Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Dressed in riches, Dubai and Abu Dhabi beckon. Be immersed in history and culture as you visit mosques and museums, dine with locals, and explore bustling souks selling spices, gold, and textiles. Delve into the unique contrast between tradition and modern achievement in the UAE and learn about the importance of falconry in Abu Dhabi. For adventure, there’s dune bashing and camel rides!

sample trip

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Package inclusions:

  • Private motorcoach transportation
  • 9 nights’ accommodations
  • 19 meals (9 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners)
  • Admission to attractions as stated on itinerary
  • Porter service of one bag per person at hotels
  • Taxes and gratuities for included services
  • Professional tour manager
  • Audio listeners
  • 1 single occupancy comp
    (based on 25 full-fare passengers; airfare not included)
  • Travel show
  • Pre-departure meeting
  • 100 brochures/marketing materials
  • Complete document packet for each traveler
  • Special surprises

All tours are completely customizable. Contact us to discuss your group’s unique interests and needs!

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Itinerary

Day 1

Today we will transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to Dubai, UAE.

Note: The airport location and airline will be confirmed no sooner than nine months before departure.

Day 2

After arriving in Dubai, we will pass through passport control, meet our local guide, and transfer to our hotel. Relax and get ready for an amazing adventure in the United Arab Emirates!

Day 3

We begin our day with breakfast at the hotel before setting out to see Dubai. Our tour will start in the oldest part of the city, where we will walk through the labyrinthine lanes of the Bastakia Quarter. The narrow walking lanes of this nicely-restored heritage area are flanked by sand-colored houses topped with wind towers that provide natural air-conditioning. Here we will see the old merchants’ houses and even a few examples of the straw houses that were in use until the end of the 50s. Today there are about fifty buildings containing museums, craft shops, cultural exhibits, courtyard cafés, art galleries, and two boutique hotels. To really understand how fast the city’s development has been, a visit to the Dubai Museum is an absolute must. The museum’s comparison between old and modern Dubai, which are separated by only a small number of years, showcases the continuous efforts that led Dubai to its current state of progress and pioneering. Lunch today will be a very special experience. In a country like the UAE where more than 90% of the population are expats, it is not always easy to meet and talk to Emirati citizens. We will have the opportunity to dine with locals and talk to them about their traditions, faith, and culture. Next up is a ride on a small abra (water taxi) across Dubai Creek. On the other side, we will walk through the exotic and aromatic Spice Souk and one of the best-known gold bazaars in the world. This evening we will have a dinner cruise on a typical “dhow” – a traditional boat used until the 1970s to transport goods from neighboring countries to the Emirates and still used by smaller companies and fishermen. While cruising, we will enjoy a buffet of Arabian, Indian, and Iranian foods and the nighttime illumination of the modern and traditional buildings.

(Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

Day 4

We start the morning with a thrilling elevator ride up the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We will ride up 124 floors to the panoramic level in less than one minute and take in the breathtaking views of Dubai and the surrounding desert. Once we’re back on ground level, we will head to the Dubai Miracle Garden. This is the world’s largest flower garden with millions of blooming flowers in a variety of sculptures and designs. Keep your camera handy as we board a speedboat in the marina to see the impressive shoreline of Dubai and some of its really remarkable buildings, including the artificial Palm Islands, Atlantis, the famous sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel, and much more. Following lunch at the Atlantis hotel, we will return to our hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure.

(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 5

Today we will travel a short distance north to Sharjah and pass by many buildings famous for their Islamic architecture, like the University of Sharjah and the Faisal Mosque. We will visit the Blue Souk and the traditional Souk Al Arsah that is intricately decorated. We’ll see the unique and very beautiful exhibition of Islamic art at the Museum of Civilization before continuing on to Al Ain, the spiritual heart of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Multiple oases are the defining elements of the city and were created through the ingenuity of the ancient falaj irrigation system. Today there is a modern city surrounding the lush beauty of the relatively untouched Al Ain Oasis. Enjoy the evening at leisure in a beautiful resort setting.

(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 6

Our day begins with a visit to the camel market to see these large animals up close and hear traders discussing the price and merits of their animals. This is the last souk, or marketplace, of its kind in the UAE and often has goats, sheep, and sometimes cattle. We will then walk through the narrow paths of the oasis with our guide, who will share details on farming techniques and the falaj watering systems, which bring water down from the mountains. A lovely lunch buffet will be served in a hotel up on the mountain of Jabal Hafeet before we continue on to the city of Abu Dhabi. Enjoy dinner on your own in any one of the many nearby restaurants.

(Breakfast and lunch included)

Day 7

Following breakfast we will depart on a panoramic city tour starting with the Grand Mosque, one of the largest in the world and certainly one of the most beautiful. Next up is the Louvre of Abu Dhabi, an architectural masterpiece with both classic and more modern exhibitions. Artwork from around the world is shown at the museum, with particular focus placed on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. Our touring continues after lunch as we pass by the Royal Palaces and stop in the souk of Abu Dhabi. This modern market was built in a traditional style on the location of the old souk in 2016. It is connected to a modern shopping center so there is sure to be something for everyone! Dinner this evening will be enjoyed as a group at the Emirates Palace.

(Breakfast, lunch, and dinner included)

Day 8

After checking out of the hotel, we will tour the Falcon Hospital. Around 11,200 falcons are taken in each year for examination and treatment. Since its inception, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has become the largest falcon hospital in the world, one of the most well-respected in the Gulf region, and a leading center for falcon medicine worldwide. We will learn all about falcons, see treatments, and have the opportunity to hold a falcon. Afterward, we will head into the desert, driving through the Empty Quarter to the luxurious Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort. Expect the most beautiful sceneries and sand dunes that are some of the largest in the world! We will settle into our rooms and dine on a delicious dinner buffet.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 9

The majority of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. Relax in the spa, take a dip in the beautiful pool, or simply enjoy the view from the terraces of the hotel. In the late afternoon, we will hop into specially-adapted 4×4 vehicles for some dune bashing! It’s a thrilling experience and also affords wonderful views of the desert landscape among the tall sand dunes. For those looking for something a little less adventurous, a 30-40 minute camel ride is an alternative possibility. This evening we will have dinner in a traditional desert camp set up exclusively for the group including free-flowing house wines and beers.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 10

The morning is yours to enjoy at leisure. We will then board our motorcoach for the journey back toward Abu Dhabi to visit a carbon city project. We’ll see examples of energy-efficient ways to build and keep a desert city semi-cool. We will then continue on to Dubai and check into our downtown hotel. The group will gather for a wonderful dinner tonight. We’ll reminisce on our amazing experiences in the United Arab Emirates over a delicious meal before retiring to our rooms for the evening.

(Breakfast and dinner included)

Day 11

We will say goodbye to the UAE as we make our way to the airport for our flight home.

(Breakfast included)