Dubai airport to city centre: transfers, taxis, buses, and metro

Gert Svaiko

Planning a trip to Dubai from the UK? Once you’ve got your flights sorted and your nearby Dubai hotel booked, it’s time to think about transfers.

To help your trip run like clockwork, we’ve put together a handy guide to Dubai airport transfers. This includes both cheap and luxury options, from private transfers to taxis and buses.

And so that you can start spending in the UAE dirham (AED) from the moment you land, there’s the Wise card.

This clever card automatically converts currency at a fair rate using the mid-market exchange rate. Thus, the Wise card is ideal for spending at the airport, in hotels, or in the city itself. You won’t need to interrupt your plans to sort out money in Dubai, or carry cash around with you.


Explore the Wise card

Please see the Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise fees & pricing for the most up-to-date information on pricing and fees.

What to know before leaving the airport?

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is around 15 km from Dubai city centre, a journey of around 20-30 minutes by car

You can also reach other popular holiday destinations from the airport. For example:

  • Palm Islands - 1.5 hours by car²
  • Jumeirah Beach - 1 hour by car²
  • Sharjah - approx. 20 minutes by car³

There are taxi ranks, bus stands and two Dubai Metro stations at the airport, so you’ll have your choice of transport options.

If you need to change currency before leaving the airport, you’ll find several currency exchange bureaus and ATMs in all terminals.

Already have the Wise card? You won’t need to bother, as you can start spending in AED right away.

Dubai airport transfers

Many travellers landing at Dubai International Airport choose to arrange a private transfer. You can hop in a shared shuttle bus, or get a private car or minibus just for your travelling party.

This has the convenience of taking you door-to-door, and there’s no need to wait for buses or queue for taxis. However, you will inevitably pay extra for the luxury.

The most common transfer routes from the airport are to downtown Dubai (near the Burj Khalifa) and central Dubai, including the neighbourhoods of Deira and Bur Dubai.

Luxury transfers from Dubai airport

With the city being known for its opulence and glamour, it’s no surprise that there are a choice of Dubai luxury airport transfers available.

If you fancy being picked up from the airport in a chauffeur-driven limousine or prestige car, you can take your pick from a choice of companies. You’ll need to book online in advance, and can expect to pay anywhere between around 200 AED/£50.24⁴ to 600 AED/£150.72*⁵ or more.

Cheap transfers from Dubai airport

If you want to save money on your transfer, you’ll probably want to go for a shared shuttle service. You will still get the same convenience and comfort, and can pre-book in advance. However, you will need to share with other passengers, and it can take longer.

But you’ll almost definitely pay less. For example, a shared shuttle from the airport to downtown Dubai with Holiday Extras costs just £10 a person, whereas it’s at least £27 for a private car⁶.

How to organise a private transfer?

To be sure of getting the best price, it’s best to book your Dubai airport transfers before you travel. This lets you compare prices between providers. You’ll also be confident that your driver will be waiting for you when you land.

Alternatives to private transfers

If you haven’t pre-booked a private transfer, don’t panic. Dubai airport is very well-connected to the city and nearby resorts by bus, metro and taxi. Here’s what you need to know about each option.

Taxis from Dubai airport to city centre

Each terminal at Dubai airport has an official taxi rank, with taxis from the Dubai Taxi Corporation waiting 24/7. You can also book a ride in advance. Alternatively, you can try mobile app taxi operators like Uber, who operate in Dubai.⁷

Both cash and credit card are accepted as payment methods by Dubai Taxi.⁸

How much are taxis in Dubai?

All Dubai airport taxis are metered, starting with a 25 AED/£6.28* flag charge and then 1.96 AED/£0.49* per km.⁹ There may also be other charges, like a standing/waiting charge. You can expect to pay around 80 AED/£20.10* for a trip from the airport to centre Dubai.¹

How taxis look and where are they parked?

Dubai Taxi cars are cream in colour. If you notice one with a pink trim, it means that the taxi has a female driver.⁹

You’ll find taxis parked at the rank directly outside the arrivals area of the terminals building. If in doubt, follow the signs.

Heading to Dubai from an airport bus station

Lastly, there’s public transport. Buses to the city centre are a low-cost option, running regularly from stands outside all three terminals.

The fastest option is the Express Bus 13B to Al Qusais Bus Station in Dubai city centre. They run every 30 minutes from the Dubai bus station at the airport, outside Terminal 2, and the journey takes around 40 minutes.¹⁰

A one-way ticket only costs between £1-2.¹⁰ Crucially, though, you’ll need to have a Nol transport card before you travel. You can’t pay the driver on the bus. Nol cards are available to purchase from the ticket machines at arrivals (in all three terminals).¹¹

Dubai Metro to the city centre

Metro services also run between the airport and city centre. Hop on the MRed line from Terminal 1 or 3 (running regularly)¹² for between £1-2, and you’ll be in central Dubai in around 15 minutes.¹³ You can buy your ticket at the airport stations or use the Nol card.

After reading this guide, you should be all set to get your Dubai airport transfers sorted. You won’t be short of options, from luxury limos to cheap and cheerful buses.

And if you want to make your stay in Dubai more hassle-free, consider using Wise for a safe and easy way to manage your money. You can get a Wise card for spending abroad that lets you convert GBP to over 50 currencies using a fair exchange rate, the mid-market rate.

Register with Wise today

Please see the Terms of Use for your region.

*1 AED = 0.2512 GBP (28-09-2022)

Sources used:

  1. AirMundo - Dubai International Airport
  2. Holiday Extras - Dubai Airport Transfers
  3. Shuttledirect - Booking
  4. Blacklane - Booking
  5. Luxury Ride Dubai - Airport Transfer Dubai
  6. Holiday Extras - Booking
  7. Uber Blog - Dubai DXB
  8. Dubai Taxi - FAQs
  9. Dubai Airports - Taxi
  10. Rome2rio - Dubai International Airport
  11. Airport Dubai - Bus
  12. Dubai Airports - Metro
  13. Rome2Rio - DBX to Bur Dubai - Metro

Sources last checked on date: 15-Sep-2022

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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