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Dubai to Abu Dhabi by Train or Metro: A Practical Guide

    The train from Dubai to Abu Dhabi has become a reality, and numerous travelers to the UAE are now wondering how to conveniently commute between these two cities. Discovering Abu Dhabi, the captivating capital of the UAE, is an essential part of any visit to Dubai. This modern and ever-growing city boasts world-class museums, a wide range of theme parks, perfect for the whole family to enjoy, and is home to numerous wonderful architectural and cultural attractions.

    But how does one make this journey? Is it possible to travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by train or metro? In this article, we’ll explore the best ways to plan your day trip to Abu Dhabi and provide some insights into the much-talked-about Dubai to Abu Dhabi train.

    Can I travel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi by Train or Metro?

    As of now, the short answer is no. There are no trains from Dubai and Abu Dhabi or metro links connecting the two cities. However, exciting news is on the horizon, and changes are in the pipeline! Currently, the most convenient way to travel between the two cities is by road. The distance between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is approximately 150 kilometers (about 93 miles), and the journey typically takes around 1.5 to 2 hours by car, depending on traffic conditions.

    The Dubai Metro’s current route takes it to the Jebel Ali area, which is a bit further from Dubai Marina, near the Expo 2020 area. However, there are no metro trains from Dubai to Abu Dhabi at present. The good news is that there are two exciting railway projects in the pipeline to connect these two bustling cities. The first and most futuristic of these projects is the Hyperloop: a magnetic levitation supersonic train capable of reaching mind-boggling speeds of 1200 km/h.

    Though it sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, it holds the promise of revolutionizing travel. If realized, the Hyperloop could whisk passengers from Dubai to Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes, a remarkable contrast to the current 1.5-hour car journey. However, it’s worth noting that this project is still in the prototype stage and yet to become a reality.

    The second railway project, which is now nearing completion, is the Etihad Rail – officially the new and first UAE’s National Rail Network. As of 2023, the Etihad Rail’s freight transport is operational, and soon (probably around 2024 or 2025), passenger transport will be available as well.

    Etihad Rail: UAE’s National Rail Network

    Etihad Rail is the official name of the UAE’s National Rail Network, designed with a straight axis running along the north coast of the country and supported by a series of capillary branches connecting all major cities, ports, and industrial centers. Spanning a total length of 1200 km, its initial purpose was to transport extraction products, primarily sulphur, from the oil fields of Liwa and Shah to the port town of Ruwais. This essential section was put into service in 2016.

    Subsequently, an extensive railway was rapidly constructed, cutting through the desert just inland from coastal towns, villages, and industrial areas, even extending beyond Fujairah. The tireless efforts culminated in the near-completion of Etihad Rail – the UAE’s National Rail Network – in 2023, and freight transport has been operational on the entire line since February of the same year.

    Excitingly, plans are underway to introduce passenger transport services on the main Etihad Rail route, seamlessly connecting Fujairah, Ajman, and Umm Al Quawain with the major urban centers of Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. This would then provide the first ever option to travel by train from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Once implemented, this ambitious project will reduce travel time significantly, with the journey from Abu Dhabi to Dubai taking only 50 minutes, and a trip to Fujairah achievable within 100 minutes.

    With the potential integration of other transport modes like buses, metros and city transport within the urban areas, the impact on the way people travel between Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and other cities is expected to be transformative. The improved connectivity offered by Etihad Rail will undoubtedly revolutionize transportation options in the UAE.

    How can I get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi?

    While you won’t be able to travel by train from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, there are several good options for getting between the two cities. Abu Dhabi is easily accessible from Dubai, and you can choose from different solutions based on your needs:

    • RENT A CAR: Renting a car is a great idea as the E11 highway runs straight between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, allowing you to make the journey in just over 1 hour.

    ☞ Check our guide on how to Rent a Car in Dubai: discover the best and cheapest car rentals!

    • GUIDED DAY TOUR: If you prefer a hassle-free experience, consider taking part in a guided day tour that departs daily from Dubai. A multilingual local guide will show you all the best things to see in Abu Dhabi, and you’ll enjoy round-trip transportation with pickup from your Dubai hotel.
    • PRIVATE TRANSFER: For those who need to go to Abu Dhabi airport or a specific hotel, or are traveling with heavy luggage, booking a private transfer is a good idea. This ensures punctuality, reliability, and impeccable service. There are also convenient solutions that offer you the option to rent a car with a driver at your disposal for almost an entire day. This is perfect for visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi at your own pace and without any worries.
    • PUBLIC BUS: The cheapest way to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi is by taking one of the public buses that connect the two cities. There are three different routes to choose from:
      • Bus E100: From Al Ghubaiba Bus Station to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. The ride takes about 2.15 to 3 hours.
      • Bus E101: From Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Abu Dhabi Central Bus Station. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours.
      • Bus E102: From Ibn Battuta Bus Station to Mussafah Shabiya Bus Station in Abu Dhabi. The journey takes approximately 2 to 2.15 hours.

    ☞ Here you will find all the info about the Dubai to Abu Dhabi Bus, including timetables and fares.

    Keep in mind that the bus journey takes almost twice as long as other options, and once you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you will need to take a taxi to get around and visit the city. Alternatively, you could opt for the convenient and practical hop-on-hop-off double-decker buses, which provide an excellent audio guide service and cover all the must-see places in Abu Dhabi.

    If your purpose is to visit the city, then taking a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi may not be the best solution due to its high cost and impracticality!

    Are you planning your trip? These tips may come in handy: