When it comes to shopping at traditional Arabic souks or marketplaces, it is definitely not the modern United Arab Emirates, which we think of on the first place, when we are to visit some great souks. Yet the great and growing capital of UAE Abu Dhabi also features a great souk life, which is must-see when you are visiting this great city. In Arabic, souk means a large collection of smaller and bigger stores and all sorts of shopping and selling places. In any Arabic country, it is the souk where you can find the real heart and trading passion of a nation. In this article, we would like to enlist some of the best souks of Abu Dhabi where you can still find the best authentic stores, for buying quality souvenirs and handicrafts of locals.
Souks or marketplaces were for long the primary shopping trading places where Arabic people went to buy and to sell their goods. With their traditionally covered format, souks are suitable for shopping basically any time of the day, from morning to the late evening hours. Let us see, what sort of souks were can visit in order to find the more authentic side of Abu Dhabi.
First, it is essential to know where to the best Abu Dhabi stores. Most of the souks are located in the Al Meena area, which is basically a manmade peninsula, located very close to the main touristic and shopping area of Abu Dhabi called Tourist Club Area. Here you can find the large Fish Souk for all those who love fish and the sight of all the species that you can only see in this area of the world. Here at Al Meena, you can also find the Iranian Souk, being is one of the most popular shopping places for the population of Abu Dhabi offering all sorts of Iranian /Persian handicrafts for the shoppers for reasonable prices. At Al Meena, you can also find the Al Mina Fruit & Vegetable Souk, where you will see an exceptional amount of oriental spices, fruits, vegetables and all sorts of other grocery goods providing an excellent shopping opportunity for you. The huge Carpet Souk of the city is only a short walk away from the Fruit and Vegetable Souk offering the handmade carpets of dozens of stores and stalls. You can spend long hours with just looking around or doing some shopping at Al Meena which does not only comprise of a vast souk area, you can also see many of Abu Dhabi’s governmental official buildings here. You will see how easy and great experience shopping will be here at Al Meena quarter.
Grand Souk: Being the main souk of Abu Dhabi, the Grand Souk is located at Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Street, one of the main streets of Abu Dhabi in the area of Hazza Bin Zayed Mosque, being very close to the touristic area of the city. This souk is the Abu Dhabi representative of Dubai’s Gold Souk. It offers a huge collection of jewellery stores for the locals and tourists and it is highly visited throughout the day. Apart from quality jewellery, in the bazaars of the Grand Souk, you can buy all sorts of various goods ranging from oriental cosmetics and handicrafts to various different cheap things you may need, from electronics to accessories.
In case you plan to visit some of the best authentic shopping places in the region of Abu Dhabi, do not miss visiting neighbouring town Al Ain that today is considered as one district of Abu Dhabi, yet in real it is about 30 km far from the capital city. Al Ain houses some of the best souks of the region, with its Al Ain Old Souk, its Al Bawadi Souk, the Al Qaws Souk and its most popular one, the Souk Al Zafarana, you will for sure be amazed by all the beauty of local arts. Al Ain offers the best souks and shopping places for a daily excursion. One additional positive of Al Ain souks is that they are usually open until midnight.