Also known as the “Garden City”, Al Ain is surrounded by lush palm groves and natural springs. Unlike Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is devoid of skyscrapers and showcases a laid-back atmosphere with ancient forts, fantastic museums and Heritage-listed sites.
Things to do in Al Ain
To capture some of the best views in the UAE, head up the winding mountain road to the summit of Jebel Hafeet. It towers 1,240 metres above the Empty Quarter and offers sweeping views of the arid desert landscape. Keep an eye out for red foxes, wild cats and rock hyrax roaming the area.
From lions and tigers to rhinos and hippos, Al Ain Zoo is home to the world's biggest enclosed safari. Inside you'll find over 250 African and Arabian animals. Some have been reared through the zoo's well-respected breeding programme. Animal lovers will appreciate the zoo's spacious enclosures and conservation efforts.
For a glimpse at life in the UAE, head to the Al Ain Camel Market. From adorable babies to handsome studs, it's packed full of camels in all shapes and sizes. Watching locals haggle for camels is a unique experience, so arrive early in the morning to witness the deals take place.
Surrounded by palm groves, Al Jahili Fort is one of the UAE's most impressive buildings with honey-hued towers and landscaped grounds. The main courtyard houses a fantastic black-and-white photo exhibition featuring snapshots captured by legendary travel journalist Wilfred Thesiger.
Getting around Al Ain
Al Ain is serviced by an extensive network of public buses that run throughout the city, while taxis are also popular. From the city centre, the drive to Al Ain International Airport takes around 30 minutes, but allow up to two hours if you're driving from Abu Dhabi.