If you want to explore Abu Dhabi in your own way, in your own time and at your own space, you have lots of transportation options at hand: rental cars, chauffeur services, city cars by the minute, electric scooters and bikes.
With so much to see and do during your stay in Abu Dhabi, renting a car is a convenient and flexible way to get around the Emirate. A rental car will also enable you to explore areas outside the city center such as Al Ain and the Emirate’s many islands. You could also go off-roading in the desert, why not? Furthermore, and you will love this, petrol prices are really cheap in this part of the world, which actually makes renting a car in Abu Dhabi a very affordable option.
Many of the world’s top car rental companies are located in Abu Dhabi, and they offer a plethora of car types from budget and family cars to luxury vehicles and superb sports cars. You can rent a car the moment you land at the airport or simply have one delivered to your hotel or local address in the city.
What you need to know about car rental in Abu Dhabi
- You must be 21 years old to rent a car and you must have a full driving license. If you are from outside the United Arab Emirates you will also need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
- Do NOT drink and drive. Abu Dhabi has a Zero Tolerance Law with high penalties and potential prison sentences for driving under the influence.
- Do NOT use hand gestures as they are frowned upon in the UAE. They can easily be misunderstood, so do not lose your temper on the road.
- Follow the traffic rules and local speed limits. Be aware that there are cameras at most intersections. If you run a red light, you will be fined.
- Parking in Abu Dhabi is available at pay-to-park car parks and within hotels and resorts. For on-street parking, you will need to use the Mawaqif system. Parking meters are available throughout the city and parking is fortunately pretty reasonable.
- Always check with your car rental company whether off-road driving and dune bashing in the desert is permitted in your agreement. Be aware that off-roading does require special driving skills, and make sure to go with at least one other car for navigation and safety.
Feel like taking your transportation up a notch? There are many independent private companies in Abu Dhabi, offering luxurious, chauffeur-driven limousine services to get you around the city in style and without any stress.
City cars by the minute from U Drive
If you only need a car for shorter periods and trips, U Drive is a service whereby you can rent cars by the minute and pick up and drop off cars from any Mawaqif public parking or free parking area in Abu Dhabi. To get started, you need to sign up on the U Drive website and download the app to locate and open a car near you.
Electric scooters are now available for rent in designated areas of the city. To drive an E-scooter in Abu Dhabi, you must be 14 years old and wear a helmet. Headphones and earphones are not allowed while riding, neither is taking on a passenger – E-scooters are for solo use only. The speed limit for driving E-scooters is 15-20 km/h, and they must be ridden in designated areas and on designated paths only. Geofencing means you won’t be able to ride out of a defined area, but you can drop the scooter anywhere within the area.
You will need an app to unlock and ride the E-scooter. All you need to do is download the rental company’s app – there are several electric scooter rental companies in Abu Dhabi – set up an account, load your account with credit and you’re ready to go. On average, it costs about AED3 to unlock and AED1 per minute of driving.
Pick-up and drop-off bikes
If pedal power is your preferred way of cruising the city, then you will be pleased to learn that Abu Dhabi is home to about 300 bikes in a pick-up and drop-off bicycle scheme. Simply pick up a bike from one of the stations between Yas Island and Emirates Palace, take a ride and drop it off when you’re done. Prices start from AED20 for a day.