Driving time: 1hr 56mins (173km).
Being bound on all sides by desert, the UAE is hardly well known for its greenery, but as soon as you approach this most verdant of outposts on the Al Ain Road, you’ll soon realise how it gets its “Garden City” moniker.
Things to do
Explore Al Ain Oasis
It’s not called Al Ain Oasis for nothing; this is a lush area, filled with trees, plants and plenty of shrubbery.
There are almost 150,000 date palms in this tranquil spot in the middle of Al Ain city and it uses the traditional falaj water system for irrigation and wells to store the water.
There are places to get food and drinks, free parking and it’s close to Al Ain’s other excellent attractions, including Al Ain Palace and the National Museums. To see why Al Ain is called The Garden City, you really don’t need to look any further than this beautiful spot.
Hessa bint Mohammed Street, Al Mutawaa, Al Ain (03 712 8523)
Dive into some water sports
Navigate your way through crashing waves of an adrenaline-charged whitewater rafting experience at the base of Jebel Hafeet. As well as the rafting, Wadi Adventure offers kayaking, wakeboarding and surfing. All raft trips include a professional guide and all of the safety equipment you could need, so get ready to make an almighty splash.
From Dhs35 (adults). Open daily 11am-7pm, Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain, www.wadiadventure.ae (03 781 8422).
At a towering 1,249m, Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in Abu Dhabi, but the mountain will make you work for those rewarding views. Forged out of craggy limestone, weathered over the course of a million years, this mountainous landmark stands guard over
Al Ain and borders Oman.
You can drive your way to the top (it is one of the best road trips around) or, if you are up for it, cycle to the summit via a winding highway. Whatever course you take, you can be sure of stunning views over Al Ain to enjoy.
Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain, www.visitabudhabi.ae.