There’s no shortage of Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi. From luxury hotels to beautiful mosques and futuristic skyscrapers, the cityscape is a photographer’s dream.
If you’re looking for places to take Instagram-worthy photos in Abu Dhabi, look no further! In this post, you will find some of the most photogenic spots in the city. Whether you’re into architecture, nature, or just want a pretty background for your selfie, these places will not disappoint. So grab your camera or phone and get ready to snap some shots!
*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 in 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-length trousers or skirts and have your arms covered. If you’re not properly dressed you will be asked to wear an abaya and you won’t be able to enter without it.
Back in the day, they used to offer free abaya rentals at the entrance (like the blue one I’m wearing in the below photos) but unfortunately, this has changed and you can no longer get a free abaya.
There are shops near the entrance where you can buy one or you can shop online before your trip. This gorgeous white abaya is my favorite one (you’ll see me wearing it in the section about Emirates Palace) and it actually comes in many different colors so everyone can pick their favorite.
Although the mosque is really one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, taking photos here is really tough. We didn’t manage to get there for opening time so it was already crowded.
Moreover, 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!
Location on Google Maps: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
*Confession time: The first photo above 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 Photoshop 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 at 9 am when it opens. Sunset is another great time to go because the golden lights look really beautiful in the mosque. Avoid going on Fridays as the mosque is closed in the middle of the day.
Cost: Free, but you need to register before entering.
2. Wahat Al Karama
Wahat Al Karama is a memorial dedicated to the Emirati martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. The landmark was opened in 2016 and is strategically placed directly opposite the Grand Mosque, making it one of the most stunning Instagram spots in Abu Dhabi.
Many people think that this spot is inside the Mosque but I’m here to tell you that it’s not! It’s located right across the highway, meaning you don’t need to go inside the Mosque and you don’t need to adhere to the strict dress code either.
Location on Google Maps: Wahat Al Karama
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 very easy to park.
If you don’t have a car, taking a taxi is your best option to get there but there are also shuttle buses from the Mosque. 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:
Wahat Al Karama is open from 9 am to 10 pm daily. As this place is not as popular as some of the other instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi, 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 absolutely 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.
3. Qasr al Watan
Qasr al Watan is a relatively new landmark inside the Presidential Palace that was opened to the public in March 2019. The palace already looks incredible from the outside but wait until you step inside!
It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, no pictures do justice to how beautiful it is in real life. If you’re looking for the best photography spots in Abu Dhabi, you simply can’t miss this one!
It’s important to know that according to the dress code, you need to cover your knees and shoulders. We asked the guards and it was okay to remove my jacket for photos but other than that, you need to dress accordingly.
Location on Google Maps: Qasr Al Watan
How to get there:
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 11 am and 7 pm (closes at 5 pm during Ramadan). 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 take pictures during the day too!
Another great option is to go 1-2 hours before closing time. This way you can explore the palace and also see the Palace in Motion light show which takes place at 7.30 pm (note that it’s not available during Ramadan). Access to the light show is already included in the tickets.
The adult ticket cost 60 AED (16.5 USD) and you can either buy them online or at the ticket counter.
4. Emirates Palace
The Emirates Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in Abu Dhabi and it’s definitely one of the best places to take photos. It’s so beautiful that it looks like a real-life Disney castle!
The palace was built for a whopping $3 billion and it’s one of the most expensive hotels in the world. Although it’s definitely one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, the good news is that you don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to take pictures of the exterior and wander around the halls inside.
One of the unique selling points of Emirates Palace is its signature gold cappuccino with 24-carat gold flakes on top of the foam. This fancy drink is served at Le Cafe, which is open daily from 8 am to 2 am. Even though it’s definitely a splurge (it costs 75 AED/20 USD), it’s a total vibe and I can only recommend trying it.
One thing to note is that if you want to stroll around the hotel, you need to be dressed properly and cover your knees and shoulders. You don’t need to wear an abaya as I did in the below photos, dressing modestly is enough.
Location on Google Maps: Emirates Palace
How to get there: The palace is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi and it’s really easy to find. The easiest option is to take a taxi, otherwise, there are a couple of bus stops just outside the palace.
Best time to go: Early morning works best to avoid the crowds.
Cost: Free, unless you decide to dine at the cafe (you can check their menu here).
5. The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi
The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi is located right by Al Maqta Creek and it’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi. The hotel itself is really beautiful but the best part is the location!
The Ritz-Carlton is located in a really scenic area and there are plenty of photo opportunities around the hotel. On one side, you can get a really nice view of the Grand Canal while the other side looks directly over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Although you can see the Mosque practically everywhere from the property, they even have a dedicated ‘Instagram spot’ where you can frame your photos with a beautiful archway (second photo down below).
It’s worth staying at the hotel purely for the views alone but as you expect from a Ritz-Carlton, they definitely deliver the luxury feeling in every aspect. If you’re interested in staying at the hotel, you can read my full review of The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi here.
Location on Google Maps: The Ritz-Carlton, Abu Dhabi
How to get there: The hotel offers complimentary valet parking if you’re staying there and plan to arrive with a rental car. Otherwise, taking a taxi is your best bet.
Best time to go: The best time to take photos here is around sunset when the light is perfect and the sky is really colorful but otherwise any time works.
Cost: Unfortunately, you can only visit The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi if you are a guest of the hotel. You can check the availability and latest prices here. Alternatively, it might be worth asking whether you can take a few photos at the Instagram spot if you’re not a guest but I can’t guarantee success.
6. Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
Located in the Al Maqta’ district within the Qaryat Al Beri complex, the Shangri-La Abu Dhabi is another gorgeous hotel that deserves its own spot on the list of the most Instagrammable places in Abu Dhabi.
It is set upon a one-kilometer stretch of private beach overlooking the strait that divides the mainland and Abu Dhabi Island. As a bonus, it also offers a view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from selected rooms, the pool, and the private beach area.
Another really cool thing about Shangri-La Abu Dhabi is that they offer Abra rides where you can ride along the private canal connecting the hotel with the Souk Qaryat Al Beri on a traditional boat. It’s definitely an experience not to be missed!
As you can no doubt imagine, the possibilities for photography are endless at the hotel. I recommend staying for at least 2 nights to be able to enjoy the beautiful views and all the amazing amenities the hotel has to offer. If you want to know more about the hotel, read my full review of staying at the Shangri-La Qaryat al Beri.
Location on Google Maps: Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi
How to get there: The hotel is a 30-minute drive from Corniche Road or a 15-minute drive from Abu Dhabi International Airport in case you’re planning to arrive with a rental car or a taxi. A bus also connects Qaryat Al Beri with the Corniche and downtown.
Best time to go: Sunset is definitely the best time for photography as the sun sets right behind the Grand Mosque. Otherwise, it’s a pleasure taking photos around the hotel any time of the day.
Cost: You can check the latest prices and availability here.
7. 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 of the Louvre Abu Dhabi looks so futuristic and when the light comes through the roof that looks really magical.
Full confession: Although I already visited Abu Dhabi twice, I still haven’t made it to the Louvre for various reasons. However, I just simply couldn’t leave it out of this Instagram guide! I really hope to finally visit it next time I’m in the city (they say third time’s the charm, am I right?).
Location on Google Maps: Louvre Abu Dhabi
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 bus nr. 94 stops right in front of the Louvre Abu Dhabi (Saadiyat Island).
Best time to go: The museum is open from 10 am to 6.30 pm Tuesday to Sunday (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.
Cost: The adult ticket costs 63 AED (17 USD) and you can either buy them online to skip the queue or at the ticket counter.
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
Since Abu Dhabi is quite popular among tourists, you can find a wide range of accommodations in the city. Although you won’t find any hostels, luckily you can still find some budget options too. You can check all the accommodation options in Abu Dhabi here or if you’re short on time, just check out my recommendations below!
MID RANGE – Marriott Hotel Downtown Abu Dhabi
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.
BUDGET – Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown
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.
Abu Dhabi is an absolutely beautiful city and I can totally recommend visiting it, even if you have only one day to spend there! Luckily you can cover the best spot photography spots in Abu Dhabi 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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What Camera Gear Do We Use?
- Camera body: Sony Alpha 7 III
- Standard zoom lens: TAMRON 28-75 mm f/2.8
- Wide angle lens: Sony FE 16-35mm f/4
- Telephoto lens: TAMRON 70-180 mm f/2.8
- Drone: DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- GoPro: GoPro Hero 7
- Camera Bag: Peak Design Everyday Totepack
- Tripod: Manfrotto Compact Action
If you want to read more about what is in our camera bag, check out my detailed post about our travel photography gear!