Al Ain

Just a 90-minute drive from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is the capital's garden city, one of the world's oldest permanently inhabited settlements and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don't forget your phone when visiting this green region because it's filled with visual gems and characterful sights perfect for photos. Think lush and ancient oases you can wander through, historical forts, archaeological parks home to ancient artefacts, old-world palaces, charming camel markets, an equestrian, shooting and golf club, and vibrant souks (markets) selling authentic Emirati crafts, spices, carpets, perfumes and more.

A Lush Oasis: Al Ain Oasis is one of the garden city’s most stunning sights. With its still-operational traditional falaj (ancient irrigation system) and pathways shaded by 147,000 date palms and fruit trees, it’s the perfect place to see what this region’s agriculture has looked like for millennia.

The Pride of a Nation’s History: Birthplace of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the beautiful Qasr Al Muwaiji fort has been carefully preserved and masterfully restored into a state-of-the-art museum and exhibition that brings to life the story of Abu Dhabi's ruling family.

Ancient Forts: Al Ain is home to historic buildings, like Al Jahili Fort and Al Qattara Fort. Erected in 1891 to defend the city and its palm groves, the former houses works by British adventurer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, with the latter boasting an arts centre and gallery.

Glamping Off the Beaten Track: Want a completely different experience of the great outdoors? Set at the foot of a craggy mountain range, Jebel Hafit Desert Park lets you ride a camel, bike up a mountain, take a buggy for a spin and spend the night under the stars in an air-conditioned bubble tent. There's something here for the whole family.

Adventure Water Park: Watersports lovers must try Wadi Adventure, in the Jebel Hafit foothills. Home to the world’s longest man-made white water rafting channels (perfect for rafting and kayaking) it also has the world’s longest surfing wall, wakeboarding facilities, swimming and splash pools and an aerial adventure course.