Are you considering visiting Abu Dhabi in Winter? In this guide we tell you what to expect from Abu Dhabi temperatures, the best things to do and more.
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When is Winter in Abu Dhabi?
I always say there are only two seasons in the UAE – Winter and Summer. So when is Winter in Abu Dhabi? Well the temperatures in Abu Dhabi start to fall in October, however I would say Winter really starts to come into full force in November and runs to around March time.
However unlike in Europe and North America Winter isn’t really all that cold.
In fact it is much easier to be outdoors in Abu Dhabi in Winter than it is in Summer due to the more pleasant temperatures.
Temperatures in Abu Dhabi in Winter
If you want to know the coldest month in ABu Dhabi is definitely January where the Abu Dhabi average temperature is 18C. So not exactly artic.
However it is worth noting that the temperatures do drop in the evening once the sun goes down with evening temperatures hovering around 12C. Therefore you will need layers for evenings and especially if you have plans to head out into the desert.
Does it rain in Abu Dhabi in Winter?
Rain is not commonplace in Abu Dhabi however it is not unheard of. The rainiest month in Abu Dhabi is February, with January and March following not far after.
The average rainfall in February however is around 0.6 inches. It is unlikely you will experience rain on everyday of your Abu Dhabi vacation however as there are only usually around 6 days of rain fall between the months of December and March.
However having said that the effects of rain in places such Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha is relatively severe. The reason is because there is little in terms of drainage which can lead to flooding and traffic problems.
If you do get caught in a downpour we recommend heading to one of Abu Dhabi’s many indoor attraction to wait out the worst of the traffic.
What to Pack for Abu Dhabi in Winter.
The key to any Abu Dhabi packing list is modesty. Abu Dhabi is a Muslim country and the local culture should be respected.
Unless you are on a hotel property or beach be sure to keep your knees and shoulders covered. And don’t forget this rule applies to both men and women.
On top of that we recommend packing light breathable fabrics to reduce sweat in the heat as well as layers for the cooler evenings and for visiting the desert.
However for a full Abu Dhabi packing list check out this post.
Best Things to do in Abu Dhabi in Winter
So now we know what to expect from the weather in Abu Dhabi in Winter, what are the best things to do?
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Top of any Abu Dhabi Bucket list should be a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The mosque is absolutely breathtaking and a complete architectural gem
The mosque is free to enter! and is open from 9am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday. It closes on Friday morning for worshippers but visitors can go after 4:30pm. During the holy month of Ramadan it’s always best to check the schedule as times will vary and the mosque is closed to visitors on a Friday.
We recommend getting to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for opening to make sure you beat the crowds. As we lived in Abu Dhabi we have been to the mosque many many times and I can tell you that morning is the time to go.
For more information on what to wear in Abu Dhabi be sure to check out this post which includes guidance on what to wear at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Visit the Louvre
After the Mosque, I think the most impressive building in Abu Dhabi is the Louvre Abu Dhabi building.
Designed by the starchitect Jean Nouvel, who coincidentally designed one of my other favourite museum buildings in the Gulf. The museum has loans from its Parisian counterpart and has some really impressive galleries.
If you are travelling with children there is also a children’s gallery however the rest of the museum is more inaccessible for younger audiences.
For an itinerary that takes in all of these places check out our ultimate Abu Dhabi 7 day itinerary.
This place, especially if there are cruise ships in the port, can get busy so I would recommend booking your tickets in advance!
You can book your tickets online HERE
Head to the Beach
Abu Dhabi has some amazing and beautiful beaches. One of our favorites is at the Saadiyat Island Beach Club. However there are also plenty of public beaches that you can visit that are free to enter or that have only nominal fees.
For a complete guide to Abu Dhabi beaches check out this post.
Do some Shopping
The UAE is famed for its malls. And while Dubai Mall overshadows most of the other malls in the Emirates and ABu Dhabi you shouldn’t discount the shopping in Abu Dhabi too.
There are several great malls but perhaps the best for shopping is the Abu Dhabi mall.
However if you are visiting Abu Dhabi in December you may want to consider heading to Al Mariyah Island for the Christmas celebrations.
Head out into the desert
A desert safari is an absolute must for any visit to the UAE. There are lots of desert safari excursions from ABu Dhabi and offer things like camel rides and dune bashing
However if you are visiting in December then you may want to look into the annual event called Carols in the Desert however you would need to be comfortable driving out into the desert which we don’t recommend doing in a hire car as it would in likelihood invalidate your car hire insurance.
Dine Al Fresco
Abu Dhabi has some great restaurants and in winter you can enjoy the cooler evenings by dining al fresco. Summer is too hot to dine al fresco so this is definitely only a UAE Winter activity.
Head to a Theme Park
The UAE has some amazing theme parks and Abu Dhabi is no exception. The Warner Brothers Studio Theme park is located on Yas Island and has some amazing rides.
As the theme park is indoor this is an Abu Dhabi attraction that can be enjoyed all year round.
And for car enthusiasts there is the smaller but equally enjoyable Ferrari World theme park.
Head to a Water Park
And for the warmer winter days you should head to Yas Island Water Park. As the temperatures in Winter aren’t cold, the perfect place to head is Yas Wter Park.
It is brilliant for those heading to Abu Dhabi with kids.
Although the UAE is a Muslim country, you will still find plenty of festive spirit in Abu Dhabi. From the carols in the desert to the Village at Al MAriyah ISland at the Galleria mall. There are plenty of places to see Santa and see trees.
Celebrate UAE National Day
And while Christmas is celebrated in ABu Dhabi, it is nice to celebrate local holidays. UAE NAtional Day is a winter public holiday.
It is held annually on 2nd December from 1971. There are usually special events held around the city as well as a great opportunity to learn about local UAE culture.
Is Winter a Good Time to Visit Abu Dhabi
So is Winter a good time to visit Abu Dhabi? In my opinion Winter is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi because of the combination of of great weather and Winter events.
My absolute favorite month to visit Abu Dhabi is December. Abu Dhabi is relatively festive and the special events such as UAE National Day make it a special time to visit.
However you should not discount visiting in October, November, January, February or March. These months still have great weather and everything will be open (Though if you are visiting Abu Dhabi during Ramadan check out this post).
Have you visited Abu Dhabi in Winter? What is your favorite thing to do?