LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

I TUOI RACCONTI DI VIAGGIO

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PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The Best Guided Tours to Abu Dhabi and Oman from Dubai

The 5 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips to Abu Dhabi and Oman from Dubai

What are the best tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Oman? Your super detailed guide to the very best guided day-tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Musandam in Oman with my reviews and all the pros and cons of each tour. Are you in Dubai and want to visit Abu Dhabi in one day? Do you wish to visit the spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World and the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum? Do you want to book a boat tour to Musandam Fjords in Oman leaving from Dubai in the morning and coming back the same evening? A comparison and detailed description of the 5 best guided tours and day-trips from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Musandam Peninsula in Oman. Group excursions from Dubai to visit the Grand Mosque and Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The day-tour from Dubai to Abu Dhabi including tickets to Ferrari World. The day-trip from Dubai to visit the Louvre Abu Dhabi. How to visit Abu Dhabi from Dubai with a private car and a personal guide: the best tour to book. The very long but rewarding guided day-tour with dhow cruise and snorkeling trip from Dubai to Musandam Fjords in Oman: why to choose a tour to Musandam Khasab instead of Musandam Dibba. With full descriptions, my considerations, some suggestions and direct links to check prices and easily book online by credit card.

Guided Tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Guided Tour of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Gilles

What Are the Best Guided Day-Trips from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Oman?

Are you in Dubai and want to go to Abu Dhabi in one day to visit the fabulous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with a guide? Do you wish to see the Corniche, enter the Emirates Palace or explore the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum? Are you looking for an excursion by private car and a personal guide or do you wish to join a group tour? Do you want to spend a day at Ferrari World leaving Dubai in the morning, coming back in the late afternoon and getting tickets in advance? Are you planning a day trip to the stunning Musandam Fjords in Oman to see the dolphins and take a dhow cruise and a snorkeling tour?

  • I have selected tens of guided tours and day-trips from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Oman organised by locally based travel suppliers and sold online, and have chosen 5 different tours. These are not the only ones you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day-tours available on the market.
  • The first one is a group day-trip to Abu Dhabi from Dubai, the second one is an excursion from Dubai to visit Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World, the third tour takes you to visit the new Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum and the fourth is a tour of Abu Dhabi on a strictly private basis with a private car and a personal guide. The last tour is a very long but rewarding day-trip from Dubai to visit the magnificent Musandam Fjords in Oman, with a dhow cruise, a real chance to see the dolphins in addition to swimming and snorkelling in the clear waters of the most spectacular area in all the Persian Gulf.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with my considerations, some suggestions and all the pros and cons of each tour. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all these tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide, Withlocals and Viator. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
  • Moreover, if you stay in Dubai for some days and want to see the desert you can read my technical reviews of the most interesting and value for money 4WD desert tours in Dubai in the page The Best Dubai Desert Safaris and 4WD Tours. With my comments and all the important things you need to know before choosing, so that you can quickly get some idea of the several different options and book the tour that best meets your way of travelling.
Guided Tour of Abu Dhabi with Etihad Towers Observatory from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Guided Tour of Abu Dhabi with Etihad Towers Observatory from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Gilles

Full Day Tour of Abu Dhabi from Dubai

This is a classic excursion if you want to go and visit Abu Dhabi with a guided day-trip from Dubai, characterised by an attractive price and very good quality services. It’s a no-frills excursion but is well-paced, without rushing about too much. It’s focused on the visit to the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the climax of the day and the stellar attraction of the capital of UAE. After the mosque you take a tour of the city center of Abu Dhabi with stops to see and take pictures of the Emirates Palace, the impressive Etihad Towers and the Corniche, the photogenic sea-front of Abu Dhabi. The tour includes a visit to the not as significant Heritage Village and Zayed Centre. On the way back to Dubai you admire from outside the famous Ferrari World and nearby Formula 1 Circuit at Yas Island. The local supplier of the tour is OceanAir Travels, one of the very best in Dubai, reviews on TripAdvisor are excellent.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Dubai, be ready 30 minutes before scheduled pick-up time.
  • Duration: between 8 and 10 hours, depending on traffic.
  • Guide: German, Spanish, English, French and Italian speaking guides; not all languages are available every day.
  • Features: there are several options, both group and private, with different prices; ignore the super expensive private tours (usually the first option you read after you have selected dates and number of participants), instead look below and book one of the shared tours; these small group tours with maximum 15 people offer excellent value for money.
  • Price: includes transportation and guided tour of Abu Dhabi, lunch is not included.
  • Pros: the price of the shared tour; the pick-up and drop-off directly at your hotel; the chance to take a look at the best of what the capital of United Arab Emirates has to offer, without having to think of how to get there.
  • Cons: as per all group tours on departure and arrival the bus stops at several hotels (usually not more than five or six) to collect passengers, this means wasting time.
  • Good to know: to enter Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque you must dress accordingly, this means no transparent (see through) clothing, no shorts and skirts, no sleeveless shirts, no clothing with profanity, obviously no tight clothing, no swimwear and no beachwear. Usually this is not a big problem for women, for the very simple reason that all girls and women receive a djellaba to cover themselves at the entrance gate; boys and men, however, must pay attention as they are not given anything, so they must be dressed correctly before arriving, including long trousers and short-sleeved shirt, otherwise they have to stay outside. On Fridays visiting hours are more restricted than other days of the week, during Ramadan SZGM is usually closed to visitors on Friday and also during some specific Islamic holidays.
  • Recommended: if you are on holiday in Dubai for some days and do not want to miss the opportunity to have a look to Abu Dhabi and its magnificent mosque, without spending too much money.
  • The short option with the Great Mosque only: this is a 5 maximum 6 hour-excursion departing in the morning or in the afternoon with pick-up/drop-off at your hotel in Dubai and visiting only the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque located at the entrance of Abu Dhabi coming from Dubai, without proceeding to the center of Abu Dhabi and going back to Dubai after the visit, this is the link GetYourGuide | Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Mosque Half-Day Tour from Dubai, if things have not changed, the guide only speaks English.
  • The option with lunch at Emirates Palace: Emirates Palace Hotel is for Abu Dhabi what Burj Al Arab is for Dubai; if you want to enter what could almost be considered a royal palace this is the right tour; the place is sumptuous and you can decide what to eat at the buffet lunch, here is the link to check prices and book Viator | Abu Dhabi City Tour from Dubai including Lunch in Emirates Palace. Take note, this is an expensive tour.
  • If you want to enter the Emirates Palace but… spend less: this is a less expensive tour, a shared excursion to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with tea or coffee at the Emirates Palace, this is the link to investigate GetYourGuide | Sheikh Zayed Mosque with Emirates Palace Coffee; it includes pick-up/drop-off services at your hotel in Dubai and an English speaking guide, the tour is scheduled only a few days a week.
Guided Tour of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Guided Tour of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Coline Capelle

Tour of Abu Dhabi & Ferrari World from Dubai

A tour to visit both Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Ferrari World theme park in one single day, leaving Dubai in the morning and coming back to your hotel in the late afternoon. Well, you will not see everything, but you will spend some hours in the famous theme park and you will not miss out on the best of Abu Dhabi, that is its mosque. How is the tour carried out? You leave Dubai in the early morning, one an half hour’s drive to reach the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and when the visit ends proceed for an orientation tour of Abu Dhabi driving down along the Corniche. Then you spend the first half of the afternoon inside Ferrari World, the most unusual theme park in UAE. Your Ferrari World ticket gives you unlimited access to all attractions, including Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster with a speed of 0 to 240 km/h in 4.9 seconds and heart-racing heights of 52 metres. Lunch is not included, follow my suggestion and eat some snacks instead of wasting precious time sitting in one of the restaurants, in this way you maximize the few hours you have at your disposal.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Dubai.
  • Duration: about 9 or 10 hours, depending on traffic, early morning departure.
  • Guide: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese speaking guides; not all languages are available every day.
  • Features: at the update of this post, the tour is scheduled 3 days a week; this is a shared tour by minibus or larger bus according to the size of the group.  
  • Price: is per person and includes transportation, guided tour of Abu Dhabi and the entrance ticket to Ferrari World; lunch is not included. Please note, there is the option to substitute Ferrari World with Warner Bros Theme Park and Yas Mall but I do not recommend this tour, for a very simple reason: Ferrari World is unique and exists only here, theme parks and malls are all over the world, there is no reason to come to Abu Dhabi and visit one; also consider that the malls in Dubai are much more spectacular than those in Abu Dhabi.
  • Pros: in addition to the convenience of the pick-up/drop-off services there are three pros; seeing the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, spending two or three hours inside Ferrari World and taking an orientation tour of Abu Dhabi all in one single day.
  • Cons: you see Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque as it should be seen (the visit does not take long) but, of course, at Ferrari World you will not be able to take advantage of all the many attractions as time is too short, the place is worth more than the two or three hours you have at your disposal.
  • Good to know: please read the same rules about entering Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque described in the previous excursion.
  • Recommended: if you are in Dubai and want to see both the mosque and Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi without having to think about arranging the logistics of transportation.
  • The option with Ferrari World only: if you are not interested at all in seeing the city of Abu Dhabi and the mosque but want to spend all day at Ferrari World this tour is for you; it includes transportation from your hotel in Dubai to Ferrari World and back plus an unlimited all-day access entrance ticket to Ferrari World attractions; lunch and fast passes are not included; this is the link to book GetYourGuide | Ferrari World, Warner Brother, Yas Water Park with Transfers; at the update of this post there is the option to combine Ferrari World with Warner Bros, in truth I don’t think it’s such a good idea as you won’t get to see one or the other really well.
Ferrari World Theme Park and Abu Dhabi Guided Tour from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ferrari World Theme Park and Abu Dhabi Guided Tour from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Haziz J. Hayat

Tour of Louvre Abu Dhabi & Great Mosque from Dubai

This is an interesting tour and quite well balanced. In one single day it combines the visit to the two biggest highlights of Abu Dhabi. Opened in November 2017 and designed by Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is the newest attraction of the capital of UAE. This tour takes you to visit both the museum and the beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, leaving and returning directly to your hotel in Dubai. The driver will be your guide during the visit inside the mosque, instead you will visit the museum on your own, according to your wishes. If you like, you can rent an audio guide at the entrance, but many visitors skip this for the simple reason that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is worth visiting more for its spectacular architectural design rather than for the artefacts of the permanent exhibition. This excursion is arranged by OceanAir Travels, one of the most serious and appreciated of all UAE travel agencies, reviews on TripAdvisor are excellent and value for money of the tour is really good.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Dubai.
  • Duration: approx. 7 hours total, be ready half an hour before scheduled departure time, take into consideration that as passengers have to be picked up at several hotels, you may have to wait 30 to 45 minutes before the driver actually shows up at your hotel.
  • Guide: English speaking driver/guide.
  • Features: shared tour with other participants, transportation is usually by minibus, only sometimes by large bus.
  • Price: is per person, includes transportation from/to Dubai and Louvre Abu Dhabi ticket admission, entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is free for everybody; lunch is not included, usually you will be given at least half an hour to eat something at the cafe inside the Louvre.
  • Pros: the comfort of reaching Abu Dhabi, going back to Dubai and moving between the Louvre and the Great Mosque without having to think about anything; just consider that if you want to arrange this day-trip on your own using public buses between Dubai and Abu Dhabi (which is perfectly feasible) then you have to take into account the cost of 3 taxis: from Abu Dhabi bus station to the mosque, from the mosque to the Louvre and from the Louvre back to the bus station. As the mosque is located out of the center and far from the bus station and even though Abu Dhabi taxis are not expensive, the distances between these attractions are very far, tens of kilometers, only considering travelling within the city. And this comes at a cost.
  • Cons: well considering one and a half to two hours travelling both ways, your time will not be unlimited, you have about one and half hours to visit the Louvre Museum and 45 minutes/1 hour (it’s enough) for the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
  • Good to know: no tour on Mondays when the Louvre Abu Dhabi is closed; on Fridays departure time from Dubai is usually different from all other days, because on Fridays mosque visiting hours are more restricted; in addition take into consideration that during Ramadan Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is usually totally closed to visitors on Friday and also during some specific Islamic holidays; SZGM provides clothing for women to enter; boys and men, however, must pay attention as they are not given anything, so they must be dressed correctly before arriving.
  • Recommended: if you are in Dubai and wish to visit in one shot the real cream of the crop of the capital of UAE.
Guided Tour to the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Guided Tour to the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo Credit: Robert Haandrikman

The Wonders of Abu Dhabi: Private Day-Trip from Dubai

Discover Abu Dhabi from Dubai with a private tour and your own personal and exclusive guide. This is a tailor made tour and the excursion can be fully personalized according to your wishes. The suggested itinerary includes a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a drive along the Corniche and a stop to admire the Emirates Palace from outside, then two unusual stops rarely included in standard tours: the fascinating Dhow harbour and the vegetable and date market. Plus a drive through Saadiyat Island and its nice beach and Yas Island to see the futuristic Viceroy Hotel and Yas Marina Formula 1 Circuit. Lunch is not included, if you like your guide will suggest a particular place where you can have a delicious Arabic lunch.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: any hotel in Dubai.
  • Duration: 8 hours, departure between 8 and 9am, you decide your pick-up time.
  • Guide: driver plus guide; look at all available guides for your preferred date and the languages they speak; you can choose an English, German, French, Hindi, Tamil and Spanish speaking guide.
  • Features: 100% private tour with car and guide reserved only for you.
  • Price: includes private transportation from and to Dubai and guide assistance; the real cost depends on the number of participants; starting from 4 people the price starts to be reasonable, from 5 or 6 people it becomes competitive compared to a shared tour; usually you pay a deposit online by credit card and give the balance in cash directly to the guide on the day of the tour, instant confirmation at the time of booking.
  • Pros: a car/minivan on an exclusive basis; the tour can be totally personalized for you; perfect for getting to know and learning something more about local habits and customs, this is your chance to ask your guide questions about the United Arab Emirates and the Arab world that you could only ask travelling with an expat who lives in the UAE.
  • Cons: if only 2 or 3 people book, the cost is quite high.
  • Recommended: for families and groups of friends.
Tour to Khasab Fjords with Dhow Cruise in Musandam Peninsula, Oman, from Dubai

Tour from Dubai to Khasab Fjords with Dhow Cruise in Musandam Peninsula, Oman

Photo Credit: John Crane

Oman: Musandam Khasab Fjord with Dhow Cruise from Dubai

Musandam Peninsula in Oman is one of the best excursions you can do from Dubai. At least if what you are looking for is a monumental place in terms of natural beauty. Now, there are two Musandams: Musandam Dibba and Musandam Khasab. But they are not the same. The tours that take you from Dubai to Dibba are much less expensive: but opting for one of these you could make the wrong choice. Why? Because the fjord scenery for which Musandam Peninsula is famous is far more spectacular and fascinating in Khasab compared to Dibba. Yes, of course, Khasab is located on the extreme northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula, this means it is farther from Dubai, you need more time and more money to get there. But rest assured, if you decide to pay money and dedicate time to Musandam Peninsula than go to Khasab, do not hesitate. You will see a beautiful place and there is a strong possibility of meeting the dolphins too! The Khasab tour I suggest and which you find described below is one of the most expensive of all the excursions to Musandam, but it’s very well organised, your dhow is super comfortable and the cruise in the fjord lasts up to about 5 hours, usually with two snorkeling breaks, more than other companies offer.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Dubai.
  • Duration: between 11 and 15 hours, with a very early morning departure, usually at about 6am or 6:30am, generally you are back in Dubai for mid-evening; the actual duration of the tour is affected not only by traffic, but also by the double crossing of the border between UAE and Oman.
  • Guide: English speaking driver/guide for transportation; boatmen and crew speak English onboard the boat.
  • Features: shared tour with other participants, transportation is by car, minivan or more rarely by bus; generally a minimum of 2 people per booking is required plus a minimum of passengers in order for the tour to take place; in case of cancellation after confirmation or if there are not enough passengers to meet requirements you will be offered an alternative tour or full refund.
  • Price: is per person and includes transport from/to your Dubai accommodation, 5 or 6-hour dhow cruise with buffet lunch, unlimited onboard soda, mineral water, tea/coffee and use of snorkeling equipment and towels; Oman visa requirements and charges are included and are the responsibility of the local supplier only (obviously if you hold a passport that allows you to cross the border into Oman).
  • Pros: spending a relaxing day on a boat, in a very comfortable way, sailing in crystal-clear water. Swimming in the sea as it should be, the kind sea water that people in Dubai or Abu Dhabi can only dream of. No skyscrapers nor ugly vistas. The dolphins are a plus, you come across them almost every time you sail out and see them from a few meters away.
  • Cons: well, this is not a tour you book by chance; it needs at least 3 hours per way (4 hours in case of heavy traffic or queues at the border) to cover a distance of 210 kilometers separating Dubai from Khasab; but the landscape along the way is not that bad, particularly when you approach and enter Oman, if you are a curious traveller you won’t get bored.
  • Good to know: from Dubai you go to Oman, than you travel back to UAE, do not forget your passport (it must be valid at least 6 months), otherwise no tour and no refund. At the update of this post the official tour page confirmed that the Oman visa is included in the cost, and the local supplier takes charge of the visa issue and charges, anyway please note that many nationalities can easily obtain an Oman visa online, see the official website of Royal Oman Police; nonetheless, at the time of booking you’re required to write your nationality, passport number and expiry date. If there are any problems your booking request will not be accepted. After your reservation is confirmed write an email to the local supplier (you receive all contacts immediately after booking) and ask final clarification that they take charge of your visa issue, in order to remove all doubt.
  • Recommended: if you want to discover a surprising landscape, a wild place, with huge rock walls hundreds of meters high and without a single tree rising above the clear blue waters of the Persian Gulf; if you want to admire with your own eyes what is by far the most majestic and spectacular marine scenery of all the Arabic Peninsula.
  • Video: the landscape of Musandam Peninsula and the relaxing atmosphere aboard the dhow sailing Khasab Fjords in these images courtesy of Axel Estable:

Important!

  • I am not the organizer of these tours, I do not arrange any of the excursions and day trips you can read about in this blog. And I have never even taken part in them. To write all the guides published in the blog I travel independently arranging all transfers and all visits on my own.
  • But not everybody likes or has the time to study and prepare where to go, what to visit, how to organise things and transportation in advance. So, I have researched and compared tens of guided tours sold by the main online travel companies and have described the tours which I think are the best and the most complete. The results are the tours presented in this article.  
  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator, Withlocals and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator, Withlocals or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And, most importantly, the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email of local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help.  
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Last Update: May 19th 2019

Creative Commons 2.0 GenericFront cover photo credit: a great view of Abu Dhabi, courtesy by Robert Haandrikman. Photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Attribution Licensed Photos. Please read here the Summary of the Legal Code. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.