Abu Dhabi

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Abu Dhabi emirate boasts lush oases, historic forts, bustling souqs at Al Ain, and spectacular desert dunes at Liwa. The United Arab Emirates is a tiny country, however, so glam sister-city Dubai, the heritage city of Sharjah, and Hatta’s mountains are all just a two-hour drive from the capital.

Day Trips from Abu Dhabi

Al Ain

The verdant green median strips and date palm oases come as a shock after the desert drive, but they’re exactly what make Al Ain so appealing – that and its restored forts and lively markets.

Tags: art | outdoors | culture | history | day trip


Settled continuously since the 3rd millennium B.C., tiny Badiyah is one of the Arabian peninsula’s oldest towns. Its main attraction is a mud-brick mosque built around 1446 A.D.

204 miles east of Abu Dhabi,
Tags: family | outdoors | culture | history | day trip


Dubai dazzles with its cutting-edge architecture, contemporary art, chic shopping, and world-class restaurants, bars, and clubs. Still, history and charm can be found in the turn-of-the-century Bastakiya quarter, old wind-tower houses, and atmospheric souqs.

105 miles northeast of Abu Dhabi, www.dubaitourism.ae
Tags: family | art | dining | culture | history | day trip


A popular weekend getaway for expats, Hatta sprawls across several hills with the purple-hued Hajar Mountains providing a dramatic backdrop. Explore the charming Heritage Village with its historic, mountaintop watchtowers and the nearby rock pools.

170 miles from Abu Dhabi, www.dubaitourism.ae
Tags: family | outdoors | culture | history | day trip


A drive to Liwa Oasis is a must for the sublime desert scenery. Of the colossal peach-colored sand dunes at the edge of The Empty Quarter, Moreeb is the largest, at 918 feet high.

158 miles south from Abu Dhabi, www.abudhabitourism.ae
Tags: family | outdoors | day trip


With its excellent museums, galleries, and theatres, Sharjah is the UAE’s cultural capital. Its restored heritage and arts precincts are wonderful to explore and its souqs are tops for shopping for carpets and Arabian antiques.

112 miles northeast of Abu Dhabi, www.sharjah-welcome.com
Tags: family | art | culture | history | day trip

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