From the streamlined metropolis of Dubai to the majesty of the Al Hajar mountains, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is filled with a vast array of diverse settings. From man-made marvels to natural treasures, a road trip through these sensational sites is a must.
The ultimate way to get a proper lay of the land is to set sail on the endless road to discover the hidden havens within the nooks and crannies of this Middle East marvel. With seven emirates to explore, you’ll have a steady supply of exciting road trips to choose from.
Unsure how to navigate these picturesque landscapes to uncover the best destinations for an unforgettable UAE road trip? Get your car insurance in order as we guide you through the most scenic routes of the UAE that feature the ultimate places to lose yourself in its intricacies.
Whether you’re looking to travel from Abu Dhabi or embark on a Dubai road trip, these terrific trips have got you covered.
Through a vast desert or a mountain range, the roads within the UAE lead to a bounty of unique and fun-filled experiences. Take a look at the top journeys to have the most exciting road trip this curious country has to offer.
A small slice of solitude away from the overwhelming meccas of nearby cities, Umm Al Quwain (UAQ) is known as the second smallest emirate. This region is also the least populated emirate, making it an amazing quaint trip away.
Filled with mangrove-covered islands and the lagoon’s crystal clear waters, Umm Al Quwain is an escape with an abundance of attractions and activities.
One of the most well-known landmarks is the Umm Al Quwain Fort, which was constructed in 1786 and is home to the Umm Al Quwain National Museum. This cultural activity is a must for history buffs which features intricate ancient Bedouin jewelry and extraordinary exhibits.
If you have some time, visit Dreamland Aqua Park in the area to experience an aquatic adventure. From adrenaline-fuelled slides to lazy rivers, this park provides something for everyone.
Approximate Driving Time From Major Cities to Umm Al Quwain:
Dubai – Road trips from Dubai take about an hour.
Abu Dhabi – An hour and 20 min.
Al Sharjah – 40 to 50 min.
Are you looking to dive into the laid-back vibe of island living? The calm waters of the Gulf at this idyllic island are a secluded world of lush landscapes and a sense of tranquility.
This popular destination for an extravagant UAE road trip was formerly a private retreat for the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. He transformed this space into a paradise for flourishing local flora and fauna networks. This place is a mix of the lush greenery of a savannah landscape and incredible wildlife with a glamorous edge.
One of the best beach resorts is the Desert Islands Resort & Spa, a beachfront property that oozes a sense of relaxation and refinement. This secluded space provides enthralling entertainment, from water sports to horse riding.
Note: Sir Bani Yas Island is only accessible by ferry. The E11 highway can be used (via Dubai and Abu Dhabi) to the Jebel Dhana Ferry Station, where you can leave your vehicle. The ferry ride to the island takes around 20-30 min.
Approximate Driving Time From Major Cities to Jebel Dhana Ferry Station:
Dubai – Around two hours and 15 min.
Abu Dhabi – It takes about two and a half hours.
Al Sharjah – It can take up to four hours.
Encapsulated by striking mountains and cool climates, Hatta is one of the UAE’s most popular road trips to take. This place is a separated exclave of the Dubai emirate situated on the Oman border. It is a great opportunity to escape from the heat due to its tall mountains’ higher altitudes.
The drive from Dubai, on the E44 UAE road, to Hatta is the ultimate road to travel along a winding route of exceptional scenery. Wild camels, red-hued dunes, and the sparkling waters of Hatta Dam — the journey to Hatta is peppered with interesting things to see.
One of the top historical sites of the region is the Hatta Heritage Village, which will be sure to transport you back to simpler times. With traditional rooms and a defensive tower, this restored desert settlement features an abundance of interesting artifacts, such as traditional clothing and ancient weaponry.
If you’re looking for a place to rest your head, nothing beats the beautiful green spaces of the JA Hatta Fort Hotel. With a spectacular view of the Al Hajar Mountains, you’ll have an incredible time drinking in the scenic landscapes in style. Visitors can enjoy various adventure sports in the area, such as mountain biking.
Note: If you’re looking for a bird’s eye view of a mesmerizing dreamscape, then make your way to Hatta Hill Park to gander at the viewing tower.
Approximate Driving Time From Major Cities to Hatta:
Dubai – About an hour and a half.
Abu Dhabi – Between two and a half and three hours.
Al Sharjah – An hour and 20 min.
A patch of greenery in an ocean of seemingly endless dunes of the Empty Quarter desert, Al Ain is the ultimate place to have the road trip of your dreams. Also known as the ‘Garden City,’ Al Ain is a diverse playground of experiences, from its ancient sites to its enthralling nature settings.
This city is the perfect site to experience the best family-centered road trip, as it features countless exciting experiences for your traveling critters to enjoy. The Al Ain oasis within the city bounds is the first UNESCO World Heritage site declared in the UAE.
Suppose you want to make a splash, head to Wadi Adventure for an afternoon filled with sun, fun rides, and endless bouts of laughter. This Al Ain tourist attraction includes the super-sized surf pool to transform your desert vacation into a tropical getaway with some cowabunga flair.
Another popular tourist destination is the Al Ain Zoo, the largest and most well-known zoo in the area. This animal-speckled space provides an amazing time for all ages, from the entertaining waddle of the penguin parade to the charming budgie feedings.
Are you looking for something a little different to put the cherry on top of your remarkable road trip? Make your way to the Al Ain Camel Market to experience the vibrant Arab culture in all its glory. Taking a few candid pictures at this market with these spitting specimens is a quintessential UAE experience and allows you to nuzzle up to these fuzzy creatures.
Approximate Driving Time From Major Cities to Al Ain:
Dubai – A road trip from Dubai takes about an hour and a half to two hours.
Abu Dhabi – Around two hours.
Al Sharjah – Around two hours.
While each road trip destination has its unique charm, the road itself to Liwa is an amazing experience. Between the daring dunes and the attractions along the way, this journey is the best way to beat the roadside blues while traveling.
If you’re driving from Abu Dhabi to Liwa Oasis, you’ll be able to visit the renowned pyramid structure of the Emirates National Auto Museum.
It is also referred to as the Sheikh Hamad Auto Museum as it holds the private car collection of this notable figure. This quirky museum is a top free activity to do on UAE road trips and a must for any car enthusiasts.
The small desert settlement of Liwa is the perfect opportunity to break away from the chains of big city living. From the swaying palm trees of the Liwa Oasis to the magical event of the Liwa date festival in July, this sandy paradise is a tough act to beat.
Approximate Driving Time From Major Cities to Liwa:
Dubai – if you’re looking for a long drive from Dubai, this journey takes around three and a half hours.
Abu Dhabi – two to three hours.
Al Sharjah – Around four hours.
There is no shortage of amazing road trips in this dune-laden country, so picking a mere handful is a difficult feat. Take a look at a few top contenders that are equally exquisite to visit:
- Ras Al Khaimah – This city is the perfect stopping point on road trips due to its kaleidoscope of experiences to encounter. From historic coastal villages to the glistening jewel of the RAK Pearl Museum, Ras Al Khaimah is the place to be. Ras Al Khaimah also features various luxury accommodations to choose from.
- Snoopy Island – One of the most incredible islands in the UAE, this rocky gem is located near Fujairah. You can gain access to the island by venturing to the private beach of the Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort. Pack in your goggles, as this beachy spot is perfect for deep sea diving.
From the emerald green waters of the Hatta Dam to the luscious landscapes of a Ras Al Khaimah road trip, the UAE will have you captivated from start to finish.
Whether you’re traveling with your old vehicle or thinking of buying a new car for your road-worthy adventure, exploring the roads of this country is an experience you’ll never forget.