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Dubai Airport Transfers

These are all the modes of transfer transportation you can choose to get to Dubai in the most comfortable way possible.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Dubai Airport Transfers

Airplane Flying Over the Skyscraper | ©Tim Gouw

Thinking of visiting Dubai? The city of the United Arab Emirates is very worthwhile, although traveling to it can be exhausting. Many hours of flight to which, once on the ground, we must add those of the transfer to the city. An added time that can increase our fatigue. The good news is that we can optimize this transfer and make it much more comfortable.

For this there are transfers from the airport to Dubai. I have analyzed all the possible options available to you. In this article I show you all of them and explain what are their advantages and disadvantages. And, if you are only in Dubai for a long stopover... there are also proposals for you!

Private transfers to Dubai

Inside Dubai International Airport| ©Abhinav Gautam
Inside Dubai International Airport| ©Abhinav Gautam

I start with what is undoubtedly the most comfortable option. In Dubai there are private transports that will cover the distance of 20 minutes between the airport and the city in the easiest way. Especially because they will take you to the door of your hotel. This way you will lose less time to enjoy all the things to see and do in Dubai. You will only need to provide the time of arrival at the airport (and departure time from your hotel, in case you also want to use it to return to the airport after your stay).

One thing to keep in mind is that most transfers provide the assistance of the driver, who will very often be waiting for you at the airport premises. Once you meet him, he will guide you to the vehicle. Be sure to check how long the driver will wait for you. Usually they wait for 1 hour, but this time could change depending on the company. Finally, the prices are very wide and can be obtained from 20 €, a very competitive price.

Advantages of private transportation

There are several advantages offered by a private transfer from the airport to Dubai: The main one is that it is a more comfortable transfer in a car just for you and yours. Also, you will save the typical queues of other means of transport such as bus or rental car.

And what is also very important: the chauffeur will drive you to the vehicle, you will not waste time moving around an airport that you may not know in search of a predefined meeting point. Something that, considering the temperatures in Dubai always offers a plus of comfort.

  • Door to door transfer
  • Private car
  • Journey time of 20 minutes
  • Possibility of free cancellation

Book an airport transfer from Dubai airport

Private VIP transfer

Arriving in Dubai| ©Jimmy Harris
Arriving in Dubai| ©Jimmy Harris

Dubai is a city well known for its ostentatious exclusivity. Therefore, you will not be short of VIP options if you wish. In addition to the usual private transfers, you will also be offered different high-end vehicles to choose from. However, keep in mind that many of these services are designed for businessmen and executives visiting Dubai for work.

Many of their services are oriented to give them a service accordingly; however, if your idea is to enjoy exclusivity in your visit to Dubai, these services can fit you like a glove. You can get them from 40 €.

  • Door to door transfer
  • High-end private car
  • Travel time of 20 minutes
  • Possibility of free cancellation

Book an airport transfer from Dubai airport

Shared transfer from the airport to Dubai

Mininus de Translado| ©Viator
Mininus de Translado| ©Viator

A good option to avoid waiting, queues and intermediate stops that characterize other means of public transport such as buses, subways or trains. It is especially indicated because it is more economical. They can be obtained from 10 €. The most common means of transport used for this type of transfer is the minibus. The capacity of this type of vehicle ranges between 16 and 22 people, and can reach 30. Therefore, it is possible to make an approximate calculation of how many people you will share your trip with.

However, you should pay attention to the meeting point, which is often already predefined by the company. If you are traveling to Dubai on business, you can use shared bus transportation, which even has entertainers on board. Everything is possible in Dubai!

  • Door to door transfer
  • Minibus or coach vehicle
  • Journey time of 20 minutes
  • Possibility of free cancellation

Book an airport transfer from Dubai airport

Guided transfer to Dubai for layovers

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai| ©Mohamad
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai| ©Mohamad

Did you have a long layover in Dubai? Don't worry, you don't have to stay at the airport. There are transfer services to Dubai that will take you from the airport to the city and, in addition, will give you a guided tour of the city. As you can see, it is a kind of mixed service between city transfer, cab and guided tour. This is what they usually offer from 80 €:

  • Professional guide;
  • Round trip to and from the airport;
  • Photo stops;
  • May include entrance fees to museums and attractions.

Of course, I recommend that you check the language of the guide. Most often it is in English, so if you are not very fluent in Shakespeare's language, you will have to think about it. Or maybe not, since it is always better to interact than to stand still at the airport, don't you think?

As for what to see, these guided transfers usually have a schedule. However, I recommend you not to be shy and ask the driver to take you to the most interesting places. I show you the ones you can't miss:

By the way, this kind of tours also include stops so you can go out to take pictures and enjoy more closely the tourist attraction you want to visit. To do so, it never hurts to know the dress codes in Dubai.

Book a transfer from Dubai Airport

Advantages and disadvantages of this type of guided transfer

The advantages of this mode are obvious: it is the best way to optimize your time if you are in Dubai on a stopover. The disadvantage is given by the time: it is a viable option if your stopover is particularly long. These types of transfers take between 4 and 5 hours to be fully enjoyed. If your stopover is shorter, you could be running short of time, although the duration of the visit is flexible: it can last as long as you decide. Since it also includes the return trip to the airport, you will only need to let the driver know when you want to return to the terminal.

  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • Specialized guide
  • Duration of the tour: 4 to 5 hours
  • Possibility of free cancellation

Book an airport transfer from Dubai airport

Guided night tours

Visiting Global Village at Night| ©Syed Ali
Visiting Global Village at Night| ©Syed Ali

Does your eternal stopover in Dubai take place at night? The good news is that there are also guided transfers designed for these eventualities. Dubai is, in a way, a city that never sleeps, so the possibilities to make the most of your stopover in the city are just as wide-ranging, and you will be able to see the city spectacularly lit up at night!

The fact that it's at night largely determines the schedule. Some daytime attractions will be closed at that time. However, these types of guided transfers emphasize the places that are especially attractive at night. If you are interested in what the city has to offer at that time, I suggest you check out this article on what to see in Dubai at night. Of course, the cost is still high, since transfers of this type are available from 80 €.

Book a transfer from your hotel to the Dubai airport

Strengths and weaknesses of this type of transfers

As with the daytime guided transfers, the main strength is that, with them, you can avoid waiting seated or wandering around the airport. As for the disadvantages, there are two main ones. The first one is that your stopover should be somewhat longer than the duration of the tour. However, this is not too much of a problem, since you will be able to tell the driver when it is time to return. The second drawback is that, if you want to access a museum, you will not be able to do so since it will be closed.

  • Transfer to and from the airport
  • Specialized guide
  • Duration of the tour: between 4 and 5 hours
  • Possibility of free cancellation

Book a transfer from your hotel to the Dubai airport

Cabs from the Dubai airport to downtown Dubai

Dubai Taxis| ©Fabio Achilli
Dubai Taxis| ©Fabio Achilli

The next fastest option to get to the city is to take a cab. There are taxi ranks in the departure area of each of the three terminals. The advantages of this method of transport are obvious: speed, comfort and the possibility of saving queues and waiting (and of being hot in Dubai). The prices are as follows:

  • Flag down: from 25 AED (around 5 €);
  • Price per kilometer: from 1.5 AED (about 0.36 €).

Just a fact, 1 € is equivalent to approximately 4 AED. If we take into account that the kilometers that separate the airport from the city are, more or less, 15, do the math: you can get the transfer from 11 €.

Cab advantages and disadvantages

The advantages are obvious. Greater comfort and the saving of waiting time that, in the inclement desert of Dubai, can be very tiring. Another advantage is that the price is affordable.

On the downside, especially when compared to non-shared private transportation, you will not enjoy the convenience of being guided to the vehicle. You will have to look for the stop, although that is not a big problem either, they are signposted and the cabs are easily identifiable by their cream color. Except (and here comes the curious fact) those driven by women, in which case they are pink.

  • One way transfer to the city or to your hotel
  • Journey time: 20 minutes
  • Available in each of the 3 terminals
  • Transfer price to Dubai: from 11 €.

Rent a car

Travel by Car| ©Alex Jumper
Travel by Car| ©Alex Jumper

Another very useful option if you want a fast and comfortable transfer to the city. Besides, being Dubai a very visited and touristic city, car rental options are not going to be lacking. There you will have at your disposal international and well-known rental agencies. The most important ones are:

  • Hertz
  • Europcar
  • National
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty
  • Budget
  • Patriot
  • United Cars

However, check very carefully where the pick-up office is located. It may happen that some of them are not exactly in the airport premises. Usually the rental companies provide shuttles to take customers to the pick-up office. However, be careful with this last point. There may be long waiting times or other types of inconvenience (not to mention the embarrassment, literally speaking).

Advantages and disadvantages

A rental car has obvious advantages. You will be assured of a comfortable, short trip without intermediate stops. As long as the agency is not located far from the airport terminal. In that case there could be queues, waiting for the shuttle and other inconveniences.

The disadvantage is that it is an option that pays off if you already plan to move around the country intensively. Something, by the way, that you should consider if you have not already thought about it. In fact, the United Arab Emirates has places of great charm. If you are thinking of moving to the desert, here are some tips on how to move to the desert of Dubai.

Another drawback worth mentioning is that driving in the country can be a peculiar experience. Especially because of the driving habits of the locals, somewhat more daring than in Spain. In fact, the United Arab Emirates is one of the countries with the highest death rate at the wheel. A fact that must be valued in its right measure, without dramatism, but which should be kept in mind.

  • One way transfer and possibility of return (at the time of delivery of the car)
  • Travel time: 20 minutes
  • Wide range of rental agencies available

Book a transfer from your hotel to Dubai airport

Metro

Waiting for the Metro| ©Fabio Achilli
Waiting for the Metro| ©Fabio Achilli

There are two metro stations in Dubai: one in Terminal 1 and one in Terminal 3. The most central stop is the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. You can transfer there if you wish. Anyway, here you have the information about the stops of the metro network in Dubai. The frequency is 10-15 minutes and the total journey time is around 30 minutes. You can buy the ticket from 8 AED, which at the exchange rate is about 2 €.

You can also get a NOL card, which will allow you to travel on the metro for different periods of time including even other methods of transport. Find here all the information about NOL cards.

The metro can also be a great way to start exploring the city. In fact some of its stops will drop you at very significant points of the city that are included in any must-see list of the city. For example, the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

Advantages and disadvantages from the subway

The metro is undoubtedly a good method of transportation, although slower than others. The price is competitive, but for a few euros more you can opt for more comfortable private transfers. Also, you will have to make intermediate stops and it may not leave you in the place you want and you will need to transfer (so the trip to your hotel will be delayed).

  • Stations at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3
  • Travel time: approximately 30 minutes
  • Frequency 10-15 minutes
  • Transfer price to Dubai: from 2 €.

Bus

Dubai Bus| ©Andrew Mansfield
Dubai Bus| ©Andrew Mansfield

We come to the mode of transport whose balance between advantages and disadvantages is more balanced: the bus. At Dubai airport you will find a bus stop at each of the terminals. Frequencies range from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the line. Here are the most frequent ones:

  • Line 401 to Deira: Approximately 30 minutes;
  • Line 402 to Bur Dubai: Approximately 30 minutes;
  • Line C1 to Satwa Station: Approximately 10 minutes;
  • Line C2 to Zabeel Park: Approximately 10 minutes.

Please note: You will not be able to buy the ticket on the bus. You have to buy a rechargeable card at the different machines you will find at the airport.

The cost of the trip starts at 2 AED, which is a little more than 0,50 €. Bus service hours are from 6 am to 12 midnight. Anyway, I advise you to check the Dubai bus website before doing anything to make sure there are no changes.

You will also find buses that will take you to Abu Dhabi. For more details on this, it is best to check this article on how to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

Advantages and disadvantages from the bus

The advantages of the bus are that it is the cheapest method of transportation. In addition, the buses in Dubai are modern and comfortable and, fortunately, air-conditioned. The disadvantage is obvious: it is the option more subject to a longer journey, longer waits, queues and a somewhat more crowded trip than if we opt for other methods of transportation.

These are, in short, the options you have for airport transfers to Dubai. You just have to evaluate what you plan to do and the budget you want to allocate. The last word is up to you.

  • Lines at each airport terminal
  • Journey time: between 10 and 30 minutes
  • Air-conditioned vehicles
  • Transfer price in Dubai: from 0,50 €.

Book a transfer from your hotel to Dubai airport

Comparison of all transportations

There are many types of transportation and the services that each one of them offers. For this reason, I present a table in which you can compare what you can expect from each of them. Check the journey time, meeting point, waiting time, stops along the route (if any) and the price of your favorite mode of transport.

  • Non-shared private transportation
  • Travel time: 20 minutes
  • Meeting point: the driver takes you there
  • Stops along the way: no
  • No waiting time
  • Price: from 20 €
  • Shared private transportation
  • Travel time: 20 minutes
  • Predefined meeting point
  • Stops along the way: yes
  • Waiting time: up to 60 minutes
  • Price: from 10 €
  • Private VIP transportation
  • Duration of the trip: 20 minutes
  • Meeting point: the driver takes you there
  • Stops along the way: no
  • No waiting time
  • Price: from 40 €
  • Private guided transportation (day and night)
  • Travel time: 20 minutes (4-5 hours including tour)
  • Meeting point: the driver takes you there
  • Stops to see tourist attractions
  • No waiting time
  • Price: from 80 €
  • Cab
  • Journey time: 20 minutes
  • Stopping at each of the 3 terminals
  • Stops along the way: no
  • No waiting time
  • Price: from 11 €
  • Car rental
  • Travel time: 20 minutes
  • Agency offices at the airport
  • Stops along the way: no
  • With waiting time to pick up the car
  • Price: from 30 €/day
  • By bus
  • Journey time: about 30 minutes
  • Stops at the 3 terminals
  • Stops along the way: yes
  • Frequency between 10-30 minutes
  • Price: from 0,50 € per ticket
  • Subway
  • Journey time: about 30 minutes
  • Station at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3
  • Stops along the way: yes
  • Frequencies between 10-30 minutes
  • Price: from 2 € the ticket

Book a transfer from your hotel to Dubai Airport

Frequently asked questions

  • How long does it take to get to Dubai from the airport?

    The bus will take 1 hour, taking the subway from the airport will take 40 minutes, and both transfers and cabs will take about 50 minutes.

  • How can I customize my transfer?

    The different transfer options offer a Wi-Fi router, a SIM card or an express tour with round-trip transportation from the airport, perfect for stopovers.

  • How far in advance should I be at the Dubai airport before my flight?

    Dubai airport recommends 90 minutes if you have to check in your luggage, and 60 minutes if you are only carrying a carry-on. Our recommendation is to be at the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight regardless of your luggage, so that you have plenty of time in case of a traffic jam.