How to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

If during your trip to Dubai you don't want to miss the opportunity to visit neighboring Abu Dhabi, here's how you can organize your trip and which means of transport is most suitable for you.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

How to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates | ©Kevin JD

Only 150 km separate Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the two most important, extraordinary and essential cities in the United Arab Emirates. If you are in Dubai and you feel like planning a visit to Abu Dhabi and its thousand charms, I'll tell you which of all the transportation options is the most suitable for you.

Car, tour, bus... Each one has its pros and cons in terms of price, comfort or speed, but do not worry because when you finish reading this article you will have a clearer choice.

The best option

Abu Dhabi Day Trip from Dubai with Mosque Sheik Zayed Tickets

The best option calidad-precio para visitar la mezquita Sheik Zayed

Discover the Sheik Zayed Mosque with a specialized guide. You will be taken in a private vehicle from Dubai.

Duration: from 5 to 6 hours

Embark on this unique experience with this excursion to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Discover its imposing architecture and learn about the history of this temple from an expert guide. Enjoy a carefree trip, with pick-up and drop-off from Dubai city in an air-conditioned vehicle.

During this tour, immerse yourself in the grandeur of the mosque of over 20,000 square meters with a capacity of over 40,000 worshippers. You will be able to admire both its exterior and interior. Learn about its most fascinating details as you explore this impressive temple, open to people of all faiths and beliefs in a truly enriching experience.

Remember, the tour is only available in the morning. Women should cover their heads and avoid sleeveless clothing or shorts, while men must wear long pants to enter the temple. Failure to comply with these rules will result in a ban.

Recommended if... you wish to experience the majesty of one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world, enriching your trip with unparalleled culture and architectural beauty.

The best way to get there: an organized tour

Sunset in Abu Dhabi| ©Shenli Leong
Sunset in Abu Dhabi| ©Shenli Leong

On your trip to Dubai be sure to book an organized tour to Abu Dhabi. It is the most comfortable way to move and visit the city, you can book it in advance online and, in this way, free yourself from the burden of running out of room. You will only have to be at the pick-up point indicated and then enjoy Abu Dhabi and its main tourist attractions.

What do the organized tours consist of?

As I have listed above, there are several options for excursions to Abu Dhabi from Dubai depending on your preferences, but all of them include round-trip transfer, a professional guide and mineral water.

Then, to suit the taste of all travelers, there are some that also include tickets to some of the following points of interest: the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Qasr al Watan Palace, the Louvre Museum or the Etihad Towers.

You can also opt for an excursion that includes lunch at a restaurant inside Yas Mall and a visit to Heritage Village; or even a themed excursion such as the Ferrari World theme park.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi

What you will visit on the organized excursions

Sheikh Zayed Mosque| ©Mohamad
Sheikh Zayed Mosque| ©Mohamad

After arriving in Abu Dhabi is when the good stuff starts: a very complete, entertaining and full of culture visit to enjoy the city. Although, as we have already seen, there are different types of organized tours depending on what you want to visit in more detail, they all coincide in visiting places that make you travel through all the cultural richness of the city. What can you expect from this visit? A little bit of everything, because Abu Dhabi is a city that mixes the best of tradition and luxury.

  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque: A must-see, possibly the first stop on the tour. This mosque can hold up to 30,000 people, making it one of the largest (and most beautiful) in the world. Its marble sculptures will leave you open-mouthed, you'll see!
  • Qasr al Watan Palace: Also known as the presidential palace of the United Arab Emirates.
  • Ferrari World: Another attraction of the city that you can not miss, especially if you are a lover of speed and Formula 1, although I recommend that in order to visit in time you consider booking an excursion to Ferrari World that has the entrance included.
  • Saadiyat Island: If you are more into museums, although they can not yet be visited because they are under construction, you will enjoy this stop, where in a few years there will be a Louvre and a Guggenheim museum and you can say you were there while it was being built!
  • Souk: To leave aside the most luxurious and western part of Abu Dhabi, you will appreciate a stroll through its souk before finishing the tour. There you will be able to see the work of its craftsmen up close, but you will not escape from the hustle and bustle, but it will be different and will help you to immerse yourself in the more traditional life of the city.
  • Etihad Towers: a set of five skyscrapers that have been the scene of movies and now houses offices and hotels.
  • Louvre Museum: The most visited museum in the Arab world that houses in its permanent collection some works as popular as Children fighting, by Gauguin, Don Pedro de Toledo kisses the sword of Henry IV, by Ingres or some sculptures of 8,000 years ago, discovered in Jordan.
  • Dubai Heritage Village: An open-air museum that shows the daily life of the country before the discovery of oil. I recommend that you observe the old houses and handicrafts and contemplate the artisans, potters and weavers in their daily lives.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi

How to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by bus

Free Bus to Abu Dhabi| ©Emirates
Free Bus to Abu Dhabi| ©Emirates

If you have decided to go on your own from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, one of the first options that comes to your mind is to take a bus. Well, I have to admit that it is indeed a comfortable option, fast (in about two hours you get to Abu Dhabi) and, within it, there are many secondary alternatives depending on the type of bus you want to take.

What do I mean by this? I have already told you, and I'm sure you have also checked, that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two very cosmopolitan cities and also very well connected between them, so you can choose between traditional buses or also a shuttle from the airport that can even be free. I'll tell you how!

Free shuttle bus

If you are traveling to Dubai with Emirates airline, you are in luck, because this company offers its travelers six buses a day with which to get easily and free of charge from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

What is the big disadvantage? The bus picks you up at terminal 3 of the Dubai airport, so you will have to transfer from the Dubai airport. It then drops you off in front of the airline offices in Abu Dhabi, which are also not in the city center, so you will have to take a cab or another bus to get to the pick-up and drop-off points.

  • Price: free (if you are an Emirates traveler).
  • Travel time: about 2 hours.
  • Recommended if: you want to travel for free and don't mind having to travel to the pick-up points.

Shuttle bus

If you want to opt for a cheap and accessible option to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, have you thought about taking one of the two traditional buses that connect the two cities? You can take the E100 line or the E101 line, whose schedules you can check on the official website, although I already tell you that they are operational from 5am to 1am.

Which line is more convenient for you? My advice is to look where you are walking away to see if you are closer to Al Ghubaiba station (E100) or Ibn Battuta (E101). In any case, both stations have a metro stop, so it is easy to get to them.

The ticket price is 25 dirhams (about 5€) approximately and both buses will drop you off at Abu Dhabi Central Station.

This option is very advantageous if you do not have fixed plans of when to go or return from Abu Dhabi, as there is no need to book the ticket. In case the bus you wanted to take is full, at most you will have to wait about 40 minutes for the next bus. Another positive aspect is that all buses are air-conditioned and also have plugs in case you need to charge a device.

  • Price: 5 euros approximately (one way).
  • Travel time: about 2 hours.
  • Recommended if: you are looking for a good value for money alternative.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi from Dubai

Rent a car from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Travel by Car| ©Alex Jumper
Travel by Car| ©Alex Jumper

If you had not thought about the option of renting a car to go from one city to the other, I will give you a couple of reasons to consider it.

On the one hand, renting a car then you can move more freely around Abu Dhabi, which is a huge city easier to get around if you have a vehicle.

On the other hand, going by rental car allows you to leave and return at the time you want without having to worry about anything or anyone else. However, there are other aspects that make renting a car a bit more tedious.

What do I need to rent a car and drive around Abu Dhabi?

For starters, you need to make sure you have an International Driving License (IDL). Is it really necessary? If you are asking yourself this question it is because somewhere you have read that the national driving license of some countries, like Spain, is enough, but you have to know that the insurance, something I recommend you to take when you rent a car, will not cover anything unless you have the IDL.

How much does it cost to rent a car in Abu Dhabi?

If you decide to rent a car, I recommend you to compare prices and book it in advance, to avoid long waits at the offices of rental companies. If you finally decide to rent it once you are in Dubai, the easiest way is to do it at the airport, where you will have several options and prices.

In general, I can tell you that a one-day rental is about 30€, to which you have to add gasoline (which is cheap) and tolls (which are not many, but you can check on this official website).

What to expect driving in Abu Dhabi

As for the experience of driving between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you will be surprised as I was by the good condition of the roads and also by the fact that the other drivers go very fast. Be careful! Do not imitate them because there are many radars on the road and you do not want to come back from your trip with a fine in your suitcase. Regarding parking, there is usually no problem, as there are plenty of free parking lots at tourist attractions and shopping malls.

  • Price: 30 euros approximately (one day).
  • Travel time: about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Recommended if: you want to move around the city by car and not be aware of timetables.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi

Getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by cab

Dubai Taxis| ©Fabio Achilli
Dubai Taxis| ©Fabio Achilli

Although the convenience of being picked up at your accommodation and taken to the point you want is to be considered, the cab is the most expensive option to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, as the journey from city to city costs between 70 € (one way).

In case you want to go to Abu Dhabi to spend more than one day and therefore carry luggage, the cab could become an interesting option, as they will let you carry suitcases (paying an extra per bag). In addition, booking one is very fast through the official apps that you can download both on Android and iPhone, or in case you are on the street, simply by making a gesture to one you see (they are silver and have a yellow identification sign).

  • Price: 70 euros approximately (one way).
  • Travel time: about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Recommended if: you are traveling with luggage and want a vehicle to pick you up and take you to specific points.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi

By plane: not a recommended option to go to Abu Dhabi from Dubai

Plane from Dubai| ©Aero Icarus
Plane from Dubai| ©Aero Icarus

We often think of the plane as a fast option, but for the Dubai-Abu Dhabi journey it is not, as it takes more than 4 hours (plus waiting time at the airport) and it is very expensive (more than 300€).

  • Price: around 300 euros.
  • Travel time: about 4 hours.
  • Recommended if: you have no other option available.

Book your tour to Abu Dhabi

We compare all the options to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Choosing between Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be difficult. They are different cities, but they are so close to each other that you would be missing out on an amazing visit if you don't go to Abu Dhabi from Dubai at some point during your trip. So when you've completed your list of what to see and do in Dubai, don't hesitate.

Below, we compare all the options for getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi at a glance.

  • Excursion
  • From 72 euros
  • Duration: From 5 to 10 hours depending on the excursion.
  • Advantage: Professional guide and transfer included
  • Disadvantage: none
  • Shuttle bus
  • Price: free (only for Emirates travelers)
  • Duration: 2 h. approx.
  • Advantage: free of charge
  • Disadvantage: you must travel to the pick-up points indicated by the company.
  • Traditional bus
  • Price: 5€ approximately (one way)
  • Duration: 2h approximately
  • Advantage: value for money
  • Disadvantage: although centrally located, there are only 3 stops (2 in Dubai and 1 in Abu Dhabi) and you must adapt to the schedule.
  • Rental car
  • Price: around 30€ (one day)
  • Duration: 1h 30 min
  • Advantage: move at your own pace
  • Disadvantage: you have to add to the final price of the trip the costs of gasoline and tolls.
  • Cab
  • Price: about 70 € (one way)
  • Duration: about 1h 30 min
  • Advantage: you choose the pick up and drop off points
  • Disadvantage: very high price
  • Plane
  • Price: 300€ approximately
  • Duration: more than 4h (not including waiting time)
  • Advantage: it can be an option if you can't find other transportation.
  • Disadvantage: price and duration