Even though when we moved to Abu Dhabi, I had already spent four years in the Middle East still the first thing I got asked about, still, was the dress code in this Muslim country! Would I have to wear a headscarf? Did I have to keep me hair covered? Would I be able to wear a bikini at the pool or beach in Abu Dhabi? The questions went on! I think this stems from people genuinely not wanting to offend when they travel so in this guide I will round up everything you need to know about what to wear in Abu Dhabi!
I have previously written about what to wear in different Middle Eastern cities, most notably Dubai and also Doha in Qatar! This Abu Dhabi what to wear guide in a way sits part way between the two with Dubai being slightly more liberal when it comes to attire, and Qatar being the more conservative in dress code terms.
What to Wear in Abu Dhabi / Abu Dhabi Dress Code
What Should Women Wear in Abu Dhabi
- Knees and shoulders should be kept covered at all times
- Cleavage should be kept to a minimum
- Tight clothing are not as such prohibited but I would advise not wearing anything overly tight – especially when visiting religious places such as the Grand Mosque!
What Should Men Wear in Abu Dhabi
- Keep shoulders and knees covered
What Should Children Wear in Abu Dhabi
Exceptions to this Abu Dhabi Dress Code
- In the grounds of a 5* hotel! You can wear whatever you want in the Western 5* hotels. Short, tight, straps, strapless, bikini you name it – these are all permitted.! However please be aware of your clothing if you are transiting between places
What to Wear in Abu Dhabi During Ramadan
While there aren’t any special rules for clothing during Ramadan, I always err on the more conservative side! Ramadan is all about abstinence and restraint so I try and adhere to everything a little more closely.
The same is true for visiting religious sites at any time of year – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must for any visitor to Abu Dhabi! We have a full what to wear guide and top tips for visiting this site which you can read HERE!
Abu Dhabi Dress Code at Malls, Hotels and restaurants
The Hotels and Malls are some of the most westernized but also international places you will visit in Abu Dhabi. As such you will see a huge variety of clothing from shorts and t shirts to burqas., If you do want to wear shorts and t shirts here, you won’t be on your own!
However if you plan to visit some of the more traditional areas such as the creek and certainly if you are heading into other Emirates, I would advice dressing more moderately!
In higher end restaurants, generally shorts are not permitted for men or women.
What to Wear at Pools and the Beach in Abu Dhabi
Basically if you are a beach club or a pool in Abu Dhabi then you are free to wear whatever you like. The only rule you have to adhere is that there is absolutely no nudity or semi-nudity.
For a full list of the best beaches in Abu Dhabi click here!
What to Wear in the Desert in Abu Dhabi?
The Desert can be a difficult place to dress for! During the day, the desert is extremely hot but at night the temperatures plummet. So if you are going to be in the desert for sundown and certainly if you plan to do a desert safari and camp overnight then you will want to pack lots of layers as it is amazing how quickly the temperature drops as soon as the sun goes down!
In the Winter, the day temperatures can be cold too so be sure to pack your layers then too! For a complete guide to visiting Abu Dhabi in Winter check out this post.