We pasty Brits love a bit of sun! But Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE take heat to whole new levels: come in August, and you could be sweltering in temperatures in the high 40s. Step outside the air-conditioned lobby of your hotel and you instantly turn into sweat-soaked jelly. But the pay-off for a summer holiday in the UAE are bargain prices everywhere, making even the fanciest hotels and restaurants surprisingly affordable. Hate the heat? Not a problem. The best time to visit the UAE is between October and April, when the weather is warm – and who doesn’t love some winter sun? – but not excessively hot or humid. Whether you choose a winter break or want some serious summer sun, we’ll help you handle the temperatures in style with our top tips on planning your UAE holiday around the heat!
How hot is hot?
REALLY hot. The temperatures begin to rise in April and May, when they hit a still manageable 30+ degrees. By August, it’s scorchio: temperatures can peak in the high 40s in the afternoons. Things level off from August, with September averaging high 30s and October dipping back down to the low 30s. Air conditioning is your friend, so you’ll still need to pack your woollies for the frosty air in shopping malls, lobbies and restaurants.
The good news is that it does cool down. Winter temperatures between October and April are perfect, rarely dipping below the mid-20s or rising above 30 degrees, making the UAE the perfect winter sun destination. This, however, means higher demand and more visitors, so there are fewer bargains to be had.
Beat the heat
If you’re visiting the UAE in the hottest months (July and August), you’ll need to bring the staple survival kit of the Brit Abroad: a hat, sunblock and water bottle. Wear loose cotton clothing for maximum coolness when out in the sun (not usually for much longer than it will take you to scuttle out of the hotel lobby and dive into a taxi), but bring a wrap or jumper for when you’re indoors being blasted by the a/c.
Book a hotel with a pool, if you can. It’s all very well going for a dip in the sea, but the water will be warm. Properly warm, so a dip in the ocean can feel more like a bath. The ice-cold waters of the hotel pool (and the ice-cold drinks at the adjoining bar) are your friend.
To combat the steamy summer heat, the a/c in taxis, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls is cranked up to the max. Sheer bliss! Plan to spend much of your holiday inside: in other cities, this would be a bore but in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you’ll find a whole world of fantastic attractions within the confines of the enormous shopping malls. These are not your average malls: they are dazzling, fun-filled mini-cities. Where else can you ski, twirl around an ice-rink, visit the aquarium, go sky-diving, or climb trees – all indoors? (And seriously – what could be cooler than bombing down the ski slopes when it’s 45 degrees outside?) If you can think of it, chances are you’ll be able to do it in one of the malls in the UAE.