From Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back

Page update - September 8, 2022

All the most interesting tourist places in the UAE are located in the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi (the capitals of the emirates of the same name). And of course, tourists want to see both cities in one trip. On this page we will talk about how to travel between these cities faster, cheaper, more conveniently.

The prices, timetables, and other information on this page were updated in September, 2022. Starting February 28, 2022, travel across the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is now free. That is, no PCR-test or vaccination is required. This is great.

Great news!

Starting August 9, 2022, the E102 Dubai-Abu Dhabi bus is running again. Recall that this route was temporarily closed in 2020 because of the coronavirus. Finally, it has been reopened again. Now the E100, E101, E102 are operational.

Distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

The nominal distance between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is 95 miles (150 kilometers). But don't take this figure seriously.

Abu Dhabi is a large city with a total area of 375 square miles (972 square kilometers), which is about 1.25 times smaller than New York. The city of Dubai has an area of about 500 square miles (1,300 square kilometers), and it is very much stretched along the coast.

The result is a very interesting situation, the distance between the centers of the cities is 95 miles (150 kilometers), and the distance between the borders is only 28 miles (46 kilometers). See the map nearby, click on the map to enlarge to full screen.

When asked, "Is it a long drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or back?" The answer is, "Between 28 and 100 miles (46 and 160 kilometers), depending on the specific departure and destination locations."

The distance between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Dubai International Airport is 85 miles (137 kilometers). Naturally, planes don't fly on such a route, because they won't even have time to gain altitude.

Let's overview the most interesting and popular ways to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back.

Find your flight

The fastest way is by cab

All official cabs in the UAE are required to use a taximeter, the law says this. The cost of the trip depends on the distance. Sometimes tourists get there for 170 dirhams (AED), and sometimes for 350 dirhams (AED). There are rare cases when the cab is even cheaper than the bus.

See our detailed review "Taxis in the UAE" for cab fares for all emirates. See the current exchange rate of dirham in our review "Money in the UAE".

The travel time is from 1 to 2 hours, depends mostly on traffic jams.

See the table below for approximate prices of journeys from different parts of Dubai to different places in Abu Dhabi.

First of all! Prices are given for the direct route. If a cab driver takes an alternate longer route, the fare is obviously higher.

Please pay attention! If you'd like to get a price for the trip back (from Abu Dhabi to Dubai) you should add +7% to the prices as Abu Dhabi cab fares are higher.

From DeiraCost, dirham
Yas Island250-270
Sheikh Zayed Mosque270-290
Abu Dhabi Airport250-270

From Bur DubaiCost, dirham
Yas Island235-255
Sheikh Zayed Mosque260-280
Abu Dhabi Airport245-265

From DowntownCost, dirham
Yas Island220-240
Sheikh Zayed Mosque245-265
Abu Dhabi Airport230-250

From Dubai MarinaCost, dirham
Yas Island185-205
Sheikh Zayed Mosque210-230
Abu Dhabi Airport190-210

From Dubai AirportCost, dirham
Yas Island265-285
Sheikh Zayed Mosque290-310
Abu Dhabi Airport270-290

You can save money

You can minimize the cab cost by taking the subway across Dubai, thus shortening the distance to Abu Dhabi. Go to Ibn Battuta subway station and catch a cab near the Ibn Battuta Mall.

From Ibn BatuttaCost, dirham
Yas Island175-195
Sheikh Zayed Mosque200-220
Abu Dhabi Airport180-200

Theoretically, there are 3 stations even further west (Energy, Danube, UAE Exchange), but it is very difficult to get a cab from them, as they are not as busy. See our review "Dubai Metro" for a subway map and fares.

If you are going from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, then take a cab to the nearest subway station UAE Exchange, it will be the cheapest.

Will Uber and Careem help to save money?

We don't think so.

UBER won't help, because their prices are even higher than the official RTA cab.

CAREEM will cost more than an RTA cab. However, CAREEM has fixed fares for trips between cities. In the case of the route Dubai-Abu Dhabi - 330 dirhams, but provided that the distance of the trip is not more than 135 kilometers and the duration is not more than 90 minutes. If you go further or ride longer, you will have to pay extra.

Find your hotel

The second and cheapest way - by bus

Warning! Starting May 19, 2022, the E100 bus is running again. Starting September 13, 2021, the E101 bus is running again. Starting August 9, 2022, the E102 bus is running again. All the three bus routes are operational. This is great.

This option is used by most tourists due to its low cost. There are three bus routes between Abu Dhabi and Dubai: E100, E101, E102.

All buses are air conditioned. Each seat has a USB socket for charging smartphones and tablets. There is free WiFi, the RTA free WiFi network, but according to tourist reviews it works intermittently.

The E100 bus runs between Ghubaiba Bus Station near Al Ghubaiba Metro Station and Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.

E100 is the most popular bus between Dubai and Abu Dhabi with 122 trips a day! But it is a bit inconvenient because it goes all the way across Dubai. As a result, you'll be stuck in traffic in the morning and evening, which can add up to 2.5 hours to your commute time.

The cost of the trip is 25 dirhams per person. Travel time is 1 hour and 50 minutes. Travel interval is 10 to 30 minutes. Running time - from 5-00 am to midnight.

Download the current (September 2022) E100 schedule.

The E101 bus runs between Ibn Battuta Metro Station in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station.

This bus is the most convenient as it doesn't go all the way across Dubai like the E100 does. If you choose E101, you will be insured against Dubai traffic jams. Unfortunately, the E101 rarely runs.

The price of the trip is 25 dirhams per person. Travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes. The interval of movement is 30 minutes or 1 hour.

Download the current (September 2022) E101 schedule.

The E102 bus runs between Ibn Battuta Metro Station in Dubai and Mussafah district in Abu Dhabi.

Mussafah is a long way from the main attractions, so for tourists the E102 is almost useless. HOWEVER! This bus stops at Abu Dhabi International Airport as an on-demand stop. You need to tell the driver ahead of time that you want to get off at the airport, better to say right when you board in Dubai. The E102 bus is the cheapest way to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi airport.

The cost is AED 25 per person. Travel time is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Interval of travel is 30 minutes or 1 hour.

Download the current (September 2022) E102 schedule.

Find your transfer

Which to choose - E100 or E101

There is not much difference. E100 can get stuck in traffic. E101 rarely runs. It's hard to predict which one will get you there faster.

Arriving in Abu Dhabi, what next

Take a cab or a local bus to your destination point. See our review "Buses in Abu Dhabi and other emirates" for more information on buses.

Prices are in the table below:

Price by taxi Price by bus Which bus
Sheikh Zayed Mosque 40 2 094
Corniche 18 2 034
Emirates Palace, Observation deck 300, Sheikh Zayed Memorial 20 2 034
Louvre AD 30 2 094
Heritage Village, UAE Flagpole, Marina Mall 23 2 034
Yas Island - Ferrari World, Yas WaterWorld, Warner Bros., Yas Mall, Yas Marina 70 4 102 (50+ minutes ride)

Yas Island is a problem

Many tourists want to get to Yas Island - Ferrari World and Warner Bros. amusement parks, Yas WaterWorld water park, Yas Mall and Yas Marina Circus. And there is a problem in this case.

The cost of the cab trip is from 175 to 270. That is expensive, but fast - from 1 to 1,5 hours.

Buses take 3 to 3.5 hours (total time), but are cheap - 35 dirhams per person (total cost). The long journey time is because you need to get to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station first and then to ride to Yas Island by 102 bus. You will make a large hook.

Is there a middle option? Is there a reasonable compromise?

There is a way to get there a little more expensive and much faster.

Ask the E100 or E101 bus driver to stop at Al Shahama, close to Yas Island. A cab from Al Shahama to Yas Island will cost around 30 dirhams. In this case you can get from Dubai a bit more expensive, but in just 2 hours!

The only problem is that cabs to Al Shaham are hard to find. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to call a cab either by calling 600-535353, or the Abu Dhabi Taxi app, or through the website . The second option is to go to the nearest cafe (they are there) and ask to call you a cab, it's better to order at least a coffee to be polite.

There is a way to get a free ride, but with a lot of minuses. Read our in-depth review of "Free buses from Dubai to Abu Dhabi".

From Abu Dhabi to Dubai by bus

It's obvious. Take a cab to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. Take the E100 or E101 bus to Dubai for 25 dirhams and then take the subway to the destination point in Dubai.

Airline buses - free of charge option

Two of the largest airlines in the UAE, Etihad Airways and Emirates, have their own bus lines for customers. If you have your airline tickets with these carriers, you can take a completely free ride between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Emirates buses run between Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport and downtown Abu Dhabi. There are 6 runs a day.

Etihad Airways buses operate between Abu Dhabi Airport and Dubai Marina Mall. There are 10 runs a day.

You will need to present your ticket to board the bus. It is recommended to reserve a seat in advance and check the timetable on the website or in the office of the airline.

Another airline Fly Dubai also has its own bus routes from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, but the fare is 40 dirhams. These buses run between Terminal 2 of Dubai Airport and Al Nasr Street in downtown Abu Dhabi.

The fourth option - with an excursion

Most likely, you do not just want to drive to Abu Dhabi (Dubai), but you want to see something specific. Then you can pay to take part in a group tour. Then the sightseeing bus will pick you up from your hotel, take you to the necessary attraction, and bring you back.

Naturally, the excursions have obvious disadvantages: the trip will be more expensive, the time at the attractions will be limited, you will spend much time in the bus while it will be gathering tourists from different hotels.

But there is a big plus - no need to learn anything, nothing to count, nothing to think about.

We recommend our detailed review "Excursions in Dubai".

The most chic way - hydroplane

Hydroplanes do not act in the UAE as public transport. They are used for organized tours from Dubai to sights of Abu Dhabi. The most popular is the flight from Dubai to Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.

The cost of this tour includes the flight itself and tickets to the park. Such a flight gives a bird's eye view of the most beautiful objects in the UAE - the Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit on Yas Island, Yas Viceroy Hotel, Palm Jumeirah artificial island, Burj Khalifa tower, Burj Al Arab hotel and many more.

At the time of updating this page, the cost of such a tour is about USD 500 per person.

Good, but inaccessible now - train

Railroads are not common in the Arabian peninsula and in the UAE in particular. This is due to the difficulty of laying the railroad in the desert. Now in the UAE only three rail transportation systems are fully operational: the Dubai Metro, the Dubai Tram, the Monorail to Palm Island, which takes tourists to the Atlantis Water Park and The Lost Chambers Aquarium.

But that's about to change. There is a 1,200-kilometer-long rail line being built in the UAE, from the border with Saudi Arabia in the west to the border with Oman in the east. This line will pass both through Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The train will be the most convenient and fastest way to travel between the cities. The speed of the passenger trains will be 125 miles per hour (200 kilometers per hour). It is certainly not as fast as the Chinese or Japanese high-speed trains, but it is a record for the Middle East.

But so far this project is at the early stage.

In June 2018, the Dubai Media Center announced a new project, the HyperLoop train, which moves in a vacuum tube at speeds of up to 745 miles per hour (1,200 kilometers per hour). The travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai will be only 12 minutes! On November 9, 2020 there was the first and successful public test of the demo line of this system, but only 1,300 feet (400 meters) long.

But this super-project is unlikely to be realized in the near future. Let's wait and see.


If you want to get there quickly and comfortably, then take a cab directly from the hotel in Dubai (Abu Dhabi) to the object of interest in Abu Dhabi (Dubai).

The price of the trip is from 170 to 340 dirhams. See the tables above on this page for exact prices. Travel time - 1-1,5 hours;

If you want to get cheap, then use E100, E101, E102 buses. Find the full information above on this page.

The price of the trip is 25 dirhams per person. Travel time (total) is 2-2.5 hours to the facilities in the center of Abu Dhabi, 3-3.5 hours to Yas Island.

A compromise option to Yas Island is to take the E100 or E101 bus, get off at Al Shahama, and take a cab to Yas Island. The way only works from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, it does not work back.

The price of the trip is 25 dirhams per person for the bus + 30 dirhams for the cab to Yas Island. Travel time (total) is about 2 hours.

What else you should know

- If you choose CAREEM cab, you can get a discount of 100 dirhams. The discount coupon is given when you buy an Etisalat Visitor Line SIM card. For details, we told in the reviews "Internet in the UAE" and "How to call cheap from the UAE";

- Buses E100, E101, E102 are recently paid only in dirhams and only with NOL cards. Read our reviews "NOL cards - features and fares";

- You can theoretically take a cab in euros, pounds or dollars, but a cab driver will give you an unprofitable rate. It is better to pay in dirhams, read our detailed review "Currency exchange in the UAE".

Have a comfortable travel in the United Arab Emirates, and read our pages about the country (see the list of the pages below).


Tips for Tourists in the UAE


What to Take for the UAE

What You Should Not Do in the UAE

To the UAE with Kids

Sharks in the UAE

Weather in the UAE by Month

Holidays in the UAE

Are Unmarried Young Women
Allowed to Enter the UAE?

All-Inclusive in the UAE

Power Sockets & Voltage in the UAE

Hotels in the UAE with Own Beach


The UAE - Info, Facts, Figures

What Language is Spoken in the UAE

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History of the UAE

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Friday and Weekend in the UAE

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Sheikh Zayed - Father of Nation

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What to Bring from the UAE

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Shopping in the UAE - Why is Cheap

Date Fruits in the UAE

Camel Milk and Dairy Products

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Money in the UAE - Emirati Dirham

Currency Exchange in the UAE

How Much Money to Take to the UAE

Food Prices in the UAE

Tourist Taxes in the UAE

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Dubai Metro - Fares and Map

Taxi in the UAE - Fares and Guide

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