Transfer from Dubai airports: how to GET from DXB, DWC to the city centre?

Update: November 14, 2022 r
Dubai airport transfer how to get to the city center DXB DWC
Dubai airport transfer how to get to the city center DXB DWC

Are you preparing a trip to Dubai and wondering how to get from the airport to the centre of Dubai? You have several transfer options from DXB and DWC airports, so it’s worth exploring them beforehand and choosing the best option. In this article, you will find hints on how to get from both airports to downtown Dubai.

Before we get started, please look at your airline tickets and make sure which Dubai airport you are flying into. There’s a good chance it will be the city’s main airport, Dubai International Airport (DXB), but it’s worth checking carefully. 😉

What Dubai airports can you fly into?

Dubai is a huge hub for business and tourism, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. Before you can head into the city and start exploring Dubai’s attractions, you’ll need to find out about transport to the city centre. First, it’s worth discovering which Dubai airport you will be flying into.

Dubai is served by two international airports:

  • Dubai International Airport (DXB) – Dubai’s main airport, where planes from traditional airlines (but for some time also Wizzair) land,
  • Dubai World Central – Dubai Al Maktoum Airport (DWC) – Dubai’s secondary airport was served initially by low-cost airlines but now gaining quite a few other flights.

The two airports are somewhat different regarding public transport accessibility and commuting options to downtown Dubai. So it’s time to look at the available airport transfer options together and decide which is most convenient for you.

Dubai airport transfers. How to get from the airport to the Dubai city center?

Transport in Dubai is a well-organised system of interconnected vessels. You have an automated (driverless) network of ground-served metros, city buses and Dubai-affiliated taxis. The differences? First and foremost, price and availability during the day.

There is also an extensive range of car rental companies at your disposal, which will be convenient, especially if, in addition to Dubai, you want to, for example, visit Abu Dhabi and drive around the United Arab Emirates a bit.


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How do I get from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to the city?

The city’s main airport, Dubai International Airport (DXB), is located in the Deira district, just north of the city centre. It is one of the world’s largest airports, with some of the biggest planes and most luxurious airlines landing there.

However, this does not mean that low-cost airlines do not appear here – Wizzair, for example, has been flying here for some time.

The airport has three terminals:

  • Terminal 1 – served by all international airlines except Emirates,
  • Terminal 2 – designated for regional and international airlines,
  • Terminal 3 – served exclusively by Emirates and flydubai.

Here are some transfer options – please check them out and find the one most suitable for you.

By metro

Dubai International Airport (DXB) is connected to the centre of Dubai by the Red Metro line, which runs throughout Dubai, parallel to the Gulf coast. It takes you directly to the most important districts of the city, and you can transfer from it to the second green metro line.

Take a look at the metro network in Dubai. You’ll find the airport stations on the red metro line.

The Metro’s Red Line runs from 5 am until midnight (Saturday to Wednesday) or until 1 am (Thursdays). On Fridays, the metro only operates from 10 am and finishes at 1 am. 

You can board Metro Red Line trains at two airport stations:

  • Airport T1 – at DXB Airport Terminal 1,
  • Airport T3 – similarly, at Terminal 2.

You need an NOL card, available in red, silver and gold varieties, to use the metro. The best option for tourists is the silver version, which can be recharged several times. It costs AED 25 to issue, of which you have AED 19 to use for rides. You can buy it at both airport metro stations.

Passengers turn up at DXB Airport not only to set off from the airport to conquer Dubai but also to take advantage of connecting flights to distant destinations worldwide. DXB is one of the most important transfer hubs in Asia and the world.

By bus

The buses are also a trustworthy and low-cost transfer option from DXB airport to downtown Dubai. These have stops in front of all three airport terminals. Bus lines serve Dubai International Airport with tickets encoded on the NOL card.

Some of the lines are:

  • Bus line 77 – runs from the airport, through the Deira district to Baniyas Square metro station (on the same side of Dubai Creek),
  • Bus line No. C01 – runs from the airport through the Deira district to the Al Satwa stop on the other side of Dubai Creek in the Al Fahidi district.

Remember that you cannot buy a bus ticket from the driver. An NOL card is compulsory – so buy one in advance from the ticket machine at the airport. The front section of Dubai buses is for women – if you are travelling in a couple, use the section for everyone in the back of the vehicle.

By taxi

I don’t have good news if you’re wondering how much it costs to get a taxi from DXB airport to downtown Dubai. Prices are much higher than if you take public transport. However, sometimes you have no choice but to use them – especially when your Dubai hotel is far from the metro and bus (so it’s better to find Dubai accommodation in a favourable location).

Thinking about renting a car? Check out the available cars at Dubai Airport

Fortunately, the airport taxi fare is transparent. You can quickly determine how much your journey from the airport will cost by using the official rates from the website. There is a reasonably hefty entry fee (in 2022, it was AED 25) and an additional rate for each kilometre travelled.

There are black and pink airport taxis in Dubai. The black ones can be entered by anyone, and the pink ones only by women or groups with at least one woman in them. There may be queues for taxis outside the terminals, so you’ll have to stand your ground in them. Beware of limey taxis, however. The journey will be unforgettable, not only for their comfort but also for their high price.

Rent a car

Using a rental car is the most convenient form of transport from Dubai Airport to the city centre and subsequent movement around Dubai and other emirates. There are plenty of them at DXB airport, and they represent all the major rental chains (Hertz, etc.). Below you can check the available cars for the dates you are interested in.

To rent a car in Dubai, you need an international driving licence. A passport is required, and, of course, a payment card. The minimum age for driving is 25 (+ a minimum of one year’s driving licence).

I have been using for several months, renting a car in Crete and Montenegro. Usually, the prices here are lower than the big rental companies, and the number of cars available is satisfactory. I’ve also never had any problems picking up and returning the car later, and for many bookings, no deposit is required (mega convenient).

How do I get from DWC Airport (Dubai Al Maktoum Airport) to the city?

Dubai Al Maktoum Airport is located in the southern part of the city, more than 50 kilometres from the city centre. It is a much smaller airport than DXB, but even so, the air traffic here is impressive. If you’re landing there in the evening, plan well for the first of your Dubai nights in the Dubai Marina area, where you’ll be quite close.

Check out hotels in the Dubai Marina district – it’s worth staying there at least for one night

When Wizzair flights from Katowice to Dubai took off, the planes just landed at Dubai World Central (DWC) airport. Under current conditions, you also have a good chance of landing planes from low-cost airlines at the main DXB airport. Regardless, below you’ll find transfer tips from DWC airport – you may find them useful. 😉

By bus

DWC Airport (Dubai World Central, Dubai Al Maktoum Airport) has no metro connection to the city centre. The primary means of transport is by bus, which runs from in front of the airport terminal building.

There are two bus lines available to you:

  • F55 – which runs during the day from the airport to Ibn Battuta metro station on the Red Line; it leaves every hour and will take you around 40 minutes to travel,
  • N55 – a night bus that runs from the airport to Al Ghubaiba bus station, next to which is Al Ghubaiba metro station on the red line.

The same rules apply to the buses as on other metro lines and buses in Dubai. The ticket to ride is an NOL card, and the interiors of the vehicles have a women-only zone (front section) and a mixed zone (rear area).

By taxi

For DWC airport, there are only buses available. If you do not wish to hire a car or use public transport, airport taxis will take you easily to the city centre. I have already described the rules for using taxis in the section on DXB airport.

How much is a taxi from Dubai DWC airport to the city?

The cost of a ride from the DWC airport to the city centre depends, of course, on the exact location of your hotel, but expect prices over AED 100 (usually between AED 100-150). This is a considerable cost for a single person, but if you are travelling in a group of 2 or 3, the split costs no longer look so repulsive.

Rent a car

If you like independence and want full control over your trip to Dubai and explore the surrounding emirates, renting a car would be a good idea. Several car rental companies are also available here (e.g. Dollar, Thrift).

I suggest you use a comparison site like to make your choice more accessible and to compare prices efficiently. Then the risk of you overpaying is the lowest. Be aware of the UAE’s driver requirements (I have described them in the section on DXB airport).

How do I get around Dubai International Airport (DXB)?

Getting around between the terminals of DXB (Dubai International Airport) is made possible by the free shuttle buses that run between terminals 1 and 3. The buses run around the clock at 20-minute intervals.

The journey between terminals will take you a maximum of 10 minutes, but don’t do it last minute, of course.

You’ll find the shuttle bus stop at Terminal No. 1 on the upper level, between the arrivals and departures buildings. The shuttle bus stop at terminal No. 3 is on the departures level, just past exit No. 3.

Can I leave the airport during my connecting flight in Dubai?

If you’re arriving in Dubai while transferring to other flights, you’re probably wondering if it’s possible to get out of the airport and explore a bit of the city in Dubai. Such an exit from the airport is possible and relatively easy. However, check whether your country’s citizens need a visa to leave the UAE airport.

According to local law, your passport should be valid for at least six months from entry into the UAE. You can find more detailed information on your local Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. On leaving the airport, you will be given a UAE entry stamp.

If you have less than 5-6 hours to spare, I do not recommend you leave the airport. Consider the possible queues at the passport check-in counters (even if there were none when you left the airport).

When you have a little more time, hop on a metro or bus and head to Downtown Dubai, where you’ll see the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. In the evening, you can catch the fountain show at Dubai Mall.

Dubai airport hotels – where to stay for a night at the airport?

Connecting flights at major airports like Dubai International Airport (DXB) often requires several hours. You can, of course, spend this time at the airport, but you will find it challenging to rest and gather strength before the next leg of your journey. It is wise to book an overnight stay in Dubai and sleep in civilised conditions.

You may choose not to move from the airport and stay in one of the airport hotels. However, expect prices to be higher than hotels in other areas of Dubai. But with several hours to spare, it is not worth wasting them commuting to other parts of Dubai.

Hotels close to the DXB Airport include:

Hotels close to the DWC Airport include:

Some offer a complimentary shuttle service from the terminal to the hotel door. As every minute of rest matters during connecting flights, look for this option in the hotel description. An included breakfast will also be welcome. 🙂

Explore Dubai more comfortably with my Google Maps

I’ve put together an interactive map of Dubai’s highlights to make it easier for travellers to explore Dubai. It will allow you to plan the perfect trip, saving time and avoiding stress.

On the map, you will find:

  • all the essential Dubai attractions to see in each part of the city,
  • the best Dubai beaches where you can relax and catch some sun,
  • the most exciting museums where interesting exhibitions await you,
  • recommended cafes and restaurants in different parts of Dubai,
  • the location of the recommended places to stay in Dubai.

You will be able to use the map on your computer and phone. So the map will be with you when planning your trip and visiting Dubai. With it, exploring Dubai would be much easier.

You have just seen my tips on how to get from both Dubai airports to the city centre. As it turns out, transferring from Dubai airports is not too difficult to plan – I hope the article has helped you with this phase of your preparations. Have a great flight to Dubai, and enjoy your stay!

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Hi! I’m Bartek Dziwak – traveller & travel blogger with 10 years of travel experience. 

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