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Abu Dhabi Day Trip From Dubai: Exquisite Guide For A 24 Hour Adventure

Thinking of taking an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai? Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is gradually progressing into the next Dubai.

Even though these cities are less than 90 miles apart, they couldn’t be more different. So when visiting Dubai, add an Abu Dhabi day trip to your list.

So keep reading and find out what to do on your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai.

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Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai Pinterest pin. Text says 24 hour itinerary Abu Dhabi travel guide. Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

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Abu Dhabi Day Trip From Dubai

Now before the adventure begins, here is some insightful information to know before taking an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai.

How To Visit Abu Dhabi From Dubai

sign I saw that says "Ladies and Families only" on the bus from an abu dhabi day trip from Dubai

You may be wondering what is the best way to visit Abu Dhabi from Dubai. There are a few ways to get there, it just depends on your budget. Leaving Dubai to Abu Dhabi is less than 90 miles (144 kilometers) away. Besides traffic, depending on how you choose to get there will determine how long it will take you to arrive.

Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Bus

A simple and inexpensive way is to take a bus trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. There are two bus lines that get you to Abu Dhabi, lines E100 and E101. Below you can locate the bus terminal closest to where you’re staying. Both bus terminals Al Ghubaiba and Ibn Battuta both arrive at the Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.

One-way bus fare from Dubai to Abu Dhabi costs 25-AED (which is 7-USD) one-way. Buses leave around every 10-20 minutes and run from 5 AM-12 AM. So there will be plenty of time to explore!

These are not your average bus. Buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi buses come equipped with works that are comfortable! They come equipped with reclining seats, air-conditioning, and a USB plug to charge your electronics.

Bring a light sweater because the buses are cold so make sure you bring something to stay warm.

Traveling from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus should take around 90 minutes if traffic permits. However, it can take up to 2 hours depending on the time of day and day of the week. Despite, it can take a little longer than other forms of transportation, I do believe the best way to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

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Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Taxi

If you prefer a little more privacy and don’t have a budget, then I suggest you grab a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Arriving by taxi is quicker, but it does come with a cost. One-way taxi fare can cost up to 70 USD. You may be able to bargain with some taxi drivers to negotiate a lower cost.

Just don’t forget returning back to Dubai from Abu Dhabi, will cost you another hefty fare.

Dubai to Abu Dhabi By Car Rental

Not a fan of buses or taxis? Then I suggest renting a car, whereas in the UAE it’s relatively easy and cheap. Depending on your ride, fees can be as little as 13 USD per day.

Just keep in mind parking can be chaotic and limited in Abu Dhabi. Also, the valet can be quite costly depending on where you go. Another factor to consider is refilling the tank. However, gas in the UAE is relatively cheap.

*Car Rental Requirements– There are requirements in the UAE to rent a car like in any other country. Make sure to have a valid passport, valid driver’s license, international driver’s permit, and at least be a minimum of 21 years of age.

Places To Visit In Abu Dhabi

Below you can find a list of the most popular attractions in Abu Dhabi along with additional information.

**I highly suggest checking if you will be arriving to the UAE during the months of their Ramadan. During Ramadan, hours are subject to change at any major attraction, store, or restaurant. Check online or with your concierge if you’re visiting during this time so you do not have any unfriendly disruptions during your visit to the UAE.

SightEntrance FeeHoursLocation
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque CenterFree, no chargeSaturday-Thursday 9am-10pm; Friday after 4.30pm-10pm. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi Single Day Tickets:
Adult AED 295
Junior AED 230
Sunday-Saturday 11am-6pmYas Island - Yas Dr St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Emirates PalaceFree, no charge to access lobby and exhibitions. Open 24-hours, opening of restaurants and cafes vary. West Corniche Road - United Arab Emirates
Lourve Abu DhabiAdults: AED 60, Ages 13-22 AED 30Saturday to Wednesday 10am-8pm; Thursday & Friday 10am-10pm; Mondays closedSaadiyat - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Corniche RoadFree, filled with restaurants, parks, beach, and cafesVaries on restaurant, park, and cafeRoad in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Saadiyat IslandDay Pass:
Single: AED 250
Couple: AED 350
Junior (7-17): AED 100
Child (0-6): Free
Pool: 8am-sunset
Beach: 9am-sunset
Exit 14 - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates
Yas Waterworld Single Day Ticket:
Adult:AED 250
Junior: AED210
10am-7pm; except Thursday 10am-5pm reopen 6pm-11pmYas Island - Yas Dr St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

I have provided a map below of the locations of all the popular Abu Dhabi attractions. Here you can get an estimate of the distance between all the places you may want to see so you can manage your time.

If you don’t want to do the planning a day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, then I suggest purchasing one of the Abu Dhabi day tours from Dubai, which usually include roundtrip transportation. Check with your hotel to provide you with information on day tours to Abu Dhabi.

Packages include seeing famous sights such as the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, The Lovre Abu Dhabi, Yas Island and Yas Waterworld, Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and Saadiyat Island during your day trip. Pricing varies depending on what tour package you choose.

The Top 3-Attractions To See In Abu Dhabi

Since we know how to get there, what are we going to do? From my experience, these were my favorite attractions to see during my Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. It was a true Emirate experience.

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Sheikh Zayed Mosque

outside of the Sheik Zayed mosque from my Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai
Sheikh Zayed Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in the country and the 8th biggest mosque in the world. This mosque has the capacity to hold up to 41, 000 worshipers. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque alone is worth an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai. It’s like stepping into an Arabian palace.

The golden detail trim aligning the archways and white marble structures from the ground crawling up to the ceiling is hypnotizing. Pictures are unable to truly capture the grandeur of the 82-white domes underneath the blue sky.

You can easily spend 2-3 hours admiring the magnificence of the mosque

Private tours are available where you can learn about the history and architecture of this mosque. For information regarding pricing, click here.

Dress Code: Remember it is not our home, but theirs. Be respectful and have proper etiquette while visiting. This is a sacred place of prayer. Visitors are required and expected to be in proper clothing attire. Avoid see-through clothing, shorts and skirts (male and female), tight and revealing clothing, and sleeveless shirts. Ladies, you do need to be fully covered for entrance inside. If they feel you are not covered enough, the attendants will provide you with an abaya.

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Emirates Palace

For a true Emirate experience, visit the Emirates Palace Hotel. This colossal palace had me lost for an hour trying to find my way out. It’s that big!

The main building is filled with very ornate architecture, marble floors, and an intricate dome in gold above. There are numerous shops, a variety of restaurants, and places to browse for some souvenirs like camel milk chocolate.

If you’re looking for some unique local cuisine, grab a camel burger with 23-karat gold flakes for 30 USD at Le Café.

They also have a delicious Camelccino. A Camelccino and sparkling water cost 25 USD without gratuity.

Emirates Palace also has many souks to go shopping. Souks are Arab marketplaces that sell jewelry, scarves, leather bags, and other items.

Desert Safari Tour

The open desert in Abu Dhabi

When taking an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai, I highly suggest you purchase a desert safari tour in Abu Dhabi for a complete Arabian experience. Typically, tours last for 5-6 hours. Click here for more detailed information regarding pricing.

Safari tours begin with winding through the sand dunes. It’s very thrilling being driven down sand dunes for 15-minutes straight at an accelerated speed to have your stomach turn.

Tours also include a visit to the camel farms, sandboarding, camel riding, hookah, henna tattoos, and watching a sunset sink into the sand dunes.

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Tours end with an outside dinner seated on carpets along with entertainment from belly dancers and a Dervish performer. It was the perfect end to an Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai.

Abu Dhabi Day Trip From Dubai Schedule

picture of Corniche Road with an Emirate walking

Visit these top 3 attractions for your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai with this schedule.

  • 5:30 am-6:45 am: Wake up and grab a quick bite to eat at the hotel or a nearby cafe.
  • 7:00 am-9:00 am: Head to the bus station or grab a taxi (maybe sleep in a little if you are catching a cab) and begin your travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.
  • 9:00 am-9:30: Arrive at Sheikh Zayed Mosque by taxi, or grab a taxi from the Abu Dhabi bus terminal to the mosque.
  • 9:30 am-11:30 am: Enjoy having your breathtaking away at the mosque and make sure you get plenty of photos!
  • 11:30 am-12:00 pm: Catch a taxi and head to Emirate Palace. Don’t worry you will see a hoard of them outside of the mosque. On your way to Emirates Palace, you can sneak in another sight. Ask your taxi driver to go down Corniche Road since it is on the way. Enjoy the drive down this popular street.
  • 12:00 pm-2:00 pm: Get your belly-fed at one of their restaurants and grab an after-lunch Camelccino. Go shopping at the boutiques and souks. If time permits the Ethiad Towers are outside across the street. Go outside and check out the unique architecture of the surrounding buildings.
  • 2:00 pm- 2:30 pm: Head to the destination arranged for pick-up for the desert safari tour. Pick-ups are usually around 30-minutes prior to the start of the tour.
  • 2:30 pm-9:00 pm- Enjoy your desert safari and moonlight dinner underneath the stars.
  • 9:30 pm- Head to the Abu Dhabi bus terminal and head back to Dubai, or catch a taxi.

Dubai To Abu Dhabi Day Trip Final Thoughts

Hope you will enjoy your Abu Dhabi day trip from Dubai as much as I did. A day in Abu Dhabi can fly by fairly quickly, so watch your time during your Abu Dhabi sightseeing. Have you been to Dubai or Abu Dhabi? If so, which city did you enjoy the most?

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50 Comments

  1. Andrea Peacock

    Abu Dhabi looks like a beautiful city to visit, especially the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The desert safari is such a unique experience! It looks like a totally different world.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      It really was an experience. You explained it perfectly about it being a whole new world. The mosque was breathtaking and definitely worth a visit to see!

    2. Destiny

      Really hoping to explore Abu Dhabi someday! And per your recommendation I will definitely be adding the Desert Safari. This is such an awesome, inclusive itinerary.

      1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

        The desert safari was amazing!You will have so much fun exploring!

  2. Emma

    I knew Dubai was popular, but had no idea it gets that many visitors. I’ve always been interested to visit UAE, but it wasn’t super high on my list. Looks like there’s a lot to do though, and for me would be a great stopover place for a few days on the way to somewhere else. I hands down want to go to the camel farm though. Fun!!!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Do schedule a stopover when you get a chance. Both cities are incredible and definitely worth a visit! The camel farm was amazing. Those camels are so stinking cute!

  3. burj khalifa and aquarium combo

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding
    the time and actual effort to generate a top notch article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Thank you so much for the compliment. I had an amazing time visiting the Burj Khalifa. The view was absolute stunning! Do hope to visit again soon and catch the view during sunset.

  4. Joanna

    I have been to Abu Dhabi many times but never had the chance to get out of the airport as I never had a long layover. I would love to visit Abu Dhabi and spend a few days there, it looks like there are so many things to do and see. I explored Dubai on my own and I had an excellent time, so I can guess it will be the same with Abu Dhabi.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Dubai is one great city! There is so much to see and do there. But, Abu Dhabi has a lot to offer as well. Hopefully, you will get a long layover in Abu Dhabi soon so you can explore the city! If you do definitely check out the mosque. It is simply stunning!

  5. Melanie Schaffer

    That desert safari looks great!

  6. Francesca

    Looks like you had such an amazing time and your photos are beautiful! Definitely inspired me to go there someday.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      I really did! It was so much fun. I hope you get to go visit soon 🙂

  7. Nicole Claesen

    We have been talking about visiting the UAE and Abu Dhabi specifically. I’d love to hang out with the camels at the camel farm 🙂 The desert safari looks AMAZING!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      I hope you get to go soon. The camel farm was a blast!

  8. Vanessa Shields

    Lovely post capturing what there is to do in Abu Dhabi! It is one of those places that looks so pretty and on my list to see one day. Thank you for the great tips!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      I hope you get to see it one day. It is an adventure! Thanks so much for the compliment 🙂

  9. Maria Elsa Jose

    Visiting Dubai will always be an exciting adventure. Nice to see you having fun.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Thanks so much girly! It is an adventure!

  10. menty

    Ramadan is very important point! lovely you provided all the information!!!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      It is, you’re right. Thank you so much!

  11. Alissa

    Wow the mosque and desert tours look incredible! Definitely bucket list experiences 🙂

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Definitely is a bucket list place to visit!

  12. Rose Munday

    From a fellow solo female traveller, i love this post! Thanks for the in-detail info 🙂

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Aww thanks girly! I appreciate this so much 🙂

  13. Sharon

    The first photo drew me in — so beautiful! And I especially like the “sea of sand” viewpoint. What a different place from anything I’ve ever seen in person!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      It is so beautiful there. The architecture is amazing!

  14. roshni

    I just did 2 days in Abu dhabi in feb and loved the desert safari!

  15. Katie

    I never knew how much there was to do in Abu Dhabi, thanks for sharing and I hope to make it there one day.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      I hope you make it there one day too!

  16. Jen

    I have wanted to go here for so long. That mosque looks amazing and the desert looks so fun! This is a lot of great information, I’ll definitely save this post for whenever I get the chance to go! ?

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      I hope you get to go soon!The mosque is stunning!

  17. Josy A

    I know what you mean about deserts. It’s funny isn’t it how they can look so amazing, but how it is impossible to capture that beauty on film.
    This all looks amazing. I’d just need to save up for a while to visit- it sounds veeeery pricy for me!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      It really is hard to capture the beauty on photos. It is pricey there, but worth the experience.

  18. natalielaturno

    Wow this looks like an incredible trip! I also had no idea that so many people visited Dubai. I have some European friends who have gone, but as an American I definitely feel like it’s not as common to go here. I would absolutely love to go to Dubai & Abu Dhabi!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      They are both great cities. Definitely something different!

  19. Cecilie

    Wow the Sheikh Zayed Mosque looks beautiful!

  20. Jasmine

    I’ve never really thought of going to Abu Dhabi, but reading this informative post has made me want to! This was such an amazing read with so much detail! The mosque looks so beautiful too!

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      Thanks so much! Abu Dhabi was amazing! I do suggest visiting when you can.

  21. Jiayi Wang

    Always wanted to visit Abu Dhabi and your pictures make me want to go even more now! 🙂 Thanks for this very helpful guide!!

  22. Francesca

    Such a beautiful place! The mosque and desert safari tour would be at the top of my list! It’s also great to know that you can do a tour there – I would definitely be interested in doing one of those!

  23. Sarah | Travel for a Living

    So far I’ve been to neither Dubai nor Abu Dhabi. But would love to see them both someday. Would particularly love to see the palace. It looks just so impressive.

    1. jetlaggedroamer@gmail.com

      It is even more beautiful in person. Hopefully, you will visit one of them one day!

  24. Musan

    Chrissy, The itinerary is suitable for a Abu Dhabi trip from Dubai. Even if you are only in Dubai for a day, you can see and do a lot. In fact, if your layover is longer than 20 hours, you can even visit Musandam Oman from Dubai on a day trip.

    1. Chrissy

      Oh will keep that in mind next time!

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