If you’re planning to visit Dubai between March and August, chances are your Dubai vacation will coincide with the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of religious significance for Muslims in Dubai and around the world, ending with the celebration of Eid-Al-Fitr. In 2023, Ramadan is scheduled to begin on March 22.

Although the exact start of the month of Ramadan can change depending on the dates of the lunar Islamic calendar (where it is always the ninth month), it’s worth noting that traveling to Dubai during Ramadan can be different from staying outside Ramadan.

Dubai is home to a large number of expatriates and residents of other nationalities and religions. The importance of awareness and respect for local culture and difference cannot be overstated.

If you’re visiting Dubai during Ramadan, you need to have a basic understanding of appropriate behavior and the rules spoken and unspoken in Dubai during Ramadan. That’s why I’ve written this guide to help you understand what to expect, whether you’re a tourist or moving to Dubai.

What is the holy month of Ramadan?

One of the five pillars of Islam, the holy month of Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims, which serves to foster spiritual growth through the practice of self-control, abstinence, prayer, discipline, patience and gratitude.

Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset, and train themselves to control their desires and bad habits in order to reflect on life’s gifts, appreciate them and find balance.

The act of fasting (
at itself is only part of a larger exercise aimed at improving a person’s character by purifying body, mind and soul, and learning to rid oneself of resentment, arrogance, vanity and other bad character traits. The emphasis is on charity, benevolence, compassion and kindness.

Muslims rise before sunrise to pray and eat a small meal called
before the morning prayer (
) that begins the fasting day. The fast is broken at sunset during the
in the company of family, friends and loved ones, and it’s a festive affair.

Dubai during Ramadan: what to expect

In Dubai, during Ramadan, the city can feel slower than usual, as work schedules generally change to accommodate fasting hours. Fasting is not easy, given the temperatures in Dubai at this time of year.
If you’re coming on a business trip and going to work in Dubai during Ramadan, be aware that reduced working hours and mid-day breaks are common. It’s best to schedule your meetings in the late morning accordingly, as many offices don’t work after 2/15pm.

For most fasting Muslims, it’s a time of prayer and family time.

In the evening, as the sun sets, you can hear the cannons ringing around Dubai to announce the end of the fasting day and the start ofIftar.

Food and drink during Ramadan in Dubai

During the day, until sunset when the fast is broken, it is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public places in Dubai during Ramadan. Failure to comply may result in a fine.

We’re talking about not chewing gum, or even taking a sip of water when you’re strolling through a mall like the Dubai Mall or out on the town. These rules apply to ALL public spaces such as metro stations, buses, Old Dubai or one of Dubai’s chic new promenades.

You need to pay attention, because there are no exceptions, even when it’s very hot in Dubai in summer. If you need a sip of water, you can drink it in a private, enclosed space – like a subway station restroom or an operational food court in a shopping mall.

But that doesn’t mean that, as a tourist, you’ll go hungry in Dubai during Ramadan. So, are restaurants open in Dubai during Ramadan? The short answer is yes.

Can you eat in Dubai during Ramadan?

Although eating, drinking and smoking are prohibited in public places, you’ll find restaurants and cafés in Dubai that serve meals during the day. Whereas previously they did so indoors, behind covered windows or drawn curtains or blinds, and needed special licenses to serve food during fasting hours, this is no longer the case – since 2021, restaurants and cafés have been doing business as usual.

Food courts, cafés and restaurants, whether stand-alone or integrated into shopping centers, retail districts or hotels, will serve meals throughout the day.

Dubai cinemas have also started serving food to non-fasting moviegoers at the snack bar. If you’re visiting a theme park, there are sure to be restaurants serving food during the day.

Iftar in Dubai during Ramadan

The tradition ofIftar during Ramadan in Dubai is well worth living. Throughout the city, traditional tents are set up and sumptuous buffets are offered to everyone, whether Muslims are fasting or not. Fasting Muslims usually break their fast with a sip of water and dates, before moving on to the rest of the meal.


After sunset, almost all restaurants, whatever the cuisine they serve, offer an interesting Iftar. Iftar is generally a buffet of starters, side dishes, main courses and desserts, all at a reasonable price.

It is common to receive invitations for the
from friends, neighbors or colleagues. Be polite and accept when you can. After all, it’s a great way to discover an important local tradition. If you are attending an Iftar, please dress modestly.

Can you drink alcohol in Dubai during Ramadan?

In recent years, Dubai has become even more liberal in its rules for residents and tourists who do not fast during Ramadan. 10 years ago, you couldn’t find a bar open during the month of Ramadan, for example.

But that’s all changed now.

Are bars open in Dubai during Ramadan? Here again, the short answer is yes.

There are a number of bars serving alcohol after sunset in Dubai, so it’s possible to go out during Ramadan. They are usually found in hotels, as they have the special licenses needed to operate during Ramadan.

But you won’t find loud music, live bands or resident DJs, as is the case the rest of the year. And certainly not brunch, that Dubai weekend tradition. So forget about partying in Dubai during Ramadan.

Nightlife in Dubai during Ramadan

Nightlife in Dubai during Ramadan is much quieter, and you won’t find any parties, ladies’ nights or nightclubs in operation, even if the offer is tending to evolve.

However, this doesn’t mean that Dubai goes to bed early during Ramadan – far from it. The city takes on a festive air after sunset, once the fast is broken, and you’ll find people in the city’s night markets and shopping malls.

AfterIftar, fasting Muslims and other nationalities living in Dubai can be found strolling through the night markets, drinking tea, snacking, shopping and so on. It’s a great excuse to discover a different kind of nightlife in Dubai.

Many shopping centers also operate late into the night, providing an excellent opportunity to do some shopping.

What to wear in Dubai during Ramadan

Ramadan in Dubai is a time of prayer and humility. Men and women are advised to cover their shoulders and knees in public spaces such as shopping malls, offices, cinemas and parks. If you’re wearing sleeveless clothes or tank tops, put a jacket or scarf over them. Long skirts, dresses and pants are a better choice than knee-length garments and shorts for this m

If you plan to travel in Dubai by public transport during Ramadan, it is advisable to take note of the modified opening hours by consulting the official RTA website.

Tourist attractions – What to do in Dubai during Ramadan?

In addition to the usual sights and attractions, here are some unique things to do in Dubai during Ramadan.

Experience an Iftar in Dubai during Ramadan

An Iftar in Dubai is more than just a cultural tradition of feasting after sunset. While it’s a great way to learn about Ramadan customs and sample delicious local dishes, in modern, cosmopolitan Dubai, an iftar is also a reflection of how different cultures live and thrive in a city like Dubai.

For me, it’s a beautiful thing to see Emiratis, Jordanians, Indians, Americans, Germans and Filipinos breaking the fast together at an Iftar table, be they friends or colleagues. This camaraderie around a tradition that may not even be part of their culture fills my heart with pride for my hometown.

GuidedIftar walk in Old Dubai

To discover a different side of Dubai during Ramadan, take a guided
guided walk in French
in Old Dubai with Visiter Dubai.

Guided tour of Dubai

The magnificent Jumeirah Mosque is one of two mosques in Dubai open at set times. Make a
guided tour of the Jumeirah Mosque
to learn more about Emirati culture and traditions, or the Grand Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Should you travel to Dubai during Ramadan?

Although many Dubai residents leave the city during Ramadan. Ramadan is a good time to visit Dubai if you like the idea of fewer crowds and lower hotel rates. Ramadan usually takes place in the summer or early summer, and as it’s not exactly the same time of year, it’s a good time to take a break. best time to visit Dubaiis the low tourist season.

Dubai is a much quieter city during Ramadan, if you like that kind of atmosphere. The advantage is that you’ll see fewer crowds at popular and otherwise crowded attractions like the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa.

Who doesn’t like shopping and sightseeing a little more leisurely? Plus, there are incredible sales and discounts up for grabs.

Eid-Al-Fitr in Dubai

The end of Ramadan in Dubai is marked by the joyous celebration ofEid-Al-Fitr. This is the time when the whole city celebrates in the markets, enjoys the fireworks, shops in the malls and feasts all over town. There are amazing sales, events and shows on this holiday, and it’s both busy and crowded all over Dubai.