If you are wondering what to do in Dubai why not make a day trip and see a bit more? Take the bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and see the Grand Mosque.
Buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi are modern and air-conditioned and they leave every thirty minutes at Al Ghubaiba bus station in Bur Dubai.
A bus trip to Abu Dhabi takes about two hours and only costs a few dollars which is a lot less than what a taxi would cost.
To see the main Abu Dhabi sights including the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque reserve at least two days for your trip. But you can also make an Abu Dhabi day trip: leave in the early morning to have more time in Abu Dhabi.
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
In Dubai the Bur Dubai bus station is located in front of the metro station with the same name Al Ghubaiba. Bus tickets to Abu Dhabi are sold at a ticket counter behind the main bus station building. And the buses to Abu Dhabi leave in the same place. It’s the number E100 bus and it normally departs in 15 minute intervals.
Another option is to take a bus from the Ibn Battuta Metro Station if that is closer to where you are staying. Bus E101 takes you from Ibn Battuta Metro Station to Abu Dhabi.
Both buses take you straight to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. It’s good to know that bus front seats are for women and men are supposed to sit on back rows.
Route Map from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
This is the Dubai to Abu Dhabi itinerary on the map, Dubai is in the north and Abu Dhabi lower down on the gulf coast. The distance Dubai to Abu Dhabi is 150 km and the bus takes more than 2 hours.
What to See in Abu Dhabi
The Abu Dhabi sights I will show you are the Grand Mosque, the seven-star Emirates Palace Hotel, the beach boulevard Corniche, the Breakwater and the Heritage Village.
We will also see downtown Abu Dhabi and visit two shopping malls.
Abu Dhabi Sightseeing Map
This is our travel itinerary in Abu Dhabi. It shows you the sights in the center of the city that I mentioned. You can use local buses, the hop on hop off bus or the taxi. For Abu Dhabi bus maps and public transport information check out this website: Abu Dhabi Region Bus Services.
In addition Abu Dhabi has some top sights outside the city center. The most famous of them are Ferrari World and Louvre Abu Dhabi. Zoom out the map to see where they are.
But we will begin with the Grand Mosque…
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Dubai to Abu Dhabi bus brings you to Abu Dhabi bus station in downtown Abu Dhabi. It’s best to take a taxi from the central bus station to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
There are Abu Dhabi city buses to the Grand Mosque as well but that will need a longer time.
The Grand Mosque is huge in size. It takes 40.000 worshippers at one time. The mosque floor is covered with a large Iranian carpet that took two years to weave. It is the biggest carpet in the world. Photos on the mosque:
Five times a day prayer calls are delivered via satellite to all Abu Dhabi minarets.
Non-muslims are free to visit the mosque in the mornings and there is a free guided tour at 10:00, except on Fridays.
From the Grand Mosque you can take a taxi (or a city bus) to Emirates Palace Hotel. After this you won’t need taxis any more. The sights are at walking-distance and if you don’t like walking you can use local buses.
Emirates Palace Hotel
This seven-star hotel is at the south end of the Corniche, beach boulevard.
Emirates Palace Hotel is open to all visitors but you have to wear proper clothing, no shorts and so on. You are free to walk in the halls and look at the art collections, golden balconies and Swarowsky crystals.
If you like you are free to use any Emirates Palace restaurant, they are of a very high standard some of them have live music.
But what if these surroundings make you feel like buying some gold?
The Emirates Palace has been thinking about that and they have the solution. They have an ATM for that purpose.
More information on the hotel on the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi website.
From the Emirates Palace Hotel it’s only a short walk to the Corniche, Abu Dhabi’s beach boulevard. The Corniche is both a walkway and a white public beach.
Locals like walking up and down the boulevard and sitting under palms. They rent bikes at bike rental stalls. And the nearby park is very popular for picnics. It is packed with people after dark when the air gets cooler so you can sit outdoors.
These are Etihad Towers opposite the Emirates Palace Hotel. For great views of Abu Dhabi take a lift up to their observation deck.
The Breakwater and the Heritage Village
From the Corniche you can either walk 1 km or take a bus to the Breakwater.
The Breakwater has a yacht harbour and its main road Breakwater Road is the favourite place for young boys. They drive up and down the street showing up their fathers’ cars.
And don’t miss the Heritage Village that shows what life in Abu Dhabi was like before oil was discovered. An interesting exhibition, you don’t see much of the old days in Abu Dhabi.
On the same breakwater you can find a shopping mall, it’s a big one:
It’s always hot in Abu Dhabi and locals spend their leisure time in air-conditioned shopping malls that get crowded on weekends. Men are wearing white clothing and women black.
Marina Mall on the Breakwater is a modern luxury shopping mall with shops, sitting areas, restaurants and fountains. And an ice-skating rink, in a desert country!
Another shopping mall is the Abu Dhabi Mall in the Tourist Club area. It is older and smaller but has good shops too. Abu Dhabi Mall has a popular food court on the top floor.
From Marina Mall you can walk back to the city center or take a local bus. They run frequently.
Downtown Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi downtown has developed a lot in the last decades and they are still building everywhere.
The Abu Dhabi of today is a modern city with skyscrapers and broad streets. There are many small shopping malls that probably sell at lower prices than the big shopping ones outside the city where people go to spend time. Maybe these traditional shops with a local flavor are more interesting for us tourists.
On Fridays most better restaurants serve Friday brunches. Try that if you can, it’s a local habit, and a delicious one.
It’s easy to use local buses for sightseeing in central Abu Dhabi: in downtown, the Breakwater, the Corniche and the Tourist Club area. The most useful buses for tourists are buses number 5 and 7.
Buses 5 and 7 also took us to Hotel Le Meridien where we chose to stay in Abu Dhabi – before taking a bus trip back to Dubai.
Hotel Le Meridien is in the city center but has yet a private beach and pool area. We stayed at this hotel and liked it.
So now you know how to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus and what to see in Abu Dhabi in a day or two.
But to see sights around Abu Dhabi, like the Yas Island and the Ferrari World you will need more time in Abu Dhabi. Still you can make the trip by bus from Duba and use local transport in Abu Dhabi.
What to See in Dubai
For tips on how to travel around in Dubai on local transport check out my blog post Sightseeing in Dubai on Local Transport.