For those who long for a crisp, white Christmas, Dubai might not be the first destination that springs to mind for a festive break. But with so many different nationalities coming together to celebrate the holidays, there’s certainly no shortage of festive cheer. Here are just some of the reasons why we love spending Christmas in Dubai.
1. Christmas on the beach
With an average 8 hours of sunshine per day in December, and forecasted Christmas Day temperatures of 25°C, you’ll still get a white Christmas in Dubai – a white sandy beach Christmas, that is. Sit back, relax and soak up the vitamin D. You’ll tan like a Christmas turkey though, so don’t forget to baste with plenty of sunscreen. When the evening arrives, kick back on bean bags, enjoy hazy beachside views and emphasise the experience with some traditional Arabic shisha.
2. Yet you can still hit the slopes
If your Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without hitting the slopes, fear not, Dubai is home to the Middle East’s first indoor ski area, ‘Ski Dubai’. With ambient temperatures of -5°C, this alpine-themed resort boasts real snow and five slopes where skiers and snowboarders can get their fix. There are even toboggan rides and the chance to meet penguins. Spend your morning on the slopes and your afternoon on the beach – surely this is the best of both worlds.
3. Plenty of festive events
Dubai might be more sand than snow, but there are still plenty of places to sit back and soak up the Christmas atmosphere with a traditional mulled wine, mince pie and carol singers. Dubai enjoys a whole month’s worth of festivities, which kick off at the beginning of December when the huge Christmas tree lights are turned at venues across the city, and end with the world-famous fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Be sure to visit the Madinat Jumeirah, which transforms into a Dubai winter wonderland, complete with a German-style Christmas market, a North Pole train ride, a giant snowball zone and daily appearances by Santa himself. Global Village is also a must-see attraction, showcasing a different country in each of its 30 pavilions. While it’s not a seasonal attraction in its own right, Global Village offers a unique opportunity to enjoy shopping, festive foods and cultural shows from countries from all over the world.
4. Round the clock Christmas shopping
Always leave your Christmas shopping to the last minute? No problem! With huge shopping centres like the Mall of the Emirates offering an abundance of choice, you can get all your shopping sorted in one opulent and tranquil setting. Say goodbye to rushing around on Christmas Eve, long queues and limited stock, and say hello to a relaxed ‘Dubai style’ Christmas shopping experience, with hours extended until very late. Those looking for a more authentic experience when shopping in Dubai can try their luck at haggling at a traditional souk.
5. Christmas Day food in epic proportions
Christmas day dining in Dubai takes overindulgence to a whole new level! With the top hotels and restaurants competing to stage the most memorable festive feast, Christmas day dining in Dubai offers a lot more than just turkey and sprouts. Many of the best restaurants in Dubai offer a seasonal twist on the classic Dubai brunch, with hours of free-flowing bubbles, buffet stations of epic proportions and festive afternoon entertainment.
And if you still have room in your tummy come the evening, you can enjoy a truly unique Christmas experience underwater at Ossiano in Atlantis The Palm. Indulge in an exquisite seafood menu, surrounded by breath-taking underwater views of the Ambassador Lagoon and its captivating ocean life. Whether you’re taking in incredible views of the city from the dizzying heights of Dubai’s skyscraper restaurants, or experiencing some below-the-waves marine magic, Christmas Day dining in Dubai is never boring.