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Itinerary to visit Al Ain

Updated on 05.06.2018

Paved street crossing the Oasis of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Rich of history, Al Ain will be the historic getaway of your stay in the United Arab Emirates - here we offer several itineraries to discover the main attractions of the city - for a tour from the city in a matter of hours, a day, two days or more.

Foreword

This article presents the main attractions of the city of Al Ain. The sites of interest are not presented according to their importance, but according to a coherent visit itinerary, with a chronological historical progression and an optimized visit itinerary. It is quite possible to realize this program on a day, but if you do not want to visit everything at the run, you will be able to ignore some sites of less importance that we will announce you. We will not discuss here two major attractions that have their articles dedicated, because it must be spent at least half a day: Al Ain Zoo and Wadi Adventure (an amusement park dedicated to aquatic sports). Finally, we recommend you read on this site our article on the history of the city of Al Ain. Important sites like Al Ain Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum and Al Jahili fort are closed on Mondays, and open late on Fridays, so we do not recommend following this proposed itinerary these two days of the week.

Map of Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) with the location of the main tourist attractions of the city ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Getting to Al Ain: Itinerary

It is quite possible to visit Al Ain during the day from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which are approximately 2 hours and 1 hour 30 minutes drive respectively. The most convenient solution is to have a rental car, which allows great flexibility in traveling. From the bus stations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, there are many buses connecting Al Ain. If you choose this option, it will be necessary to leave very early and return late to have time to visit everything. Arriving on site, you can negotiate with a taxi a price for the day, stating that you want to go to Jebel Hafeet if it is the case. Or simply use taxis by paying the price displayed on the meter.

Location of the city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Itinerary Al Ain Tour in one day

Start with the archaeological site of Hili north of the city, which will make you discover the first traces of homes of the region dating back several millennia, including round funerary graves.

Then head south and stop for a few moments at Al Qattara Fort and Al Qatarra Oasis. This is a secondary site that you can ignore if you are short in time.

Al Qattara Fort has a walled enclosure within which stands a three-storey square tower, the first two of which were once inhabited. Nearby, an oasis that you can walk (or maybe by car if the guard opens the gate). In the oasis there are other fortified buildings being restored. Again, if your time is short, you can hide this site, and visit only the main forts of Al Ain and its great oasis which we will discuss later.

Then direction Al Jahili Fort. It is the most beautiful fort of the city with its imposing round tower. This is an important example of regional military architecture, and if you were to visit only one fort at Al Ain, it would be this one.

Then leave for the palace Sheikh Zayed also called Al Ain Palace Museum, which is a must-see attraction of the city.

The entrance to the Al Ain Oasis is not far from Sheikh Zayed Palace. In fact there are several entries but it is this one which is the most practical. A few years ago it was possible to cross the oasis by car, and go directly to the Al Ain National Museum (site of less importance), but this is no longer possible. Park your vehicle at the entrance and go to the other side of the gate.

Then go for the camel market, which should take you at most 15 minutes on site.

The final stage of the day will be the sunset at Jebel Hafeet. One hour before dusk, you must begin your ascent to be on top in time. If you have time, stop by Green Mubazzarah for a moment of freshness and relaxation. The site is at the foot of Jebel Hafeet.

The best vantage point of Jebel Hafeet is at the Mercure Hotel. Take a drink and watch the sunset.

If you had planned only one day in Al Ain, it is probably time to reach Abu Dhabi or Dubai, which are about 2h30 and 2h15 respectively.

You can also stay a little more in town to visit the sites that you have not had time to visit during this day. Maybe spend a half day at Al Ain Zoo. Or go to the Wadi adventure park go down an artificial river kayaking or rafting, try the hook-branch and zipline, or surf on an artificial sea with giant waves. It is also possible to make an incursion into Omani territory in the city of Buraimi, with beautiful fortresses.

The Grand Mercure Jebel Hafit, of the French hotel chain Accor, is a beautiful place to spend the night. In the city of Al Ain, there is a wide range of establishments. We can quote the Hilton, which despite its dated façade has very beautiful interior gardens and swimming pools.

Itinerary visit Al Ain in 2 days or more

Although Al Ain can be visited in one day, to explore it quietly, he is advised to stay one night at the hotel on site. The second day you can for example in the morning go to the zoo, and the afternoon to the Wadi Adventure park. You can also cross the border and visit the two great fortresses of Buraimi, which are much larger than those of Al Ain, and give you a taste of the important architectural achievements you can find in Oman.

Visit Al Ain in a few hours

If you only had a few hours to devote to Al Ain, we advise you to focus on three sites: Sheikh Zayed Palace, then Al Ain Oasis. Finally, Fort Al Jahili.

Hotels in Al Ain

Notes and references :