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The Best Gifts & Souvenirs From Abu Dhabi 2023

The Best Gifts & Souvenirs From Abu Dhabi 2023

Looking for gifts or souvenirs from Abu Dhabi mid trip?

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and is rich in culture beyond the malls and theme park attractions. At first glance of the luxurious city with skyscrapers, it may not seem as though there is much culture.

However, there is plenty of preserved traditions, history and culture in Abu Dhabi. From incredible mosques to age-old agriculture, not to mention the Bedouin communities of the UAE are still very much present.

When it comes to gifts and souvenirs from Abu Dhabi there are plenty to choose from which encompass Emirati history, culture and heritage.

From Arabic coffee sets to ooud scent, and gold jewellery to delicious dates, there is something for every type of individual be it a gift or souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

In this post, we have 12 perfect ideas for gifts or souvenirs from Abu Dhabi. We also cover where to find them and a little info about the story behind each souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

Gifts & Souvenirs Abu Dhabi

1. Delicious Dates

Dates are one of the few fruits which can withstand the harsh desert climate and they grow in abundance across Abu Dhabi. Since they stay fresh for a long time, they are great souvenir idea.

The motorways, parks and every street corner pretty much have palm trees and if you look closely, you’ll see netting around the dates to protect them. Needless to say, there are more serene places where dates grow in Abu Dhabi.

For example, the Al Ain Oasis which has been around for hundreds of years has more than 274,000 date trees and is world famous for its agricultural methods. It is a beautiful place to visit!

Date agriculture is taken very seriously by Emiratis. In fact, there are several cultural festivals specifically dedicated to Dates. In particular, the Liwa Date Festival is held annually in Abu Dhabi.

Date farmers come together from across the region to share and compare their produce. There are often huge prizes for the best produce.

The festival often attracts VIPs such as the UAE Royal Family and many locals, especially in the evenings.

Dates are very much a part of the Emirati diet and their hospitality. Almost everywhere you visit, be it someone’s home or a hotel, dates are always offered to guests.

There are many places to pick up dates in Abu Dhabi be it in the airport on the way home, at a market or in the mall.

cheap souvenirs in abu dhabi
Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Souvenir Dates

There are many different varieties and quite often the dates may be stuffed with pistachios or dipped in chocolate.

Needless to say, Emiratis love luxury and extravagance. In some high-end shops, you may find dates with a thin layer of edible gold! Similarly, the dates are packed in beautiful boxes with Arabic detail which makes a perfect gift.

Medjool dates have somewhat taken the western world by storm as a superfood. They are widely available and not quite as expensive as places like the UK.

There are plenty of other date products such as date syrup, date chocolates and date paste which often come in pretty glass jars which equally make a lovely gift or souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

Some of the best places to pick up dates are:

Abu Dhabi Date Market – Zayed Port, Near Mina Market, Mina Zayed – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Bateel Boutique, Abu Dhabi Mall – mall – 10th St – Al Zahiyah – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

2. Traditional Clothing

Over recent years, more and more tourists have been purchasing traditional clothing as a souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

In fact, many tourists love to try on traditional clothing on a desert safari for photos or pick one up at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It makes for a great photo and is a way of being modest and respectful of the culture.

Emirati women traditionally wear an abaya which is a long loose fitting garment covering the whole body. The sheila is a thin scarf which covers the hair. In local culture, it is seen as a symbol of modesty, elegance and sophistication.

where to buy souvenirs in abu dhabi
Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Most often, local women wear black abayas, occasionally they are embellished with a design and sometimes they are different colours.

Emirati women are renowned for accessories such as beautiful heals, clutch bags and designer sunglasses. If you plan to wear an abaya in public, make sure it is the right size and fit to be respectful to the culture.

Mens Kandoura

The kandoura is the traditional garment Emirati men wear. It is a white thin full body garment often worn with a headscarf called a ghutra and accessorised with a black cord called an agal.

Sometimes in the cooler months, Emirati men wear a heavier kandoura which may be grey, brown or black.

There are many places to pick up either an abaya or kandoura for both adults and children. If you intend to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, there are many shops on the lower ground floor selling lots of different souvenirs including traditional clothing.

Similarly, all of the malls have shops selling abayas and kandouras which are usually more expensive high-quality garments.

For more affordable options head to the Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre in Downtown Abu Dhabi. Put your bartering skills to the test for a good price!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street، – 5th St – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre – Sultan Bin Zayed The First St – Al Danah – Zone 1 – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

3. Arabic Coffee Set

With coffee being an integral part of Emirati culture, it is no surprise an Arabic coffee set makes a great souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

Coffee is known as qahwa and often goes hand in hand with dates when it comes to Emirati hospitality. Locals always share coffee and dates be it at a social event, special occasion or simple catch-up.

Arabic coffee is served in a small cup known as finjan, and it’s usually poured from an ornate coffee pot called a dallah.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Both the Arabic coffee pot and cups are incredibly pretty and make a good souvenir from Abu Dhabi.

They can be used day to day or used as an ornament making them a very popular choice when it comes to gifts and souvenirs from Abu Dhabi.

Another beautiful traditional piece is the Bedouin-style coffee pot which is brass or copper and has an ornate spout and handle.

The coffee pot is often embellished with intricate designs and patterns, and it’s a symbol of Bedouin culture and heritage.

Make sure to have such souvenirs well-wrapped and protected before leaving the store for the journey home.

There are lots of places to pick up a traditional coffee set. Again beneath the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque on the lower ground floor, there are many outlets selling such souvenirs.

Another popular spot is the lower ground floor which has a souk-like market in the WTC Mall close to the Corniche.

Don’t forget to pick up some good Arabic coffee. One amazing place is Maison Samira Maatouk in the Galleria Mall Abu Dhabi. Besides being a coffee shop, they also make custom unique blends of coffee to take home.

4. Arabic Lantern

One of the most beautiful souvenirs from Abu Dhabi has to be an Arabic lantern. The intricate detail and craftsmanship make for a stunning ornament to take home.

Lanterns are ideal for a garden or balcony and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not to mention different patterns and colours which set a lovely ambience when the lantern is lit up with a candle.

Lanterns are usually made with either brass or copper and of course glass. Whilst some of the lanterns have a built-in light bulb, many are best suited to be used as a candle holder, particularly the smaller ones which are better for travelling.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Souvenir shops usually wrap the lanterns well to protect them for the trip home. Similarly, if you choose a large lantern, there are options to ship it home.

Arabic lanterns have to be one of our favourite souvenirs from Abu Dhabi since they add so much elegance to a room.

Places to pick up Arabic Lanterns:

World Trade Centre Mall –  Liwa St – Al Danah – Zone 1 – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Visitor Centre & Plaza, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – CF5G+G2X – Al Rawdah – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

5. Perfume Or Incense

Perfume and incense are very much a part of Emirati culture. Arabic scents are very distinctive and tend to have a smokey odour especially ooud-based fragrances.

Ooud is a resin from the agar wood tree and is incredibly expensive. Nonetheless, the odour is ever-present as Emiratis walk by in malls. Other popular scents include exotic spices, flowers and oils.

Perfumes come in stunning bottles and look nothing like a typical bottle of perfume found in a typical shop.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Incense is also known to be very high quality in Abu Dhabi. Traditionally it is used at religious and cultural ceremonies and comes in a variety of forms.

With neighbouring Oman being known as the land of frankincense and myrrh, it is no surprise incense often features these two scents.

Incense comes in the form of resin, cones and sticks and is ever-present in shops, malls, hotels and mosques.

It is worth researching before buying to ensure the merchant has a reputation for quality and authenticity. There are plenty of places to purchase perfume, ooud or incense across the Emirate.

Here are some places to go perfume, ooud or incense shopping:

Galleria Mall – 107 Hamouda Bin Ali Al Dhaheri St – Al Maryah Island – Abu Dhabi Global Market Square – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Yas Mall – Yas Island – ياس غرب – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Mall –  Al Zahiyah – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

6. Traditional Crafts

There is no better place to pick up traditional arts and crafts in Abu Dhabi than Al Ain. Although 1.5 hours from Downtown Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is still part of the Emirate.

It is best known for its preservation of Emirati culture and heritage, so it’s no surprise there are many souks and museums offering demonstrations of traditional methods of weaving.

If you happen to be in Abu Dhabi when one of the cultural festivals is taking place, for example, the Sheikh Zayed Festival in Al Wathba, it is a great place to pick up crafts.

Weaving crafts are very much a part of Bedouin culture and local Bedouin women are those keeping the traditions alive.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Women wearing a battuta which is a mask covering the eyes and nose, sit on the floor on traditional cushions providing a demonstration at many festivals and museums. It is a fantastic cultural activity to get involved in!

The designs and patterns woven into the crafts be it a carpet, rug, basket or table mat are often made with wool or cotton. Crafters take inspiration from nature and the surrounding landscape.

Other crafts include ceramics with beautifully detailed plates, bowls and vases with traditional Arabic patterns and designs which look so eloquent.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Here are a few places to pick up local art and crafts in Abu Dhabi:

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village – Near Marina Mall – Abu Dhabi Theatre Rd, Corniche – Breakwater Rd – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Souk Al Qattara – Hamooda Bin Ali St, Al Qattara, Al Ain – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Souk Al Zafarana – 6PPC+HGQ – Al Jimi – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

7. Persian Rug

Abu Dhabi is one of the best places to purchase a Persian carpet or rug. Persian rugs are often a symbol of luxury so it is no surprise they are popular in Abu Dhabi.

If you went on desert safari, they are often the epicentre of the camp with scattered cushions and surrounded by Bedoiun tents.

There is a great deal of craftsmanship in Persian carpets. The art of weaving dates back centuries and is very much part of Arabic heritage throughout the region.

Common materials include wool, silk and cotton and each carpet tells a story through its design and patterns.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

It is important to do some research before buying to ensure the merchant has a reputation for high quality authentic pieces.

One of the best places to buy a Persian rug is near the port at Mina Zayed Carpet Souk, quite close to the Abu Dhabi Fish Market.

It does feel somewhat industrial in the area, although we have suspicions it will be developed into a more attractive space for tourists.

Mina Zayed Carpet Souk – 437 Al Meena St – Zayed Port – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

8. Shisha Pipe

One of the most popular social traditions in the Arabic world has to be shisha also known as hookah. Similar to many arts and crafts, the water pipe is an intricate piece of sculptured glass.

It is filled with water and has a pipe on the side. On top flavoured tobacco is burned, and the smoke goes into the water and comes out of the pipe.

There are many shisha bars across the Emirate and tourists very much enjoy trying the tradition. Many desert safari tours provide the opportunity to try shisha!

souvenirs in abu dhabi
Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

It is best to pick up the tobacco locally since it is not widely available in non Arabic countries.

One of the most popular tobacco flavours has to be double apple and often in shisha bars customers are provided with a menu with a variety of choices. A couple of other popular flavours include mint or jasmine and rose.

Remember the charcoal and tongs if you intend to use them! Even if you have no intentions of smoking, the shisha pipe makes a very pretty ornament.

Don’t forget shisha pipes may be illegal in other countries so it is worth checking the rules before flying home.

Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre – Sultan Bin Zayed The First St – Al Danah – Zone 1 – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi Airport

9. Gold Jewellery

Gold jewellery has long been a popular purchase amongst UAE visitors. One of the reasons is it’s so affordable is the UAE is tax-free.

However, in Emirati culture gold is a sign of wealth and prosperity and is quite often gifted at special occasions and weddings. One of the best times of the year to buy gold is during Ramadan since it is discounted.

Ramadan is an amazing time to visit since it is a time of giving. Most shops heavily discount items and jewellers are no exception.

There are many jewellers and gold shops across the city with both western and Arabic designs. Everything from bangles to necklaces and earrings to rings.

Similar to gold, other jewellery items such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies are very popular purchases in Abu Dhabi, due to their tax-free status.

In many cases, it’s possible to have custom-made jewellery which is particularly lovely for an engagement proposal.

As we’ve previously mentioned, it is important to research before buying to ensure the merchant is selling authentic materials.

There are quite a few places to purchase jewellery including:

Gold Souk Abu Dhabi :438 Muroor Rd – Al Danah – Zone 1 – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

10. Traditional Spices

Like so much of the Arabic world, spices play a key role in local cuisine. Some of the most popular spices in Abu Dhabi include saffron, cardamom, turmeric, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon.

More often than not the spices are sold in bulk and are an integral part of souks across the country. However, they are also sold in smaller sample sizes perfect for a gift or a souvenir.

Souvenirs from Abu Dhabi

Saffron is probably one of the best spices to buy since it is usually quite expensive in other countries.

Cook up some dishes and bring Arabic cuisine to your home country.

World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi – Liwa St – Al Danah – Zone 1 – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Qassr Saffron – Madinat Zayed Shopping Center, G Floor, 418 Eastern Road, Zone 1 – Al Danah – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Children’s Souvenirs From Abu Dhabi

11. Cuddly Camel

There are plenty of souvenirs from Abu Dhabi suitable for children. The toy camels particularly in the airport are adorable. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

The stuffed animal is no ordinary toy since quite often some options have traditional Emirati clothing. Camels are an important part of Emirati culture and are a nice reminder of a trip to Abu Dhabi for little ones.

There are tonnes of places to pick up a cuddly camel, however, Abu Dhabi airport has some of the nicest options.

12. Abu Dhabi Childrens Book

Last but not least one of the best souvenirs for a child is a book about the destination no matter which country it is from! Local books allow children to relive the experience years after the trip.

Similarly, if it’s a gift, it allows the child to visualise the stories of your trip through the book. Make sure to pick a book which details key things about Abu Dhabi such as the food, the landscape, the culture or the buildings in a fun way.

Some fantastic places to pick up books are at the airport, The National Aquarium Museum Store, and bookstores in the malls. There are plenty of book stores around.

One of the best is Kinokuniya book store the Galleria Mall in Abu Dhabi.

Galleria Mall – 107 Hamouda Bin Ali Al Dhaheri St – Al Maryah Island – Abu Dhabi Global Market Square – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates

Some recomendations include:

Being Amaya in Abu Dhabi covers everything from the theme parks to the desert and the palace.

The Key To Abu Dhabi touches on the cultural heritage of the Emirate in a fun way with lovely illustrations.

The Bedouin Penguins is about a family of four from Dubai who meets the Bedouins of Liwa. Liwa is another area in the western part of Abu Dhabi deep in the desert.

We hope you found this post about gifts and souvenirs from Abu Dhabi helpful. Did you purchase one of the items listed? Let us know in the comments. We love to hear from our readers.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Abu Dhabi?

The tourism season kicks off around October or November when there are lots of events such as F1. December is equally as busy with events, in particular National Day.

January and February are the coolest quieter months after New Year. In March and April, the weather is still pleasant to visit.

The hotter months start in May when most events move inside. It is a good month to visit for those who enjoy the arts.

Whilst June through July and August attract budget travellers as many resorts and attractions offer great deals.

September is considered a shoulder month, it is still quite hot but tolerable early morning and in the evenings.

Disclaimer: This post about the best souvenirs from Abu Dhabi may contain affiliate links, by using them, it will not cost you any extra, we will receive a small commission which keeps us writing.