A city with year-round action, but is there an ideal time to visit Dubai? We look at the seasons and special events you may want to plan your travel to Dubai around.
Is there a best season to visit Dubai?
Dubai doesn’t really work on traditional seasons of the northern hemisphere, moving from mild to hot to very hot to extremely hot!
You are better assessing Dubai on a spectrum of how much heat you can manage! Some prefer the late spring when outside conditions are perfect for the beach, whilst others prefer the very coolest winter months December to February when there’s a plethora of outdoor activities going on, though the beach may be too chilly.
What to expect Winter in Dubai
Dubai in the winter is a magical place to be. Packed full of seasonal outdoor events and plenty of hours of sunshine to enjoy with very limited rain.
The coolest months and January to February, where daily maximums usually reach 25°C/77°F, and overnight lows dip to 15°C/59°F. The sea temperature in winter dips on average to 23°C/73°F which can be a little chilly for some.
Midwinter festivities start from National Day in early December, accompanied by Rugby 7’s and Christmas (yes, even in a Muslim country it’s still full of festivity). The mild weather sticks around until April, then things rapidly heat up by the end of May.
Winter is the best time of year to enjoy the Dubai desert too and outdoor adventures.
What to expect Summer in Dubai
Life in Dubai largely moves indoors and to the evenings during the hottest months. Peak summer temperatures can be as high as 50°C (122°F), though average in the low 40°‘Cs.
Be mindful not only of air temperatures but sea temperatures which can rise to 32-35°C mid-summer – not exactly a refreshing ocean dip! You’ll want to check that your accommodation has a temperature-controlled pool.
By October the temperatures start to recede and humidity drops, then by November you are back to the mild and pleasant winter.
What weather should I expect in Dubai?
You can learn more about the exact weather, including sea temperatures, rainfall and humidity to expect each month in Dubai here:
- January weather in Dubai
- February weather in Dubai
- March weather in Dubai
- April weather in Dubai
- May weather in Dubai
- June weather in Dubai
- July weather in Dubai
- August weather in Dubai
- September weather in Dubai
- October weather in Dubai
- November weather in Dubai
- December weather in Dubai
Special events in Dubai
You can also learn more about special events and occasions to be aware of when planning your trip to Dubai here:
- January in Dubai
- February in Dubai
- March in Dubai
- April in Dubai
- May in Dubai
- June in Dubai
- July in Dubai
- August in Dubai
- September in Dubai
- October in Dubai
- November in Dubai
- December in Dubai
Common questions about Dubai weather
Yes! It might take you by surprise, but rain is possible over the cooler winter months (or it could stay completely dry!) Over the last 10 years it has rained on average 5 days of the year.
No need to pack an umbrella just in case. If it does rain, it’s best just to stay put if you can until it passes. Its unlikely to go on for hours and during peak rains the roads can flash flood and driving becomes chaotic.
Yes! Dust or sand storms are a common occurrence in the UAE. Maybe not the extreme that you see in the movies (looking at you Mission Impossible!) But none the less there can be a lot of dust in the air. In fact, Dubai often has a permanent hanging layer of dust spoiling the skyline. You experience this less so in Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates.
The problem in most of the UAE is the fine layer of dust that develops pretty much year-round. A hazard of being in the middle of the desert. Those with severe asthma and other respiratory conditions should keep abreast of the AQI if it’s dusty out.
Yes! The most common atmospheric condition you will encounter, after dust, is fog. This can cause havoc, particularly in the winter months with the major airports.
There’s no way of predicting it in advance but one of those things you might need to factor into your travel plans if it occurs during your visit. Normally it burns off by late morning but it can make overnight and early morning driving hazardous (more so than usual!) and delay planes at DXB.
We would joke that the only time Dubai has seen snow is when Ski Dubai arrived! It has, in fact, snowed in the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah! The last time this was recorded on the country’s tallest peak Jebel Jais was in January 2020. Jebel Jais in the Hajar Mountains can experience temperatures up to 10c cooler than the coast. In Dubai itself though… very unlikely but never say never!
Religion & Religious holidays in Dubai
As a Muslim country, as well as following the Gregorian calendar, the Hijri Calendar is observed.
Note that the weekend is Friday/Saturday making these days much busier than during the week Sunday through Thursday.
The main religious observances are:
- The Holy Month of Ramadan
- Eid al-Fitr
- Arafat Day & Eid al-Adha
- Hijri New Year
- Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif – the Prophets birthday
These dates move forward roughly 10 days each year compared to the Gregorian calendar. Actual dates are not confirmed until the moon is sighted, and the Government may move the actual dates that the public holiday is observed.
Catch our complete guide to Dubai Public Holiday Dates in 2021 here – you can also use this tool to convert religious dates on the Hijri calendar to the Gregorian dates.
The UAE also celebrates
- New Year’s Day on 1 January
- Commemoration Day on 1 December
- National Day on 2-3 December
See our guide to special National Day Events in Dubai here. It will be an extra special event in 2021 due to the country celebration 50 years of unification.
Ramadan in Dubai
It’s important to observe each year when the Holy Month of Ramadan – the 9th month on the Hijri calendar will occur (the start date changes by approximately 10 days on the Gregorian calendar each year). This is a period of deep religious reflection for Muslims and is strictly observed.
Ramadan in 2021 will start approximately 12 April and end 11 May.
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!
School holidays in Dubai
Visitors should be mindful when local school holidays occur in Dubai. Most Dubai schools work on a three-term school year from September to December, January to March and April to June.
School holidays occur:
- late March to early April
- Most of June & July
- mid-December to early January
Some schools also have mid-term breaks in late October, mid-February and late May.
If you visit at any of the peak school holiday times, expect hotel accommodation to cost more and attractions to be MUCH busier. At these times you will want to book in advance and arrange for skip the line tickets if possible.
Seeing attractions earlier in the day you will always encounter fewer crowds than the evening, it is very much a stay up late and evening culture in Dubai, even for families.
Important events in Dubai
You can see a full calendar of upcoming events here from Dubai Calendar: