Travel

Why winter is the best time to visit Dubai

Enjoy spectacular sights, great food and live entertainment this festive season

The winter months in Dubai bring festive programming and cooler weather, making it an ideal year-end holiday destination.

Dubai boasts futuristic architecture contrasted with awe-inspiring nature such as the buttermilk desert sand.

Revellers can bask in the magic of the city's year-end festive season with these festive markets, tantalising seasonal menus, dazzling tree lighting and massive fireworks showcases recommended by Dubai Tourism.

Immerse yourself in Christmas celebrations

Make merry this Christmas in Dubai with classic holiday-themed entertainment.

Much-loved local favourites include the Festive Markets at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai Festival City Mall and Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, the Winter Garden Market at Habtoor Palace, the Raffles Christmas Market and the Atlantis Festive Village.

Richly decorated trees will be popping up across Dubai's malls, hotels and top attractions, with several venues hosting grand ceremonies to celebrate the tree lighting.

Feast your eyes on the awe-inspiring wonderlands at Wafi Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Festival City Mall, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, The H Dubai hotel, The Irish Village, and Fairmont the Palm.

Dubai's restaurants will also come alive with special menus and classic favourites including roast turkey, yule logs and other traditional treats in elegant settings.

Atlantis, The Palm's Cirque de Cuisine takes the limelight with a Winter Wonderland theme on Dec 6.

Not only can diners enjoy signature dishes, live cooking stations and extravagant buffets from all of the resort's restaurants, the festivities also feature show-stopping performers from Cirque le Soir, with an incredible line up of fire-blazing performances, feather fan dancers, magicians and acrobats.

Taking the festivities up a notch, plenty of performances are lined up across the city in the run-up.

They include The Nutcracker Ballet at Dubai Opera (Dec 4 to 7), featuring the prestigious St. Petersburg Tchaikovsky Ballet Theatre and a live orchestra; Jingle Bell Favourites at Dubai Opera (Dec 12 to 14), a family concert of Christmas carols by the London Concert Orchestra Show Band, Capital Voices and West End soloists; Theatre by QE2's Peter Pan performances, Captain Hook brunches, Christmas Tree Light Switch On and Bee Gees Super Club experiences (Dec 12 to 14); and The Santa Run at Dubai Festival City (Dec 13), with a 2.5km run for kids and a 5km distance for adults.

Usher in 2020 with fireworks and gala dinners

Dubai's New Year celebrations are nothing short of legendary.

Spectacular fireworks illuminate the city's night skies at popular attractions, while several gala dinner events take place in fancy restaurants with amazing views of fireworks and celebratory live entertainment for visitors to soak up the atmosphere.

Participating venues include the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain, the Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai Festival City Mall, Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Madinat Jumeirah.

Enjoy Dubai's great outdoors

Soak up some winter sun while exploring Dubai's stunning desert and beach locations in delightful temperatures between 18 and 23 deg C from November to April.

At Al Qudra Lake, discover a beautiful desert oasis and spot local wildlife like flamingos, swans and other migratory birds in their natural habitat.

It sprawls across 10ha of Dubai's Saih Al Salam desert. Nature lovers can enjoy a picnic, take a leisurely ride around the Al Qudra Cycling Track or spot the Love Lake, the newest addition to the cluster of lagoons carved in the form of two hearts entwined together.

Alternatively, escape to Hatta, which is surrounded by the Hajar Mountains for a secluded experience.

Hike through the mountain passes and wadis (dry canyon riverbeds), take a dip in the rock pools, kayak on the stunning waters of the Hatta Dam or join a wide range of activities at Hatta Wadi Hub such as rope courses and archery.

Complete the experience by staying overnight stargazing under the Arabian night sky at the dedicated Hatta campsite, mountain lodges or airstream trailer hotels.

The latest in Dubai's collection of nature reserves and home to the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, the Al Marmoom Desert hosts hundreds of species of wildlife - from the Arabian oryx and sand gazelles to foxes and wild cats.

The reserve has 10 animal and bird observation platforms, star and sunset observation decks and even an outdoor theatre.

Culture lovers can also experience the true essence of life in the desert with the new Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience, and learn to saddle, ride and look after their own camel as they join a caravan travelling through the desert before they arrive at the camp.

TOURISM & TRAVEL