In December 2016, I had a 21 hour layover in Abu Dhabi.
I’ve had several long layovers in Abu Dhabi, but this was the first time I had daylight hours to explore.
My main goal for the day was to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The mosque is considered to be the key site for worship in the United Arab Emirates, and is one of the few in the region open to non-Muslims.
Mosques hold a religious and sacred position for all Muslims, so please remember to show respect by abiding by the specific ethics and rules indicated on their website.
Women are required to wear an abaya (gown) and headscarf:
Both are provided by the mosque, or you are welcome to wear your own headscarf if you prefer.
A worthwhile free 60 minute guided tour helps explain some fundamentals of the Islamic religion while pointing out some of the stylistic highlights of the interior.
Tour times vary so be sure to check the website for tour times and prayer times.
Another enjoyable place to visit in Abu Dhabi is the Mina Fish Market located at Port Zayed.
At the market you will find countless stalls selling various types of fish, crabs, clams, etc.
Once you make your selection, you can take your catch to one of the eager fish cleaners. It’s even possible to have your fresh catch cooked right in the market.
I chose shrimp for lunch, and then the fishmonger quickly escorted me to his favorite restaurant and ordered for me.
Talk about service!
Sea House Restaurant & Grills marinated the shrimp in their house sauce and then cooked it over an open flame.
After a picnic lunch of peel and eat shrimp, I headed back to the airport hotel for a quick nap before my flight home.
I love it when I get to explore a city on a long layover. Check out some of my other bonus days in Dubai, Bahrain, Sydney, and Zurich.
- Lodging: Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Sea House Restaurant & Grills at Mina Fish Market
- Things to do/see:
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
- Mina Fish Market