London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
Having just wrapped up our adventure holidays in the UAE, can’t stop raving about the fabulous road trips from Dubai: between Khasab’s rugged coastlines where we swam with turtles and sailed with dolphins; to the deserts and majestic Hajar mountains and Jebel Jais; to legendary days out with Ferrari World in Yas island, to art filled Abu Dhabi and chilled white sand beach of Saadiyat island; the Emirates have spoilt us once again so much in 2 weeks! Our UAE road trip itinerary started conveniently in Dubai airport, a mere 7 hours flight from London to blue skies and balmy weather; thereafter Ras Al Khaimah based for 6 days (for Oman, desert and mountains adventures); Abu Dhabi for 5 days and to wrap up, 4 days in Dubai.
And yes it is difficult to leave behind Dubai’s glam Palm hotels and funky Palm West Beach parties; but there is so much more to UAE to explore and indulge in! Here are some of our favourites Dubai and Abu Dhabi itinerary collected over the years!
1. Ras Al Khaimah is so much more peaceful than the busy big city of Dubai, and if you are like us, in need to recharge first before having lots of fun, this is the right place. The is most Northern emirate that spreads across 2500 sq kilometres. Our base was Hayat Island and Marbella villas, right next to boutique newly open Intercontinental; we loved chilling by the sea or kids splashing by our villa’s pool and working out at the gym, playing table football and pool; dining and wining at Levant in the evening as well as sipping cocktails by Noho.
We’ve also explored the area, wining and dining is good, sunset cocktails by Waldorf Astoria happy hour; indulged into Karma Kafe (by Buddha Bar)‘s fuming cocktails, sushi and ceviche; tested Hayat Island casual eateries and markets. It makes a wonderful pied a terre for further adventures as well, and if you are like us, 6 days are much needed!
2. Khasab Oman daytrip, sailing on traditional Arabic dhow, swimming with turtles and finding dolphins is a must for 7 of the best road trips from Dubai! A trip from Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah is relatively easy with an early start; we drove in our own car to Oman border where we have been greeted by Khasab Tour guys for the crossing (our rental car specifically excluded driving in Oman and for 1 day on this occasion we thought best to go with the terms rather than shop around for a more generous geography for the rental car).
Worked out very well, a beautiful sunrise by the mountains, a quick border cross UAE-Oman, 8:30am we were in Khasab sipping Arabic coffee! One magic day by Musandam fjords, back to majestic Hajar mountains, sailing with dolphins and swimming with green turtles, a generous lunch by boat with barbecued freshly caught local fish, salads, hummus and few other Omani dishes!
3. While Jebel Jais is located in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, it warrants its own road trip from Dubai. UAE’s highest peak has stunning views but it is also home to some exhilarating rides: the world’s longest zipline and the Jais Sledder! On this trip we had to content ourselves with sunrise and sunset roadviews as the heavy showers affected the fun!
4. The desert! A 45-minute scenic drive from Dubai International Airport, Al Wadi Nature Reserve nestles within the 500-hectare glorious indigenous wildlife such as antelopes, Arabian oryx, camels and gazelles. We had dinner under the stars at the Farmhouse in here and loved Ritz Carlton Bedouin-style oasis.
5. The boys favourite adventure day out was Ferrari World by Yas Island, the kids labelled it as legendary! Fun parks and rides are all at a different level in here and we found frankly 1 day not sufficient to exhaust so many fabulous options: 9 years old favourite was the Turbotrack with a smile 😅; 6 years old favourite racing GP junior and clip and climb; the other half favourite Ferrari simulator; my favourite, the karting and Formula Rossa junior.
Ferrari world was a wonderful adventure of rollercoasters and ziplines inside the sleek Yas Mall, dedicated article coming soon!
6. Abu Dhabi! Somehow the life in UAE’s capital flows gentler here, the pace is sweet and few days recovery after the NYE parties were great! We could not decide on a single base, so we ended up with 2 fantastic days at Fairmont and thereafter 3 days at Ritz Carlton. We have raved extensively about Abu Dhabi in the past, our dedicated article in here.
Louvre Abu Dhabi is a must on Dubai and Abu Dhabi itinerary: Jean Nouvel’s architecture is magnificent and sunsets especially gorgeous in there; the permanent collection is filled with glorious antiquities (that our Percy Jacksons fan adored), whilst the children museum visionary and engaging.
The other must see of Abu Dhabi we reckon is Sheikh Zayed Mosque: the largest in UAE, its architectural grandeur meant to reflect the cultural diversity of the Islamic world with a contemporary art twist. Swarovski crystals chandeliers and mosaic marbles are just some of the highlights; it makes a stunning sight at sunset – we soaked in daily from our Ritz Carlton glam pied a terre!
7. Saadiyat island, a natural island we felt in love with 10 years ago, 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi island. We love the white sand, chilled vibes and in 2023 we found St Regis beach as stunning as we left it, Turquoiz now a fabulous Buddha Bar, as good as Buddha Bar Mykonos by Santa Marina!
7 fantastic options for road trips from Dubai and one great UAE road trip itinerary, we have done it within 10 days, one could easily make 2 weeks out of it though! And once we soaked in all the beauty and exploring, we found the pool parties still there by W Palm and bohemian Palm West Beach !
UAE we had a blast once again and will be back! For Abu Dhabi & UAE around dress codes head here ; for more inspiration in the Middle East and a 10 days roadtrip from Dubai to Oman head here (Muscat, Al Hajar mountains, the wadis, dessert and Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve). For more roadtrips in Morocco head here.
Disclosure: Many thanks to Ferrari World and Louvre Abu Dhabi for the press passes, overexcited kids and opinions in here entirely ours.