United Arab Emirates
Self drive UAE travel itinerary
Day 1 Arrival
Take a flight to Abu Dhabi or Dubai and rent a car directly at the airport – check .You will need international driving license for renting a car in UAE.
Day 2 Explore Dubai
It is time to explore magnificent city of Dubai. Having your own vehicle, it makes everything easier, including visiting attractions, which are a little bit further out from the public transport routes. Visit the Miracle Garden – the world’s largest botanical garden in the world . Catch some sun at the Jumeriah Beach and enjoy the views over Burj Al Arab . There is payable parking lot at the beach from 8 am to 1 pm and from 4pm to 9pm (1 hour – 2 AED, 2 hours – 5 AED, 3 hours – 8 AED, 4 hours – 11 AED). You can pay with coins or by credit card. Parking is free of charge on Fridays and national holidays.
After lunch visit the largest shopping mall in the world – The Dubai Mall and make sure to see Dubai from the famous Burj Khalifa, including with the free fountain show below it. Don’t forget to walk around the shops and stop at Dubai aquarium. You can park your car for 4 hours free of charge in the Dubai Mall garage.
Stay the night in Al Barsha area, as hotels here are modern and give you lots for the money, including closeness to Dubai metro line. It has its own free parking garage, is close to a metro station and has amazing views from its rooftop swimming pool and bar. You can see Burj Al Arab and hotel Atlantis from up there. If the sky is clear, also Burj Khalifa can be seen.
Day 3 Old Dubai and Dubai City Tour
Dubai is so spectacular that you need to spend another day here. Today is time for the oldest part of Dubai – Deira. It is hard to find a parking space there, so take the metro to reach it. Be early and visit Deira fish market and continue to gold souq and spice market.
Take the arba ride across the Creek and enjoy in a traditional lunch there. Deira is also much cheaper than the rest of Dubai.
You can spend the afternoon at the beach or for further exploration. If you want to see more of Dubai, take the metro to Marina area. If you are keener of shopping, you can check out the second best known shopping mall – Mall of Emirates, which is mostly famous for the Ski Dubai Park..
Day 4 DUBAI – DIBBA
Before leaving Dubai, make a stop in the Mall of Emirates and go for grocery shopping in its Carrefour shop. You will find everything there, including camping gear if you need any. You can park your car free of charge for 4 hours in its garage.
Your next stop is coastal town Dibba. You will reach it for late lunch and we would recommend you to stop at the local arab restaurant Dr. Cafe. It offers good food and fair.
After lunch it is time to find your wilderness camping spot and enjoy some time on the beach. We found a nice coastal spot few kilometers out of Dibba .
Day 5 DIBBA – WADI WURRAYAH – AL FUJAIRAH
Wake up early, take a swim, eat breakfast and continue with your new day and new adventure. Follow the road towards Al Fujairah and visit national park Wadi Wurrayah.
After a short hike in the wadi, turn back on the main road and visit the oldest mosque in UAE – Al Bidyah mosque .
The city of Al Fujairah offers you the oldest fort in the UAE and it looks beautiful. In the vicinity of the fort is also an interesting museum, where you can find more about UAE history, culture and tradition. You can also drive to a nearby dam, but if you will be travelling around UAE from March to November, the dam will be completely dry and pretty boring to see.
Continue your day towards Al Ain, but find a place for wilderness camping before it. We spent the night in acacia forest Tawi Al Haiyir There is plenty of camel farms here, what gives you good opportunities to visit one and taste fresh camel milk. You might want to reach Al Ain in the evening and stay in a hotel there. You can book your hotel here.
Day 6 AL FUJAIRAH – AL AIN
Prepare yourself breakfast and go straight to Al Ain as this city has lots of interesting sights to offer. Make sure to visit the camel market first as it is open only until 1 pm and the most beautiful fort in UAE – Al Jahili fort. Last but not least, indulge yourself with a scenic ride to Jebel Hafeet.You can read more about Al Ain and its tourist attractions here.In the afternoon continue your way towards Liwa. You will need to camp somewhere on the road or you will even be able to reach Liwa already. All depends of the time you will leave Al Ain.
We wanted to reach Liwa along the Saudi Arabia boarder, but because we were without a 4WD, we needed to go back and that is why we stayed the night somewhere in the middle of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi.
Day 7 REACHED LIWA
You will reach Liwa passing Abu Dhabi. Liwa oasis is magnificent and if you are in UAE, you have to put it on your must to do list for sure. Liwa is where the Empty Quarter begins. When you will see this sandy landscape you will be blown away. AMAZING! Don’t forget to visit Tal Moreeb – the famous 50 degrees incline sand dune, where competitions are held each year among racing teams, which want to reach the dune higher and faster than the others. A visit of Liwa fort is also a nice stop and completely free of charge.
While driving around the Liwa area don’t forget to look out for a place to pitch your tent. Our wilderness camping place was near some camel farms and just beneath 70-80 meters high sand dune Liwa is so amazing that you really need to spend another night here.
Day 8 ABU DHABI
Get up early and climb on top of a high sand dune – sunrises are the most beautiful in a desert, so don’t miss one. After breakfast go back to Abu Dhabi and if you are into cars, stop at the Emirates National Auto Museum). Before you reach your hotel in Abu Dhabi, stop at the beautiful white mosque of Sheikh Zayed .If you are not yet tired, visit the Abu Dhabi fish market and its harbor where traditional fishermen boats »dhows« are being made. If you don’t feel like exploring and are a big Ferrari fan, your best choice will be the Ferrari World theme park You can also spend your free time at the Chornichle beach) or going shopping at the Marina Mall .
Day 9 DEPART BACK
Enjoy your free time before departure and your flight back home.