Being in the heart of the Middle East, expect long hot summers and mild winters. This means that the best time to visit Dubai is from late October through to late April. The UAE doesn’t really follow regular seasons of the year – just mild, hot, very hot and OMG!!!
What to expect during Summer in Dubai
Peak summer temperatures can be as high as 50c (122F). Life really moves indoors over the hot summer months as daytime temperatures can be unbearable – even too hot to sit by your hotel pool or beachside (July/August). You’ll find there is more life and activity late in the evenings where temperatures drop to the low 30’s and its bearable (just!) to be outside.
The heat really starts to kick in from early April and this lasts through until late October, depending on your tolerance levels! The end of summer brings more humidity too.
What to expect during Winter in Dubai
Dubai in the winter is full of festivity. A sign it is getting cooler is when the outdoor Ripe Markets return to Dubai’s popular parks and a number of seasonal attractions open their doors again, such as Global Village, Dubai Garden Glow and Dubai Miracle Garden. (You can read more about them here).
National Day Celebrations occur on 2 December and the weeks leading up to this are full of festivity. You will likely see a lot of UAE flags draped over buildings, shopping malls, and even cars! This colour and excitement continues through to Christmas. Although a Muslim country, the retailers and hoteliers certainly don’t miss a trick with the captive tourist audience and you’re bound to find loads of Christmas Markets, Santas and Christmas trees wherever you turn!
Whilst the middle of winter (December/January) may not be the best time of year for visiting the beach, make the most of the cooler weather to try a number of outdoor activities. Favourite outdoor activities include desert safaris, sandboarding, zip lining – you name it, Dubai has probably got it!
Common questions about visiting Dubai
Does it rain in Dubai?
It is not unusual for it to occasionally rain over the cooler winter months – or it could stay dry all winter. We wouldn’t recommend packing an umbrella “just in case” as you will find if it does rain everyone hunkers down indoors – and the roads become utter chaos!
You may experience other atmospheric conditions though like fog (can play havoc on the airports especially during the cooler months) and sand storms are not an uncommon occurrence. On a windy day, you will notice a fine coat of sand on pretty much everything!
What should I wear in Dubai?
This can be an understandably confusing topic if you are new to the Middle East. There are different rules for different places and unfortunately, many tourists flaunt the rules. Jump over to our dress code in Dubai post to understand more about accepted standards for family dress.
If you are heading inland on a desert safari you will get cooler overnights in winter but probably no need for more than an extra wrap or sweater.
An important note on Ramadan in Dubai
It’s important to observe each year when the Holy Month of Ramadan will occur. The 9th month in the Hijri calendar (the start date changes by approximately 10 days on the Gregorian calendar each year) is a period of deep religious reflection for Muslims and is strictly observed.
The most important thing to observe is fasting with no eating in public allowed, but also no public displays of affection and ensure the modest dress code is strictly followed. It can be a little confusing for visitors to know exactly what to expect. We wouldn’t entirely advise against visiting at this time but you will have quite a different experience, joining in with iftar (the evening breaking of the fast) and overnight festivities.
The other thing you may observe is that many businesses and attractions are closed during the day and only open in the evening. If you are only in Dubai for a short stopover you need to be conscious of this or you may find yourself stranded in the heat with little to do!
Our Globetrotters have a detailed guide on what to expect during the Holy Month if you are looking for more guidance on the do’s and don’ts.
In 2018 Ramadan started on 17 May, and will end with Eid al Fitr celebrations (breaking of the fast) on approximately 15 June. Exact dates are determined by moon sightings and confirmed only 24 hours beforehand.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission – at absolutely no extra cost to you.