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While Abu Dhabi is a modern and relatively young city, it boasts numerous historical landmarks that trace their roots back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Scattered throughout the city are also a variety of unique architectural gems waiting to be discovered. Read on to discover the perfect starting point for your exploration.

Marvel at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and third largest in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque took 12 years to complete.

  • Entry: No entrance fee, just reserve your spot online
  • Timings: Saturday to Thursday, 9 am to 10 pm; Friday, 9 am to midnight and 3 pm to 10 pm
  • Best Times to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to experience the stunning play of sunlight on its domes and minarets.
  • Insider Tip: Joining a guided tour will give you better insight into the architecture: the intricate mosaics, the world's largest hand-knotted carpet and the reflective pools. Dress modestly or borrow the traditional attire available on site.

Discover history at Qasr Al Hosn

A historical landmark, Qasr Al Hosn is home to an 18th century watchtower, an inner fort and engaging exhibits on how the city evolved from a pearling settlement.

  • Entry: Book online at AED 30 per adult
  • Timings: Saturday - Thursday, 10 am - 10 pm
    Friday, 2 pm - 10 pm
  • Best Times to Visit: Cooler months, from October to March.
  • Insider Tip: Visit the official website to find out what cultural events or festivals are going on, especially at the House of Artisans.

Immerse yourself in creativity at Manarat Al Saadiyat

Dive into the art and culture of Abu Dhabi with a visit to Manarat Al Saadiyat, in the Saadiyat Cultural District.

  • Entry: No entrance fee is required, but pre-book your guided tours via email. Exhibition entry pricing varies.
  • Timings: Daily, 9 am - 7 pm
  • Best Times to Visit: Evenings are vibrant, with a packed schedule of events.
  • Insider Tip: Keep an eye out for rotating exhibitions featuring local and international artists plus workshops, lectures and cultural events.

Stroll around Al Ain Oasis

One of the emirate's most stunning attractions, reach Al Ain Oasis in a short 90-minute drive from Abu Dhabi city. Enjoy exploring this tranquil UNESCO World Heritage site that features a 3,000-year-old falaj irrigation system.

  • Entry: No entrance fee is required
  • Timings: Daily, 9 am - 5:30 pm
  • Best Times to Visit: Plan your visit in the late afternoon, so you can take a leisurely stroll along the shaded pathways as the sun begins to set.
  • Insider Tip: Check out the Eastern Fort on the edge of the property, completed around 1910 by the late Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed or join a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the history and eco-friendly practices.

Travel to the past at Al Jahili Fort

Explore a must-visit cultural treasure, Al Jahili Fort, with its unique 19th-century architecture and serene surroundings. The fort provides a glimpse into the heart of the United Arab Emirates' culture and the rich heritage of Al Ain.

  • Entry: No entrance fee is required
  • Timings: Daily, 9 am - 7 pm
  • Best Times to Visit: Mornings or late afternoons are best for favourable lighting and cooler temperatures.
  • Insider Tip: Check the events calendar for any cultural events or exhibitions taking place at Al Jahili Fort during your visit. Visit Al Jahili Park nearby for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic.

A cultural haven
Experience the seamless blend of past and present in Abu Dhabi as you discover the beauty of its culture, heritage, and hospitality. Explore nearby accommodations, curated trips, and a wealth of other exciting options.