can expect a distance of about 11 kilometers and plan a journey time of 20 to 25 minutes in each direction.
- Jubail Mangrove Park
About 7 kilometres from Saadiyat Beach, you will find the Jubail Mangrove Park Nature Reserve to the east. It has extensive water and land areas in which numerous native plants and animals can be discovered. The whole area is subject to the tides and so it is more interesting here during high tide or shortly afterwards than at low tide. The exploration of the area is possible at high tide with a kayak tour, or during the day of course on foot on equipped paths. For this purpose, the 2-kilometer-long wooden walkway Mangrove Walk, also Qurum Walkway, was installed, which is accessible on 3 different paths and offers some open spaces with viewpoints and seating.
The rental car can be parked in the spacious parking lot at the visitor center. There is also a small information/exhibition about the nature reserve, a café and toilets. Open daily from 07:00-21:00 and last admission is one hour before closing. Pre-registration or booking is required. Children aged 2 to 7 years pay AED 5 and older persons pay AED 15 each. There are a few rules to follow when visiting. Among other things, food and drinks may not be brought along. Smoking is also prohibited. Exhibited objects, plants and animals may not be touched and/or removed. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult throughout the visit.
- Excursion portals and excursion providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide, Meine Landausflüge and Viator, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and entrance fees in Abu Dhabi, which are often offered at much lower prices than comparable excursions by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, you can realise a variety of excursions on your own.
A small pre-selection of shipping company independent excursion offers
for, in and around Abu Dhabi,
can be found under Excursions on your own.
- Cruises and special offers
If you haven't booked an Orient cruise yet, but would like to get to know Abu Dhabi personally and go on excursions on your own, you will find great offers with the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida, Costa and Tui Cruises - Mein Schiff offer charming itineraries with their modern cruise ships, along with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite cruise line at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria. You can choose from a wide range of daily offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. The popular special offers are also attractive, with which you can travel particularly cheaply and possibly also get a great bargain.
- Opening hours of the museums: Monday to Sunday from 09:00-18:00
- Opening hours of the post office: Monday to Friday from 08:00-20:00, closed on Friday from 12:00-14:00
- Bank opening hours: Monday to Friday from 08:00-14:00
- Opening hours of the tourist information office at the port: Monday to Sunday a few hours after the arrival of a cruise ship.
- Opening hours of the tourist information in the city: Monday to Friday from 08:00-16:00
- Opening hours of shops: Monday to Sunday from 10:00-22:00
- Country code: +971
- Taxi Abu Dhabi: Tel. +971 600 53 53 (TransAD taxi centre)
- Police: Tel. 999
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 998
- Fire Brigade: Tel. 997
- Coast Guard: Tel. 996
- Vaccination advice: United Arab Emirates Tropical Institute
- German Embassy: The Towers at the Trade Center, West Tower, 14 th Floor, Abu Dhabi Mall
- Safety advice: German Foreign Office United Arab Emirates
- Buses: general information
- Buses: fees and tickets
- Bus network: interactive map
- Climate table: Abu Dhabi climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in Abu Dhabi
- Travel guide: Abu Dhabi
- Official language: Arabic
- Language of daily life: English
- Local currency: UAE Dirham, 1 AED = 100 Fils
- Conversion: 1 AED equals about 0.25 EUR
More port information of popular cruise destinations in the Orient
United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi