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A practical guide to Dubai

National holidays and celebrations

Most official public holidays in Dubai are based around celebrations in the Islamic Lunar Calendar and are often subject to last minute changes by local government authorities. If you're planning your holiday around a particular celebration, check the dates with us first.

If you're not sure when it is best to go, our travel advisers can help you decide what dates to avoid, and when to catch the big festivals like Dubai's famous festival of shopping.

Main public holidays

  • New Year's Day: 1st January
  • Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet): February
  • Leilat al-Meiraj (Ascension of the Prophet): Often observed in June but changes according to the Muslim lunar calendar
  • Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan): A three day celebration
  • Al-Hijra: Islamic New Year
  • UAE National Day: 2nd and 3rd of December

Annual Festivals

  • Dubai Shopping Festival: Between January and February
  • Dubai International Jazz Festival: February or March
  • Dubai Desert Classic: Between February and March (International golf)
  • Dubai Summer Surprises: June, July and August
  • National Day Festival: Early December
  • Diwali: The Hindu 'Festival of Lights', its exact date changes every year

Money

Dubai's official currency is the dirham (abbreviated with codes AED and Dhs).

  • For the best conversion rates, bring British pounds to exchange in Dubai's banks.
  • We don't advise changing money at the airport, as rates are often very poor.
  • Larger shops, hotels and restaurants accept credit cards and traveller's cheques.
  • Tips and taxes are usually included in most bills so adding a further 10% for service is considered more than generous if you feel it's deserved.

Eating out

Catering to all palates, Dubai is packed with top notch eateries offering an excellent selection of world cuisine and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Find food from every corner of the world, with Indian, Pakistani and Filipino restaurants being the cheaper options, while French, Thai, Mediterranean and Italian restaurants are found in all price ranges.

For a striking view whilst enjoying exceptional (but very expensive) seafood, we love the underwater Ossiano Restaurant at the Atlantis,The Palm resort – a breathtaking experience on its own. Our other favourites include the Nobu Japanese restaurant, BiCE at the Hilton hotel, and the Blue Elephant at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel.

To sample authentic Arabic cuisine, try the street cuisine at the Heritage and Diving Village, or ask to try a Bedouin wedding feast classic - stuffed camel!

Weather

With radiant sunshine all year long and a hot subtropical climate, Dubai is a popular year-round holiday destination.

  • September through May is the most pleasant time to visit, with daily temperatures averaging 20°C to 25°C, dropping significantly in the evenings (be prepared for cooler nights, though the temperature is unlikely to drop below the mid-teens).
  • Summer can be extremely hot. In coastal areas you may find it more humid, and further inland you may find it drier and hotter due to lack of rainfall with daytime highs of 54°C often seen in August.
  • Winters (December to March) are mild, with average highs of 23°C.
  • Rainfall is scarce and mostly falls in February, whilst June is the driest month.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 222021232732343636343026
Minimum °C 171516182125283031282420
Maximum °C 262425283338404141393631
Sunshine (hours) 8899101112111110109
Rain (cm) 000000000000

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