The distance from downtown Dubai to Abu Dhabi is approximately 150km or just under 100 miles. The road is a sealed multi lane highway that can make getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi quick and easy. Avoid peak hour when traffic can add an hour or more to your journey. Travellers and tourists may need to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for the airport, to visit Abu Dhabi’s attractions ( we would recommend a tour for this, see below) there are several options, road, rail, shuttle, tour, even air!
Please check and double check all the information we give you locally as times, places, dates and services do, as we found, change often.
Dubai to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi to Dubai Distance
The distance from downtown Dubai to Abu Dhabi is approximately 150km or just under 100 miles.
Abu Dhabi Airport
Abu Dhabi airport is 10 km east of Abu Dhabi Marina with Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque Centre located halfway between the two. The public buses don’t serve these destinations. If you’re flying to or from Abu Dhabi airport and staying at an Abu Dhabi hotel, it’s probably best to pre- book an airport transfer. Check your options by clicking through.
Dubai has two major airports. The Dubai International Airport which is pretty much in Dubai, and Dubai Al Maktoum, which is 40Km or so out of town
The distance from Al Maktoum (DWC) is only 110 km to Abu Dhabi as the airport is 40 km to the south of down town Dubai. The distance from Dubai International Airport to Abu Dhabi is approximately 100 miles or 160 km. The traffic getting through Dubai can be horrific during peak hour and can easily add an hour or more to journeys.
Getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Airport
If you have a ticket with either Etihad or Emirates then they offer free shuttles between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and likewise in reverse. You’ll need to book in advance for these free airport buses as spaces can be limited in peak times. Make sure you have proof of your flight to show the driver. Bookings can be done online via the respective airline websites.
If you’re with flying with Emirates there are five scheduled trips per day. Emirates shuttle picks up from outside of Arrivals at Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport, while drop-off in Abu Dhabi is in front of the Emirates Downtown Office, Khalidiya Corniche. Please check this for yourself as locations do change.
Etihad passengers are picked up from the Mazaya Shopping Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates in Downtown Dubai and have a choice of 10 scheduled daily trips that will deliver them directly to Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Currently as neither airline serves Al Maktoum Airport in Southern Dubai there are no shuttle services from this airport. This could change in the future although that looks unlikely as Emirates main base of operations is Dubai International Airport.
Taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
This is quite a convenient way of getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi but is expensive. You can expect to pay upwards of 250 Dirhams ($70 US) for a one-way fare.
When you consider this is 10 times the cost of the bus and only for 4 people maximum in a no-frrills taxi it isn’t an economical way of travelling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
You can pre-order a taxi and it will be slightly cheaper but still an expensive option. The closer you are to southern Dubai the cheaper it will get but even then it will still be close to 200 Dirhams ($55 US).
If you fly into Al Maktoum Airport and need to get to Dubai then this can be one of the only options as you’re a long way from any public transport or the shuttle buses.
Train from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
Sorry, you’re out of luck, the Dubai Metro runs allongside the Abu Dhabi road for quite a distance, but it doesn’t go all the way to Abu Dhabi.
Public Buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
We’ve tried this bus route and it was a disaster. I did the research and found that buses ran every 15 minutes or more. While the price is good at 25 Dirhams ($7 US) per person the frequency of the buses was nothing less than shocking. We waited for an hour and saw 1 bus arrive and 1 bus leave.
The crowds of people waiting in the hot sun with no shade numbered into the hundreds. Talking to some people waiting in the family line (shorter and priority boarding) we discovered that they’d already been waiting there over an hour.
In the end we gave up and didn’t catch the bus. The line hadn’t moved in the whole time we were there. I don’t know if coming back would be any different but I didn’t want to get stuck in Abu Dhabi and then have to catch a taxi back.
We really recommend taking a tour unless you’re trying to do get to Abu Dhabi as cheaply as possible.
Tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
There are numerous tours from both cities that will allow you to both travel and enjoy the sights of either Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
If like us, you were just trying to get down to Abu Dhabi to see the sights for the day, then I’d certainly recommend a tour. You can relax in the knowledge that you’ll be going to see what you want without wasting time at bus stations and transfers across the cities to those bus stations.
If you want to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or fancy trying your luck at Ferrari World at Abu Dhabi Marina then you’ll find the tour that is right for you. All good tours will include hotel pick up and drop off making sure you don’t need to walk around either Dubai or Abu Dhabi’s hot streets looking for transport. Check out tour options for Abu Dhabi here.
Things to See in Abu Dhabi
A full post is in production but tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi include :
- Ferrari World Theme Park
- Sheik Zayed Mosque
- Abu Dhabi Corniche
- Desert Safari and 4 Wheel Drive Tours as for Dubai ( See our Dubai Desert Safari here)
- Emirates Palace Luxury Hotel
- The Presidential Palace
- Marina Mall
- “Old” Emirati Village ( similar to the cultural tour of Old Dubai)
- Etihad Towers
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Yas Marina Circuit
- Yas Waterworld
- Warner Bros Indoor Themepark
A good tour of Abu Dhabi can get you to all of these attractions, or just some, with the benefits of a guide and comfortable vehicle. You can browse these tours here.
Dubai – Abu Dhabi Airport Transfers
If you just want a transfer then this is often the easiest, quickest and safest way to go about organising one. You can have it paid for and confirmed before you get on the plane to either destination so that when you arrive you don’t need to stress about finding local currency and then getting public transport or a taxi to your final destination. Pre arranged transfers are normally greatly reduced in cost compared to taxis and the cars and or mini buses are of a better standard.
Currently Uber is only licensed to operate in Dubai and not Abu Dhabi so you probably won’t be able to get an Uber from Emirate to Emirate. While Uber used to operate in Abu Dhabi it’s license was suspended and hasn’t been re-instated as yet. Uber have reapplied so it may change in the near future.
Helicopter Transfer Abu Dhabi to Dubai
This is the United Arab Emirates, of course you can take a helicopter! Sorry, I don’t know anyone with a helicopter to rent, but I know you can.
Flying Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai
This is currently unavailable in any normal or usual way, but you can take a seaplane with a private tour. This is expensive, but doesn’t it sound fun! Click through to check it out and book.
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Hotels At Abu Dhabi International Airport
We hope you enjoy your time in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We love visiting the UAE, it’s something completely different to our usual travel style and we think Dubai and UAE have a lot to offer. If you want more information on travel to and things to do in Dubai, you’ll need our Dubai Travel Blog page.