Travel Guide: My First Trip To Abu Dhabi

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As you might have seen on my Instagram, I ventured out to the Middle East during September last year to visit my sister who has recently moved to Abu Dhabi. As a city that is pretty much guaranteed sunshine on a daily basis (yes it's true), it was the perfect little get away to escape the gloomy British weather and up my levels of vitamin D. I've rounded up some of my favourite memories and recommendations in today's blog post so if you want to be stunned by majestic architecture or find out my favourite spot for brunch (mmm allll the hummus please), you've come to the right place. 

The Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi Sisters Travel Photography UAE

Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Of course the first on my list is the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque. With stunning interiors and intricate details, this is certainly a must-see if you visit Abu Dhabi. We visited during the day and although it was a little too humid to stay in the outdoor areas for too long, I was happy to be able to capture the beauty on camera in natural light. At night, the columns light up creating an entirely different experience so I would recommend visiting at both times if you can! 

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi Photography Travel Blog

Sheikh Zayed Mosque Abu Dhabi Photography Travel Blog

The Emirates Palace
For an extravagant afternoon tea experience, visit the Emirates Palace where you can purchase the 'Palace Cappuccino', a coffee blend sprinkled with 24k gold - yes that's a thing! Even if you don't fancy stopping for tea, it's worth a visit if you have a free afternoon to explore the grounds and perhaps shoot some photos.

Markets and Souks
I don't know about you, but I absolutely love browsing local markets when I travel abroad. Whether that's to try local food or find unique gifts, it's always such a memorable experience. In Abu Dhabi you can expect to find the most delicious dates, Arabian coffee pots and a whole rainbow of spices. For a list of the markets and a description of each click here.

Desert Safari
Now the desert safari has to be the highlight of my entire trip and I would be more than happy to do it all again if I could. Not only did we experience dune bashing (kind of terrifying but incredible at the same time), the package also included a falcon show, camel rides, henna tattoos, the most incredible food and Arabic coffee as well as a cultural show which explained the history of Abu Dhabi. It just felt so surreal sitting under the stars in the middle of a desert and it's a memory that I'll never forget. The whole trip lasted around 6 hours including a pick-up and drop-off but you can also choose to do an overnight stay so be sure to set aside time for this if you plan a trip to Abu Dhabi or Dubai- you won't regret it!

Desert Safari Abu Dhabi Camel Riding Travel Blog



Eco-Donut Boats 
For a relaxed evening activity I would highly recommend preparing a little picnic and hiring a donut boat at the Eastern Mangroves. You can fit up to 6/7 people on a single boat and float along the tranquil water as you munch and chat away, does that not sound like pure bliss?

Road Trip to Dubai
Although Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the UAE, I feel as though Dubai certainly receives a little more attention in terms of tourism. It's around a 1 hour drive away and we did a couple of road trips between the two - I think I may do a separate Dubai blog post at some point in the future so keep an eye out for that!

Food
Cafe Arabia has to be one of my favourite brunch spots in the city. Not only was I impressed by the menu but the interiors were bright and airy with an adorable little book shelf library and outdoor terrace area. I ordered the vegan brunch option which included super generous portions of hummus, falafel, foul medames (my new obsession), flatbread and salad. I left feeling more than satisfied, that's for sure! Some other great choices are The Raw Place and Nolu's for healthier options, Gossip Cafe and Desserts at The Galleria for coffee and The One Cafe for lunch (and interior decor inspiration).

Of course there is no shortage of shopping malls and beaches in the city but that's kind of a given so I haven't mentioned any in particular in this post. Have you ever visited Abu Dhabi? Are there any hidden gems that I should know about? What's next on your travel bucket list?

Amy 

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