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Is Dubai Expensive & How Much Money Do You Need to Visit UAE (2024 Prices)

Is Dubai Expensive & How Much Money Do You Need to Visit UAE (2024 Prices)

Are you considering a trip to Dubai, UAE, but have no idea how much it costs? Is Dubai expensive to visit? How much money do you actually need for a trip to Dubai? This article will give you a better idea of the prices in Dubai.

Dubai is indeed not cheap, but – as everywhere in the world – it also depends on the choices you make. The biggest expense is, of course, the flight and the hotel, followed by some activities and excursions. Transport and food prices are comparable to those in Western Europe.

In this article, we give some examples of how much everything costs in Dubai and how expensive is Dubai for tourists.

You can also find some experienced-based tips on how to save money when traveling to Dubai. Find out!

READ ALSO: What to Wear in Dubai

How expensive is Dubai UAE - spice souk in Dubai oldd town
Dubai Spice Souk. The prices they ask from tourists are very high so be sure to haggle!

What does a flight to Dubai cost?

Return flight prices from Western Europe to Dubai start from 400-500 EUR depending on the travel period, the airlines, and how much in advance you book.

On one of our trips to Dubai from Belgium we paid about 360 EUR per person, but on another occasion it was over 800 EUR.

TIP: You can find the cheapest flights by using search engines like Skyscanner, Momondo, or Kayak.

Airplanes at Dubai International Airport
Dubai Airport

How expensive are Dubai hotels?

You will find some of the world’s most expensive hotels in Dubai, but there are plenty of more affordable options as well. 

The cheapest room for 2 at Burj Al Arab will cost you about 1.200 EUR/ night in the summer (low season) and over 2.000 EUR in the high season. But you can also stay for a week for the same price at ‘regular’ hotels. There are also plenty of more budget-friendly accommodations as well.

Hotel prices in Dubai highly depend on the hotel you choose, the location, the number of people/rooms, travel period, etc. It’s really impossible to give an estimate.

The best way to get a quick idea of accommodation prices in Dubai is by checking websites like It’s also often the quickest and the most transparent way to find the best deals for your stay.

TIP: Using the map below, you can compare hotels and short-term rental accommodations in Dubai. Simply insert your travel dates and group size, and you’ll see the best deals for your stay. Check it out!


The best areas to stay in Dubai depend on what you want to do. For sightseeing, stay close to Dubai Mall, for beach holiday – at the Jumeirah Beach Residence at The Walk, and for the combination both – the Dubai Marina area.

Important to know: Keep in mind that Dubai accommodation prices that you see online don’t include municipality taxes and fees. These fees add up to more than 20% of the price that you see and you have to pay this at the hotel.

Our experience: On our first trip to Dubai, we stayed at DoubleTree by Hilton Jumeirah Beach hotel. It’s a great option for big families looking for a beach holiday at a fantastic location, however, it’s quite pricey nowadays (+-400-500 EUR per night for 2-3 people). You can read the complete review of DoubleTree by Hilton Jumeirah Beach Hotel Dubai here.

Recently, we opted for Rove La Mer Beach, Jumeirah. This hotel is also at the beach, but very close to the downtown area – a perfect place for those who want to combine sightseeing and relaxing vacation. This hip modern hotel is also very affordable for Dubai standards, but that will probably change when the construction works in the area around are done. We paid a bit less than 200 EUR per night for a room for 3 people at this hotel including breakfast.

Dubai hotel pool at Rove La Mer Beach Jumeirah
Swimming pool at Rove La Mer Beach Jumeirah in Dubai.

Is food expensive in Dubai and how much to budget for restaurants?

Like everything else in Dubai, you can find food and restaurants in all price categories.

Traveling with young children, we usually keep clear of the most romantic upmarket restaurants so I cannot comment on those. We didn’t go to KFC or McDonald’s either. We mostly dined at the restaurants on The Walk, in one of the malls, or at our hotel.

On the most recent trip to Dubai, we found that restaurant prices were very comparable to what we are used to in Western Europe. At mid-budget restaurants, main dishes for lunch or dinner cost about 15-25 EUR. However, if you opt for a really good steak or seafood, expect to pay 30-40 EUR, sometimes even more.

Prices at fast food restaurants are much lower and you can expect to pay about 7-9 EUR for a hamburger menu.

TIP: Go out for dinner, especially if you are staying at a 4-5* hotel. Prices at many hotel restaurants are usually much higher than prices at restaurants in town. You will often pay at least twice the price at the hotel restaurant compared to dining outside of the hotels.

However, this is not always the case. For example, we found food prices at Rove La Mer Beach Jumeirah Hotel very affordable, whereas the restaurant at the DoubleTree by Hilton Jumeirah Beach Hotel was really expensive.

READ ALSO: Dubai Travel Tips

Mixed grill dish and Arabic bread at a restaurant in the UAE - Dubai prices
A mixed grill dish at a traditional restaurant for 2 people costs about 40-50 EUR.

Examples of the average Dubai restaurant prices

  • Soft drinks: 15-30 AED (4-8 EUR).
  • Smoothies and shakes: 25-35 AED (6-9 EUR).
  • Children’s menu (often includes a drink): 30-50 AED (8-12 EUR).
  • Appetizers and desserts: 30-60 AED (8-15 EUR).
  • Sandwiches and burgers: 30-80 AED (8-20 EUR).
  • Main dishes: 60-100 AED (15-25 EUR). Local dishes are usually cheaper and you can have an excellent lamb dish for 15 EUR, but a good steak can quickly cost you double of that.

There was a little local supermarket close to our hotel at The Walk, and food prices there were very comparable to those in Western Europe. However, if you buy something at the supermarkets inside the hotels, expect to pay about twice the price. To give you an idea, our kids got some Doritos chips and a rather small bag was almost 8 EUR!

I want to give you one example to illustrate how different the prices for the same thing can be. If you buy an ice cream at one of the fast food places in the Dubai Mall Food Court, you can find it as cheap as 1 AED (that’s like 0.25 EUR). If, however, you buy a Turkish ice cream at the same Dubai Mall, you will pay 30 AED (about 7.5 EUR). But the latter comes with a show and the kids will tell you it’s ‘totally worth it’.

Turkish ice cream at Dubai Mall
Turkish ice cream comes with the whole show – our kids loved it every time!

How much does alcohol cost in Dubai?

If you wonder if you can get alcoholic drinks in Dubai, the answer is yes, most hotel restaurants serve alcohol. However, alcohol isn’t readily available at most restaurants in the city.

Just as everywhere in the world, alcohol is quite expensive in Dubai hotels (and depends a lot on the hotel category as well).

At mid-budget hotels, prepare to pay about 35-45 AED (9-11 EUR) for a glass of wine or beer, and about 40-60 AED for a cocktail (10-15 EUR).

Dubai hotel and food prices vary a lot
Just like anywhere else in the world, food and drink prices vary a lot depending on the venue.

How expensive is a metro or taxi in Dubai?

Public transport such as the metro is very cheap in Dubai. You can expect to pay about 1-2 EUR for a metro ticket.

Official taxis are also rather cheap, but if you use Uber, be careful because they increase their prices if there’s a lot of demand. Here are some examples of our recent taxi rides in Dubai using an official taxi:

  • From Dubai Airport to Dubai Mall Area: 50-60 AED (13-15 EUR).
  • Dubai Mall Area to Atlantis (The Palm): 60-80 AED (15-20 EUR).
  • Dubai Mall Area to Old Town: 35-40 AED (9-10 EUR).

LEARN MORE: Dubai Public Transport & Prices

Taxi prices in Dubai UAE
Official taxis are usually much cheaper than Uber in Dubai.

What about tax-free shopping in Dubai & how expensive is clothing or electronics?

Dubai malls are among the biggest in the world offering a huge selection for any budget: from H&M, Zara, or GAP to Chanel, Dior, or Louis Vuitton.

We found that most prices in Dubai are much higher than in Europe: clothing, electronics, toys.

Dubai is therefore probably not the best destination for a shopping weekend with your girlfriends.

Designer stores at the Dubai Mall, Dubai UAE
Dubai Mall.

How much do excursions and activities cost in Dubai and how to save money?

Some of Dubai’s activities are completely free or very cheap – e.g. an entry ticket to the Global Village is just a few euros and Dubai Frame tickets are around 13-15 EUR. But many other activities can cost you several hundred euros – e.g. a scenic helicopter ride will cost about 200-300 EUR depending on the duration of the flight.

On average, you can expect to pay about 40-50 EUR per person for the most popular attractions such as Burj Khalifa or the Museum of the Future, and popular activities such as a luxury yacht tour near Dubai Marina or a Marina dinner cruise.

Regular entry tickets to observatories such as Sky Views or The View At The Palm cost about 20-30 EUR.

Most day trips and popular excursions in Dubai will cost you between 50 and 150 EUR, depending on the duration, activity, group size, etc. For example, we paid about 90 EUR per person for an amazing Abu Dhabi day tour, and about the same price for a camel tour at sunset.

Good to know: For the best price and availability, book your Dubai excursions in advance. Here you can find our hand-picked selection of some of the best tours in Dubai.

TIP: One of the best ways to save money on the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai is by getting a Dubai Explorer Pass.

To help you get a better idea of what to expect when visiting Dubai’s most popular activities and how to save some money and time, we included some experience-based tips below. Read on!

READ ALSO: Best Free & Cheap Things to Do in Dubai

AYA Universe - Dubai prices
AYA Universe in Dubai.

How expensive are Dubai’s water parks and how to book with a discount?

The most expensive water park in Dubai is Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm. But it’s also the best one. Other water parks like Wild Wadi in Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park are about 10% cheaper.

The cheapest online ticket at Aquaventure now costs about 80 EUR for adults and about 68 EUR for kids under 1,2m (4 feet). If you don’t get your tickets in advance, you will pay at least 15-20 EUR extra per person. Plus, expect to pay 15 EUR for a small locker and about 15-30 EUR for food and drinks (per person).

There are plenty of other activities at Aquaventure. For example, you can interact and swim with dolphins. These are all very expensive and you have to figure out if they are worth it for you and your family. Whatever you decide, remember that it will be much cheaper if booked well in advance. Plus, without advance booking, you may not be able to do this at all.

TIP: GetYourGuide now offers a pretty good deal for Aquaventure in combination with the Lost Chamber Aquarium. We bought this ticket and the aquarium cost just a few euros extra this way.

LEARN MORE: Tips for Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park Dubai

Atlantis Aquaventure Water Park
Atlantis Aquaventure is the best water park in Dubai.

How expensive is it to visit ‘At The Top’ in Burj Khalifa

Another must-do in Dubai is visiting At The Top of Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building.

The cheapest regular ticket to 124+125th floors costs about 45 EUR. A visit at sunset will cost you about 65 EUR. Prepare to pay 100-140 EUR for the skip-the-line tickets (admission to the Sky level -148th floor).

Good to know: Nowadays, the lines at Burj Khalifa are really long, even with timed entry tickets. If you didn’t think to book in advance, you may not be able to visit at all. So book in advance! And if you want to skip the biggest queues and have a less crowded experience, opt for the 148th-floor ticket (it includes other levels too).

Dubai fountain show as seen from At the Top Burj Khalifa at night
Dubai fountain show as seen from Burj Khalifa at night

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

The entrance fee to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is pretty steep, starting at about 35-40 EUR per person. Frankly, we found it not worth it for this price.

TIP: If you want to visit this aquarium, it is better to get a combination ticket that includes Burj Khalifa tickets as well. That way, you save about half the price of the aquarium ticket. That’s much more reasonable.

Good to know: Dubai Mall gets very busy in the afternoon, so get up early and go there first thing in the morning. Or admire this huge aquarium from the Mall for free and save your money for something else. For example, our kids loved the AYA Universe and The Green Planet – both worth the money and the time more than this aquarium (in our view).

People at the Dubai Mall Aquarium
You can see the Dubai Aquarium from the Mall for free, but tickets to visit inside are really pricey.

Dubai boat trips and dinner cruises

One of the most popular excursions in Dubai is a dinner cruise – either on Dubai Creek or at Dubai Marina. There are countless companies running scenic boat tours and you will find plenty of options. During the day, there are scenic boat trips with breakfast or lunch as well.

Nowadays, the prices of these scenic cruises including food and drinks start from about 50 EUR per person. This is somewhat comparable to what you would pay for lunch or dinner at a nicer restaurant (but here, you get a scenic boat trip as well).

On our first trip to Dubai, we booked this Alexandra Dhow Cruise and we really enjoyed it. At that time, we paid about the same price as just for dinner at a restaurant. But here, we got a buffet dinner, great views, and also saw a traditional Tanoura dance performance. We found this cruise well worth doing in Dubai.

TIP: If you decide to book a dinner cruise, you have to realize that it’s a very touristy experience. That said, some companies do a really great job. So be sure to read tour descriptions and customer reviews so that you know what exactly you can expect and what’s included.

Tanoura dance performance with skirt lit in the dark in Dubai
Tanoura dance performance in Dubai

So, this is our guide with some recent examples of how much everything costs in Dubai.

I hope that this overview of Dubai prices will help you prepare for your visit so that you can avoid unpleasant surprises for your wallet.

If there is one tip I can give you when trying to save money on your trip to Dubai is to do research and book as much as possible in advance. Dubai is not cheap, but with some advance planning, you can keep your trip budget lower.

LEARN MORE: Dubai Travel Tips & Tricks


Here are some frequently asked questions about how expensive is Dubai for tourists and our short answers to them:

Is Dubai expensive to visit?

Visiting Dubai can be as expensive or as cheap as you want and so much depends on your choices. In general, prices in Dubai are comparable to other major cities in the world. Accommodation and tours can be quite expensive, but there is so much choice that you can make it more budget-friendly if you wish. Restaurant prices are comparable to those in Western European cities.

Is Dubai expensive for food and drink?

Also for food and drink, Dubai can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. There are cheap restaurants, popular restaurant chains, and also very upscale restaurants. Prices of drinks also depend on the restaurant, with alcoholic beverages being more expensive, or course.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?

While alcohol consumption is strictly regulated, yes, you can drink alcohol in Dubai as a tourist. However, you can only buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants, or nightclubs.

HOW TO PLAN A TRIP: Dubai Itinerary for Up to 7 Days


** Traveling to UAE soon? Make sure to check our hand-picked selection of the best Dubai tours and activities that you really shouldn’t miss!

** If Dubai is high on your list, but you have limited time and/or budget, you could consider a short stopover in Dubai in combination with another trip.

More inspiration and information for visiting Dubai:

For families: What to Do in Dubai with Kids
Getting around: Dubai Public Transport – Getting around Dubai
Interesting to know: Interesting Facts About Dubai

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

How expensive is Dubai and how to save money on your trip

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Thursday 21st of September 2023

Hi Jurga. As a soon-to-be first-time visitor to Dubai, your posts have been very helpful.

One thing I cannot seem to find anywhere on the web is a way to have a non-touristy, non-luxury experience of nature preserves or National Parks. The park that particularly interests me is Dubai National Park founded 1997 by a sheik, but I can find little information about it, and especially how to visit it.

Do you have any suggestions?

Thank you.

David Radcliff


Thursday 21st of September 2023

Hi David, I'm afraid I cannot help you with this either. Good luck with the search and enjoy your trip!


Wednesday 6th of September 2023

Hello Jurga, Thanks for a detailed blog post, which covers almost everything. It's been very helpful when planning my trip to Dubai.


Thursday 7th of September 2023

Glad to help, Lin. Enjoy your trip!


Monday 14th of November 2022

i am planning to bring my mother to Dubai, from the Philippines. She is 85 yrs old, she said at least she gets to see one of the beautiful places in UAE. Your vlog is helping me cut down my expenses a I would be paying for the 4 of us, 2 senior and 2 adults. Is there any discount for seniors? March is my target date, which I learned is a pretty good month to visit. I hope you can share me more of your budget friendly trips and tips..also, is it better if i bring dollars? would it make my spending cheaper? .again thank you.


Monday 14th of November 2022

Hi Lyn, wow - that's great of your mom to make a trip like this at that age! Unfortunately, I don't think I can help you much. You'd need to check it place by place and attraction per attraction to see if there are any discounts for seniors. As for the money, you'll have to use local currency anyway, so you'll have to either exchange your dollars or simply pay by credit card. For most things, the credit card will be the easiest, but it's always useful to have some (local) cash. Also, you can prebook some things in advance (hotels, tours, tickets) - that way, i's easier to estimate how much everything will cost and how much cash to take (or if you need to ask your bank to increase the credit card limits, etc). One thing to keep in mind is the tax on your accommodation (about 20%!). If you book direct with a hotel, usually, it's not included in the price yet, whereas if you book e.g. on, they show you the final price you'll pay (even if you only pay part of it later), so it's much easier to compare and to budget. And yes, March is a great time to visit Dubai. Have a great trip!


Sunday 18th of September 2022

I have already bought my airline ticket and prepaid my hotel accommodations and excursions that includes breakfast daily for a 7 day trip. Should I take $500 or $1000 American dollars?


Monday 19th of September 2022

Hi Lilian, I wouldn't take much/any cash, but rather credit cards. If your accommodation and tours are already paid for, the rest is mainly just lunch/ dinner and transport. It shouldn't cost that much and you'll likely be fine with 500 for a week. Still, it's always better to have some reserve in case you want to book an extra tour, tip your guides, or buy something, etc. So I'd definitely take more (once again - better just take a credit card). Have a nice trip!


Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Thanks for your blog, it’s very interesting to read. I read that you travelled to Dubai with 3 young children. I’m finding with a family of 5 that hotels do not have a room that can accommodate us all and we have to book 2 rooms which increase the costs for us substantially. It would be great to know which hotels you have been to that have accommodated the 5 of you. Thanks


Thursday 12th of December 2019

Hi Pen, I know exactly what you mean. Having the 3rd child often doubles your hotel costs... :( Talking of Dubai, we found an amazing hotel with fantastic family suites for 5-6 people, a great location, and sea views in all directions. We took a huuuuge 3-bedroom suite with sea views and it was a fraction of the cost of other somewhat comparable hotels for our family at that time, so definitely check it out. It's Doubletree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach. I even have a review of the hotel on our website if you want to get a better idea of what it's like: Review of DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel. We loved it so much that if we go back to Dubai, we'd definitely stay there again. Oh, and make sure to book breakfast because it's really good. My kids are still talking about donuts they used to eat there every morning (it's not often they get donuts for breakfast :))).

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