When are the best and worst times to visit Dubai?

Jun 28, 2020

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Although we’re in the throes of summer now, it’s never too early to plan that winter vacation. When temperatures start to drop and the days become shorter, you might start dreaming of warmer destinations, sunshine and beaches. Dubai is a popular destination for these reasons, especially in the winter months when it can get dark around 4 p.m.

Temperatures, prices and crowds can vary enormously throughout the year in Dubai, so here are our top tips for when to visit and when to avoid the city.

Dubai's iconic, sail-shaped and seven-star Burj al Arab. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
Dubai’s iconic, sail-shaped and seven-star Burj al Arab. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock/Romrodphoto)

Best times to travel

You can expect consistently pleasant weather between November and March — daily maximum temperatures will be in the upper-70s, which is warm enough to enjoy the beaches and those amazing luxury hotel pools, as well as getting out to explore the sights without having to constantly duck into air conditioning. Overnight, the temperature drops to the low-60s, which is comfortable for sleeping.

Mid-December to the end of February is peak period, so while the weather is great, Dubai can be really crowded and hotel rates rocket. The popular Atlantis The Palm hotel can be booked for a little as $250 per night during August while prices soar up to $850-plus per night in December. One of our favorite Dubai hotels here at TPG, the Park Hyatt, can be a steal at less than $120 per night in the hottest months but increases to $550 per night around Christmas.

Christmas is obviously a popular time to visit, and January also sees the Dubai Shopping Festival, where tourists flock to the city to enjoy huge discounts on all sorts of items. For instance, you could get 78% off gaming consoles and up to 80% off selected women’s fashions at NissNass. So if you are planning to visit in January, make sure you leave some room in the suitcase.

For the best of both worlds, consider mid-November through mid-December as well as the month of March. Temperatures will still be good (though on the warm side), but there will be fewer tourists and prices should be lower. The slightly warmer daily temperatures should be just about perfect for enjoying the sea.

You may also experience some rain during the December to March peak season, as it is technically winter there. But don’t expect this to have much impact on your trip — it only rains on average five days per year in Dubai (compared to the 156 days a year the U.K. sees).

W Hotel Duabi Jumeirah. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Worst times

The months of June, July and August have searingly hot temperatures in Dubai. Think an average high of 106 degrees Fahrenheit every day, with temperatures not dropping below 86 overnight. Temperatures can even hit 117 degrees Fahrenheit in these months. It’s likely to also be quite humid, which can drain your energy even more.

Most tourists will find these temperatures far too hot to even step outside (let alone lie by the pool or beach), which may be a big reason you are visiting. If you are willing to stay inside the entire time, you can expect cheap accommodation because there are so few other tourists.

The month of Ramadan, which changes dates each year but will be from April 12 in 2021, is a period where eating, drinking and smoking in public is banned during daylight. This means many businesses close during these times, which can be difficult for tourists who are not observing Ramadan themselves.

Bottom line

Dubai has much to offer in terms of hotels, beaches, shopping and night life. Plan carefully and you can avoid astronomical costs and maybe stay in the hotel of your dreams for a fraction of what you thought.

Featured image by Gettys Images/boule13

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