It might be a cliche but it's true, Abu Dhabi really does offer 'something for everyone'. It's a city of rich contrasts with something to suit every traveller's tastes.
The city's year-round, sunshine-filled days and perfectly warm winters offer the ideal destination for those looking to escape the grey weather of the UK. Why turn the heating on when you can spend your days poolside, catching a tan that everyone will be envious of back home?
But, it's not all sunshine and sand. Abu Dhabi boasts a world of fascinating cultural traditions mixed with modern additions, as well as world-famous events taking place throughout the year.
Whether you want to take your time on the seemingly endless beaches during the milder (yet still pleasantly warm) winter months, are considering snapping up tickets to revel in the electric atmosphere of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix or are seeking thrills from the powerful cars (and equally as powerful roller coasters) at Ferrari World, then read on to learn more about the best time to visit.
When is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi?
In our opinion, the best time to travel to Abu Dhabi is between November and May when the temperatures are much milder yet still pleasantly warm (approximately 25°C).
Temperatures do increase significantly during the summer months but great value hotel discounts and summer shopping sales (as well as excellent air-con) can make travelling during the low season worthwhile too.
When is Abu Dhabi’s peak tourist season?
Peak season in Abu Dhabi takes place during the UAE's winter – between November and March – when it is still warm but temperatures are much more pleasant than the scorching heat of the summer. For this reason, summer is considered to be the off season for Abu Dhabi.
November to March – Winter in Abu Dhabi
Winter is the most popular time to visit Abu Dhabi. Temperatures are much milder than they are in the summer and it is far less humid. But, the sun is shining, it is unarguably warm and although there is a chance of rain, this is very slight.
This is also when Abu Dubai comes to life with a calendar of incredible events, such as the Grand Prix – considered to be the major highlight that takes place towards the end of the year. Evenings are cooler and while it’s likely to be too cold to swim in the sea in the depths of winter you can take advantage of heated pools at many of the hotels instead.
April to May – Spring in Abu Dhabi
The shoulder season is a great time to visit Abu Dhabi. You'll get to bask in slightly warmer temperatures but won't have to contend with the intense heat of summer. This is the perfect season for your holiday as you can spend time on the beach where the water is warm but you’ll escape the crowds of the winter months. You'll also likely find that holidays between April and May are slightly cheaper than those offered in peak season – a win-win!
June to August – Summer in Abu Dhabi
Summers in Abu Dhabi are hot and humid. In fact, temperatures have been known to reach highs of 50°C! Fewer tourists tend to visit during this season – spending time on the beach or by the pool is for the hard-core sun worshipper as the mercury peaks.
That being said, there are great deals to be had during these months. Plus, there’s plenty to do inside, where the city's shops and resorts offer great modern air-conditioning that provides relief from the heat and you’ll find the streets get busier in the evenings when temperatures drop to around the low 30s.
September to October – Autumn in Abu Dhabi
This is the other shoulder season and a great time to visit Abu Dhabi as you'll find that like spring, it is warm and sunny – perfect for spending time on the coastline, around the pool or out sightseeing. Find out what there is to see and do in Abu Dhabi in our guide.
Average temperatures in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi boasts gorgeous weather and warm temperatures all year round. The hottest months are typically July and August with average highs of an incredible 41°C. You'll definitely need to find some air-con or stay in the shade to stay safe if you choose to visit during these months. The lowest average temperature in Abu Dhabi is a comfortable 24°C in January – practically heatwave weather in the UK!
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The best time to visit Abu Dhabi…
To watch the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship - January
The Abu Dhabi Golf Championship is one of the largest events on the renowned European Tour. The tournament is held at the world-class Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sheraton, featuring 27 holes, including the 18-hole National Course. This competition is a part of the trio of European Tour events in the Gulf States including the Dubai Desert Classic and Qatar Masters and is a must-see for those who love the game.
For a little retail therapy - March/April
If you're itching to spend your dirhams, then you won’t want to miss the Spring Shopping Festival which takes place in March and April. You can take advantage of the fantastic spring and summer shopping sales in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, offering discounts on clothing, electronics and more.
Temperatures are starting to creep up again around this time of year, offering the perfect excuse to wander around the air-conditioned shops and treat yourself with a little retail therapy.
For beach lovers - March/April and October
If you want to do nothing more than surround yourself with blue skies, blue seas and white sands while you are in Abu Dhabi, then it is best to plan your visit during the shoulder seasons. In summer, it is far too hot for a day at the beach even with a parasol close by and in winter although the temperatures are still pleasant the water can be a little chilly.
In March, April and October all these important factors tend to be just right. Thermometers typically record temperatures between the late 20s and early 30s while the sea temperature is around the early 20s – just right for cooling off.
To experience the Grand Prix - November
If you don’t want to miss the exhilarating annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – a Formula One motor race held at the Yas Marina Circuit at the W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island – then head to the UAE’s capital in November.
This is one of the biggest events of the year and perfect for those who love the thrill of the cars racing around the track and the electric buzz of a pumped up crowd.
To see the camel racing - Winter
Camel racing takes place on Thursday and Friday mornings throughout the winter. Camel racing is a huge part of everyday life in Abu Dhabi. It is an incredibly competitive and exciting sport because of the generous prize money that stands to be won.
This event attracts not only enthusiasts from across the country but from around the globe, including royalty. While temperatures are much cooler during the winter making it bearable to sit in the sunshine, it’s worth remembering that you’ll still need sun cream.
Can you visit Abu Dhabi during Ramadan?
Yes, you can still enjoy a visit to Abu Dhabi during Ramadan. The Holy Month is a time for prayer and contemplation when Muslims fast between dawn and dusk but this shouldn't affect those looking for a sunny holiday. However, outside your resort, it's important to note that there is no eating in public, public displays of affection are not allowed and it’s important that you dress modestly. The opening times of shops, restaurants and attractions are likely to change during this time too.
Although Muslims will be fasting, the city's hotels tend to keep most of their restaurants open so you’ll still be able to find somewhere to eat and drink during the day. You will also get to experience the festivities that take place during the breaks in fasting – it is certainly a unique time to be in this incredible location.
Ramadan is usually celebrated between May and June each year for approximately 29 to 30 days. However as Ramadan begins and ends with the sighting of a crescent-shaped moon, the exact timing is different each year. It’s worth double-checking the exact dates when you are booking your trip.
Abu Dhabi is a year-round destination, boasting warm temperatures and sunshine with very little rain. This means it's the perfect place for some winter sun. Now you know the best time to go, check out our Abu Dhabi holiday here and find the ultimate resort for your next getaway.