In recent years, Abu Dhabi has gained its popularity of being one of the best transit or a layover destination. All thanks to Etihad Airways that connects most of the major cities of the world. Not just you can clear the US immigration at the Abu Dhabi airport itself but also proximity to major attractions from the airport allows you to tick off one more destination from your bucket list.
The chances are pretty high that you might transit through Abu Dhabi if you are flying with Etihad Airways. And if like us, you don’t fancy the idea of being stuck in the airport for 6 – 20 hours, then this post is for you. Here’s a quick guide to make the best use of your layover time whilst flying with Etihad Airways.
There are quite a lot of things that you can squeeze in your 6 – 20 hours of layover. So, let’s get started.
Marvel the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the most beautiful and Instagram-worthy places to visit in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It is also one of the largest mosques in the world with a capacity to host 40,000 worshippers at a time. The design and the layout are however inspired by Mughal, Moorish, Persian and Pakistan’s Badshahi Mosque architecture which together reflects as an influencing art and dexterity.
The mosque also houses the largest hand knitted carpet that took 2 years to complete.The carpet was made by approximately 1,200-1,300 carpet knotters.There is also a stunning chandelier in the main prayer hall which is one of the largest chandeliers in the world having a dimension of 10 meters in diameter and 15 meters high.
A visit to this mosque is an absolute must. The evening is by far the perfect time to capture some great photographs of the mosque with its reflections in the surrounding reflective pools.
Bike on Corniche Road
What better way to spend time than to bike around the beachfront and the Corniche Road? A beautiful promenade dotted with cute cafes and restaurants. The food options are many and varied and, are sure to tantalize your taste buds. The promenade also houses many parks and children’s play area. The Corniche beach is also an amazing place to spend time. The beach section for General Public is free and open to all whereas you have to pay a fee to enter the family or the single’s section.
You can also visit the Avenue Mall at the Etihad tower for some high-end shopping and just shop till you drop.
Take a Sea Plane Ride
Take to the skies and enjoy the panoramic views of Abu Dhabi in a 25-minute seaplane ride. It is an absolute thrill to take off from the sea in a seaplane. You can see the famed buildings and landmarks of Abu Dhabi like the Ferrari World, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and its gardens, the beautiful Corniche Road, and the beach. A perfect photo op for the aerial view of Abu Dhabi. It is a guided tour and is one of the best ways to see Abu Dhabi if you do not have much time on your hands.
Check out the Seawings website for scenic tour options.
Visit Ferrari World at Yas Island
For all the F1 fans and adrenaline junkies, this is the place to visit. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the only Ferrari branded theme park in the world and also happens to have the fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa, with a top speed of 239 mph. It also happens to be the largest indoor theme park and has 20 different rides on offer. You also get to see how Ferraris are made in a virtual tour of the Ferrari factory in Maranello.
There are simulators and go-karts to keep you occupied. If you have never seen an F1 track then head to the nearby Yas Marina Circuit which is the venue for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The circuit has five grandstand areas and its development includes a theme park, water park, hotels and beach, twining together to make up a perfect treat to enjoy. The best part is you can drive around Yas Island behind the wheel of a Ferrari California.
Go for a Desert Safari
If you have more than 6 hours on you, then going on a desert safari is a great idea. It requires about 5 to 6 hours to complete. Drive in an air-conditioned 4X4 with an expert guide. The tour includes dune bashing, visit a camel farm, visit a desert camp with dinner, bonfire, and belly dancing show.
You can also do some sandboarding during the dune bashing. It is one of the best ways to explore the Bedouin life that Abu Dhabi has on offer.
Drink in the View at Observation Deck
The answer to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is Abu Dhabi’s observation deck which offers sightseeing from Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel. Nothing better to call it a day by devouring in some delicious food on the menu and drinking in the views watching the world beneath you.
There are a lot of other things on offer at Abu Dhabi which you can explore like museums, forts or just ramble around the city admiring the beautiful architecture.
I hope our quick guide helps you to make the most of your layover.
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