Top choice in Abu Dhabi

The waterfront Corniche, with its white sandy beaches and generous promenade, stretches the entire length of the northwest shore of the city. Giving spectacular views of the iconic high-rise tower blocks assembled along the seafront, it also offers one of the city's main recreation opportunities with dedicated cycle paths along the promenade and weaving in and out of the Corniche's landscaped gardens. Refreshments are available from the public beaches that punctuate the western section of the road.

The best way to explore the whole Corniche is by grabbing a bike from the Cyacle bike-share station (, in front of the Nation Riviera Beach Club at the southwestern end of the Corniche (sign up online or at a station). There are several other stations near the Corniche, including at the World Trade Center, Rayhaan Rotana and Adia HQ. Towels and sunbeds can be hired from several of the Corniche's public beaches. It's worth taking some water for exploring the whole length of the Corniche as the eastern section has few amenities and long stretches without shade.

The inland side of the Corniche is dotted with parks that come alive at night with local families seeking the sea breeze in the sweltering summer months (May to September) or clustered around mobile heaters in the cool winter nights (December to February).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Abu Dhabi attractions

1. Al Itihad Square

0.24 MILES

This square, trapped between busy main roads, offers good views of the tower-clustered skyline of the western Corniche Rd. Photos of the square's little…

2. Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid

0.38 MILES

Stare up – access is limited to residents – at this 92-floor, 382m landmark tower which forms part of the World Trade Center and is Abu Dhabi's tallest…

3. Street Sculptures


There was a time when no self-respecting Gulf city would be seen without a giant concrete coffeepot. Those days have gone, for better or for worse, but a…

4. Abdullah Hamaid Al Rumaithi Mosque


Squeezed between looming towers, this mosque is one of two that bookend a plaza hidden off the main roads. Keen photographers should come here at sunset…

5. Lake Park & Formal Park

0.45 MILES

These two shady parks straddling 4th St and spreading along the Corniche fill up with families, joggers and picnickers in the early evening. The…

6. Khalifa Mosque

0.48 MILES

In common with all mosques in the city, this beautiful mosque stands in nonalignment with the grid system, honouring the direction of Mecca instead. It is…

7. Capital Gardens

0.64 MILES

This park in the heart of downtown offers two multipurpose playgrounds, a mini climbing wall and basketball and football areas; and there's an erupting…

8. Qasr Al Hosn

0.65 MILES

Featured on the back of the Dhs1000 note, this fort started life in 1760 as a watchtower that safeguarded a precious freshwater well. After an expansion,…