When are the best and worst times to visit Dubai?

Nov 7, 2019

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As the temperatures start to drop here in the U.K. and the days become shorter, you might already be dreaming of warmer destinations, sunshine and beaches. Dubai is a popular destination for British travellers, especially in the winter months when it can get dark at home at 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 mid-20s, 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 mid-teens, 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 £200 per night during August while prices soar up to £700-plus per night in December. One of our favourite Dubai hotels here at TPG U.K., the Park Hyatt, can be a steal at less than £100 per night in the hottest months but increases to £450 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, this year 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 versus 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 July and August have searingly hot temperatures in Dubai. Think an average high of 41 degrees Celcius everyday, with temperatures not dropping below 30 overnight. Temperatures can even hit 47 degrees Celcius 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 24 April in 2020, 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 nightlife. 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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