The Ultimate Travel Guide to Exploring Abu Dhabi 

by Vilislav

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is only an hour drive from Dubai, so it would be a great loss if you skip the city during your vacation in Dubai. Abu Dhabi may be the second largest city in the country, but it’s not less beautiful as Dubai. You can easily get there either by car or bus, and by 2022 a high-speed train is also expected to travel in just 15 minutes between the two cities. Sounds amazing, but not impossible.

We decided to rent a car in order to be able to visit more places and not waste time in traveling by bus. You could go to Abu Dhabi from Dubai with an organized trip as well. It’s a group trip with bus and you can visit the main attractions. It’s cheaper than renting a car, but honestly, I prefer not to limit myself in time and location. If you decide to drive, keep in mind that the Arabs are absolutely crazy and despite the fines they drive extremely fast.

The highway was six-lane in every direction, nothing to do with our Bulgarian roads. Also, there are cameras, maybe on every 100 meters, so you really do not exceed the speed. I want to alert those of you who’ve never rented a car abroad, that you can only pay by credit card (no debit) and also be prepared to have blocked at least 1500 dirhams more in your card for the next 30 days , in case you have speed fines. After 30 days, if everyone is okay, the money will be unblocked, and you can use them. Also, European driving licenses are valid there, so there is no problem with that.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque

After a little bit more than an hour, we arrived in Abu Dhabi and headed directly to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque or, as some people call it, “The Grand Mosque”. It is one of the most beautiful and big mosques in the world. In fact, this was the main reason for us going to Abu Dhabi. I really wanted to see it and after I already did, I want to tell you it’s worth it. It’s stunning! Considering the huge queues, I recommend you to go before noon. Passing through the security checks is the same as at airports, so be prepared to wait a lot. The entrance is completely free.

The Great Mosque is a real architectural masterpiece. It’s built entirely of white marble, richly ornamented columns with floral motifs and golden elements. The prayer room features the largest hand-made carpet and the world’s largest chandelier – 15 meters tall and covered with millions of Swarovski stones. Also, remember that the mosque is a temple, so dress appropriately. Women must be with covered shoulders and have no ankles visible, and for men, shorts are strictly forbidden, as well as flip-flops or sandals.

I had never been in a mosque before that and I can’t compare, but many people say that only the mosque in Mecca (a city in Saudi Arabia, something like Jerusalem for Muslims) is more exquisite and magnificent than in Abu Dhabi.

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace front side

The next place we visited was Emirates Palace – one of the most luxurious and glamorous hotels in the world. It is built so that its architecture is modern, while at the same time preserving the character of the Arab culture. Inside, everything is covered with marble, and the dome in the central part of the hotel is gilded. Pictures of the hotel’s interior can be seen in the video below.

Another two places you can visit are the Arabian Louvre Museum and the Ferrari Park with the fastest roller coasters in the world. Unfortunately, we were unable to get there, but it’s always good to leave something for the next time.

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