Meet Abu Dhabi’s Legendary Local Producers

Sofia Vyas

In Abu Dhabi, the perfect way to dive into the rich cultures of the emirate is to visit the traditional souks and markets.

Dates, gold and livestock have been traded from Abu Dhabi for generations, and local producers are passionate about preserving their artisanal traditions. Between Abu Dhabi city and the quiet oasis of Al Ain are some of the most skilfully produced souvenirs in the region – an insight into what life was like in the desert centuries ago. Watch traders haggle over camels, sample delicious chewy dates, and support female business owners in the best markets in the UAE capital.

Madinat Zayed Gold Souk

The gold souks of the UAE are a dazzling sight. Shopfronts shine with extravagant displays – row upon row of bright-yellow gold bangles, trays of rings, and thick clusters of hanging necklaces. It feels a little like stumbling across El Dorado within a modest shopping mall. But showy shopfronts aside, Madinat Zayed Gold Souk is the place to pick up gold for bargain prices. The UAE is a global trading hub for gold, and the friendly shop traders – who have been in the business for decades – are happy to share their expertise.

Carpet Souk

The quality of rugs and carpets in the Middle East is second to none, and the Carpet Souk shows off the best. You can browse more than 100 shops stocking woven pieces from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond. Hanging outside shopfronts, plush carpets in rich shades of ruby and topaz will entice you; inside you’ll find woven Arabic-style cushions as seen in a traditional majlis – a seating area where guests are received and entertained. The exceptional quality of the rugs means you’ll spend a fair amount, but enough shopping around and haggling will ensure you strike an incredible deal.

Mina Date Market

Dates are a cornerstone of Arabian culture and hospitality, so much so that the date palm is included on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Historically, they were an important source of nutrition for Bedouins; today they are gifts at times of celebration, such as Eid, and are used to break fast during the holy month of Ramadan. More than 100 date varieties grow in the UAE, all of which are artfully displayed on silver platters and in wooden barrels at Mina Date Market. They make perfect souvenirs – particularly those dipped in chocolate or stuffed with candied orange peel – as do the jars of treacly date syrup or the more unusual pickled dates.

Al Ain Souk and Camel Market

It’s worth waking early to visit the last-remaining camel market in the UAE. Traders wrangle with animals for haggling customers, while pick-up trucks arrive periodically, full of livestock to be corralled into pens. It’s dusty, chaotic and loud, and offers a glimpse into a traditional way of life still thriving in the region. You can see camels from across the Gulf states – including black camels from Saudi – most of which are purchased for breeding and racing. There are often a few adorably clumsy babies in the fray too. Most handlers will allow you to take photos for a fee, and some offer tours, but make sure to agree to a price before committing.

Images courtesy of Prod Antzoulis, Alamy, Stocksy,

Meet Abu Dhabi’s legendary producers for yourself. Check out Visit Abu Dhabi for more information and to book your adventure today.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.