24 Hours in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is a mix of exquisite contemporary commodities and priceless historical assets

Experience the highlights in a day

Abu Dhabi’s diverse makeup and ever-developing landscape has long been acknowledged by the watching eyes of the world.  Rich in natural resources, the city has become the wealthiest in the United Arab Emirates, yet its prosperity goes far beyond the business quarters. Abu Dhabi is a mix of exquisite contemporary commodities and priceless historical assets, and with this bounty to share it is quickly establishing itself as a holiday hotspot. In this article we use our expert local knowledge to advise on how to spend 24 hours in the city.


Café Columbia

Begin the  day at Café Columbia, which with its low key music and dim lighting is a great breakfast destination. The café is loved for its delicate pastries, handmade club sandwiches and infinite selection of tea and coffee. Furthermore its chic aesthetic and charming staff are only a sign of things to come in the city.


Abu Dhabi skyline

Heritage Village

After breakfast check out the Heritage Village, a cultural gem among the city’s attractions. Offering an opportunity to explore a former Abu Dhabi, the village takes you back in time using live exhibitions and workshops. You will gain an insight of the culture that defined Abu Dhabi before it became the futuristic metropolis we know today.


Carpet Souk

Carpets and kilims are synonymous with Eastern culture, which makes the souvenir hunt in Abu Dhabi a no-brainer. These hand-sewn treasures are in abundance throughout the city, but the selection at the Carpet Souk is yet to be challenged. With so much variety on offer, coming up with a solid choice might just be the hardest task. If you are concerned about the prospect of lugging a mammoth carpet back home, have no fear; carpets come as small as 1x1m and will even fit in your hand luggage.


Al Arish

For lunch head to Al Arish, whose gaudy Oriental decor will make you feel as though you have wandered into a tale from One Thousand and One Nights. The menu is heavily influenced by Lebanese cuisine, so if you have ever wanted to try a genuine Sharwarma there couldn’t be a better opportunity. The restaurant also offers an enticing buffet style bar and shisha pipes for an after-dinner puff.

Heritage Village

Yas Marina Circuit

Spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the Yas Marina Circuit, considered by many to be one of the most advanced courses in the world. Just watching the pros take on this circuit is a treat in itself, but if you believe life isn’t a spectator sport, the only watching you should be doing is for the turns ahead. From the Formula Yas 3000 drive in a genuine F1 car, to the Drift School where you can finally claim your rightful status as drift king, Yas Marina won’t disappoint.


Al Dhafra Cruising Restaurant

The Al Dhafra dinner cruise is the perfect way to end your day. The traditional dhow floats along the Corniche beach where you can admire Abu Dhabi’s great sights in serenity as evening falls. The restaurant serves a variety of courses, including some divine meat dishes, great continental salads and superb seafood. On the way back to the port, sweet tea is served on the top deck. You could hardly ask for a more authentic Arabian experience.

Yas Marina

Photo credits

Ioan Barbulescu

Tomas Galves

Marek Ziolkowski