Reaching your hotel from Dubai airport


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The initial point of entry for any stay in Dubai or the United Arab Emirates, Dubai Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is an impressive place, very modern and nicely decorated.

It is impossible not to fall under its charm!

Whether you come to visit Dubai or transit there one day: I explain everything you need to know about the Dubai airport, one of the biggest airports in the world.


More than 70 million passengers pass through Dubai International Airport each year (more than 100 million were expected by 2020, before the Covid), making it the world's largest airport in terms of international passenger numbers and the 3rd busiest airport in the world.

From this airport, more than 150 airlines serve more than 260 destinations worldwide.

Its AITA code is DXB.

Dubai International Airport has 3 terminals.

Rent a car from the airport 🚘

If you are visiting Dubai with a group, renting a car can be a good way to get you to your accommodation from the airport, but also to move around during your stay: it will give you freedom and comfort!

To find an available car during your stay and at the best price, you can use a comparison tool that will give you a global overview of the available offer.

When I rented a car in Dubai, I used the RentalCars platform, which made my searches easier. Nothing better than landing at the airport knowing that the vehicle is ready and waiting for you 🙂


Terminal 1 or "Sheikh Rashid Terminal" opened in 2000. 50 million passengers pass through it every year.

Numerous airlines (about 100) operate in this terminal, and flights of many other companies land there (including European airlines such as Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa and Alitalia).

This terminal houses Concourse D.


Terminal 2 was inaugurated in May 1998. It handles 10 million passengers per year.

50 airlines operate from this terminal.

It is mainly used for regional flights and low-cost airlines serving the Middle East and Eastern Europe (FlyDubai for example).


Terminal 3 is the airport's newest terminal, having opened in October 2008.

It has a capacity of 40 million passengers per year and is exclusively reserved for Emirates Airlines.

With its architecture in the shape of an airplane wing, its surface of 16,145,865 square feet (1,500,000 square meters) and its length of 0.6 miles (one kilometer), this terminal is the most impressive of the three. In fact, it is one of the largest buildings in the world.

This terminal houses halls A (exclusively dedicated to the Emirates A380 + 20 boarding gates), B and C (concourses A, B and C).

terminal 3 dubai airport


Dubai International Airport is located in the north of Dubai, about 3 miles (5 km) from the city center.


By subway, take the red line to “Airport Terminal 1” or “Airport Terminal 3”.

Buses 32C and C1 will take you directly to Emirates’ Terminal 3.

By cab, the driver will follow Sheikh Zayed Road (E11), the central artery of Dubai, and then take exit 58 towards D70. The fare will be between $11 and $46 (€10 and €40) depending on the distance and duration of the trip.

By car, you can get to the airport by taking highways E-11 and E-31. You will have easier access to Terminals 1 and 3 which are located along the D89, and to Terminal 2 which is located along the D91.


  • Change of terminal

The transfer from one terminal to another is done by shuttle/bus. Transfers are regular. Expect 20 minutes between Terminals 1 and 2, and 30 minutes between Terminals 2 and 3.

You can also walk the distance. Terminals 1 and 3 are connected by a tunnel with moving walkways.

Note that you can go from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 without going through immigration control.

  • The subway

Since Terminals 1 and 3 each have a subway station, the subway is the most convenient way to get from the airport to Downtown Dubai. You can take the Red Line along Sheikh Zayed Road. This line will take you to the "Dubai Mall" where you can visit the Burj Khalifa.

A train runs approximately every 10 minutes.

The cost of the trip is affordable (from AED 3 to AED 17 -  $0.80 to $4.60, and free for children under 6) and depends on the number of zones you will cross. In order to pay, you will have to buy a "NOL Card" (a rechargeable smart card) in one of the machines located in the subway stations. Remember to validate your card as you board and alight.

The subway hours are as follows:

  • Saturday to Wednesday from 5 am to midnight,
  • Thursday from 5 am to 1 am
  • Friday from 10 am to 1 am

Please note that you can only carry two pieces of luggage in the subway (one suitcase and one hand luggage).

It takes about 15 minutes to get to the center of Dubai.

transfer from dubai
  • The bus 

The bus is the most economical way to reach the center of Dubai. There are bus stops opposite Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

The buses are modern and air-conditioned with large luggage compartments. They run every 5-10 minutes.

You will not be able to buy a ticket from the driver: you will need to use the "NOL Card". The fare is a flat fee: from AED 2 /$0.55 per trip:

  • AED 4 /$1.10 for a single trip in a zone,
  • AED 6 /$1.65 for a trip through two connected zones,
  • AED 8.5 /$2.30 if you cross more than two zones.

The buses run every day from 5 or 6 am until 11 pm or midnight, depending on the line.

  • The streetcar

The city also has a streetcar line, opened in 2014. It serves 11 stations with a passage every 6 to 8 minutes. You can use it as a complement to the subway (red line).

You will also need a "NOL Card" to use the Dubai Tramway. The fare is 4 AED/journey ($1.10). It is free for people under 5 years old and less than 2.9 feet tall (90 cm).

The streetcar runs from Saturday to Thursday from 6:30 am to 1 am, and on Friday from 9 am to 1 am.

  • Transfer by car/Uber

If you are too tired to take the subway or have too much luggage, you can also reach the city center by cab. You will always find one at the airport exit (24 hours a day). They are cream-colored vehicles with a colored roof and the word "taxi" written on them. Alternatively, you can book one in advance (via for example).

Note that the cab fare includes:

  • the pick-up,
  • the distance covered,
  • the waiting time in traffic. Therefore, the rates vary according to the density of the traffic.

Here are some examples of rates:

Destinations (travel duration)

Price of the trip

Old Dubai (Deira) – Districts near the airport

AED 55 (about $15)

The Burj Khalifa (9 miles/15 km from the airport – 15 minutes)

AED 70 (about $19)

Madinat Jumeirah (15.5 miles/25 km from the airport)

AED 110 (about $30)

The Palm Jumeirah (18 miles/30 km from the airport – half an hour of travel)

AED 145 (about $40)

The Dubai Marina (+ than 18 miles/30 km from the airport – half an hour of travel)

AED 130 (about $35)

You can pay by cash or credit card.

Please note that:

- All cabs are equipped with a meter. If the driver forgets to turn it on, the ride will be free!

- The minimum fare is 10 AED (about $2.70 or €2.50).

- Pink cabs are reserved for women.

  • Private transfer

You can hire the services of a driver. He will pick you up at the airport and drive you to your hotel in a comfortable car. Depending on the number of passengers, the price will be the same or even cheaper than if you take a cab / Uber. 

  • Car rental

Car rental is also a good option if you plan to discover Dubai at leisure or if you are traveling with your family. You can make a reservation before your departure or go directly to one of the counters present in the different terminals. There are about twenty agencies in the airport (Avis, Budget, Hertz...). Prices will depend on the category of vehicle chosen.

  • Hotel shuttle services

Some hotels offer transfers towards the airport via their shuttle. This service can be free or not. Ask your hotel for more information!

  • The « Sky Bus Airport »

You can also use the "Sky Bus Airport", a bus service that serves the airport and some of the city's hotels (12 different routes, 110 hotels served). You can check the list of hotels served by the Sky Bus on the official website of the Dubai Bus RTA.

The service is open 24 hours a day. There is a departure in front of the 3 terminals every 30 minutes.

You will have Wi-Fi connection and can enjoy snacks and drinks on board the buses.

The fare is 15 AED/$4.08, which must be paid with the "NOL Card" (no cash payment).
aerial view of dubai airport



If you have a long stopover at Dubai airport, you won't get bored! Indeed, you will find a shopping mall (with more than 322,917 square feet of surface – or 30,000 square meters – in Terminal 3), the "Dubai Duty Free", with tons of stores (luxury ones, or more classic ones that are even open 24 hours a day), cafes and restaurants.

If you don't know when to go to Dubai, I wrote a complete article about it 😊

To pass the time, you can also go to the "Zen Garden" of the airport. This little green area is located between gates B7 and B27 of Terminal 3.

This terminal also has a 5-star hotel, the “Dubai International Hotel”. This means you can get a good night's sleep and enjoy the hotel's restaurants, spa, pool and gym – all this without leaving the transit zone or passing through customs! The hotel also has a business center where businessmen can organize meetings.

Of course, if you can't afford a night in such a large hotel, opt for the Snoozecubes in Terminal 1. Located near gate C22, these small private cabins (with bed, TV, internet access) are perfect for a good nap (2 hours minimum)!



If you are in Dubai for a short transit only, you should know that the airport has many lounges where you can rest. However, you will need to show a business class or first class reservation to be able to enjoy these lounges (Terminal 3). Unless you decide to pay the entrance fee!


The airport provides free wifi access to its passengers.


Traveling with young children? Head to Terminal 3: they can have fun in the play area specially dedicated to children (between gates B7 and B8).


If you want to freshen up, take a shower (for a fee) in Terminal 1 (between gates C18 and C22) or Terminal 3 (between gates A1 and A24, and between gates B13 and B19).


You can pamper yourself at the "Timeless Spa" located in the First Class lounge in Terminal 3. You can enjoy a moment of tranquility with a massage, facial care, manicure or haircut.

Places of worship

The airport has prayer and ablution rooms for Muslims.


The airport has two medical centers and two pharmacies, in Terminals 1 and 3.

Currency exchange

You can exchange your money at the airport's exchange offices and banks. However, if you can wait, I recommend using the offices in town: they offer better exchange rates.

There are also many ATMs on the airport premises.

Luggage storage

If you want to visit Dubai, you can leave your luggage in the lockers provided in Terminals 1 and 3. You will be charged AED 40 to 60 depending on the size of your luggage ($11 to $17) per 12 hours.


The airport is completely smoke-free. However, you will find smoking areas in each terminal. No need to leave the airport!


The airport has both short-term and long-term parking facilities in all terminals.

The short-term parking lots are located only a few feet away from the terminal entrance. They are recommended for parking for up to 5 hours.

Long-term parking lots are a good option if you plan to leave your car for more than 5 hours. They are about a 5-7 minute walk from the terminal, but you can also opt for free shuttle transportation. 

At each terminal, there are economy and premium parking options that differ in their terms of use and parking fees.

Please note that passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility receive an additional two hours free of charge in each parking lot.

dubai plane

PARKING AT Terminal 1

  • Parking lot A has a total capacity of 350 vehicles.
  • Parking lot B: 1,100 vehicles.
  • Parking lot C: 188 vehicles.
  • Parking lot D: 720 vehicles.

The premium parking lot is located 2-3 minutes away and the economy parking lot is 7-9 minutes walk from the terminal.

There is a mosque in this terminal.

Here are the rates for these parking lots:


Premium parking lot

Economy Parking lot

1 hour

AED 30 

AED 25

2 hours


AED 30

3 hours

AED 55

AED 35

4 hours

AED 65

AED 45

24 hours


AED 85

Per additional day

AED 100

AED 75

AED 1 = 0.27 dollar at 02/21/2022

PARKING AT Terminal 2

Terminal 2 also offers a "premium" parking lot located 3-5 minutes away and an "economy" parking lot located 10-12 minutes walk from the terminal.

Here are the rates for these parking lots:


Premium parking lot

Economy parking lot

1 hour

AED 30

AED 15

2 hours

AED 40

AED 20

3 hours

AED 55

AED 25

4 hours

AED 65

 AED 30

24 hours

AED 125

AED 70

Per additional day

AED 100

AED 50

AED 1 = 0.27 dollar at 02/21/2022


The Terminal 3 parking lot has 2,600 parking spaces. There is also a 10,225 sq ft mosque (950 m2).


Terminal 3 Parking lot

1 hour

AED 30

2 hours

AED 40

3 hours

AED 55

4 hours

AED 65

24 hours

AED 125

Per additional day

AED 100

AED 1 = 0.27 dollar at 02/21/2022


Dubai has another airport that mainly handles cargo, the “Dubai World Central” (DWC). However, passenger transport seems to be slowly developing there (1 million passengers in 2017).

Watch out for traffic jams on Sheikh Zayed Road!

Sometimes sandstorms can have an impact on flight schedules. The airport can even end up paralyzed.

Know that if you are in Dubai for a few hours, you can leave the airport and visit the city. You won't need a visa (if only for a few hours)! Take the opportunity to visit the "Burj Khalifa" or the "Dubai Mall"!

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auteurs blog dubaï
A first trip to Dubai 8 years ago – and a first love. I created this blog about Dubai to share with you my good deals and my recommendations about visiting this emirate. Ever since my first trip, I try to go back to Dubai at least twice a year, alone or with family!


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