Skip to Content

What to wear in Abu Dhabi Dress Codes and Tips for 2024

What to wear in Abu Dhabi Dress Codes and Tips for 2024

Want to know what to wear in Abu Dhabi? In this guide we address all your burning questions about Abu Dhabi dress codes alongside tips and Abu Dhabi outfit inspiration for men, women and children. 

I lived in Abu Dhabi with my husband and kids for awhile so I became very well acquainted with the Abu Dhabi dress codes and the best things to wear in the city. So if you have questions about what to wear in Abu Dhabi no matter who you are you have definitely come to the right place. 

Abu Dhabi Dress Codes

But before we tell you exactly what to wear in Abu Dhabi, we will first look at Abu Dhabi dress codes that you should be mindful of. 

However generally speaking you should always be mindful that Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is in a muslim country. Like all of the Islamic countries in the Middle East, a conservative dress code is required.

Abu Dhabi women’s dress code

Woman on beach in Abu Dhabi

What to wear in Abu Dhabi dress code and tips

Before we get into location specific dress codes in Abu Dhabi we will first turn our attention to the Abu Dhabi women’s dress code. So what should you wear as a women in Abu Dhabi? 

Having lived in the region for many years I found that I didn’t really have to adjust my dress for living in the UAE. However there are a few things that you need to bear in mind. 

Women in Abu Dhabi should always: 

  • keep their knees covered
  • keep their shoulders covered 
  • not have too much cleavage or items that show too much skin (I would avoid putting crop tops on your packing list) and 
  • not wear anything overly tight or figure hugging.

This is the general Middle East dress code for women, however you will find that the dress code is not strictly adhered too. 

Abi Dhabi is not as liberal as Dubai but you will find that a lot of people in malls and on the beach will not always meet the dress code. However I always believe that you should be respectful when you are traveling and respect the local Muslim culture which is why we suggest the below items in our women’s Abu Dhabi packing list.

The one place in Abu Dhabi where the strict dress code is enforced however is at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and other religious sites. We have more information on what to wear at the Grand Mosque below.

Also if you are moving to Abu Dhabi or have to enter any government buildings it is advisable to stick to the dress code rigidly. 

Abu Dhabi men’s Dress Code

So now we know the Abu Dhabi dress code rules for women, we will turn our attention to the UAE men’s dress code. One thing that always surprises me when people think about Abu Dhabi attire rules is that they think it only applies to women. However men also need to be mindful of what they wear. 

Similarly to the women’s dress code though it is not strongly enforced outside of the Grand Mosque which we will now look at in detail. 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Dress Code 


The place Abu Dhabi where the dress code is strictly enforced is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This is the largest mosque in the UAE and an absolute must for any Abu Dhabi itinerary. However you do need to consider you outfit before you visit. 

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque dress code requires people to cover themselves from ankle to wrists. For women your outfit depends on whether you plan on wearing an abaya over your outfit or want to wear just your own clothes with you. 

Personally whenever I visit the Grand Mosque I always use an abaya as I think it is respectful and adds to the experience. However some people do not want to do this. If you don’t want to wear an abaya then you will need to make sure you wear loose full-length trousers such as linen trousers with a high neck blouse with full length sleeves. 

I also recommend always taking a pashmina with you wherever you are in the Middle East as it can be used to make your outfit more modest and to combat the air conditioning. 

Note: since early 2023 the Mosque has stopped renting Abayas for free and request everyone turns up in a modest outfit as outline above. However the shop at the Mosque has abayas for purchase at only 45AED (equivalent roughly to $12 or £10). 

It is also worth noting that men should always be covered from wrist to ankle to visit the mosque. This means long pants and long sleeve shirts. 

For both men and women we recommend sticking to natural breathable fabrics such as linen and cotton as you will be outdoors during part of your Mosque visit. 

Abu Dhabi Beaches Dress Code 

If you are visiting Abu Dhabi in Winter in particular you will want to be spending time on one of the many beautiful Abu Dhabi beaches. But is there an Abu Dhabi beach dress code? 

The Abu Dhabi beach dress code largely depends on whether you are on a public beach or a private beach resort. At private beaches such as those at 5* hotels there is really no dress code to be aware of. However at public beaches in Abu Dhabi I recommend wearing more modest swimwear and covering up when not in the water on on a. boardwalk. 

Abu Dhabi Airport Dress Code

What should you should wear at Abu Dhabi airport largely depends on whether you are just transiting through the airport or clearing customs. 

If you are entering Abu Dhabi then you should dress modestly, whereas if you are only transiting the dress code is looser. However I recommend dressing modestly anyway as the airport will be used by a lot of locals and it is good to always be respectful. 

Abu Dhabi Dress Codes at malls, hotels and restaurants

Ferrari World on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi

Best things to do in Abu Dhabi

The Hotels and shopping malls of Abu Dhabi are some of the most westernized but also international places you will visit in Abu Dhabi. As such you will see a huge variety of clothing from shorts and t shirts to burqas., If you do want to wear shorts and t shirts here, you won’t be on your own!

However if you plan to visit some of the more traditional areas such as the creek and certainly if you are heading into other Emirates, I would advice dressing more moderately!

In higher end restaurants, generally shorts are not permitted for men or women.

Dress code in Abu Dhabi for Children

Best Beaches in Abu Dhabi with kids

Best Beaches in Abu Dhabi with kids

If you are traveling to Abu Dhabi with toddlers or kids you may be wondering if the dress code rules applies to them. If you are traveling with pre-pubescent child then they can wear whatever they like and the dress code rules do not apply to them. 

However it is worth remembering how strong the sun is in the UAE so you may want to keep them covered for sun protection reasons instead. 

What to Wear in Abu Dhabi During Ramadan

While there aren’t any special rules for clothing during the holy month of Ramadan, I always err on the more conservative side. Ramadan is all about abstinence and restraint so I try and adhere to everything a little more closely.

What to Wear in the Desert in Abu Dhabi?

Woman and baby in the desert

What to wear in the Desert

No trip to Abu Dhabi is complete without a visit into the desert in my opinion. But what should you wear in the desert? The thing that surprise many people is how cold the desert can get once the sun goes down. Therefore I recommend wearing practical clothes for the activities you are doing on your desert safari but adding an extra layer for after sun down. 

Note: if you are traveling to other areas of the UAE or Middle East then you might also be interested in our other guides:

What to Wear in Abu Dhabi 

So now you know the dress codes in different places in Abu Dhabi, we will turn our attention to what to wear in Abu Dhabi and what items you should be putting on your Abu Dhabi packing list. 

What to wear in Abu Dhabi as a Woman

As someone has a lived and worked in Abu Dhabi the following items are all things that I would always put on my Abu Dhabi packing list

Maxi Dress


Maxi dresses are a staple of my Abu Dhabi packing list. However there are a few things I would consider when picking out the best maxi dress for Abu Dhabi. These are:

  • having a cap sleeve or more, 
  • be made of a natural fabric and 
  • not be too revealing in terms of cleavage or slits in the skirt that reveal the knee or above!

Shop Maxi dresses here

Maxi Skirt 


If dresses aren’t your thing then a maxi skirt is another good pick. Again, just be mindful of any slits in your skirt especially in places such as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Click here to shop maxi skirts. 

Long Pants / Trousers

Long pants or trousers are also a good pick. We recommend avoiding jeans in Abu Dhabi as it is just too warm for them. Instead we recommend choosing something like a cotton or linen pant. 



To pair with any bottoms you take I would have at least one long sleeve blouse with you that can be worn in places like the Mosque. And if you can pick loose blouses these are better as they are cooler in the heat.  Shop blouses here.

T Shirts

T Shirts are great for most places in Abu Dhabi including beaches, malls, museums etc. I normally have a few on my UAE packing list. 


If you are going to the beach or plan on using hotel pools you will want swimwear with you. I normally pack two items of swimwear so I can have one drying and one for wearing. 

I normally opt for one pieces especially for use on public beaches and at water parks such as the amazing Yas Island Water Park. However this is a personal choice. 

Beach Cover


When you are not in the water or on the beach you will want a beach cover for use on the boardwalks. Click here to shop modest beach covers. 


I never travel to the UAE without a straw hat either in the winter or summer months. The sun is strong, especially in the summer, so you will want a hat with a wide brim that gives you added sun protection. 


I never travel anywhere in the Middle East without a pashmina. They are useful for making outfits more modest and also as an extra layer in the cinema and mall where the air conditioning can be very strong.

Abu Dhabi Packing List for Men

For men visiting Abu Dhabi we recommend adding the below to your packing list:

  • T Shirts 
  • Long-sleeved shirts – for use at the mosque and high end restaurants 
  • Shorts – for use on beaches 
  • Long pants – good for modest outfits for mosques and high end restaurants where shorts are not allowed. We recommend sticking to pants made of cotton, linen and light chinos as they are cooler than jeans. 
  • Hat

Best Shoes for Abu Dhabi

Now you know what clothes to pack we will turn our attention to shoes. The shoes we always pack for Abu Dhabi are: 


These can be used anywhere in the city and are particularly good for those who are planing to visit malls or theme parks such as Warner Brothers world where you will be doing a lot of walking. I also like to wear them for desert safaris when I am doing activities such as camel riding and dune bashing.


Sandals are a great pick for Abu Dhabi as they cope with the heat well. Just be sure to pick a pair with good arch support. I would also pack a pair of flip flops for use round hotel pools and on the beach but wouldn’t plan on doing any serious walking in them. 

What to wear in Abu Dhabi FAQs

So now you know the dress codes in Abu Dhabi and the things we recommend wearing, we will answer your frequently asked questions. However if there is a question you have and we haven’t answered it feel free to drop us it in the comments and we will get back to you as soon as we can. 

Can you wear a bikini in Abu Dhabi?

Yes you can wear a bikini in Abu Dhabi but it really depends on where you as to whether it is appropriate. My personal preference is to wear a bikini only on private beaches. 

Whereas on public beaches and at aqua parks I stick to one pieces. 

Can I wear shorts in Abu Dhabi?

Whether you can wear shorts in Abu Dhabi depends on where you are. At the Grand Mosque you absolutely can to wear shorts as you need to be covered to your ankle. 

However you will see shorts elsewhere in the city i.e. malls and beaches. However I personally prefer to dress more modestly to respect local culture and opt wearing long length pants or maxi skirts or maxi dresses instead. 

Can you wear jeans in Abu Dhabi? 

There are no rules that say you can’t wear jeans in Abu Dhabi but I personally find it too hot to wear jeans in Abu Dhabi even in Winter outside. However I do wear them when I am in the malls and cinema.  And you can wear  whatever style of jeans you are most comfortable in so feel free to wear skinny jeans or even ripped jeans in Abu Dhabi (though I wouldn’t wear excessively ripped jeans). 

When outside though I prefer natural fabric pants like cotton trousers and linen trousers as you will find these cooler. 

Do I have to wear traditional clothing in the UAE?

National dress is commonly worn throughout Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the other Emirates but there is no requirement for anyone else to wear traditional dress in the UAE. However I personally find it easier to wear an abaya when visiting mosques in the country. 

Do I have to wear a headscarf in Abu Dhabi? 

No you are not required to wear a headscarf in Abu Dhabi city and there is no requirement to keep your head or hair covered. 

The only place where you have to dress more modesty and use a head scarf is at the Grand Mosque! 

I hope this helps you put together your Abu Dhabi packing list but if you still have questions please drop them in the comments below.