The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven unique emirates, each governed by its own set of laws. Dubai may be the most popular for tourists, boasting golden beaches, opulent hotels, fine dining, vibrant markets, and extravagant cars. However, to truly experience the country, it’s essential to explore beyond Dubai and immerse yourself in the rich culture, captivating history, and breathtaking natural beauty that the other emirates have to offer. Join us as we guide you through five one-day travel options from Dubai that will give you a taste of the real UAE.

Entry Requirements for One-Day Trips from Dubai

Travelers heading to Dubai are required to present a printed certificate of a negative PCR test result, obtained within 72 hours prior to departure, from an accredited laboratory. Additionally, health insurance covering the entire duration of the trip, including coronavirus treatment costs, is mandatory. Upon request, a second complimentary test may be administered. Don’t forget to download the COVID-19 DXB Smart App (available on iOS and Android) before embarking on your journey.

Exploring by Rental Car: 5 One-Day Road Trip Ideas from Dubai

Our one-day travel itinerary is designed for non-stop exploration, making car rental the most convenient option. Opt for a small hatchback, which starts at just $40 per day, and you’ll find that it’s more cost-effective than taxis and less exhausting than public transport. Perfect for your whirlwind adventure.

What to do?

Hot air balloon

If a desert jeep safari or a camel ride doesn’t quite excite you, then it’s time to take to the skies – quite literally. Experience the vast expanse of the desert and watch the sunrise from the comfort of a hot air balloon at dawn. Starting at just 850 dirhams per person, the price includes transfers and even a delicious breakfast to enjoy after your breathtaking flight.


20 kilometers from Dubai

Sharjah, known as the nation’s cultural capital, offers travelers a wealth of stories that go beyond the dazzling displays and captivating skyscrapers typically found in the UAE.

At the heart of the Heritage District lies a treasure trove of historical buildings that preserve the city’s authenticity. This is where you’ll find the Museums of Calligraphy and Islamic Civilization, as well as Fort Al-Hisn, which houses an impressive collection of weapons. A visit to the Sharjah Heritage Museum offers insight into the local culture and religious aspects, with an entrance fee of just 10 dirhams. Meanwhile, art enthusiasts can appreciate the work of Arab artists at the Museum of Art Sharjah, where admission is free.

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Just a short distance from the Heritage area, you’ll find the fascinating Archaeological Museum. This captivating museum allows you to delve into the rich history of the Arab land, from the Stone Age to the rise of Islam in the region. Discover ancient ornaments, ceramic utensils, and unique clothing – it’s hard to believe that these items were once part of everyday life. The entrance fee for the museum is a mere 10 dirhams, making it an affordable and intriguing one-day travel option from Dubai.

For automobile enthusiasts, the city boasts a Museum of Vintage Cars, showcasing a collection of around 100 immaculately restored and polished models from the last century. Some of these rare vehicles were produced in extremely limited numbers, making them a true delight for visitors. Admission to this nostalgic treasure trove is a mere 10 dirhams.

The United Arab Emirates boasts numerous markets, but the Blue Souk is a must-visit, holding the title as the largest market in the country. Its name originates from the stunning Arabic blue mosaic adorning its walls. With over 600 stores, the Blue Souk offers an unimaginable array of goods, from clothing and jewelry to spices and sweets, and of course, carpets – perfect for a unique souvenir to gift your grandmother. Just remember, haggling is the name of the game here, so don’t be afraid to bargain until you get the best deal.

For a nostalgic trip down memory lane and a break from museum-hopping, consider a visit to Al Montazah Amusement Park. This charming destination features three distinct zones: thrilling attractions, a refreshing water park, and serene gardens adorned with fountains. A day pass to access all areas is reasonably priced at 120 dirhams, making it the perfect one-day escape from Dubai.

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Stroll along the picturesque Al Zasba waterfront, and as the sun sets, hop aboard the Eye of the Emirates Ferris wheel to soak in breathtaking views of the city bathed in golden hues. This delightful experience costs just 30 dirhams, making it a must-do activity during your one-day getaway from Dubai.


135 kilometers from Dubai

Nestled amidst lakes, mountains, and wildlife, it’s no wonder adventurers are drawn to this picturesque destination. Visitors can immerse themselves in thrilling activities such as kayaking, mountain sightseeing, boating, and even catamaran cruising. Water-based adventures start at just 60 dirhams, with more information available on the website.

For adventure enthusiasts, there are ample trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In between these adrenaline-pumping activities, catch your breath and immerse yourself in the authentic village of Hatta Heritage Village. Here, you’ll be transported back in time, experiencing the rural life of the past as portrayed in paintings by renowned Arab artists.

Nestled amidst the stunning natural beauty of Wadi Hub entertainment center, thrill-seekers can test their skills in axe throwing, archery, rock climbing, and karting. For the more adventurous, zorbing offers a unique experience as you roll down a picturesque slope in a giant transparent ball. With a range of activities priced between 10 and 95 dirhams, there’s something for everyone. For those who prefer a more tranquil experience, pitch a tent and spend the night under a mesmerizing starry sky.

Ras al-Khaima

120 kilometers from Dubai

Photograph: Chernysh/

Thrill-seekers and mountain lovers, rejoice! Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven emirates, boasts the Jebel Jais zipline – the world’s longest at 2,830 meters, as recognized by the Guinness Book of Records. For a mere 300 dirhams, you can soar across the breathtaking mountain gorge at an exhilarating speed of 120 km/h. If that adrenaline rush isn’t quite your cup of tea, you can also embark on a trek to the summit of the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais, and bask in its majestic beauty.

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For history buffs and lovers of ruins, Al Jazeera al-Hamra is a must-visit destination. This abandoned fishing town was once bustling with life but in the 1960s, the locals left their homes in search of a better life near the oil-rich regions. As you wander through the coral stone buildings, it’s easy to imagine the simple lives of the fishermen before the oil boom transformed the UAE. And if you’re in for a little thrill, there are whispers of ghostly encounters in the area. Perhaps the spirits of the fishermen have returned to their old haunts – or maybe they never left at all.

The Khatt Springs region is renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, known to possess healing properties. Visitors can indulge in the natural baths and steaming pools while enjoying panoramic views of the surroundings. Entry to this rejuvenating oasis costs just 25 dirhams, making it an affordable and enticing escape from Dubai’s bustling city life.

El Fujairah

150 kilometers from Dubai

Nestled along the Gulf of Oman, the smallest emirate beckons with its stunning beaches and unparalleled diving experiences. The vibrant underwater world is simply irresistible for aquatic adventurers. Expect to shell out 200-250 dirhams for a dive into this mesmerizing marine paradise.

Discover the oldest mosque in the country, Al-Bidia, on your one-day travel adventure from Dubai. Don’t expect lavish decorations and intricate designs; everything here is refreshingly modest. Dating back to the 16th century, the mosque was built without the luxury of marble, gold, or brocade. Nearby, you’ll find a historic fort that may not be visually stunning but houses a museum containing relics unearthed during excavations. The entrance fee is a mere 5 dirhams, making this a budget-friendly and culturally enriching experience.

The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an impressive architectural marvel, with its towering minarets and intricate marble decorations. While only Muslims are permitted to enter, non-Muslim visitors are welcome to marvel at the mosque’s stunning exterior. In the evenings, the mosque is spectacularly illuminated, making it a must-see destination for travelers exploring the Emirates.

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Janet Benoir is an esteemed travel journalist renowned for her vivid storytelling and deep cultural insights. With over 20 years of experience, her work has graced the pages of prestigious publications such as "Geography Insider Malaysia" and "Traveling + Exploring". Her passion for adventure and unique narratives has led her to over 80 countries, immersing herself in local cultures and traditions. Janet's eye-opening features, which artfully blend history, culture, and personal anecdotes, resonate with readers globally.