Abu Dhabi is one of the most popular day trips from Dubai, for a good reason! The city is absolutely gorgeous, offers many amazing things to do and it’s full of beautiful photography spots. In this post I collected the best instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi that you can easily visit even if you’re planning to spend only one day in Abu Dhabi!
Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
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Most Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi
1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque was the main reason I wanted to visit Abu Dhabi for so long. And let me tell you something: it is even more beautiful than it looks on the pictures! This mosque is definitely one of the most instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi.
The dress code is really strict for women: you must wear loose-fitting, ankle-lenght trousers or skirts and have your arms covered. If you’re not properly dressed you need to wear an abaya which I personally didn’t mind at all. You can choose from three different colors: blue, red or beige.
Although it’s really one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen taking photos here are really tough. We didn’t manage to get there for opening time so it was already crowded. Plus there is a marked one-way path for the visitors and the guards kept rushing us to go forward every time we stopped for a photo. Definitely not the most peaceful experience but it was still totally worth it!
*Confession time: The photo on the left is Photoshopped. In reality you can’t stand in the middle of the square where the flowers are painted on the floor. There was a barrier behind me which I took out with Photostop and the flowers in the first third are also added with Photoshop. The rest of the picture is real, even the flowers behind me! If you’re interested to see the original picture check the ‘Before/After’ highlight on my Instagram profile!*
How to get there: The easiest option is to take a taxi or take your rental car. There is a huge parking lot under the Mosque which is free to use for visitors.
Best time to go: Since it’s one of the most visited places in Abu Dhabi try to go there for 9 am when it opens. Sunset is another great time to go because the golden lights look really beautiful on the mosque. But be prepared for a huge crowd!
Cost: Visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is absolutely free!
2. The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen! I’m absolutely obsessed with the Middle-Eastern architecture and if this wouldn’t be enough the hotel offers an amazing view over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Just look at the below pictures and you will understand why I picked this hotel as one of the most instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi!
How to get there: If you’re coming from the Dubai you basically have three choices: take a local bus (very long and uncomfortable), hire a private driver to take you there (quite pricy) or rent a car yourself and drive there. After carefully checking all the options we opted for a rental car since it was the most comfortable option and almost the cheapest. I can totally recommend doing the same! If you are already in Abu Dhabi and you don’t have a rental car, taking a taxi is the easiest option.
Best time to go: Anytime! You can make really great photos basically any time of the day but if you want to have the best lighting conditions I would recommend to shoot around sunset.
Cost: Unfortunately you can only visit The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi if you are a guest of the hotel. You can check the prices and book a room here! Although it might be worth to ask around whether you can make some photos in the ‘Instagram Spot’ – this is how they call the big archway you can see on my second picture. I can’t guarantee that they will allow you to do that, but remember the saying: if you don’t ask you will never get!
3. Wahat Al Karama
I’ve seen this place on Instagram a few times but I didn’t know exactly where it was. I had a really hard time finding it and first we even tried to go inside the Mosque hoping that this place is inside – well let me tell you in advance, it’s not! This place is located across the highway so you absolutely don’t need to go inside the Mosque and therefore there is no dress code either.
How to get there: If you have a rental car simply search for Wahat Al Karama on Google Maps (or use the above link I gave you) and drive your car there. You will find a huge parking spot around this place so it’s absolutely easy to park. If you don’t have a car, taking a taxi is your best option to get there. However if you’re staying at The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi you can easily walk there in just a few minutes!
Best time to go: As this place is not so popular you can go basically any time of the day. If you want to make some really epic Instagram photos sunset is the best time for that! The sun sets right behind the Mosque and the whole view is so magical. If you want to try night photography this is also the perfect place for that! In this case don’t forget to take a tripod with you.
Cost: Visiting the Wahat Al Karama is absolutely free!
4. Qasr al Watan
You haven’t heard of this place before? It’s not surprising because it’s a rather new attraction in Abu Dhabi! The Qasr Al Watan is a new landmark inside the Presidential Palace and it was only opened to the public recently (on 11 March 2019 to be exact).
The palace looks already incredible from the outside but when I stepped inside I was absolutely speechless! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, no pictures do justice how beautiful it is in real life! I can definitely recommend visiting if you are looking for the best photography spots in Abu Dhabi.
How to get there: The Qasr Al Watan is located close to the Emirates Palace which is also one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi. If you’re staying there you can walk to the Qasr Al Watan in like 20-25 minutes. If you are staying elsewhere the best option is to take a taxi or use your rental car. There is a huge parking lot where you can park for free and from there you can use a golf cart or walk to the entrance.
Best time to go: The palace is open daily between 10am and 8pm. Of course opening time is the best if you want to get some photos without the crowd. But since it’s a huge place with a little patience you can easily shoot some pictures during the daytime too! Another great option is to go 1-2 hours before closing time. Since it will be already dark you can’t really shoot outside but you can shoot inside, plus this way you can see the light show which takes place at 7.30pm!
5. Louvre Abu Dhabi
You might be surprised but there is a Louvre in Abu Dhabi too! It’s significantly smaller than the one in Paris but if you are a museum lover I can definitely recommend visiting. The whole building looks so futuristic and the when the light comes through the roof that looks really magical. As I’ve only spent one day in Abu Dhabi sadly I didn’t have time to visit the museum personally. Maybe next time!
How to get there: The easiest option is to take a taxi or use your rental car, if you have any. You can also use public transportation as the bus nr. 94 stops right in front of the Louvre Abu Dhabi (Saadiyat Island).
Best time to go: The museum is open from 10am to 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 10pm on Thursday and Friday and it’s closed on Monday. You can visit all day long but it’s best to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Map of the most Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi
In the below map I collected all the best photography spots in Abu Dhabi for you. You just have to click on the bracket in the upper right corner and it will open it up on your phone. Super convenient, right?
Where to stay in Abu Dhabi
As you can see on the below map, you can find a wide range of accommodations in Abu Dhabi. Although you won’t find any hostels, luckily you can still find some budget options too. You can use the below map to customize your search and see all the available hotels during your visit. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time with searching for accommodations, just check out my recommendations below!
Luxury hotels with the best view over the Grand Mosque
Set amid the landscaped gardens with its private beach overlooking the Grand Canal, Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is inspired by renaissance architecture. It offers an outdoor pool, a gym and 8 restaurants.
Shangri-La Hotel, Qarat Al Beri has luxurious rooms decorated in a modern Arabic style with warm, rich colors and chic, elegant furnishings. Each room has a balcony or terrace where a view of the garden or Arabian Gulf can be admired.
Other luxury hotels
Located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf, overlooking its own private natural bay, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi is located on 0.8 miles stretch of private beach. All rooms and suites feature luxurious bedding, and well-appointed furnishings.
Embracing expansive views of the city skyline and the sparkling waves of the Arabian Gulf, lies the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island. It offers a swimming pool with panoramic skyline and water views.
Featuring free WiFi in the public areas, a restaurant and an outdoor pool, Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi offers accommodations in Abu Dhabi, 300 m from Al Wahda Mall.
Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown is located in the center of Abu Dhabi, in the business district. The hotel features a rooftop swimming pool and 241 well-designed guest rooms and suites.
Located in a walking distance from Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center and within 12 minutes of Zayed Sports City; Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Capital Center offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.
Abu Dhabi is an absolutely beautiful city and I can totally recommend visiting it, even if you have only one day to spend in there! Luckily you can cover the best spots in a short amount of time but if you have more time to spend in the city consider yourself lucky and enjoy it to the fullest!
I hope you liked this post about the most instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi and you will be able to shoot some amazing pictures as well! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email, I always love helping you out! Do you know some other great photography spots in Abu Dhabi? Let me know in the comments!
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