As Abu Dhabi is located in the heart of the Middle East, you can expect long hot summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is from late October through to late April.
What to expect during Summer in Abu Dhabi
Peak summer temperatures in Abu Dhabi 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 pool or beachside. This is worth remembering when you are planning what to do in Abu Dhabi.
You’ll find there is more life and activity later in the evenings when temperatures drop to the low 30’s. Late summer can be humid as well.
The advantage of visiting Abu Dhabi in the summer is you may find many hotels with great special offers to attract customers – just check that swimming pools are temperature controlled!
The shoulder seasons of February to April and October to November are best for beach weather.
What to expect during Winter in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi really springs back to life over the cooler months. A great festive time to visit is around the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in late November when the city is full of concerts, markets and sporting events. This is closely followed by National Day celebrations on 2 December when the city becomes painted in the colours of its flag.
Festivities and decorations remain until around Christmas. Although not officially recognized in a Muslim country, retailers and hotels still get into the Christmas spirit.
It is not unusual for it to rain occasionally in Abu Dhabi over the cooler winter months. In fact, this has become a more common occurrence in recent years as offshore cloud seeding occurs. Don’t bother packing an umbrella, but do try and check forecasts a few days out. (You can see our full list of Abu Dhabi packing suggestions here).
Sandstorms and fog are also not unheard of in Abu Dhabi, but nothing you can really plan for. Fog can play havoc with flights landing into Abu Dhabi International Airport at times too.
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. You will likely find that it’s too cold for ocean swimming in December to January but resorts should have heated swimming pools.
An important note on Ramadan in Abu Dhabi
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. Also, ensure no public displays of affection and that the modest dress code is strictly followed. It can be a little confusing for visitors to know exactly what to expect. The advantage of visiting at this time of year is that you will experience joining in with iftar (the evening breaking of the fast) and overnight festivities.
Note during Ramadan, restaurant, shop and attraction times are likely to change, and these aren’t always well advertised. Most shopping malls now have a sectioned-off area where daytime eating is permitted and hotels will always have at least one of their restaurants open for guests’ convenience.
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 2020 Ramadan will start on approximately 23 April, ending with Eid al Fitr celebrations (breaking of the fast) on approximately 23 May. Exact dates are determined by moon sightings and confirmed only in the 24 hours before Ramadan is due to start.
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