Car Rental in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is a buzzing, modern city filled with so many fun and memorable attractions for all the family. Situated within touching distance by car of other notable places in the UAE like Dubai, Sharjah and Al Ain, having your own vehicle in Abu Dhabi can truly enhance your overall experience and keep you out of the sweltering heat.
Where to rent a car in Abu Dhabi
There are many international car rental agencies available directly from Abu Dhabi International Airport if you want to collect your vehicle soon after touching down. Many companies also have offices located around the city, so you can arrange your rental car in your own time after you’ve settled in. Some of the international car rental companies to be found in Abu Dhabi city center include Dollar, Europcar, Thrifty, Budget and Hertz along with several local providers. Getting into Abu Dhabi from the airport is possible by public bus and by reasonably priced taxis if you would rather collect your vehicle from the center.
Driving in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi roads can get rather hectic, especially if you are out in the morning and evening rush hours or just after sunset during Ramadan. Although there are definitely worse cities in the world for driving, Abu Dhabi can be a daunting experience for drivers if you aren’t used to it. Expect speeding and dangerous overtaking and heavy traffic jams in central areas. On the holy day of Friday you will find the streets are a lot emptier, so this may be the time to fit in any sightseeing or embark on day trips on the roads that do get much busier. If you have had just a drop of alcohol over lunch or dinner you must not step foot in your vehicle – if you are stopped by police and tested you could be given a one-month prison sentence.
Parking in Abu Dhabi
Free parking was recently abolished across Abu Dhabi Island, so you need to prepare to pay for any parking space you find in this area (Fridays excluded). Mawaqif parking machines are becoming ubiquitous across the city and allow you to easily make payment for your parking by the hour. In most cases parking will cost AED 2 per hour and permits are available for long term residents. Mawaqif parking rules are enforced from 08.00-24.00 from Saturday-Thursday and fines can be hefty, so make sure you abide by the rules. Mawaqif parking zones will be marked turquoise and black – there are also premium zones marked turquoise and white which cost AED 3 per hour (up to 4 hour max stay). Most shopping malls and hotels will have their own car parks and often provide valet parking services.
Where to go around Abu Dhabi
Many of Abu Dhabi’s finest attractions are far easier to reach by car than by bus or taxi such as Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Yas Island. From Abu Dhabi you can fit in day trips to other top destinations within the UAE including Dubai which is just a 90-minute drive north along the E11 highway. The beautiful inland city of Al Ain, known by locals as “The Garden City” for its lush greenery, can be reached by car in less than 2 hours. You can also continue driving past Dubai to reach Sharjah which is just 30 km further than Dubai and a fascinating cultural destination.
* This information is correct as of December 2018