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Dubai Airport Transfer – How to get from Dubai Airport to the city centre

Do you want to know how to get from Dubai Airport to Dubai city centre? Where to get the best Dubai Airport transfer or how to find the cheapest way to get from Dubai Airport to Dubai Marina? This article has you covered!

Dubai International Airport is located approximately 5 kilometres from central Dubai. As there are more than 90.000.000 passengers transiting and arriving in Dubai Airport, it is one of the busiest airports in the world. 

Dubai Airport Terminals

The airport has four terminals, three of which are for passenger traffic and one for freight service:

Terminal 1 – mainly used by major international airlines currently handles over 22 million passengers.

Terminal 2 – accommodates regional low-cost airlines and charter flights serving airports in the Middle East, South Asia and Eastern Europe, it has a capacity of 10 million passengers. It is by far the worst terminal and unless there is no other way, it is best to ignore Terminal 2 as there are no lounges, bad facilities and it is often overcrowded. It is by far the smallest terminal but it often has the most planes leaving from here. 

Terminal 3 – is exclusively reserved for the traffic of the national airline company Emirates Airlines, it can accommodate 43 million passengers. In the last couple of months they have trialled flying some of the FlyDubai flights from Terminal 3 to relieve the stress on Terminal 2 and it seems terminal 3 is now officially servicing FlyDubai, the low-cost airline of Emirates. 


For your stay in Dubai, here are the different options for airport transfers from the international airport (DXB) to central Dubai

Dubai Airport to Dubai by Metro

Dubai international airport is served by the Red Line of the metro which stops at terminals 1 and 3, if you do not have too much luggage, this is the most convenient way to get from Dubai Airport to the centre of Dubai. Only two pieces of luggage per person are allowed in the metro (one suitcase and one hand luggage).

The metro has a frequency of about 10 minutes. It will take about 20 minutes to travel from Terminals 1 or 3 to the centre and about 50 minutes to travel to Dubai Marina. 

The Red Line operates from Saturday to Wednesday from 5 a.m. to midnight, Thursday from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

You need to board the metro through a NOL card. This is a smart card that can be bought at the ticket machines in all metro stations – including the metro station at the airport. Read this article to know more about the NOL card.

Dubai Airport to Dubai by Bus

The bus is the cheapest way to get from Dubai Airport to Dubai centre. The Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) operate a fleet of modern, air-conditioned buses that depart from stations located in front of Terminals 1, 2 and 3 from the airport to different directions.

Dubai buses have a flat rate pricing system, starting at AED 2 per trip.

It is not possible to get on the bus and pay the driver for the ride in cash, you must also buy a NOL Card to use the public buses to and from the airport.

Dubai Airport to Dubai by Taxi

The most pleasant way to get around Dubai is by Taxi. There are hundreds of taxis waiting at the exit of the airport to take passengers from Dubai Airport to Dubai city.

Be careful, however, as there will also be private companies parked near the taxi bay. Their staff will try and get you into one of their luxury cars. These trips will cost you three to five times more than the normal taxi fare. Most of these drivers are dressed in a black suit. You can either flat out refuse (which does not always mean they stop trying) or you can say you live in Dubai (even when this is a lie) after which they will leave you alone immediately. 

When taking a taxi from Dubai Airport to Dubai centre, only get into official taxis with the RTA logo and a taxi light on the roof. Most of them will be beige with red, blue, green or yellow tops. 

dubai airport to city centre

Dubai Airport to Dubai by Private Transfer

One of the most comfortable ways to get from Dubai Airport to Dubai centre is by Airport transfer. You can easily rent an Airport transfer via KLOOK. 

Especially when traveling with your family it might be best to secure an Airport transfer. Lines at the Dubai Airport Taxi stand can be quite long. My husband and I have had instances where we had to wait for an hour before we could get a taxi. When booking an Airport transfer you do not have to bother queueing. 

Another advantage of booking a transfer from Dubai Airport to Dubai city centre is that your driver will wait when your flight is delayed. He will then take you to your hotel or apartment in a comfortable vehicle. 

KLOOK is a well-known website offering travel services such as transfers and tours, and Josh and I often use their airport transfer services when traveling abroad as it’s just easier to get into a pre-arranged car after a long flight, then to have to navigate getting a taxi (and often having to wait in line for at least 30 minutes).

Rent a car in Dubai Airport

We don’t always think about it, but renting a car is a great way to get around in Dubai. Did you know that renting a car in Dubai can be very cheap? It is one of the cheapest ways to get around the city as you can rent a car for as little as $20 or £15 a day. 

You can either reserve a car online and use your card online, or you can reserve a car at one of the desks – although this is often more expensive and you will need a Credit Card with at least a $1000 overdraft in order to secure a car in person. Also make sure you take your drivers license with you. 

To find a cheap and good rental car in Dubai you can head to rentalcars.com where you can compare prices of different car rental companies in Dubai. 

As soon as you arrive, you can pick up your vehicle at Dubai International Airport. The prices depend on the vehicle category – on whether you want a small city car, a sedan, a large SUV or a 4X4, it’s up to you

When picking up your rental car, you must present a copy of your passport and international driving license, as well as the credit card used for the reservation.

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