With a new high-speed road linking Fujairah and Dubai, there's never been a better time for a road trip through the UAE. Travelling through the desert is an unforgettable experience - just don't forget to stop off to soak up some culture en route.
Located on the east coast of the UAE, Fujairah sits in the shelter of the magnificent Hajar Mountains, forming part of a rocky, dramatic landscape that seems worlds away from the sand dunes surrounding Dubai. In fact, it's only about 40 minutes away, thanks to the Sheikh Khalifa Highway, which cuts through the mountains to link Fujairah City with the UAE's most populous emirate. Our Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah in Dibba Al-Fujairah is the perfect base for your journey - take a look at this guide to making the most of the still fairly new highway.
Dibba to Masafi
Set off in the early morning and take a left out of the city to drive through an almost lunar landscape of rocky plains. The road takes you straight to Masafi, an old village which straddles two different emirates: the western half belongs to Ras al-Khaimah, while the eastern part remains in Fujairah. As you approach the village, you'll pass the misleadingly named Friday Market, which actually takes place seven days a week. The eclectic range of wares on sale can include fruits, vegetables, carpets and pottery from across the Middle East, making it an ideal place to pick up some authentic ingredients or souvenirs.
Masafi to Fujairah City
Carrying on the E89, approaching Fujairah City, you'll see the Al Bithna Fort and cemetery. Like most Emirati forts, you can't actually go inside, but it's impossible to pass by without stopping to admire this 18th century relic. If you're passing through Fujairah on a Friday, drop in on the weekly bull-butting. This bizarre sport is thought to date back to Fujairah's time as a Portuguese colony, and involves two huge Brahma bulls locking horns in a bloodless battle to be declared the stronger competitor. It's one of the few social activities where Emiratis of both sexes mix freely, with men, women and children all equally enthusiastic spectators.
Fujairah to Dubai – Sheikh Khalifa Highway
After leaving Fujairah City, it's time to ascend into the Hajar Mountains along an immaculate dual carriageway, which literally cuts a swathe through these stunning peaks. This new road has been a godsend for Fujairah commuters, but it's also a stunning route for travellers in less of a hurry. As you leave the mountains behind and head for the west coast, you'll join the Maliha Road in Sharjah, the emirate that historically incorporated Fujairah.
Maliha Road to Dubai Marina
Once through Sharjah, you'll join the E611 and E44 south to Dubai, and feel civilisation creeping up on you once more. The E44 takes you straight to Dubai Marina, which is as good a place as any to start exploring this futuristic desert metropolis. The Marina is a mini-city of artificial canals with countless shops and hotels - indulge in a spot of retail therapy at the Dubai Marina Mall, or settle in for a relaxing afternoon with a late lunch at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club, gazing out at the turqouise waters of the Persian Gulf.