Souks are a true representation of the UAE’s rich heritage. Whether you visit souks in Abu Dhabi or in Dubai, it is all about experiencing the atmosphere, the layout of the market and the general vibe of the place. While some old souks in Abu Dhabi have been shut down, the remaining Abu Dhabi souk markets have regained their popularity in recent years. Most famous souks in Abu Dhabi see hundreds of visitors each week.
The traditional marketplace, also known as souks are popular among the UAE residents as well as tourists. Hundreds enjoy tours to the best souks in Abu Dhabi every day. In this blog, we shall uncover the traditional souks in Abu Dhabi and identify the ones which should be on your must-visit list.
Souks in Abu Dhabi
Over the years, a few souks in Abu Dhabi have closed down and some have been converted into modern malls. However, there are some souks in Abu Dhabi which remain intact and witness large numbers of visitors. Their USP is that they still retain the traditional soul of a typical Emirati marketplace and offer a novel experience, especially to tourists. Here is a list of souks in Abu Dhabi which you can visit to understand the dynamics of this kind of a marketplace.
Even in 2019, The Souk retains its old charm and a sense of tradition. This is why it is considered one of the most popular souks in Abu Dhabi. Located in the Old Central Market, this is a 12-acre single story building. It was designed by Egyptian engineer Abdulrahman Makhloof and opened in the year, 1968. In the next three decades, it gained popularity and was home to almost one thousand businesses. In 2005, the building was shut down temporarily for renovation.
When it opened back in 2013, it looked more polished and modern, but the bustling heart of the original was retained. You can find native herbs, spices, perfumes, artworks, opulent handcrafts, carpets, cashmere fabrics, handmade bags and gold pieces at this traditional Abu Dhabi market.
It is one of the most popular souks in Abu Dhabi and is often considered to be the best gift souk in Abu Dhabi.
The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri
The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri has multiple global brands and attracts a large number of consumers. You will find shops selling perfumes, cosmetics, clothing, home décor, shoes, art work, flowers and more.
Built over more than 60,000 sq.m, there are dozens of brand outlets and smaller shops in The Souk. Architecturally, it is one of the most stylish souks in Abu Dhabi. In fact, it is an ideal blend of the Arab architecture and Venetian theme basics.
Qaryat Al Beri Souk is located along the water canal at Shangri-La Abu Dhabi. This is why there are many waterfront restaurants in the souk where you can drink coffee while enjoying the beautiful canal view. You can catch a glimpse of the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from these cafes as well. What more can one ask for?
Location: Al Maqtaa (Bain Al Jessrain) Abu Dhabi
- Thursday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Friday: 12:00 am to 12:00 pm
- Saturday to Wednesday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Weekdays: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Weekends: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Souks in Mina Zayed Port Area
There are different souks in the Mina Zayed Port area. This area is also referred to as the Al Meena Souk, Abu Dhabi.
Here are some of the souks in the Mia Zayed area.
The Carpet Souk
This is one of the lesser-known souks in Abu Dhabi. Located on Al Mina Street, it has around 100 shops which sell carpets, rugs and cushions. There are some beautiful carpets on sale here. However, you have to spend a fair bit of time to identify the product first and then bargain. It is, after all, a high involvement product.
Fruit and Vegetable Souk
When you visit the Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk, don’t miss out on trying the coconut water. Delicious imported coconuts from Thailand are sold here, so you can savour this refreshing drink during your walk around the souk.
If you want to buy exotic fruits or vegetables in large quantity, this is one of the best souks in Abu Dhabi to check out. You can find forty-five varieties of dates, melons from Jordan, potatoes from Turkey and more high quality fresh produce.
The souk is located on 20th Street at the port. If you are looking for cheap shopping in Abu Dhabi, this is the place to be. Fruits and vegetables here are comparatively cheaper than other markets.
Here you can find plants that are native to the UAE. You can buy indoor or outdoor plants, soil and pots at a reasonable rate. You will find a citrus tree, cacti, and other desert plants that will look great in your garden or patio. This market is also located on 20th street.
The Fish Market
The fish market is perhaps the most intriguing souks in Abu Dhabi. Every morning, fresh catch arrives at the Mina Fish Market. Located near the first roundabout on the 20th street, you’ll find stalls selling prawns, shrimp, clams, crabs, tuna, Skate, hammour, cuttlefish and shark.
Usually, people arrive here early in the morning, at least before noon. The process of buying fish in this souk is slightly different. Once you have made the purchase, go to the fish cleaners for scaling, cleaning and filleting. If you are in the mood, you can get your fresh fish grilled or fired at the small stands just across the market. This souk market in Abu Dhabi is a good option for cheap seafood.
Mina market Abu Dhabi is the collective name of these individual souks.
The goods available in these traditional souks are not always available in malls. You can get lots of stuff at reasonable prices at these souks, but don’t forget to bargain. If you are a resident of Dubai, you can also find amazing souks in Dubai. You might have visited top malls in Abu Dhabi or malls in Dubai already, but souks are a completely different world.
Stay tuned to MyBayut to learn more about the best shopping destinations in Abu Dhabi.