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Budget Abu Dhabi

The glitzy capital of the United Arab Emirates can make a surprisingly wallet-friendly getaway, with its handful of free museums, waterfront promenades and cheap cafés.


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features Persian, Mughal and Moorish styles



Shown on the back of the 1,000-dirham note, this fort started life in 1760 as a watchtower that safeguarded a precious freshwater well. It became the home of the ruling Al Nahyan family in 1793, remaining a royal residence until 1966. It’s under restoration, but a free exhibit charts the history of Abu Dhabi and its people (00 971 2 697 6472; Sheikh Zayed the First St; 9am–8pm).


This reconstructed village gives an insight into the pre-oil era in the UAE. The walled complex includes all the main elements of traditional Gulf life: a fort to repel sea invaders, a souq to trade goats for dates, and a mosque as a reminder of the central part that Islam plays in daily Arabic life (00 971 2 681 4455; Abu Dhabi Theater Rd; 9am–4pm Sat–Thu, 3.30pm–9pm Fri; free).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - May 2017
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