Uae Road Trip Itinerary

In this post, you will uncover the ultimate UAE road trip itinerary. The UAE is truly worth exploring because the United Arab Emirates is not just Dubai, even though many people only visit the futuristic city. The country comprises 7 Emirates: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain, and Ajman. Each capital city shares the name of its emirate and is the main and most populated city within that emirate. However, each emirate is ruled by a different Sheikh and has its own regulations. During your itinerary, you will discover each of the Emirates.

Road trip in the United Arab Emirates, practical advice

You can easily cross the 7 Emirates in one day because the distances from one to the other are small. But I recommend that you dedicate at least a week or rather two to this itinerary by spending at least 2 days in Dubai and 2 days in Abu Dhabi; the other sites and places can be visited more quickly. I advise you to rent a car when you arrive at the airport in Dubai (or Abu Dhabi), it’s the easiest, and to return it before leaving. The best time to visit this region is from October to March, the rest of the year, it can be very hot but on a road trip with an air-conditioned car, it can also be done. Be aware that in January/February it can be chilly. At altitude in the mountains, it is also much cooler.

If you have time, I highly recommend visiting the Musandam Peninsula which is an enclave of Oman in the north of the United Arab Emirates and is, therefore, more easily accessible from the Emirates, you will need to take out special insurance with the car rental to change countries.

1. Dubai

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Dubai

Dubai is the city of the future, of greatness and opportunities. It is a place to see at least once in your life and at the same time, you can go back every year and always discover something new. It is not a museum city at all but a place that always knows how to reinvent itself with new attractions, restaurants, and unique activities to discover. In short, it is difficult to get bored in Dubai given all there is to do. Go see my detailed article HERE to discover the must-sees in Dubai with advice and good addresses for hotels and restaurants.

2. Abu Dhabi

 Uae Road Trip Itineraryabu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It is modern and cosmopolitan. If it is less fun than Dubai, there are still plenty of things to visit. I enjoyed the cultural side of Abu Dhabi, there is even a Louvre Museum like in Paris which is not to be missed. For other must-sees, I recommend the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the largest in the Emirates, it is sublime in white marble set with semi-precious stones, a decoration similar to that of the Taj Mahal in India

Then don’t miss a visit to the presidential palace which has only been open to the public for a few years: Qasr Al Watan. It’s also very pleasant to stroll along the corniche, where you’ll find the Emirates Palace which is a very chic hotel where you can stroll around the lobby to get a glimpse or eat there. For more historical sites, the Qasr Al Hosn fort in the city center is also worth a visit and the “Emirates Heritage Village” on the Backwaters side will show you the style of the Emirates before the oil era.

On Yas Island, you will find the Yas Marina Circuit where the Formula 1 Grand Prix takes place as well as beaches and theme parks, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi and I can tell you that they are worth a visit for adults and children alike.

Read also: What To See In Abu Dhabi: 22 Best Places and Nightlife Abu Dhabi: 14 Best Bars, Lounges & Nightclubs.

3. Al Ain

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Al Ain

Al Ain is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert, with natural springs and huge date palm plantations. It is also the birthplace of the father of the nation Sheikh Zayed. Don’t miss a walk in the Al Ain Oasis, it is very pleasant and shady and it is the first place to be classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the United Arab Emirates. There are more than 150,000 trees of 100 different varieties.

For historical places, a visit to the Al Ain Palace Museum is nice, it was the residence of Sheikh Zayed from 1937 to 1966. Al Jahili Fort was built in 1890 as Sheikh Zayed’s summer residence, it received the Terra Award in 2016 which rewards the most beautiful earthen architecture in the world. Qasr Al Muwaiji is a restored fort, it is the birthplace of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the last president of the Emirates until he died in 2022. You can visit his childhood home.

On the heights of Al Ain, go see the sunrise or sunset from the Jebel Hafeet mountain, at an altitude of 1240 meters.

Read also: 7 Essential Places To Visit In Al Ain and 10 Best Restaurants In Al Ain.

4. Hatta

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Hatta

Hatta is the favorite place for Dubaiites for the weekend. This enclave of the emirate of Dubai is located in the middle of the Al Hajar Mountains. The most popular activity I recommend is kayaking on Hatta Lake, a water reservoir formed by the dam built in the 1990s. The waters are superbly turquoise blue and the view of the mountains is superb. You cannot swim, however. In the parking lot, you can see a large fresco representing Sheikh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid, the founders of the nation.

In town, you can visit the Hatta Heritage Village which is housed in a restored fort with interesting displays of ancient artifacts and local costumes. Don’t miss climbing the defense tower which dates back to 1880 for great views of the surrounding area, a great spot for sunset.

Read also: 9 Best Restaurants In Hatta Dubai

5. Fujairah

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Fujairah

Fujairah on the coast is known for its beach. It is the best place in the Emirates for diving and snorkeling to observe turtles in particular. I recommend diving with the company Al Boom Diving , you can organize your dives from Dubai leaving very early in the morning, where you can stay on-site at the Meridien Al Aqah Hotel where there are other water activities and the beach is nice.

In town, I recommend you visit the Fujairah Fort which dates from the 16th century, the entrance is free. And right next door, don’t miss the Fujairah Museum (entrance only 5 dirhams or about 1.25 euros) which presents archaeological finds from the surrounding sites, there is also an ethnographic section.

6. Sharjah

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Sharjah

Sharjah is the capital of Islamic arts and culture in the United Arab Emirates. UNESCO declared it the cultural capital of the Arab world in 1998 and in 2014 it became the capital of Islamic culture. It is well worth a visit for its historical sites and museums, some of the best in the country. The most interesting museum is the Museum of Islamic Civilization, it is huge and presents everything you could want to know about Islam, and very informative with many beautiful objects. The Sharjah Art Museum is worth a visit, plus it is free. The permanent collection upstairs presents works from the Arab world since the 19th century. While downstairs there are some great temporary exhibitions

The  Sharjah Heritage Area is also worth a visit. Take the combo ticket to visit several sites. The Sharjah Fort dates back to 1823 but has been beautifully restored. The Heritage Museum is very interesting to learn more about the local culture. Bait Al Naboodah is a house built in 1845, which belonged to a pearl merchant, it is a good example of Emirati architecture. The Sharjah Art Foundation Museum displays rotating works of art. Included in the combo ticket, you can also enjoy the small Calligraphy Museum.

Don’t miss the Al Noor Mosque, at least from the outside, superb and imposing. You can also visit Al Noor Island, a lagoon island featuring a butterfly house, modern art, a book pavilion, a cafe & a playground.

TIP: Be aware that Sharjah is the most conservative emirate, there is absolutely no alcohol anywhere and it is advisable to dress more cover-up, avoid shorts, etc.

Read also: 5 Best Things To Do In Sharjah 

7. Ras Al Khaimah

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah is an emirate between the sea and mountains with the highest peaks in the country. In town, I recommend the Ras Al Khaimah National Museum which occupies a 19th-century fort, it was the residence of the Qawassim rulers until 1964. There are archaeological and ethnological exhibitions.

Dhayah Fort, which dates back to the 19th century, is located 18 kilometers north of RAK city. It is worth a visit as it offers a superb view from the top of the hill after climbing many steps. Between the Hajar Mountains on one side, the sea on the other, and date palm plantations, it is the ideal spot for the sunset.

Read also: Ultimate Ras Al Khaimah Itinerary for a Perfect Getaway

8. Jebel Jais

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Jebel Jais

Jebel Jais ( Jabal Bil Ays) is a mountain that belongs to the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, it is the highest point in the United Arab Emirates, with an altitude of 1934 meters. You can drive to the summit by a fairly wide road that passes through canyons and you can enjoy the view of the mountains. The landscape is arid and it can be quite cold up there, especially in winter, it can even snow occasionally. It was raining when I went there. In short, take your down jacket. It is about 50 kilometers of road to get to the summit from the city of RAK.

You can try Jais Flight the longest zip line in the world. Zoom at speeds up to 160 kmph, 2.83 km over Jebel Jais. For three intense minutes, you’ll streak across canyons and peaks 1680 meters high.

There are also several hiking opportunities in the surrounding area. I enjoyed the hike I did in the Wadi Shawka mountains. There are 650 to 700 steps to reach the mountain top. It’s perfect for beginner hikers. You can even camp overnight with a BBQ spot available.

9. Umm Al Quwain

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Umm Al Quwain

Umm Al Quwain is the least developed and most relaxed emirate. Not much to do or see, but it is nice for the beach. The most popular place is Kite Beach. You can also visit the beach with mangroves and take a kayak tour. There is a Museum in town in a restored fort from 1768. Similar to other small museums in the emirate, it displays archaeological remains and ethnographic objects from the emirates.

10. Ajman

 Uae Road Trip Itinerary Ajman

Ajman, one of the seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates, is deeply rooted in a culture of extraordinary hospitality. Beyond its beautiful clear beaches, there are a lot of activities waiting to be explored and good restaurants. Read more below.

Read also: 15 Best Things To Do In Ajman For A Unforgettable Experience and 12 Best Restaurants In Ajman.