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If you’re only passing through Abu Dhabi and have just one day to see the sights, Forbes Travel Guide’s editors recommend starting your brief city tour at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a magnificent architectural wonder of art housing sparkling gold-plated chandeliers, dozens of awe-inspiring domes and minarets and what’s thought to be the largest carpet in the world. Next, get a sense of what Abu Dhabi was like before the oil boom – think tents and fishing villages – by spending an hour or two at lovely Heritage Village.
After lunch take a walk or bike down the Corniche, the city’s signature waterfront area that will eventually lead you to Emirates Palace, a landmark luxury hotel that mesmerizes with its lavish architecture. (If you’re hungry, stop by the hotel’s Le Café for a juicy camel burger, or get a rich – literally – shot of caffeine with a signature espresso topped with flakes of edible gold.) Continue on to Manarat Al Saadiyat, the city’s arts and culture hub, then finish your day by rewarding yourself for a long afternoon exploring on foot with a much-needed drink at the Sea Lounge Monte-Carlo, an outdoor bar at the picturesque Monte-Carlo Beach hotel.