4 Things You Can Do For Free In Abu Dhabi

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The UAE is usually considered an expensive place to visit. But what if we tell you that you don’t really need a bucketload of money to explore the capital? In fact, we will even go as far to say that you don’t need to spend a single penny to enjoy yourself in certain places in Abu Dhabi. The UAE capital has much to offer that too for free. There are many beautiful and historical tourist places around that you can explore for free in Abu Dhabi. So here is our best pick for you to visit places in Abu Dhabi for free

1. Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is an exceptional place that attracts people from all walks of life, bringing together diverse cultures to admire the mosque’s beauty and gain a deeper understanding of religion and culture in the United Arab Emirates. This grand mosque is one of the largest in the world and was the vision of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the UAE, who wanted to create a cultural haven that inspires people from all backgrounds. It’s top of our list of things to do for free in Abu Dhabi and a definite must visit.

The construction of the mosque was a cultural collaboration with skilled teams from all over the world, including 1,300 Iranian artisans who hand-knotted the main prayer hall’s carpet, the largest in the world. The mosque is full of one-of-a-kind treasures, including gold-plated Swarovski chandeliers, marble mosaic artwork in the courtyards, and amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns. The mosque also boasts four stunning minarets that stand 106 meters tall.

Not only is the mosque visually stunning, but it is also welcoming, with an open-door policy that encourages visitors from around the world to not only admire the architecture but also gain a deeper understanding of the Emirate’s culture of open dialogue. Despite being a place of worship, visitors are encouraged to take a free guided tour and learn from experts about details they may have missed, like the gold-leaf calligraphy encircling the 82 domes of the mosque.

It’s important to note that the mosque is still an active mosque, welcoming up to 50,000 worshippers daily. As a result, visitors must wear respectful clothing and the main prayer hall is closed to visitors on Fridays between 12 pm and 3 pm for Friday prayers.

For an even more magnificent experience, visitors are encouraged to visit the mosque at night, when the whole facade lights up with even more beauty. Combining your visit with a trip to the Wahat Al Karama memorial and dinner in the Al Qana district is highly recommended.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Details:
Address: Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street، – 5th St – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
Timings: 9am – 10pm ; The main prayer hall is closed to visitors on Fridays between 12 pm and 3 pm for Friday prayers.
Please Note: You need to wear modest clothing that covers your knees, and need to have a scarf to cover your head.

2. Al Jahili Fort

The Jahili Fort is a remarkable architectural marvel, one of the largest forts in the UAE. It was built in the 1890s in the Buraimi Oasis, which now houses both Buraim and Al Ain.

Since its restoration by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage in 2007, the fort has become a popular tourist attraction, drawing in both residents and visitors to marvel at its traditional Arabian architecture. The fort was constructed entirely of mud bricks, showcasing the skilled craftsmanship of the workers who built it.

Visitors are also drawn to the fort’s battlements and watchtowers, which stand as a testament to the fort’s history of facing assaults. The expansive courtyard surrounding the fort is also a popular area for concerts.

For those interested in history, the small exhibit honoring British explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger is a must-visit. Sir Thesiger is well-remembered for his travels across the Rub Al Khali desert and this exhibit provides a unique glimpse into the Bedouin lifestyle. It’s fascinating to see how much has changed in the past century.

Visiting the Jahili Fort is an unforgettable experience, offering visitors the chance to witness traditional Arabian architecture and learn about the region’s rich history and the best part is that it’s absolutely free to the public.

Also read: UAE’s Largest Indoor Adventure Park To Open In Abu Dhabi

Al Jahili Fort Details:

Address: Sultan Bin Zayed Al Awwal Street, Al Mutawaa, Al Ain.
Timings: Mondays Closed; Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm ; Friday: 03:00 pm to 05:00 pm

3. Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi is a lavish five-star hotel and tourist destination that has been attracting celebrities, UAE royalty, and travelers from all over the world since its doors first opened in 2005. Known for its private 1.3 km sandy white beach, Emirates Palace is a unique and opulent waterfront hotel located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s bustling capital.

Emirates Palace is famous for its grand architectural features, including its 114 gold-plated domes, the intricate gold and mother-of-pearl detailing on the central dome in the Grand Atrium, and the gold edible flakes that can be found on its coffee. Visitors can experience the luxury and opulence of Emirates Palace even if they are not staying overnight by booking a meal, spa treatment, or a guided tour (priced at AED 150) of the hotel’s main dome, palace suites, and ballroom. Now you may be wondering why we would add this to our list of free things to do in Abu Dhabi?

However, the lobby and exhibitions are free to all guests, and you can definitely enter the palace and take a look around in the limited areas. 

For those seeking a unique dining experience, Emirates Palace offers several restaurants and bars that are open to non-guests seven days a week, with advance booking required. With its breathtaking architecture, world-class facilities, and prime location, Emirates Palace is a must-visit destination in Abu Dhabi, and a perfect place for taking Instagram-worthy photos that are sure to impress your friends and followers.

4. Al Wathba Salt Lake

Discover the beauty of Long Salt Lake, the Instagram-famous location in Abu Dhabi that’s captivating the world with its stunning pastel green waters and crystalline lily pad formations. This one is definitely one of our favourite additions on the list of things to do for free in Abu Dhabi. This hidden gem is located in the Al Wathba region of Abu Dhabi, just south of the city, and is accessible via a scenic off-road journey.

To reach Long Salt Lake, head towards Fossil Dunes and follow the pylons across the sand track. The closest E road is the E65, but the easiest access is from a turn off of the E30 near the Al Wathba Wildlife Reserve (currently closed). You can find the exact location on Google Maps.

Also read: New 15 km Bike Trail Called Trail X Opens On Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi

These two emerald green lakes are surrounded by snow-white salt crusts on the banks, giving the whole place a Nordic Fjord-like vibe. The high salt content of the ground is due to the numerous salt flats in the region, which are the result of a hot climate and coastal location.

One of the biggest mysteries of Long Salt Lake is the formation of the huge dense salt pad stepping stones found in the main channel. This kind of structure usually takes a significant amount of time to form naturally, through erosion and mineral deposition, which is much longer than the time frame for a man-made lake. The most likely explanation is that the water in the channel is cutting away at pre-existing features beneath the top sand.

If you’re planning a visit, please respect the natural beauty of this site and do your part to preserve its integrity. Don’t litter, don’t break off chunks of salt for souvenirs, and refrain from any activity that could damage the salt structures. With its breathtaking beauty and unique features, Long Salt Lake is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience.