The beautiful Qasr Al Watan is the newest attraction in Abu Dhabi and is truly a gem to visit. The cultural monument of Qasr Al Watan is located on the grounds of the gigantic presidential palace where, the president, vice president and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi have their own office and home.
The presidential palace is known as one of the most beautiful palaces in the world and was closed to the public for a long time. But that changed in March 2019 with the opening of Qasr Al Watan, also known as “Palace of the Nation”. With a ticket for Qasr Al Watan you can visit a part of the presidential palace together with the beautiful gardens that surround the palace.
If you visit Abu Dhabi then a visit to Qasr Al Watan should certainly not be missing. Once you have walked through the gates of this special palace, you will fall from surprise to surprise. They have done everything that they could for this amazing design of the palace and it shows. Everywhere you look you see magnificent Arabian architecture, huge murals, giant domes, large halls with marble floors, gold leaf, countless chandeliers and richly decorated ceilings.
The Great Hall
The biggest attraction of Qasr Al Watan is without a doubt the Great Hall, the central heart of the building. With a size of 100 by 100 meters, is this an impressive space. It is not only the size that is special, but also the interior is astonishing. Everywhere you look you see beautiful marble floors, traditional calligraphy, beautifully decorated walls, giant white domes in the ceiling, the largest has 37 meters in diameter. This makes this dome even larger than the largest dome of another attraction in Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
In the corners of the Great Hall are four large cubes with mirrors that beautifully reflect the light in the room on the marble, gold leaf and the white and yellow walls in the room. The Great Hall has been used extensively in the past to welcome world leaders and famous people including the Chinese President and the Pope.
Library and video show
You can visit also the other eight public spaces from the Great Hall. You can view the “spirit of collaboration” room where a chandelier hangs which consists of 350,000 crystals and weighs more than 12 tons. The chandelier is so large that it had to be assembled on the spot in the room because the chandelier did not fit through any door or window.
Another attraction is the public library Qasr Al Watan Library where you can find more than 50,000 books in English and Arabic. Every evening there is also a spectacular “night show” where video images and lights are projected on the facade of the palace.
Tickets at Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi
To be able to visit the presidential palace of Qasr Al Watan you have to order tickets. A ticket gives access to the public part of the palace, the palace gardens, the visitor center and all other public areas in the palace. A ticket for the presidential palace costs 17 US Dollars and can be booked online at the Tiqets website.
It is also possible to book a guided tour in English or Arabic, this costs 30 AED (8 US Dollar) per person extra and can be booked on the spot. The organized tours by Qasr Al Watan are organized every 30 minutes. A private guided tour is also possible, this costs 600 AED (163 US Dollar) for a tour for a maximum of 20 people. You can also only visit the gardens, the entrance fee is 25 dirhams (6,80 US Dollar) per person.
Abu Dhabi Tour including visit to Qasr Al Watan
Do you want to visit all the highlights of Abu Dhabi from Dubai including the Qasr Al Watan presidential palace? Then you can book a day tour from Dubai, including a visit to the Sheikh Zayed mosque, the Marina Mall and the Etihad towers.
The organized tour from Dubai costs 93 US Dollar for adults (12 years and older) and 72 US Dollar for children between 4 and 11 years old. The tour can be booked online at the GetYourGuide website.
How to get there
The Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace is located in the center of Abu Dhabi, at the end of Corniche Road. The palace can be found on the peninsula where you can also find the famous Emirates Palace hotel. The presidential palace has the five striking blue towers of the Etihad Towers where you can also find the Observation Deck at 300. This observation deck which gives you a magnificent view of the Qasr Al Watan presidential palace from the 74th floor 300 meters above the ground.
Separate tickets for the Observation Deck at 300 are 23 US Dollar and can Booked online at the GetYourGuide website or the Tiqets website. A little more special is a ticket for the observation deck at 300 with tea or coffee and a slice of cake to see Abu Dhabi from above. This ticket cost 36,50 US Dollar and can be booked online at the GetYourGuide website.
From Corniche Road and various other sights in Abu Dhabi it takes a long walk to cross the sights. From the Marina Mall it takes over 50 minutes’ walk (4.4 km). From the Etihad Towers a 35-minute walk (3.2 km). It is best to travel by taxi to the Qasr Al Watan palace. If you come with your own transport, the journey time from the center of Dubai is approximately 1.5 hours, from the center of Abu Dhabi it takes an average of 10 to 15 minutes. Parking is possible on the site of the presidential palace and is free, valet parking is also possible.
The Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the latest access being possible at 7 p.m. The palace may be closed due to events, but this is often indicated well in advance. More information about Qasr Al Watan can be found at www.qasralwatan.ae.
Copyright images: The National