The capital of the United Arab Emirates is a peaceful yet extraordinary city to visit. Yes, I’m talking about Abu Dhabi.

Located off the mainland, this city is full of skyscrapers, large shopping centers and beautiful mosques that are visited by thousands throughout the year. And although its counterpart city, Dubai, is often overshadowed by those who visit UAE, Abu Dhabi has just as much to offer for those who like to step off the beaten track.

From large gardens and parks, museums, exhibitions, harbor, cafe’s and markets, you can find just about anything in this young and vibrant city. So in order to get a taste of the real Abu Dhabi, we’ve pulled together this guide that uncovers the city’s most beloved places.

Al Mina Fish Market

Fresh seafood? Al Mina Fish Market has just what you need. The seafood is taken right out of the water (so you know it’s fresh), and can be cooked (baked, fried or grilled) and prepared right in front of you. It’s the true meaning of farm-to-table (or in this case, sea-to-table). It’s one of the best places to go to find the most delicious seafood. Plus, it’s cheaper than restaurant prices. Stop by Al Mina Fish Market and munch on some fish, crab, shrimp or lobster as a midday snack—you won’t be disappointed.

Qasr Al Hosn

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi. The building was originally built in the 1700s as a watchtower and was then further expanded to become the home of the ruling Sheikh.

Nowadays, you can visit the fort and take a tour of the museum inside, where you’ll be able to learn about the city’s history via a permanent exhibition. If you’re there during the beginning of the year, you can attend a cultural festival that’s held annually, also called Qasr Al Hosn. The festival lasts eleven days and is open to the public.

Heritage Village

Much of the city is modern and young, but to really experience some culture and history, we recommend you check out the Heritage Village. This little village, located right on the beach, offers visitors a chance to see the culture’s past that framed the present city of Abu Dhabi.

There are merchants who sell traditional clothes, artifacts and other knickknacks. You can also browse through the mini-museums and learn how the people lived by fishing and farming. And if you’re an animal lover, you can stop by the petting area located at the far right-hand side of the village—perfect for the kids as well.

Central Market

Unfortunately, the city’s old souks are fading out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience the old Middle Eastern way of shopping. The Central Market does a great job in recreating the old souk atmosphere by adding smells and sights that create a traditional bazaar feel without all the dirt.
Shop from kitchen goods, saffron, handcrafted items as well as leather goods and other Arabian gifts for yourself and everyone back home.

La Cava Wine Bar

A great way to finish your night is at La Cava, a wine bar with not only a plethora of wine options but whiskey as well. Located in the Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotel, this unique bar is quirky with a lot of character. There’s a chandelier made from 400 kilograms of silver, as well as a long wooden table made from a tree over 200 years old.

If you’re a wine fanatic, then make sure you come on a Wednesday night for a wine tasting session hosted by La Cava’s expert sommelier. The cost is 150 AED, and it’s definitely worth it if wine is your thing.

Abu Dhabi is a gorgeous city that shouldn’t be missed for all who travel to UAE. From mosques and shopping to magnificent skyscrapers and delectable food, Abu Dhabi has it all.

Ready to head over to this historical city with its magnificent hidden gems? Then we’d love to help you get there in comfort and put some savings in your pocket. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!