The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened its door at the beginning of November 2017. Therefore, when we visited Abu Dhabi at the end of November 2017 it was at the top of our must-visit list. We had heard so many great reports about the £1 billion museum designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, especially its intricate dome roof. The museum is full of amazing artwork from throughout the years from prehistoric artefacts to striking pieces of contemporary art. Each gallery tells the story of humanity in twelve inspiring chapters.
Located on the Saadiyat Island in the Cultural District, just a 5-minute drive from downtown Abu Dhabi, the museum is the currently the main draw to the district. However, over the upcoming years, the area will be developed and the Guggenheim and Zayed National Museum will join The Louvre Abu Dhabi making it a great area to visit for culture vultures and art lovers alike. It is due to be completed by 2020.
Book Your Tickets In Advance
As Abu Dhabi becomes more popular the likelihood is that tickets for The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be harder to come by on the day, therefore we would recommend that you book your tickets in advance, especially during the high season (December through March). We didn’t book ours in advance, therefore we had to stand in a queue to get them. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long but imagine the devastation if we had got to the front and there had been none left for the day. Although buying tickets in advance does not save you any money, it does mean that you can bypass the ticket queue, therefore, saving you time. Adult tickets cost 60AED (approx £12) making it a great a great value for money attraction. Discounted tickets are available for UAE teachers and military and youths between 13 and 22, under 13s can visit for free.
The museum is open daily, apart from Mondays, from 10.00am to 8.00pm. Even if you do buy your tickets in advance we would recommend you get there early. We arrived just before 11.00am and only had to queue for around 20 minutes from entering the museum to getting to the first exhibition hall which was still relatively empty. However, as time went on the queue was growing rapidly and the galleries were becoming very busy as we wandered around admiring the art on offer. By the time we left the queue was at least 5 times as long as when we arrived and trailing out of the building into the blistering Abu Dhabi sun, which I assume meant those people had at least an hours wait to get in. I can’t imagine that’s a pleasant experience and one that I’m glad we didn’t have to experience – it was so hot.
Pick Up An Audio Guide
Whilst wandering around the exhibitions, gleaning titbits of information from the descriptions that accompany each piece may be enough for some, but for us, we wanted to know everything about everything. Therefore, we downloaded the Louvre Abu Dhabi – Guide for free from the iTunes Store before we visited. Armed with our mobile phones and earphones we listened to the audio and video guides intently, learning about the history and story behind the many sculptures/mosaics/painting etc we were admiring. The audio guide also includes an interactive map which helped us to find your way around the galleries and museum spaces. It is a great resource, especially as it is a freebie, it really helped us and we learnt a lot more than we would have done by simply walking around. If you forget to download prior to your visit, not to worry as there is free wi-fi throughout The Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Do Not Take A Big Bag
As with a lot of major attractions you will not be admitted entry with a big bag. We had one of our Vango daysacks with us, which isn’t massive, but was still too big to be allowed in. Therefore, we had to put it in the cloakroom, and again we had to wait in a queue to check it in. Again the queue was not that long when we got there, however it was growing by the second. Checking our bag in at the cloakroom was not an issue for us, we simply put our cameras around our necks and phones/wallets etc in our pockets. We were then given a token in return. When we went to collect our bag, the cloakroom was in disarray and the woman behind the counter struggled to find it in the sea of other bags as there seemed to be no order to the system. Therefore we recommend either not taking a bag if possible or simply take a small one to cut out the rigmarole of having to store your big one.
Allocate Fair Chunk Of Time
With 620 pieces of artwork housed in 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft) of galleries, you need to give yourself a lot of time to see them all, or at least the majority of pieces. We luckily had dedicated a full day for our visit, which meant we didn’t feel rushed and we could wander around the galleries at our leisure. It also meant we could stop, take photos, have a chat whenever we fancied without checking the time and panicking. It took us around 5 hours from getting to the museum to leaving it. That was with a short queue to get in, taking things at a reasonable pace and without stopping by the restaurant or the gift shop (it took all my strength not to visit and buy a million and one souvenirs).
All in all a great attraction and one we are very glad we visited it, not only for the masterpieces the museum houses but to visit the stunning museum itself. Highly recommended if you visit Abu Dhabi.