Getting around in Dubai: info, costs and advice

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Martí Micolau

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Dubai is a new and eclectic city, which naturally combines ultra-modern means of transport, such as the efficient metro, with ancient boats that recall the origins of transport in the city, such as the Abra, the wooden boat symbol of Dubai. Anyhow, to move around the city, you will need transport, given the large distances between the various points of interest, which prevent you from moving on foot, an ideal solution for exploring the individual neighborhoods!

Here is a guide on how to get around Dubai: info, costs and tips to better organize your trip!


  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to the center of Dubai
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. Con i mezzi pubblici
  5. By car
  6. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

Dubai is a very large city with the main attractions very far apart. For a first approach we recommend a guided tour in an air-conditioned vehicle, which will take you among the main attractions to identify the landmarks and learn more about the city. Alternatively there is the evergreen hop-on hop-off tourist bus which will allow you to get to the main points of interest on board a comfortable bus, thanks to the stops located in strategic points, and to be able to take advantage of 6 different routes along the city.

The best way to get around easily is undoubtedly the taxi, as it allows you to stop right in front of your destination. Buses and metro are also very efficient, but they don't have stops in the immediate vicinity of attractions.

It is absolutely not recommended to move on foot, for long distances and for the scorching heat, as well as renting a car, due to the strict traffic regulations.

Dubai then is the perfect city to experience the most original means of transport! For the more adrenaline-pumped, we recommend the helicopter flight from The Palm to Burj Khalifa; another must-do experience is the speedboat tour of Dubai Marina's points of interest. Still, for desert safaris you can go by 4x4 with crazy off-road vehicles in the dunes or by quad bike, and then take the inevitable camel ride.

  • Recommended solutions and means: taxi, tourist bus
  • Solutions and means not recommended: car, on foot
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: NOL prepaid card (rechargeable -), day pass (from 20,00 AED / € 5,00), 7-day pass (from 110,00 AED / € 26,00)

How to get from the airport to the center of Dubai

L'Dubai International Airport it is the largest in the Middle East and is located in the Al Garhoud district, just 5 km from the city. It has 3 terminals: Terminal 1 is the one that welcomes the largest number of passengers, together with Terminal 3, which is managed by Emirates; the two terminals are connected to each other by free 24-hour shuttles. Terminal 2, on the other hand, mainly receives flights from Asia and India and is about 20 minutes away from the other two. In front of each terminal there is a bus stop (30 min to the center).

Dubai International Airport (DXB)

  • Distance from the center: 5 km / average travel time: 25 min;
  • By train: red line (serves terminals 1 and 3) / Ticket cost: from 4,00 AED (€ 1,00)
  • By taxi: average cost AED 20,00 (€ 5,00) / travel time: 20 min
  • By bus: average cost AED 2,00 (€ 0,50) / lines 33, 34, 44, 402, 64, 4, 48, 401 (to Deira) and C01 (to Gold Souk)
  • Private transfer: private transfer from the airport

How to get around on foot

In Dubai it absolutely is It is not recommended to move on foot, for several reasons!

First of all, the attractions are very far from each other and are connected by highways, which make it difficult for pedestrians to move easily and safely. Moreover, the temperatures are very high and the humidity is high, making any outdoor movement unpleasant, especially in the warmer months.

For these reasons, for a first approach we recommend a guided tour in an air-conditioned vehicle, which will take you among the main attractions to identify the landmarks and learn more about the city. Of course, some individual neighborhoods must be explored on foot. Specifically, don't miss the gold souq and the spice souq, the oldest areas of Dubai; it is also pleasant to stroll in the Dubai Marina area and along the waterfront from Burj Al Arab to Jumeirah Harbor, on the artificial palm tree and along the water canal. Also a lot of fun to walk around the City Walk area, with murals and open-air exhibitions, in the pedestrian Design District.
In general, however, travel from one area to another takes place mostly by taxi.

For others itineraries on foot and by public transport, download our Smart Guide for visiting Dubai for free.

Con i mezzi pubblici

Dubai's public transport network, very efficient, is managed by the Roads & Transport Authority and includes all types of transfers, including bus, metro, tram and taxi.

Dubai is divided into 7 areas of which 2 and 6 are those of greatest tourist interest, while the 3, 4 and 7 are almost never traveled.
To travel by bus and underground, you need to buy the Nol Card (see official website), the rate of which varies according to the area. For tourists, the useful one is the Nol red ticket or the 1 Day Ticket. The first (the Nol red ticket) has a fixed issue cost of AED 2 (€ 0,46) to which the fare according to the route must be added. This ranges from around AED 4 (€ 0,90) per journey within one zone, AED 8,5 (€ 1,95) per journey between two zones. Remember that children under 5 (or 90cm) travel for free.
There are also the Nol Cards Silver and Gold, with a higher emission cost but lower rates: they are most recommended for residents or for those who use public transport heavily.

For move comfortably around the city and to enjoy a wonderful view, we recommend the tourist bus, with stops located near the main attractions.


The Dubai Metro really is one of the most advanced in the world: efficient, fast, completely automated without driver. It has two distinct color lines, red and green, 47 stations of which only 9 underground and, at each station, a bus or taxi awaits you to take you to your destination.

Although the diffusion is not widespread, it is recommended to reach the distant Dubai Marina, but it does not come in the Jumeirah beach area. It also runs along the entire Sheikh Zayed Road and then stop at major attractions such as Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates.
In addition, the stations are excellent, spotless and state-of-the-art, and perfectly equipped for the disabled, with lifts, reserved toilets and special wagons.

  • Downloadable map: metro-dubai
  • from 5:30 to 00:00, Thursday from 5:00 to 1:00 and Friday from 10:00 to 1:00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from 3,00 AED (€ 0,70)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: daily AED 20,00 (€ 5,00), 7 days AED 110,00 (€ 26,00)


The bus network is quite extensive, though little used by tourists. However, buses are a useful link from metro stations to your destination. Also there is the possibility of a night line, marked with the letter N before the number. The stops are very popular and photographed by visitors, because they are covered and air-conditioned: waiting for the bus will not be traumatic, given the high temperatures!

  • from 5:00 to 00:00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from 3,00 AED (€ 0,70)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: daily AED 20,00 (€ 5,00), 7 days AED 110,00 (€ 26,00)


The Dubai Tram is a line powered by a magnetic attraction electric transport system and has 11 stations. Basically it travels about 11 km in the Dubai Marina area: it starts from Palm Jumeirah (stop 1) up to the heart of the Al Sufouh district (stop 11) in 36 min.
It is perfect for getting around the Dubai Marina and Mina Seyahi area, and in particular to reach The Walk from the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers metro stations.

  • Downloadable map: tram-dubai
  • from 7: 00 to 1: 00
  • Ticket / single ride cost: AED 3,00 (€ 0,70)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: daily AED 20,00 (€ 5,00), 7 days AED 110,00 (€ 26,00)

Boat / Abra

The Abra (or the Dhow) is a wooden boat typical of Dubai, used to cross the Creek, or the river of the city. Currently, there are about 150 boats in service and each of them can carry up to 20 passengers. Undoubtedly, it is the cheapest way to travel between Deira and Bur Dubai, as well as the most suggestive, since the crossing itself represents an excursion into the city.

  • Route Deira Old Souq Station-Bur Dubai Station, from 5:00 to 24:00; route Al Sabkha Station-Dubai Old Souq Station h24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: AED 1,00 (€ 0,20), to be paid on board in cash.


Traveling by taxi is certainly the most comfortable and fastest way to move around Dubai.

Taxis are of different types: Public Taxis are the official cream colored ones with a different colored roof according to the companies; Ladies and Family Taxi are recognized by the pink roof, and are driven only by women and reserved for women and families, you recognize them by the pink roof; Special Needs Taxi, minivan for people with disabilities, with a driver who helps in the ascent and descent. It is necessary to book them 24 hours in advance.
In addition to the official taxis, there are others, generally black, which belong to private companies. They are usually more expensive and not recommended.

Often (indeed, always) the same taxi drivers will offer you complete sightseeing tours, also taking you throughout the day among the main attractions of the city. The cost for a tour of this kind is around € 60,00-100, (they will ask for more, don't be afraid to bargain), but it is only useful if for example you are stopover of 4-5 hours in Dubai and therefore you want right take a sightseeing tour without entering the individual attractions. In any case, it is cheaper to book a guided tour online, it costs less and there are no surprises.

There are also Dubai Water Taxis, a Taxi-Ferry line that transits through Dubai Marina and the Creek, from 10:00 to 22:00 (rates starting from 3,00 AED / € 0,70): they are equipped with every comfort and will allow you to arrive to a destination with a private boat. In Dubai, finally, Uber operates with a minimum fare of € 4,00, but in reality it is not used much here because official taxis are cheaper.

  • 24 hours on 24
  • Ticket / single ride cost: average rate 12,00 AED (€ 3,00); cost per km 1,80 AED (€ 0,45)

By car

Although it allows for greater autonomy, especially during our summer, when the humidity is sky high in Dubai, moving with your own rental car is the least suitable solution: the roads are all fast-flowing and the inhabitants of Dubai have a reckless and not very tolerant driving. For this reason, especially during the day, I am numerous traffic lights are active, which make the journey very long.

However, the cost of gasoline is really negligible and there are no ZTL or other restricted traffic areas so, if you really want to try the adventure of driving in Dubai, you can at least enjoy these advantages. An Italian driving license is sufficient, signs and speed limits are clearly visible and also in English. Beware of dossi, have much larger dimensions than we are used to!

Stops and parking

The car parks in Dubai are really numerous and located near each attraction or commercial center; therefore, it will be possible to reach your destination and stop in the immediate vicinity. Parking is subject to charges from 8:00 am, except on Fridays and other public holidays. The parking areas, for the calculation of the tariff, are 7 and are divided according to whether it is a commercial area or not. The hourly cost to park starts from 2,00 AED (€ 0,40).

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