Al Ain, UAE

Al Jahili Fort

Al Ain Oasis

Al Ain Camel Souk

As much as we love the hustle and bustle of city life here in the UAE, and with so many amenities at our finger tips, some weekends you just want to escape, recharge those batteries and soak up some of the ancient history the Middle East has to

offer - Al Ain is the perfect cultural getaway!

Located approximately 150 km from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, you can drive to Al Ain within 2 hours. It is situated in the eastern region of the United Arab Emirates bordering Oman and known as the garden city. It is famous for its greenery, parks, tree lined streets and its renowned date palm oasis.

We have captured best places to visit and stay in Al Ain…

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Where To's Best Of Al Ain

Al Ain Oasis 

Al Ain translates as ‘the spring’ in Arabic, so why not start with a stop at the Al Ain Oasis which is home to some 140,000 date and palm trees covering over 1,000 hectares. Take a stroll through the shaded meandering pathways or hire a bike and explore the 100 different species of palm trees and fruits such as Mango, Orange, Banana and fig. Attend the recently opened eco-centre and learn about the still operational Falaj – the ancient irrigation system used to irrigate the oasis  has been carrying water from the mountains for centuries. Al Ain Oasis is free entry and in 2011 it was sanctioned as an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Al Jahili Fort

One of the largest forts in the United Arab Emirates, Al Jahili Fort was a representation of power and the royal summer residence when it was first built in the 1890’s by Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa the First. During the summer months, Abu Dhabi’s rulers left the intense humidity of the coast for cooler weather in Al Ain and resided at Al Jahili Fort. Today, it is a museum showcasing photogrpahs of the royals and how life existed in the fort. Furthermore, there is a dedicated exhibition to British explorer, Wilfred Thesiger portraying an account of his travels and his stay in Al Ain in 1948 when he met with Sheikh Zayed. Entry is free and there is ample parking.

Al Ain Palace Museum

Home to first president, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and also the founder of the UAE, who spent most of his life here from 1927 until 1966 where he lived with his family until they later moved to Abu Dhabi when he became ruler of the Emirate. The museum provides a fascinating insight into family life and the life of the community until its transformation after the discovery of petroleum. Free entry and ample parking available.

Al Ain National Museum

An extraordinary and in-depth insight into the UAE’s archaeology, heritage, culture and civilisation. The museum captures how Emirati people lived their daily lives by leading you on a journey from its pre-oil era to the present day urban sprawl standing today.

 
Qasr Al Muwaiji

Towering over the oasis and built around 100 years ago in the early 20th century, Qasr Al Muwaiji underwent huge restoration to make space for a modern visitor centre showcasing exhibitions of the history of Al Ain and the royal family. The building was used as a Diwan (a council or seat of governance) and as a place for the community to meet. In 1946, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was appointed as the ruler’s representative and given a seat of governance so he moved to Qasr al Muwaiji. The fort became his Diwan and his family home. Entrance is free, ample parking nearby and there is also a coffee shop on site.

Al Ain Camel Souk

If you want to throw yourself into Arabic culture then the famous camel souk, a traders market, is open daily from 11am. It’s perfect for a short family trip where you will see many camels and goats. The market is located 15km from the centre of Al Ain.

Al Ain Classic Car Museum

If you are a motor enthusiast or simply want to mooch around vintage cars, then the classic car museum is worth a visit. A 2,000 square meter air-conditioned building opened in 2009 houses 40 odd vintage cars. Entry fee is 15 AED per adult and 5 AED per child. Easy parking available, but makes sure you check ahead of your visit as it is closed during summer months.

Hili Archaeological Park

Located just outside the main city, it’s an ideal stop off on either your way in or out of Al Ain. The site provides evidence of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements, burial grounds, forts and agricultural infrastructure dating back to 3000 BCE. Artefacts from this site can be seen at the National Al Ain Museum. Free to visit.

 

Al Ain Palace

Al Ain Palace Museum - Home to founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan

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Where To Stay Over

Where to stay over

If you are looking for a peaceful stay but also with the convenience of hotel facilities then book yourself into the Mecure Grand in Jebel Hafit and opt in for a room overlooking the mountains. With its intriguing 70’s architecture, the hotel boasts several restaurants, a pool and games area for children. Rooms are well priced starting at 300 AED and full board / half board packages also available – ideal if you’re on a budget. Book here.

If glamping is your style then check out the dome tents at the Jebel Hafit Desert Camp. Soak up the magnificent views of Jebel Hafit and stay in these luxury glamping domes which come with a TV, fridge and air conditioning. Book here.

Glamping in Jebel Hafit

Glamping in Jabel Hafit

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