Flying to Dubai and how to get from the airport to downtown Dubai (tips and map)

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Looking for the best ways to travel by air to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates? Dubai is a world-renowned hub of luxury, innovation and unforgettable experiences, whether you’re travelling for business or tourism. With our detailed travel guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know to get your trip off to a smooth and stress-free start – how to get to Dubai by air, where Dubai Airport is located and how to get from the airport to Downtown Dubai.

Flights to Dubai

Dubai has excellent air links to most major cities around the world, including direct connections from Prague.

The following airports are located in Dubai:

  • Main Airport Dubai International Airport (DXB)
  • the smaller Al Maktoum International (DWC) airport, which is gradually expanding and is expected to be the main airport for Dubai in the future

Ticket prices vary by season, with the lowest prices usually outside the main tourist season from April to September, excluding Ramadan and major holidays.

Flights to Dubai from Prague

Dubai can be reached from Prague by direct flights in about 6 hours. You have a choice of several flights daily from these airlines:

  • Emirates – Emirates, the UAE’s flag carrier, provides the lowest quality service of any carrier and both hand luggage and checked baggage are included in the basic ticket price.
  • Czech Airlines – Czech Airlines also offers direct flights from Prague to Dubai, Emirates competes with a better price. The basic ticket price includes hand luggage only.
  • Fly Dubai – FlyDubai, as a low-cost carrier, is expanding travel options between Prague and Dubai. The basic ticket price includes a small rucksack/bag and hand luggage.

Here you can find all flights to Dubai.

burj khalifa dubai / things to do in dubai

Airports in Dubai

We have booked our flights and now it’s time to organise transport from the airport to downtown Dubai.

Dubai has two major international airports that are well connected to the city’s public transport system. This will make it much easier to get to your accommodation and to the centre.

If you’re flying to Dubai, you’ll probably land at one of these airports:

  • Dubai International Airport (DXB) – for Emirates, Fly Dubai, Czech Airlines (Smartwings)
  • Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) – for some Czech Airlines flights

Both airports offer excellent signage and orientation. Upon arrival, just follow the signs to the metro (subway), buses (bus) or taxis. Here you will find current arrivals, departures and information for both airports.

Emirates and Fly Dubai operate from Terminal 3 at DXB, Czech Airlines (Smartwings) from Terminal 1. Czech Airlines departs from and arrives at Al Maktoum Airport on some dates. You should check the current terminal on your boarding pass as Fly Dubai, for example, may sometimes arrive and depart from Terminal 2.

☞ Upon arrival, you will be subject to immigration control, which may take varying lengths of time depending on traffic. For those who want to speed up the process, the airport offers a Fast Track service. This allows for quicker passage through immigration control (information is available on the airport’s website).

al fahidi dubai

Transport from the airport to downtown Dubai

  • From Dubai International Airport (DXB): the most convenient option is the metro, which will take you quickly to many parts of Dubai. Taxis and private transfers are also available, offering convenient transfers directly to your hotel.
  • From Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC): this airport is further away from the city centre but still provides a range of options for getting to the city centre, including taxis, private transfers and buses. The metro does not yet connect directly to this airport, but this should change in the future.

Now we will discuss in detail how to get from both airports to the centre of Dubai:

How to get from Dubai International Airport (DXB) to Downtown Dubai?

We’ll start with Dubai International Airport (DXB), which is the main gateway for travellers to Dubai. DXB is located just 5 km east of Dubai. It is the largest airport in the United Arab Emirates and one of the busiest in the world.

The easiest way to get to Downtown Dubai from DXB Airport is by metro and taxi:

Metro from DXB Airport – Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall – Palm Jumeirah

By metro, you can be in the centre of Dubai at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station in around 25 minutes. The metro runs every 5-10 minutes from early morning until midnight and travels across the city. They are building in Deira, Emirates Towers, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. This makes it easy to get where you need to go.

You can pay for the metro with a Nol card, which you buy directly at the airport metro station. Fares vary depending on where you get off. We’ll talk more about the Nol card later in the article – it’s essential for paying for transport in Dubai.

metro in dubai / how to get from the airport to downtown dubai
Dubai Metro


Taxis stop right outside the airport and provide a convenient way to get to any part of the city. The taxi ride to the city centre usually takes 15-20 minutes depending on traffic and costs between AED 50 and AED 100.

The official taxis are cream in colour with a coloured roof. Please note that not all taxis allow card payments. In general, however, taxis in Dubai are relatively cheap compared to other major cities in the world.

☞ Get inspired by the best things to do in Dubai.

taxi in dubai / flights to dubai
Taxi in Dubai

In addition to the official taxi service, you can also use private transfers, Uber or Careem.

There are also several bus lines that stop near the airport. For longer distances, however, it is not worth taking the bus, as you will spend considerably more time on the road than on the metro.

Hotels near DXB Airport

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How to get from Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC) to Downtown Dubai?

We continue with Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), located 37 km southwest of downtown Dubai. In the future, it is expected to be expanded to become the main international airport in Dubai.

Dubai city centre can be reached by taxi, private transfer or bus:

Taxis and private transfers

Taxis are readily available outside the DWC Airport terminal and provide the most convenient way to get directly to your hotel in Dubai. The taxi ride to downtown Dubai takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on traffic, with a fare of around AED 150-200.

Another option is private transfer which can be booked in advance online for a fixed price. A great option for families and larger groups.

taxi in dubai / how to get from airport to downtown dubai


From DWC Airport, you can get to Dubai on the F55 bus line, which is part of Dubai’s public transport system. The bus runs every 25 minutes during the day from early morning to midnight and is replaced by the N55 night service at night. At night and early morning, connections are less frequent – once or twice an hour. The bus stop is located directly in front of the arrivals hall.

The F55 line terminates at Ibn Battuta Bus Station, providing easy access to all of Dubai. The journey to the final station takes around 40 minutes.

Or you can get off earlier – at the Expo 2020 stop, where you change to the Red Metro Line. It passes the main attractions in Dubai and provides great connections across the city.

For bus transport from the airport, you need a Nol card, which you can buy directly from the ticket machine at the airport. You can then use your card to pay for all public transport in Dubai. The bus from the airport to Dubai costs AED 3.

Hotels near DWC Airport

dubai frame / the most beautiful places in Dubai

How to pay for public transport in Dubai

If you take the metro or bus from the airport, you need a Nol Card. This works similarly to cards in other cities – for example, the Oyster Card in London.

☞ When boarding and alighting, you attach your card to the reader and the exact amount you have travelled is deducted. You can use the card on the metro, buses and trams.

You can simply buy your card directly at the airport in the metro station or near the buses.

The Nol card is offered in several versions:

  • Red Nol Card – a paper version of the card for AED 2, which gives you the option of 10 individual rides or 5 day passes
  • Silver Nol Card – the most popular version of the Nol Card for tourists who travel more frequently. The card is plastic and offers better pricing than the Red Nol Card, against which it pays off over a third ride. The Silver Nol Card costs AED 25, but AED 19 is automatically prepaid as a fare. You can then top up your Nol Card in any metro station at a machine if you need to.
  • The Gold Nol Card works in a similar way to the Silver Nol Card, except that it entitles you to travel in first class on the metro and tram. Prices are twice as high as the Silver Nol Card.
  • Blue Nol Card – version for frequent travellers (residents and expats)

☞ Find out more in our guide to transport in Dubai.

The View at the Palm overlooking the Palm Jumeirah / where to go in Dubai

Map of Dubai

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you will find a detailed map of Dubai. Click at the top left of the map to see separate layers with highlighted locations. You can hide and show the different layers or click on the icons on the map to see the names of the places I mention in the Dubai guide. If you want to save the map, star it. For a larger version, click on the icon in the upper right corner.

Plan your trip quickly and easily. If you buy something through our links, we get a small commission. You pay nothing extra. Thank you!

This was our guide and tips on how to get to Dubai by air and then from the airport to downtown Dubai. Do you have a question? We’ll be happy to answer it in the comments below. Have a safe journey!

More information about Dubai

DUBAI: Get inspired by the best things to do in Dubai. In the next article we share some interesting facts about Dubai. Looking for accommodation? Here’s a list of the best hotels to stay at in Dubai (for every budget).

We’ve compiled all the practical information and tips in our Dubai travel guide. Here you will find a detailed guide to transport in Dubai.

We have created a separate guide for visiting Burj Khalifa (entrance fees, opening hours, how to get there, attractions).

HOW TO SAVE IN DUBAI: Dubai Pass is one of the ways to save money on sights and attractions in Dubai.

dubai marina / things to do in dubai

FAQ: by air to Dubai

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