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Recommended Tours & Activities in Abu Dhabi

Lulu Island

Opposite the Corniche is Lulu Island, a 10 km island which opened to the public in April 2007. The ferry from the marina next to the Heritage Village ceased operations in 2009 due to unspecified renovations being carried out on the island, but you can still visit the island on your own boat, or by hiring a local boat-owner to take you there. Once on the island, you’ll find golden sand and turquoise waters – and not much else. There is a bus which runs around the island every hour, and it will drop you off and pick you up wherever you want.

Dhow Building

Go to the dhow yards at Al Bateen to watch these traditional structures being built in exactly the same way they were built hundreds of years ago. You’ll receive a friendly reception from the craftsmen, who are more than willing to share their knowledge with you – just talking to them is a fascinating insight into the history of Abu Dhabi.

Heritage Village

The Heritage Village is a must see for anyone interested in understanding the dramatic transformation of Abu Dhabi. It offers a glimpse into a way of life and culture that is far removed from the more cosmopolitan and globalised city we see today. Test the effectiveness of a wind tower, the earliest form of air-conditioning, or get up close and personal with a camel or a beautiful Arabian horse.

Dhow Charters

A dhow trip is a great way to gain insight into traditional life in Abu Dhabi. Before the discovery of oil most islanders made their living from the sea, either fishing or pearl diving. Nowadays, it’s a fantastic way to explore the islands with their abundant wildlife and tranquillity, which is characterised by stunning scenery and abundant marine wildlife like turtles and dolphins.

Island Expedition

If you can get your hands on a boat, you can retreat to one of the many secluded islands and spend the day exploring or just enjoying the sun. Alternatively you can go on an organised trip with one of the tour operators. Futaisi Island is home to a healthy population of indigenous wildlife, as well as a fort, mosque, and graveyard.


Liwa is a destination that will blow you away with its massive expanses of untouched desert and the biggest sand dunes this side of the Sahara. The drive down there is long, but the opportunity to do some really adventurous off-road driving and being able to watch the sun rise over the immaculate golden dunes are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that shouldn’t be missed.

Qasr Al Hosn (Old Fort)

Qasr Al Hosn, or the Old Fort, is in the same compound as the Cultural Foundation. The fort dates back to 1793 and is a rare display of authentic Abu Dhabi heritage. The Cultural Foundation displays Islamic and international art and houses the National Library. A number of events are organised each year, including art exhibitions, music recitals, theatre productions and an annual book exhibition.

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