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This is a question from a friend not (yet!) on Travel.SE...

From London, what is the quickest way to get to Dubai (via trains, buses, ferries etc) without flying?

(My usual advice of "just check Seat61" seems to fall down in this case, as they don't seem to have a UAE entry in their destination list...)

3 Answers 3

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I suggest:

  • Eurostar from London to Paris (2h30) or to Brussels (2h00)
  • Train to Istanbul (47 to 49h)
  • Train to Tehran (66h)
  • Bus to Bandar-e-Abbas
  • Ferry to Dubaï

Train may be faster and more comfortable in Europe. Bus may be faster and more comfortable in Middle-East.

Information sites are:

Update (Nov. 2017)

Trans Asia Express, the train between Turkey and Iran, is suspended since July 2015. See Is Trans Asia Express still running? on Rail Turkey Travel for more information. An alternative is (found at Orient Bahn Reisen, or at Seat61 but otherwise not verified):

  • Train from Istanbul to Ankara
  • Train to Tatvan
  • Bus to Van
  • Bus to Tabriz
  • Train to Tehran
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  • impressive ! ..
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:28
  • 1
    Except... the train from Istanbul to Tehran is not running at the moment. I think the train also still starts a while out of Istanbul due to construction work. While the cross-border connection was cancelled a while back due to unrest in the area.
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 13:54
  • @MastaBaba - I finally updated my answer accordingly.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 14:00
  • Ha! I did not realise this was such an old post.
    – MastaBaba
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 17:20
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There is no railway in UAE, so the only choice is sea-travel or buses.
In the persian gulf you can use the internal ships, from BANDAR LENGEH to DUBAI - it costs $100 one way.

I can't find any specific info about ferries from Europe to the UAE, so maybe the best way is to get a ferry to Egypt, and from there use the bus.

Note that the large government company IRISL has some ships to Europe, but doesn't indicate whether there are places for passengers.

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  • 1
    Any comments to downvoter?
    – VMAtm
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 17:43
  • There are no ferries from Europe to Egypt.
    – gerrit
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 11:51
  • @gerrit Back then 10 years ago I probably meant that there are ferries from OAE or Jordan to Egypt, and one can go by land there, for example, as following: Greece -> ferry to Turkey -> car to Jordan -> ferry to Egypt, or similar layout
    – VMAtm
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 10:58
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I also suggest:

  • London to Paris by Eurostar (2h30)
  • Paris to Milan by high-speed TGV
  • Milan to Bari by Frecciabianca
  • Bari to Dubrovnik by Jadrolinija ferry
  • bus from Dubrovnik to Split
  • train to Zagreb and then to Istanbul
  • train to Tehran
  • bus to Bandar-e-Abbas
  • ferry to Dubai

or else, you can ride the TGV Lyria to Zurich, Chur, and then the Bernina Express to Tirano and a Trenitalia train to Milan, instead of TGV Paris-Milan.

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