With major airlines offering layovers in their flagship cities such as Reykjavik for Icelandic Airways and now Abu Dhabi for Etihad Airways, destinations that are not typically thought of as weekend getaways can now become one. With a weekend layover in Abu Dhabi here is how you should spend your time.
To experience the majesty that is this desert city that essentially grew up from nothing you need to have a view of the entire thing. To do this you have two choices. You can go to Jumeirah and up to the Observation Deck which will give you an unobstructed view of the city. Or, you can take a seaplane from Yas Marina which will give you an aerial view of the Emirates Palace and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque which are views you will literally find nowhere else in the world.
Now, it is time to check in to your hotel. You have quite a few options depending on your price point. If you want to splurge then stay at the Emirates Palace if you want something more mid-range the InterContinental Abu Dhabi will offer all the amenities, and if you want something resembling a hostel check out MILCO Camp. Keep in mind you might want to shell out for something a bit more upscale while you are in this capital as the hostels may not be of the same quality you are used to oddly enough.
At this point, you should have settled into your hotel of choice and gotten a good lay of the land. Take today to mark off some bucket list items like visiting the stunning Sheik Zayed Mosque along with Khalifa Park, and a walk along the Yas Marina which is studded with fancy restaurants. If you find at this point that you want a truly unique experience then head to the Yas Viceroy Hotel which has a racetrack built around it. Yes, that’s right it has been built within a racetrack so you can watch the horses go by throughout the day and bet at will.
You will also want to try some of the famous restaurants of the region which oddly feature French, Italian, and any other time of cuisine you can imagine. Mezlai provides the taste of the East you might find yourself wanting and their prawn biryani is renowned in the city. Now all you need to do is hop on your plane and continue on to your final destination.