Famous as a glamorous holiday destination, Dubai offers an eclectic travel experience. This United Arab Emirates gem can just as easily enchant you with its luxurious shopping, breathtaking modern architecture, and vibrant nightlife as it can with its souks and the beauty of its desert.
However, heading to Dubai when the temperatures are scorching or during important holidays when businesses work with reduced hours can completely ruin your itinerary. That’s where we come in — let us be your guide!
Why You Should Visit Dubai in 2023
There’s so much hype surrounding Dubai — but is it worth it? The answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why:
- If you think you’ve seen everything museums have to offer, wait until you come to Dubai. There’s a myriad of museums in Dubai, but here are the ones worth visiting: Coins Museums, Dubai Coffee Museum, Etihad Museum, Museum of Illusions, Museum of the Future, Naif Museum Dubai, and Pearl Museum.
- Adrenaline seekers will be thrilled to try out different activities in Dubai. From water skiing, speed boating, and windsurfing, to desert safari, hot balloon air rides, and skydiving, Dubai has more than enough to live up to your inner adventurer’s expectations. Winter sports fans can even check out indoor skiing options — yep, you read that right, Dubai has skiing opportunities too!
- Dubai has plenty of versatile beaches. Some are more suitable for families as they have lifeguards and plenty of amenities, whereas others offer a more secluded vibe and are perfect for couples or solo travelers. Here are our Dubai beach suggestions: Al Mamzar Beach Park, White Beach, Jumeirah Beach, Sunset Beach, JBR Beach, Kite Beach, and Al Sufouh Black Palace Beach.
- Dubai’s artificial islands are a must too. Situated on the coast of Dubai, the Palm Islands are made up of three islands: Palm Jumeirah, Deira Island, and Palm Jebel Ali. Fun fact: Seen from above, Palm Jumeirah looks like a huge palm tree on water.
- Dubai has more skyscrapers than you can probably count, but the tallest and most memorable one is definitely the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. Fun fact: The Burj Khalifa is said to be almost twice the height of the world-famous Empire State Building.
- The city is also home to the world’s biggest fountain, The Palm Fountain. Ever wanted to see water dancing? It’s possible if you pay the fountain a visit.
- Exploring Dubai’s food scene is worth it too. We suggest trying harees, majboos, luqaymat, madrouba, thareed, chicken saloona, and oozie.
Overall Best Time to Visit Dubai
The overall best time to visit Dubai is anytime from November through March. This period offers a plethora of interesting events and outdoor activities and boasts relatively pleasant weather (the temperatures are between 57°F and 88°F).
This is the best time to visit and the most popular — when visitors flock to Dubai because, unlike in the summer, the weather conditions are more “normal.” Also, many tourists look forward to escaping their country’s harsh winters and finding refuge in Dubai.
These months are ideal for sightseeing and exploring the great outdoors or enjoying festivals or events. November opens with Dubai Design Week, attracting creatives from all walks of life. December 2nd has festivities related to the city honoring the independence of the Emirates from Britain.
Movie enthusiasts should mark their calendars for the Dubai International Film Festival (December). Sports lovers should note that December also has 16 international rugby teams taking part in the Dubai Rugby Season.
In January, Dubai hosts the popular Dubai Shopping Festival — many are drawn to Dubai at this time for the shopping experience alone. Others flock to the city for the Dubai Marathon and Dubai Golf Tournament.
If you’re looking for some good jazz, you can come in February instead to enjoy Dubai’s yearly Jazz Festival. March sees the Al Marmoom Heritage Festival, ideal for visitors who want an authentic cultural experience.
Although the January—March period sees a brief rainy season, it usually translates into several drops every now and then and shouldn’t disrupt your itinerary in any meaningful way.
Cheapest Time to Visit Dubai
June is arguably the least expensive month. It’s when you can also find discounts on some major attractions and reduced activity tickets.
It’s somewhat challenging to discuss the cheapest time to visit Dubai, as it’s not exactly a budget-friendly destination to begin with. That said, there are certain periods of the year when you can take advantage of lower hotel rates and more affordable airfare prices, such as in June.
Your June itinerary is going to be more or less the same as if you go there in July or August — we’ll share more about it in a minute. June temperatures vary between 79°F and 100°F.
Least Busy Time to Visit Dubai
The least busy time to pay Dubai a visit is either in the spring (April and May) or fall (September or October). Spring and fall offer shoulder season magic for visitors who want to explore Dubai at their own pace and steer clear of peak season crowds.
In other words, you can enjoy the sunset at the famous Burj Khalifa without fighting for more elbow room, or take a photo at the Dubai Frame without photobombers accidentally ruining it.
Spring visitors should expect lows of 68°F and highs of 99°F; whereas fall welcomes guests with temperatures fluctuating between 73°F and 100°F.
If you visit in April, get ready for the Dubai Food Festival. Dancing enthusiasts should check out September’s Dubai International Dance Festival, which unites talented dance groups in the city.
The September-October period also sees Islamic New Year festivities. October marks the start of the Camel Racing season, with both locals and visitors from Qatar and Saudi Arabia competing in the event.
Worst Time to Visit Dubai
The worst time to find yourself in Dubai is in summer (June—August). There’s really no way to properly describe Dubai’s boiling temperatures (which range between 79°F and 106°F), and intense humidity in the summer — they can only be experienced.
This is not something we advise, especially if you live in a colder climate, hence why Dubai summers are probably the worst time to pay the city a visit.
Also, sandstorms are the most common in summer, so make sure to check the weather conditions before planning anything ambitious if you’re there in the summer.
That said, Dubai isn’t unprepared for the challenges of summer — you’ll find there’s AC almost everywhere, including on bus stops, to make things more bearable. The city works hard to cater to both its residents’ and visitors’ needs.
Plus, there are still enjoyable things you can do indoors in summer, like shopping or museum hopping. While summer sees restricted festival schedules and outdoor activities, there’s still a lot going on.
The Dubai Summer Surprises Festival is divided into 10 entertaining weeks, with a specific theme dominating each week. Plus, the nightlife is always vibrant in Dubai, regardless of the weather conditions.
Things to Consider
Although Dubai is a fairly modern city, it’s still very different from what you’re probably used to, so every piece of advice counts:
- Always check with your local embassy about the latest visa requirements well in advance, as they’re prone to changes.
- Get acquainted with local laws and customs. For instance, if you visit Dubai during Ramadan, even though you’re a tourist, you’re expected not to eat or drink in front of locals/in public. As the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Ramadan dates change every year, so make sure to check them before scheduling your trip.
- Get ready for a hot desert climate — pack light and loose clothes to help you endure the heat better. Sunscreens, sunglasses, and hats are an absolute must. Also, staying hydrated is key. Many underestimate Dubai’s climate, so they run the big risk of dehydration or heat stroke. To minize the risk, please make sure you drink between two-three liters of water per day and stick to light meals, especially if you visit during the hotter months.
- The United Arab Emirates is still somewhat conservative when it comes to clothing, so avoid wearing attire that reveals your knees and shoulders. When visiting a mosque, women are usually also required to put on a light scarf to cover their hair. Otherwise, wearing the hijab isn’t compulsory if you’re a tourist. Wearing a swimsuit and bikini on the beach is perfectly fine, but don’t walk around dressed in that way. Plus, the nights can get chilly, so make sure to dress in layers.
- Dubai’s currency is the AED — the United Arab Emirates Dirham. Credit and debit cards are generally accepted, but make sure you carry some cash with you at all times for smaller purchases. Note that some stores may accept US dollars. Money apps you may want to download during your stay in Dubai include Google Pay, Emirates Digital Wallet, and Samsung Pay.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, or showing too much affection with your significant other in public places.
- Don’t eat in places right next to the major tourist attractions, as they’re unnecessarily overpriced.
- Check if you need to carry an adapter — Dubai accommodates 220V electricity.
- Don’t take photos of locals unless you ask for their permission first.
- Tipping isn’t mandatory, but it’s somewhat of a common practice and a personal choice.
- Get travel insurance before your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions to know about before booking a trip to Dubai:
How many days are enough for Dubai?
We usually advise people to spend between five and seven days in Dubai to make the most of their time there. That’s just enough time to see major attractions, restaurants, and bars and go on a desert adventure and unwind on the beach.
How much does a Dubai trip cost?
A three-day trip to Dubai is going to cost you $585 if you’re going on your own, $995 if you’re with a partner, and $1290 if you’re traveling as a family of four. Hotel prices in the city center range between $90 and $222 (the average being $111 per night). We also recommend setting aside $45 per day per person for eating out and transportation.
With that being said, keep in mind that these are only estimates based on previous visitors’ experiences; actual travel costs may vary depending on your lodging choices, the purchases you make there, your departure city, and other factors.
Can foreigners drink in Dubai?
Yes, foreigners are allowed to consume alcohol in Dubai, however, they should follow certain rules to avoid potential penalties. For example, you can only drink in licensed venues (tip: if a place has a sign saying “family” or “dry”, it doesn’t serve alcohol).
Drinking on the street, or in public places, including beaches, is prohibited.
Next, there’s no tolerance for drinking and driving, and only individuals aged 21 or older are allowed to consume alcohol. Finally, note that even if you find alcohol in Dubai, it will probably be three times more expensive than what it’d cost in the United States.
Which area is best to stay in Dubai?
Dubai has plenty of nice areas — it all depends on your lifestyle, budget, and preferences. Here are our five suggestions:
1. Dubai Marina & JBR, great for first-time visitors who want to take advantage of the beach views and entertaining nightlife;
2. The Palm, the most unique option for travelers who wish to have a glamorous stay
3. Deira, the best pick if you’re looking for a more affordable stay in Dubai
4. Downtown Dubai, ideal for a shopping spree
5. Jumeirah Village Circle & Jumeirah Village Triangle, for everyone looking for a more residential vibe away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas.
How do tourists get around in Dubai?
There are several ways to get around Dubai. First and foremost, you can use the metro or the bus. The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) features over 100 routes in Dubai, and bus fares vary based on the zone you travel to.
tip: bus no. 8 is one of the best routes for tourists as it stops at some of the best hot spots such as the Dubai Marina and Burj Al Arab.
Taxis are very convenient as they allow you to explore Dubai at your own pace, and believe it or not, they don’t cost a fortune. Finally, renting a car isn’t impossible, but it’s far from being the best option considering Dubai’s ongoing construction work, traffic, and parking situation.
Book Your Trip to Dubai Today!
|👍 Best Time to Visit||November to March|
|💲 Cheapest Time to Visit||June|
|🗓️ Least Busy Time to Visit||April and May or September or October|
|👎 Worst Time to Visit||June to August|
Ultimately, the best time to visit Dubai depends on your weather preferences, budget, and availability. But since Dubai welcomes visitors year-round, you’ll enjoy your stay even if the above-mentioned criteria aren’t fully satisfied. Happy travels!