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How to Spend 3 Days in Abu Dhabi

How to Spend 3 Days in Abu Dhabi

There’s more to Abu Dhabi than sun-baked beaches, desert dunes, and towering skyscrapers. The UAE’s capital city also promises wildlife-filled mangroves, cutting-edge theme parks, fast-paced motor sports, and ocean-going fun. Here are our recommendations for how to fill three memorable days in the city—with time to visit its alluring neighbor, Dubai.

Day 1: Discover the City and the Desert

Getting an eyeful of Abu Dhabi, known for its look-at-me architecture, on a sightseeing overview is a must on your first day. Settle into a hop-on hop-off double-decker bus tour and let the sights come to you—either from the open-air deck or air-conditioned lower level. For a more well-rounded take on the city, choose a classic coach tour that includes a guided walk around the gleaming Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, plus time at cultural attractions such as the Heritage Village and Dates Market.

This afternoon, head for the desert to experience its orange dunes and soul-stirring vastness. Most tours feature an all-inclusive package of sports and entertainment to give you the full Arabian Nights experience. Expect everything from 4x4 dune bashing and camel riding to dinner at a tented camp and belly dancing shows—all played out as the sun sets and the desert stars dazzle.

Day 2: Delve into Dubai

Abu Dhabi’s bigger neighbor, Dubai, beckons from around 90 minutes by road up the coast. Widen your lens on the UAE by taking one of the many full-day tours to this futuristic metropolis; most include special extras that promise to make the trip extra memorable. Many also showcase the highlights of old and new Dubai, combining time to shop in its traditional souks with panoramic tours of the city’s ultramodern landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis the Palm hotel. 

To add another dimension to your trip, take a seaplane flight along the UAE shoreline to the city, watching as its skyscrapers reveal themselves on the horizon. And for maximum bragging rights back home, look for tours that include a visit to the 124th-floor observation deck of the world’s highest tower—the soaring Burj Khalifa.

Day 3: Fill Up on Thrills

Abu Dhabi has plenty going on adventure-wise: in the desert, on the sea, and at the thrill-packed theme parks of Yas Island. For a serious adrenaline rush, book an all-day ticket to the fun of Ferrari World or the aquatic rides of Yas Waterworld. Or combine your sporty side with Abu Dhabi’s natural landscapes, taking an exhilarating ATV ride over the dunes or hitting the waves on a high-speed RIB cruise past the city’s stunning skyline. For something a bit slower, perhaps try a stand-up paddleboarding tour around Abu Dhabi’s picturesque mangroves.

As dusk descends, ease into the evening with a leisurely cruise. Choices range from private abra water taxi rides around the city’s inshore channels to all-singing, all-dancing dinner cruises along the Corniche. The latter are great for taking one final look at the city, treating you to fabulous panoramas of its illuminated skyscrapers.

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7 Tours and Activities

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Big Bus Abu Dhabi Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Big Bus Abu Dhabi Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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505
Get to know Abu Dhabi at your own pace on a hop-on hop-off Big Bus tour. With your 1-, 2-, or 5-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket, board the open-top double-decker bus and set your own sightseeing itinerary. Enjoy panoramic views of the palm-lined Corniche, listen to the onboard commentary, enjoy some fun included extras with longer duration tickets, and hop on and off at any of the stops to visit must-sees such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Heritage Village.
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  • 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$72.00
From
$72.00

Dubai Sightseeing Day Trip from Abu Dhabi

Dubai Sightseeing Day Trip from Abu Dhabi

star-4.5
103
Discover one of the gems of the UAE on this Dubai sightseeing day trip from Abu Dhabi. Travel by air-conditioned coach as your guide sheds light on the region’s rich history and culture. Admire top local attractions such as the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al-Arab and the breathtaking Burj Khalifah. Cruise across Dubai Creek on a wooden ‘abra’ taxi and shop till you drop in the bustling gold and spice souks. Learn of the city’s rise and rise at the Dubai Museum, and enjoy free time for lunch at Dubai Mall.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$86.00
From
$86.00

Abu Dhabi Guided Sightseeing Boat Tours

Abu Dhabi Guided Sightseeing Boat Tours

star-5
439
See the skyscrapers and sights of Abu Dhabi from a brilliant yellow RIB (rigid-inflatable boat) on this 60- or 90-minute cruise. With a skipper at the wheel, hold tight and enjoy the sea spray as your boat bounces across the waters of the Arabian Gulf along Abu Dhabi’s shores. Stop for photos of the high-rises along the palm-lined Corniche; zip by Lulu Island, the Heritage Village, and spectacular Emirates Palace hotel; and watch for pods of dolphins in the sea as you listen to the commentary on board.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$66.00
From
$66.00

Full-Day Tour Dubai with Burj Khalifa Pass from Abu Dhabi

Full-Day Tour Dubai with Burj Khalifa Pass from Abu Dhabi

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20
After pickup from your hotel, relax and enjoy the approximately 1.5-hour ride to Dubai. Once there, you’ll see several of the city’s highlights including Dubai Museum—which is located inside an ancient fort—Jumeirah Mosque, Palm Island, Dubai Mall, and more. The journey culminates with a visit to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where you will visit the observation deck on the 124th floor for incredible photo opportunities.
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  • 10 hours
From
$136.74
From
$136.74

Abu Dhabi Dhow Dinner Cruise- Savor the Flavors of Arabia on a 2 Hours Cruise

Abu Dhabi Dhow Dinner Cruise- Savor the Flavors of Arabia on a 2 Hours Cruise

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1
Hop aboard a traditional dhow boat for a 2-hour dinner cruise along the Corniche of Abu Dhabi in the Persian Gulf. Sit down to a delicious dinner of Arab cuisine with fresh seafood, fish, and succulent grilled meats. Enjoy panoramic views of the Emirates skyline as you sail along the coast and admire the towering skyscrapers against a dark night sky.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$147.96
From
$147.96

Morning Abu Dhabi Safari With Quad Bike
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Morning Abu Dhabi Safari With Quad Bike

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3
Make the most of an Abu Dhabi morning with a rip-roaring 4-hour desert adventure and sports experience. Head into the desert by 4x4, and enjoy an exhilarating, 20-minute dune bash with a trained driver at the wheel. Zoom over rolling, orange dunes before continuing to a desert camp for a camel ride, and a thrilling sand board and quad bike session. Boost your energy with complimentary refreshments during the action. This morning tour is ideal if you’re already booked for, or just want to relax, in the afternoon and evening.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Evening Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride and Sand Boarding

Evening Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride and Sand Boarding

star-5
1385
Experience the thrill of cruising through the desert with this evening safari with BBQ dinner. Head out on a six-hour adventure through the stunning landscapes outside of Abu Dhabi and make your way to a Bedouin-style camp tucked into the iconic sand dunes. Race over the rolling hills on 4x4, sand board down them at breakneck speeds, climb atop a camel for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or even rent a quad bike (additional cost). This trip includes round-trip hotel transport, henna painting, sheesha smoking, and even a belly dancing show, plus a savory BBQ dinner with fellow travelers.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size
From
$83.00
Price varies by group size