15 Best Day Trips from Dubai

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Dubai is among the seven emirates that come together to form the UAE. The city is welcoming and gives tourists a chance to connect with a wide range of experiences. This independent city-state is filled with magnificent, world-class tourist destinations. Most visitors come here to shop and discover the wide array of ancient and modern sites.

The city’s energy is quite fascinating; during the day, shoppers throng the various malls, while at night, tourists are completely spoilt for choice thanks to the party spectrum that caters to all ages. However, even the most dedicated city slickers need a break from the bustling city center every once in a while. If you are looking for ideas for perfect day trips from Dubai, check out our list of 15 destinations that are worth exploring.

1. Abu Dhabi

Abu DhabiSource: prochasson frederic / shutterstock
Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is UAE’s capital. It’s also the largest of the seven emirates of the UAE. This city is located along the Persian Gulf on an island that has a T-shape.

Abu Dhabi is located about 90 minutes from downtown Dubai. It is a wonderful mix of classic and modern Arab architecture.

The newly opened Louvre is a highlight for anyone visiting Abu Dhabi. This cultural spot is totally beautiful and houses impressive pieces of art. Louvre is located on Saadiyat Island.

If you have some time left, you can squeeze in a trip to the Emirates Palace and the Etihad Towers. These not only offer stunning city views but are also great photo opportunities.

Recommended tour: Abu Dhabi Full-Day Sightseeing Tour from Dubai

2. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand MosqueSource: Luciano Mortula - LGM / shutterstock
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This mosque is located about 132 kilometers from Dubai. It is the largest mosque in the country and one of the world’s most visually stunning landmarks. Built in honor of the country’s first president, it is also here that he was laid to rest. The mosque was built between 1996 and 2007 – the actual building covers an area of 12 hectares.

This mosque incorporates 82 domes and is decked out with lavish helpings of marble, ceramic-work, and gold. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has seven absolutely gorgeous crystal chandeliers and is home to the world’s largest carpet; this was woven by 1,200 carpet weavers.

The mosque’s decorations are a combination of Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman styles; all these are symbols of the periods when the Arabic empires ruled.

If you’re non-Muslim, you don’t need to worry; you can also enter to admire the stunning architecture; however, women should be dressed in the right attire.

Recommended tour: Abu Dhabi Full-Day Sightseeing Tour from Dubai

3. Musandam Peninsula

Musandam PeninsulaSource: Martchan / shutterstock
Musandam Peninsula

This peninsula is located 194 kilometers from Dubai. On this day trip to the “Norway of Arabia,” you should not forget your passport because this destination is in fact in a different country.

The Musandam Peninsula is the regional capital of Khasab, a small fishing village that has utterly stunning views. This peninsula provides a peaceful antidote to the city’s buzz. Musandam’s raw beauty comprises of incredibly steep mountains that plunge into the waters, resembling the Norwegian fiords.

To explore the Musandam Peninsula thoroughly, you need to take a cruise from Khasab. Expect to spot some dolphins on your ride.

Suggested tour: Musandam Dibba Full-Day Cruise with Lunch

4. Al Fujairah

Fujairah FortSource: bigfatcat / shutterstock
Fujairah Fort

Fujairah is another one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE and is located approximately 167 kilometers from Dubai. This Emirate became independent in the year 1952 and is the youngest of all the Emirates; its capital is Fujairah City.

If you’re looking for a day trip that combines nature with history lessons, the Al Fujairah is the perfect destination just for that.

Just outside the capital, there is the Fujairah Fort, which functioned as a military post in the 16th Century. Nearby, there is the reconstructed Fujairah Heritage Village, which shows how the locals lived in the past.

5. Palm Islands

Palm IslandsSource: Delpixel / shutterstock
Palm Islands

The artificial Palm Islands comprise of the Jumeirah, Jebel Ali, and the Deira. Their creation started in the year 2001 at the request of UAE’s prime minister. A decade later, only Palm Jumeirah was completely created. Jumeirah Island is connected to the mainland using a monorail.

The Palm Islands resemble a palm tree that is topped by a crescent-shaped island. These man-made islands were created by the process of land reclamation and have added about 520km of beaches to the city.

These offshore islands are Dubai’s most unique and boldest megaprojects. They are often referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. All the archipelagos used up more than 53 million pounds of sand and about 12million pounds of rock.

6. Al Ain

Al AinSource: Dan Tiego / shutterstock
Al Ain

The name “Al Ain” means “The Spring” in Arabic. This city is also known as the Garden City of the Gulf, thanks to its green landscape. Al Ain is located in Abu Dhabi, about 130 kilometers from Dubai, on the border with Oman.

If you are a culture lover and want to learn about the country’s past, Al Ain will make a great day trip from Dubai. This lush oasis is where Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan spent much of his life. This means that this city has a lot of historical roots.

Some highlights of the trip are the Al Ain Palace and the Al Ain National Museums. The palace museum was constructed in 1937 and opened to the public in 2001.

Human settlement on this oasis – which has been listed as UNESCO site – dates back to the Stone Age.

7. Ferrari World

Ferrari WorldSource: Burachet / shutterstock
Ferrari World

Ferrari world was opened on 4th November 2010 and sits 112 kilometers from Dubai. The park’s foundation stone was laid on 3rd November 2007.

The enormous theme park covers 86,000 square meters.

This massive theme park comprises of Formula 1 race courses, Flying Aces, and roller coaster slides. If you long for the ultimate Ferrari driving experience, it’s about time you made a trip to this amusement park. The Formula Rosso ride is the world’s fastest roller coaster; it goes from 0 to 240km/hr and gives you the thrill of the real Formula 1 racer experience.

Available tour: From Dubai: Abu Dhabi Day Tour with Ferrari World Ticket

8. Jumeirah Archeological Site

Jumeirah Archeological SiteSource: Sahil.latheef / Wikimedia | CC BY-SA 4.0
Jumeirah Archeological Site

The Jumeirah Site is a historical archeological area that is located between Jumeirah and Al-Wasl road. These ruins date back to the 9th and the 11th Century.

Back in the day, the site functioned as a stopover for the caravan of traders who traveled between Oman and Iraq. This site is now a major attraction, bringing in tourists, researchers, historians and archeologists from all walks of life.

When the site was excavated in 1969, ancient treasures such as bronze coins, plate ware, and pottery jugs were found. This collection is on display inside the Dubai Museum.

9. Umm al Qaywayn

Umm al Qaywayn Museum FortSource: Patrik Dietrich / shutterstock
Umm al Qaywayn Museum Fort

Umm al Qaywayn is also spelled as Umm al Qaiwain. This constituent emirate of the UAE is located on the Arabian Peninsula and faces the Persian Gulf. Umm al Qaywayn is located about 57km from Dubai and about 171km from the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi.

Umm al Qaywayn is the 2nd smallest and the least populous of all the seven emirates. The emirate has a triangular shape with an extremely irregular coastline; it has multiple small inlets, offshore islets, and spits.

Unlike most of its neighbors, this emirate’s economy does not rely on oil; no deposits have been found here. Its revenue is dependent upon tourism, fishing, and pearl diving.

10. Wadi Adventure Park

SurfingSource: WoodysPhotos / shutterstock

This adventure park is located approximately 153 kilometers from Dubai, in the arid zone of Al Ain.

If you would like to get away from the Dubai heat, visit the Wadi Adventure Park and cool down as you relax.

Bring your whole family to the park; there are lots of activities that you can all participate in, such as surfing, kayaking, swimming, and zip lining.

Skip the line: Wild Wadi Waterpark Full-Day Skip-the-Line Ticket

11. Sharjah

SharjahSource: mohammad alsaber / shutterstock

Sharjah is located 20 kilometers from Dubai. Due to its proximity to Dubai and thanks to the lower cost of living, most people working in Dubai prefer to reside in Sharjah. For this reason, you might get stuck in traffic if you find yourself on the roads at rush hour.

Sharjah is the only one of the seven emirates that has a coastline on both the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf.

In this city, both the sale and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. One needs to have an alcohol license. The city also takes its decency laws very seriously. Both men and women should not expose their knees, backs, or bellies.

12. Ras Al Khaimah City

Ras Al Khaimah CitySource: kingma photos / shutterstock
Ras Al Khaimah City

This city is also referred to as Julfar and is located 94 kilometers from Dubai. It is another one of the emirates making up the UAE.

“Ras Al Khaimah” directly translates to “top of the small huts.” In this area, there are many huts along the coastal region; these were the area’s indigenous settlements.

Ras Al Khaimah is located in the north of the UAE and sits between the Persian Gulf and the Hajjar Mountains.

13. Ajman

AjmanSource: trabantos / shutterstock

This capital is the 5th largest city in the UAE and is located 30 kilometers from Dubai, along the Persian Gulf. If you travel by plane, it will take you approximately 20 minutes to reach Ajman on your day trip. Ajman covers an area of about 460 square kilometers and borders Sharjah to the northeastern end.

Ajman is a rapidly developing tourist destination thanks to its beaches that extend for a distance of 16 kilometers.

The Emirate officially joined the UAE on December 2, 1971.

14. Khor Fakkan

Khor FakkanSource: photosr4life / shutterstock
Khor Fakkan

This city is located along the eastern coastline of the Gulf of Oman. Khor Fakkan is surrounded by Fujairah. Khor Fakkan literally translates to “Creek of Two Jaws” in Arabic.

The bay area faces to the north-eastern end. The jetty that serves as the terminal for container ships protects the area from the strong winds experienced in the region. This container port is the deepest in the region.

Khor Fakkan rises to an altitude of 1,023m above sea level. This city is fairly developed due to the presence of the white sandy beaches that attract tourists.

15. Jebel Ali

Jebel AliSource: Ungureanu Catalina Oana / shutterstock
Jebel Ali

This port town is situated 35 kilometers away from Dubai. These two cities are connected via the UAE Exchange, Danube, and the Dubai metro energy stations.

In Arabic, “Jebel” means mountain. Some historians believe that the port town got its name from Prophet Muhammad’s cousin, Ali bin Abi Talib. The historians say that he stood on the hill overlooking the sea and supplicated.

This port is one of the most visited ports – outside the US – by ships belonging to the US Navy. This is due to its size, depth, and facilities offered.

15 Best Day Trips from Dubai:

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • Musandam Peninsula
  • Al Fujairah
  • Palm Islands
  • Al Ain
  • Ferrari World
  • Jumeirah Archeological Site
  • Umm al Qaywayn
  • Wadi Adventure Park
  • Sharjah
  • Ras Al Khaimah City
  • Ajman
  • Khor Fakkan
  • Jebel Ali