Rent a Car for Travel in Abu Dhabi

As the capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi dazzles visitors with stunning modern architecture, cultural sites, and natural oases. Having your own set of wheels makes it easy to explore the island city and surrounding Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Here’s a guide to renting a car for travel in Abu Dhabi.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Abu Dhabi

Renting a car provides these key advantages over taxis and public transit:

Flexibility and Freedom

Visit sights on your own schedule, change plans on the fly, and access areas outside the city center easily like Al Ain and Liwa Desert.

Comfort and Convenience

Driving yourself allows comfort in air conditioning versus crowded, hot buses and trains. Keep belongings safe and close.

Access Remote Sites

A rental car makes it easy to reach cultural sites in Al Ain and natural wonders like the singing sand dunes that are hard to reach via public transit.

Cost Savings

For longer stays, having a rental car could save money compared to paying individually for taxis, trains, and tours.

Roam Far and Wide

A rental car makes it simple to explore the breadth of Abu Dhabi Emirate from desert to coastline to oasis cities.

Booking Your Abu Dhabi Rental Car

If renting a car in Abu Dhabi, keep these tips in mind:

Reserve Early

Book your rental car well in advance since availability is lower during Abu Dhabi’s peak tourism season from October to April.

Pickup/Dropoff Spot

Choose a rental location close to your hotel or apartment. Airport pickup adds significant time to your arrival.

Compare Rates

Research rental rates across different companies. Joining loyalty programs can provide discounts.

Inspect Insurance Options

Verify insurance requirements and exclusions. Consider added coverage as personal insurance may not extend overseas.

Choose Vehicle Carefully

Rent a 4×4 or SUV if planning desert adventures. Book early as supply is limited.

Seek Discounts

Search available promo codes and coupons to lower your total rental costs. Sign up for travel deal emails.

Navigating Abu Dhabi by Car

Driving in Abu Dhabi requires awareness and preparation:

Avoid Rush Hours

Plan sightseeing during non-peak times to bypass intense morning and evening traffic. Getting stuck costs precious vacation time.

Drive Defensively

Local drivers may drive more aggressively. Drive cautiously and don’t engage with road rage.

Obey Traffic Cameras

Abu Dhabi rigorously monitors speed limits and traffic violations by camera. Fines are mailed out for offenses.

Carry Documentation

Have rental agreement, license, and passport handy as police checkpoints are common around Abu Dhabi.

Leave Distance

Tailgating is common – don’t get frustrated. Just maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.

Get an International Driving Permit

Obtain an IDP to pair with your native license and translate it into Arabic and English.

Top Day Trips from Abu Dhabi

A rental car allows easy access to popular sites outside the main city center:

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visit the intricate architectural marvel of UAE’s largest mosque, just a short drive from downtown.

Jebel Hafeet

Drive 1-2 hours to climb this towering rocky mountain for incredible views over Al Ain.

Liwa Oasis

Journey 2+ hours to the tranquil Liwa Oasis with abundant date farms and outdoor activities.

Al Ain Oasis

Explore Al Ain’s sprawling palm oasis and mud-brick towers, about 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari World

Feel the thrill of world’s fastest rollercoaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, just 1 hour away.

Types of Rental Cars in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi agencies offer a wide selection of rental vehicles:


Best for solo travelers or pairs looking for affordability and fuel efficiency. Examples: Toyota Yaris, Kia Picanto.


Decent legroom and cargo space for 2-4 passengers. Easy to park and drive. Examples: Toyota Corolla, Nissan Micra.


Comfortable for 4-5 passengers plus luggage. Good for road trips outside the city. Examples: Toyota Camry, Honda Civic.


When you want to cruise Abu Dhabi in luxury. Leather seats, technology upgrades. Examples: BMW 5-Series, Mercedes C-Class.


Solid option for rougher terrain like sand dunes with cargo versatility. Examples: Ford Edge, Jeep Wrangler.

FAQ About Renting Cars in Abu Dhabi

What documents do I need to rent a car?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, credit card for deposit, and International Driving Permit. Some agencies require added ID.

How old do I need to be to rent a car?

The minimum age to rent a car is typically 21-25 years old. Younger renters incur added young driver fees.

Can I use my US driver’s license?

Some agencies accept foreign licenses, but an International Driving Permit is highly recommended and may be required.

Is liability insurance included if I rent a car?

Basic liability is usually included but you’ll want to confirm. Purchase CDW for collision damage coverage.


Renting a car enables you to maximize your time exploring lively Abu Dhabi and accessing harder to reach landscapes and oases nearby. Reserve early, inspect insurance needs, and rely on GPS to confidently cruise your desert adventures!


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