Best Ways to Get from Dubai International Airport to City

Dubai Travel Guides / October 22, 2016
Best Ways to Get from Dubai International Airport to City Image credit: bloodua

Located in the Al Garhoud district, Dubai International Airport is only 5km (3 miles) away from the city center. In this article, you will find the three most popular transport options to get to city from the airport.

See also: Best Ways to Get Around in Dubai


It is necessary for travelers to buy a NOL card for traveling in Dubai because cash payment is not acceptable in metro, buses, and water buses.

NOL Card is a kind of prepaid smart cards introduced by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).

There are 4 types of cards designed to meet different needs of residents and visitors. Among them, the Silver Card and Red Ticket are the most suitable options for visitors.

The Silver Card can be purchased at the price of AED 25 ($6.81). This card allows you to enjoy the rides on all modes of transport.

The Red Ticket is available at any ticket vending machine at a very cheap price – AED 2 ($0.54). However, this paper-based card only allows ticket holders to ride a mode of transport at a time. This means that you have to buy different Red Tickets to use on Dubai different vehicles.

If you plan to travel extensively on a particular day, your best bet will be a Red Ticket day pass, which gives you unlimited rides in all zones at only AED 20 ($5.45).

1. Dubai Metro

Dubai Metro Image credit: alan64

Riding metro is a fast, convenient and affordable way to get to central Dubai.

This system has 2 lines: Red line and Green Line.

You can reach Downtown Dubai by taking a Red Line metro from airport’s Terminal 3 (T3) or Terminal 1 (T1). Visitors who want to head to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Emirates Grand Hotel, or Towers Rotana Hotel can alight at Financial Centre station. Those have a booked room at Sofitel Hotel, Armani Hotel, or Taj Dubai Hotel should get off the metro at Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall station.

If your wanted destination is near to Dubai Creek, then you should catch a Green Line metro at the Airport Free Zone.

This service allows passengers to travel with (only) 2 pieces of luggage. So make sure that you squeeze all your belongings into a personal handbag and a suitcase if you plan to go with this mode of transport.

Travel time: 24 minutes (from T3 to Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall Metro Station)

Cost: Range from AED 4 ($1.09) to AED 8.50 ($2.31) if paying is via a NOL Red Ticket Standard Class card

Service hours: Sat to Wed 05:30 – 00:00 | Thu 05:30 – 01:00 | Fri 10:00 – 01:00

Service schedule: Every 4 minutes during peak hours (06:30 – 09:00, 16:30 – 20:00); every 7 minutes during off-peak hours

– Service hours are slightly changed during the month of Ramadan.
– View Dubai Metro map

2. Dubai Public Buses

Dubai Public Buses Image credit: badahos

The amount of money that you have to pay for getting from Dubai airport to city centre on a bus is not much different from the amount paid when using the metro. But the travel time is not equal. Riding a bus takes roughly twice as long as using metro service.

You need to buy an NOL card in advance as you can’t pay cash to the driver.

There are bus stops at arrival level of T1 and T3 and the arrival area of T2. Take bus 43 from T1 to go to Dubai Festival City from where bus 44 will take you to Al Ghubaiba bus station.

If you need to catch intercity or inter-emirate buses later, you can alight at Al Ghubaiba or Unique Square station. They are both bus interchange.

Travel time: Approximately 1.15 hours (from T1 to Al Ghubaiba bus station).

Cost: AED 5 ($1.36) for traveling from T1 to Al Ghubaiba bus station.

Service schedule: Buses run at regular intervals from 05:30 to 01:00.

3. Dubai Airport Taxis

Dubai Airport Taxis Image credit: bloodua

Taxi is the best option for traveling from Dubai International Airport to central city if you arrive at odd hours. All the taxis serving in the airport area are registered under the government-operated Dubai Taxi Corporation (DTC).

The taxis will surely take you anywhere you want to go. However, you’ll have to specify your destination based on a nearby hotel, landmark, or an intersection as Dubai addresses do not include building numbers.

Travel time: 13 to 15 minutes

Cost: You have to pay a flat AED 25 ($6.81) fee for getting into a taxi from the airport. Then, the charge for each subsequent kilometer will be AED 1.96 ($0.53). A trip from Dubai Airport to Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai can cost approximately AED 53 ($14.43).

Service hours: 24 hours