How to Get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai

Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the two of the largest growing tourist destinations in the world right now. The glitz and glamour of both, coupled with the family friendly atmosphere and year round sunshine makes for an amazing trip to the UAE. When visiting Abu Dhabi you’re certainly going to want to check out Dubai, and visa versa but you will need to know how to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai.

Below we take a look at every possible way of travelling between the two best cities in the UAE and the cost of doing so. I’ve looked at everything from public buses to self hire cars.

How Far is Abu Dhabi from Dubai

For those who want to know how far Dubai is from Abu Dhabi, the distance is around 100 miles or 160km. The duration of travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi does vary depending on your type of transport. You will need to consider which part of the city lines you begin your journey. In addition, journey times can take an average of 1 hour 20 minutes to 2 hours.

1. Flights from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

The very first one is short and sweet and we are going to write it off. The only flights between these two airports are long and expensive. Both airports have many flights which go to destinations such as Oman, Cairo, Istanbul etc. Furthermore, the reason you will see “flights to Abu Dhabi from Dubai” online is due to this reason only.

Verdict: Unless you’re wanting to spend 2000 AED on a twelve hour flight stopping at Istanbul then avoid this method.

2. Metro from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

How to Get Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai | The Vacation Builder

The second method I am going to take a look at is the metro. However, the metro only runs so far outside of Dubai before changing to a bus service. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at this method and the costs.

You can catch the red line metro service from Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa which runs to IBN Battuta metro bus stop. Journey time for the first leg is around 30 minutes. If your further south than downtown Dubai then it’s probably worth making your way straight to IBN Battuta metro bus stop. Tickets for the first leg are ridiculously cheap at around 3AED depending on time.

The second leg of the journey starts at IBN Battuta and terminates at Abu Dhabi central bus station. Journey time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes, with tickets available from just 25 AED depending on time.

Verdict: A cheap and efficient way to travel between both cities but you may aswell just catch the bus instead (below).

3. Bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabir | How to Get Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai | The Vacation Builder

Thirdly, we take a look at buses which run between the two cities. Al Ghubaiba bus station runs a public bus to Abu Dhabi every half an hour (Route 100). For those less familiar with Dubai, Al Ghubaiba bus station is in Al Souq Al Kabeer, just outside Dubai Maritime city. If you aren’t anywhere near hear then busses do run from Downtown Dubai but they go back on themselves to Al Ghubaiba before moving on to Abu Dhabi.

The bus from Al Ghubaiba to Abu Dhabi can be as cheap as 25AED depending on time of day and takes around 2 hours to reach the centre of Abu Dhabi. You are able to pay cash at the bus station or by using the Dubai NOl card.

Alternatively you can catch the bus from IBN Battuta Metro Bus Station (Route 101). Travel time from here to Abu Dhabi is around 1 hour and 35 minutes but the cost remains the same.

To return from Abu Dhabi to Dubai via bus you must simply start back at the end destination of Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. There are no other bus stations in Abu Dhabi where you can catch the bus to Dubai.

Verdict: A cheap way to travel between both cities but public transport can become overcrowded at certain times of the day. Please be careful with you NOl card as this works for public transport owned by the council of Dubai and not Abu Dhabi so this method will not work whilst in Abu Dhabi for getting around.

4. Taxi Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Taxi ride from Dubai to Abu Dhabi | How to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai | The Vacation Builder

Taxi’s offer a quick way of travel in and around the UAE. With the price of fuel being so cheap they’re also an option which are not as expensive in comparison to other major cities around the world.

The journey duration between the two cities will obviously depend on traffic and the location within the city that you start so I have taken a look at the above between both city centres.

Downtown Dubai to the centre of Abu Dhabi is around 140 km and 1 hour 20 minutes on a good run. Taxi prices to vary but most reputable taxi firms in the cities will give you a fixed cost before you travel. DubaiTaxi.ae offer taxis to and from the above locations from 250 AED one way.

Tip: Don’t panic if the taxi driver stops half way and asks you to change over into another taxi. Most drivers in both cities do not want to go far out of their zones. You may have to pay two fares, one to a certain point and then another to your final destination but this is perfectly normal.

Verdict: Taxis are easy to call down pretty much anywhere in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and offer a quick and easy (and not too expensive compared to other cities) mode of transport. On the down side, some of them drive a little crazy!

5. Self Drive

The fifth option is to hire a car whilst your on vacation. The journey time is obviously the same as via a taxi but this can actually save you money. Approximate fuel cost would be a maximum of 30 AED one way, compared to the taxi cost of 250 AED. You do have the car rental costs to consider but this will allow you more freedom on your stay in the UAE.

Take the below as an example of car rental costs in Dubai taken from RentalCars.com.

If you take into consideration that the cost of a return taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi si 500 AED, then renting a car for a whole week for just 583 AED is a steal. Drivers in Dubai or Abu Dhabi must be experienced in my opinion as the roads are fast and driving etiquette is virtually non-existent in the city. In addition, daily rental starts from around 150 AED.

Tip: Rent your car from the airport to make an easier journey for all.

Verdict: Renting a car gives you more bang for your buck and more freedom but you need to look at where you will park it and road safety in the cities.

6. Day Tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

When staying in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, operated day tours are another great way to travel between the two cities. Day tours are a good way to get around as you get to see the most inspiring parts of the city with little effort. Furthermore, you don’t need to worry about researching where to go in each city or how to get around, as your tour guide will take care of it.

One example I have found is with Viator, who offer a day tour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for just 180 AED per person. This is cheaper than a taxi, less hassle and probably more enjoyable too. The day tour lasts for ten hours and will give you a chance to see many of Abu Dhabi’s attractions such as The Grand Mosque, Ferrari World, Yas Island and the Louvre Museum.

Day tours are ran from busses and so the typical tie to get between the two cities still stands at around 2 hours.

Tip: Try to book your day tours online before travelling to the UAE as it will be cheaper and save you the hassle of finding a trustworthy local firm.

Verdict: Day tours are a great way to get around. If you factor in the tour guides expertise then this is one of the best ways to see Abu Dhabi from Dubai or visa versa.

Costs to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Method of TransportDurationPrice pp
Flights (Non Direct)12 Hours2000 AED
Metro/Bus1 Hour 30 Mins25 AED
Bus2 Hours25 AED
Taxi 1 Hour 20 Mins250 AED
Self Drive1 Hour 20 Mins180 AED
Day Tour2 HoursFrom 180 AED

Getting from Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi

Having read all of the above methods for travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai you may be wondering whether you can get to Abu Dhabi direct from Dubai airport and the answer is yes.

There is a bus from terminals 1 and 2 at Dubai airport which run to Al Ghubaiba bus station and then on to Abu Dhabi from there. Alternatively from terminal 3 you can catch the metro to IBN Battuta Metro Bus Stop, then bus from there on to Abu Dhabi.

The metro / bus option varies between 30-40 AED depending on times and the bus options from terminal 1 and 2 vary between 30-50 AED. Travel times are very similar from Dubai airport to Abu Dhabi at around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Getting from Abu Dhabi to Dubai Airport

If you need to get back to Dubai Airport from Abu Dhabi you can take the same methods of transport and transport lines as you went to Abu Dhabi from Dubai on. However, the bus link will terminate at A Ghubaiba in Dubai though so you will then have 3 options to get to Dubai airport.

  1. Jump in a taxi – approximate cost of 40 AED and travel time of 15 minutes
  2. Jump on line 33 bus – approximate cost of 5 AED and travel time of 40 minutes
  3. Metro, which only goes to terminal 3 – approximate cost of 7 AED and travel time of 15 minutes

Getting from Dubai to Abu Dhabi Airport

Alternatively, if your flying out of Abu Dhabi you may need to know how to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi airport. You can follow any of the above methods to get to Abu Dhabi central bus station but from there will have 3 options.

  1. Jump in a taxi – approximate cost of 80 AED and travel time of 25 minutes
  2. Bus link 115 – approximate cost 10 AED but over 2 hours travel time and includes a ten minute walk in between Mussafah 16th St. and 15th St.
  3. Bus X80 which takes around 1 hour 30 mins but is more expensive at 15 AED

Travelling Between Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports for Free with Etihad

Free travel to between abu dhabi and dubai with Etihad Airways | How to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai | The Vacation Builder

Anyone flying with Etihad can book their free shuttle service. The shuttle service runs from Dubai airport to Abu Dhabi and from Abu Dhabi airport to Dubai. In addition, connections between the two with Etihad also run to and from Al Ain. Etihad Airways have an easy to book online portal which can be used up to 24 hours before your coach is required.

When flying into Abu Dhabi simply follow the signs to Etihad Coach once you have cleared customs. Etihad coaches are located at the lower level of arrivals. Coaches run to Mazaya Centre which is in the centre of Dubai and close to many of the major attractions and hotels. Journey time is around 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Etihad Airways Bus Terminal Location Map

Etihad Airways Bus Terminal Location Map

Mazaya Centre Coach Schedule

Mazaya Centre Coach Schedule

For anyone travelling between Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, journey time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The bus station is in the centre of the district as you can see below.

Bus Station Location

Etihad Coach Schedule – Al Ain

Etihad Coach Schedule to and from Al Ain

When flying into Dubai with Etihad and looking for transfers to Abu Dhabi it is a little more hard work. Unfortunately there are no direct busses from Dubai airport to Abu Dhabi with Etihad. Rather you have to make your way to The Etihad Travel Mall. Seats on the coach will still need booking via the above method. Make sure to show them your tickets and they will provide you with a free shuttle service.

A taxi between Etihad Travel Mall and Dubai Airport will cost around 40 AED.

Verdict: When flying to Abu Dhabi and wishing to visit Dubai it is worth using the Etihad free coach service. However, rather than trying to return via the same method it’s definitely worth choosing one of the above methods to save you time and hassle. If you’re flying into Dubai and wishing to visit Abu Dhabi then this coach service is more hassle than it is worth.

More information on the Etihad free shuttle service can be found here.

Travelling Between Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports for Free with Emirates

Travelling between Dubai and Abu Dhabi with Emirates

Similarly, when flying with Emirates, they too offer a free shuttle service to and from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Connection time stands at around 2 hours and the shuttle must be booked at least 48 hours prior to departure. However, there are a couple of important things to take into account here which have been pulled from Emirates T&C’s on their website.

  • When buying your flight ticket on emirates.com, make sure to specify Abu Dhabi or Al Ain as the departure or arrival city. This will ensure that your booking on the bus is included on your flight ticket.
  • When buying a flight ticket through an Emirates office or travel agent, you should request the agent to include the Abu Dhabi or Al Ain bus on your ticket before issuing your ticket.

Tip: If you’re lucky enough to be flying first class or business with Emirates OR Etihad, a complimentary chauffeur service is provided free of charge. However, this still requires prior booking.

Pick up and Drop off Times from Abu Dhabi Airport to Dubai with Emirates Free Shuttle

DepartureArrival
03:0005:15
05:0007:15
09:4512:00
16:3019:00
22:0023:59

Pick up and Drop off Times from Dubai Airport to Abu Dhabi with Emirates Free Shuttle

DepartureArrival
23:00
01:15
02:0004:15
07:1509:30
10:0012:10
15:0017:15

Pick up and Drop off Times from Dubai Airport to Al Ain with Emirates Free Shuttle

DepartureArrival
02:3004:15

Pick up and Drop off Times from Al Ain to Dubai Airport

DepartureArrival
21:0023:05

Pick up and Drop off Points

DestinationPick UpDrop Off
DubaiArrivals Terminal 3Departures Terminal 3
Abu DhabiIn front of Emirates Down Town office – Khalidiya – CornicheIn front of Emirates Down Town office – Khalidiya – Corniche
Al AinAl Ain Mall, Costa Coffee Entrance opposite Mashreq Bank, Othman Bin Affan StreetAl Ain Mall, Costa Coffee Entrance opposite Mashreq Bank, Othman Bin Affan Street

Verdict: The free shuttles are a great and cheap way to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai but be careful. Always check the departure times against your flight arrival times to prevent being sat around for hours. Another reason to be careful is the Abu Dhabi drop off and pick up area. The Corniche in Abu Dhabi is nowhere near the airport and so you will have to use one of the methods above for travelling to and from the pick up point. In addition, always remember to pre book the shuttle services by using any of my links provided.

More information on the Emirates free shuttle service can be found here.

Travelling to Yas Island from Dubai

Warner Brothers World Abu Dhabi

If your travelling with kids and have pre booked a trip to Yas Island in Abu Dhabi then there is also a free shuttle service available. For a full guide to the best attractions on Yas Island you can read my blog post here.

The good things about this service is that it does not matter where you are located. Thebus to and from Yas Island will pick up AND drop off. Pick up and drop off points in Dubai include Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Deira City Centre and Saadiyat Island Hotels. Guests need to show their e-ticket to the bus driver and it is operated on a first come first served basis.

For more information check out the Yas Island Website here or download their timetable and map here.

Hiring a Private Chauffeur

Some travellers may prefer to hire a private chauffeur for their journeys to and from Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Furthermore, the cost of this compared to other major cities in the world is extremely reasonable and makes it a financial possibility for most.

There are many highly rated chauffeur services in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, of which a few can be seen on the links below.

Super Fast Travel Between Abu Dhabi and Dubai Coming Soon

The future is bright for travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi as two companies have come together to begin to construct the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop will be a train loop between the two major cities and will ferry passengers at speeds of more than 1,000 km an hour. This will simplify travel between the two cities and will increase tourism numbers even further as passengers will be able to get from one city to the other in just 12 minutes.

The realistic side to this is that what was once proposed as a 2020 opening date will end up looking more like 2030. There’s an update and more information on the Hyperloop here for anyone interested.

Thank you for reading this post on how to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I hope this has been informative and helps you on your journey. For more information and travel tips on both Dubai and Abu Dhabi visit our blog here or follow us on Pinterest.