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Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

A trip to the Emirati capital is incomplete without a visit to the most iconic landmark –  The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. With its 82 domes, a 1000 columns, over 100,000 tons of gleaming, ice-white marble and 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers. The superlatives are endless for this phenomenal work of Islamic architecture.

Visiting the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Prior to our visit, I had a million questions on the do’s and don’t of entering a colossal place of worship. So I’ve decided to dedicate a post to everything you need to know to help plan your perfect visit to the astonishingly opulent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

How to get to the Grand Mosque

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

The best way to arrive at the Mosque is by taxi, they’re reasonably priced and plentiful. Nothing can beat being dropped off right outside the entrance. When you leave there is an easily accessible taxi stand for your return pick up. For those in their own vehicles, there is also an onsite car park for visitors.

There are lots of nearby hotels too, so you can walk too if it’s not too hot. The closest is The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal where we stayed, with spectacular views of the Mosque.

Our visit was part of an Abu Dhabi City Tour, which is a great way to visit the Grand Mosque.

Entering the Mosque

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Unlike many UAE attractions the mosque is absolutely free to enter and you can stay as long as you want. There is airport style security, where you’re checked through x-ray machines. If dressed inappropriately changing rooms and traditional attire is provided, which leads me nicely on to my next point.

Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi dress code

This is a Muslim place of worship and understandably you’ll have to adhere to a very strict dress code. Not muslim, we didn’t want to get this wrong! Modest dress is required, so a long skirt or loose ankle length trousers for both men and women. Ladies will also need head coverage, make sure you bring a thin scarf to wrap around.

If your attire is considered inappropriate, women are provided with traditional abayas in different sizes free of charge. I wore a loose jumpsuit, thin cardigan and covered my head with a scarf and had no issues. In the sweltering August heat, I was sweating cobs but it was worth it.

5 Amazing Cultural Highs In Abu Dhabi

Shoes will need to be removed upon entry, wear socks if you’re not happy with walking around barefoot. Although, bear in mind that it does get very hot in Abu Dhabi and you’ll already be very toasty in full coverage. The combination of a white building and bright, strong sunlight causes a dazzling almost blinding effect, so sunglasses are a must.

Children are not expected to be fully covered, but out of respect I dressed my girls in jumpsuits and thin cardigans too.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque timings

5 Amazing Cultural Highs In Abu Dhabi

The mosque is open 9am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday except for Friday when it opens from 4:30pm. During the holy month of Ramadan it’s always best to check the schedule as times will vary and the mosque is closed to visitors on a Friday.

Best time to visit Abu Dhabi & the Grand Mosque

No matter what time you visit there will always be crowds. Like most popular landmarks some of the crowds can be avoided by visiting during the weekdays. If you visit in the summer like we did, early morning or late evening is best to beat the heat.

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

At sunset the mood and look of the mosque change with golden hour. The white of the building takes on the soft pink light of the sunset and can make for some stunning photo opportunities.

Abu Dhabi Mosque tour

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Free guided tours are offered at the mosque on a walk-in basis. The hour-long tour gives you great insight into this fascinating place of worship. It’s always best to check the official Grand Mosque website for tour times as they often vary.

Can you take photos in the Mosque?

Cameras are allowed to capture this beautiful building, as long as it’s no bigger than a DSLR. Tripods can be an issue too, so best not to bring one. For anything larger or professional looking you’ll be required to fill out a media form.

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

And when the time comes to pose – Nothing excessive. You don’t want to do a ‘Rihanna’. Her provocative posing resulted in her being thrown out – True fact!

Drink lots of water!

Food and drink are not allowed in the mosque and will be confiscated at security. In the very hot environment make sure you are fully hydrated before entering. If the heat does get too much there are public water fountains you can hunt down inside.

Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Without a doubt, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a magnificent place to visit. Its beauty will captivate you as you wander around. You have to see it to believe the dazzling grandeur. I hope my recommendations help to make your visit a truly memorable one.

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Visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links whereby I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps with the costs of running my blog so I can keep my content free for you. Thanks as always for your support! See my disclosure policy here.

14 Comments

  • Laura 12th November 2018 at 2:07 pm

    It looks breathtaking, somewhere I will definitely visit when we visit Abu Dhabi one day!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 14th November 2018 at 2:14 pm

      It’s a must Laura and will blow you away.

  • Angie 17th November 2018 at 10:29 am

    A serious addition to the bucket list!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 18th November 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Definitely Angie!

  • Mostlyfoodandtravel 4th December 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Just so beautiful. Catching up on all your Abu Dhabi posts to pick what to do on our visit early next year

    • Sima Sthanakiya 5th December 2018 at 9:54 am

      It’s stunning Neha. Let me know if you want to know anything else. How long are you there for?

  • Nicola 14th December 2018 at 1:08 am

    Your pictures are jaw-dropping & thanks for the helpful tips!
    #farawayfiles

    • Sima Sthanakiya 14th December 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Thank you Nicola.

  • beatravelling 15th December 2018 at 5:05 pm

    One word: WOW!! This is stunning!! #farawayfiles

    • Sima Sthanakiya 16th December 2018 at 1:11 pm

      It’s amazing isn’t it. Just breathtaking.

  • Corey | Fifi + Hop 19th December 2018 at 9:32 pm

    Beautiful post, Sima! What a stunning building, and you’ve captured it in your photos so well. These are some great tips too, as it’s a part of the world I still have yet to visit, and would have been asking these very questions. Pinning this for when I do make it. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles and Happy Holidays!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 20th December 2018 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks Corey! Yeah, they were the same ones I was asking, so thought I’d put it in a blog post.

  • Bassem Aly 28th March 2019 at 3:13 pm

    The mosque of Zayed is really outstanding, PPL here consider it the first attraction of city and like the symbol of Abu Dhabi just like Burj Khalifa of Dubai and so on. However I believe that Mosque is not the only attraction to visit in Abu Dhabi, there are dozens of them you need to check if in Abu Dhabi, I do recommend you this article about the top tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi as I could see many PPL who already have plans to visit the city so that will help you to know where should you be once in city

    • the Curious Pixie 31st March 2019 at 9:29 pm

      Thank you. I also have a post about my top cultural highlights, but dedicated a post to the mosque as I was so impressed by it.

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    I'm Sima, join me as I explore, experience and eat my way around the globe. Inspiring you to escape the everyday through my adventures... Read More

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