Dubai reached another slowdown

Ramadan 2021 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE

In Dubai, Abu Dhabi and all over the Arabian Peninsula, the holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner. What does this month of fasting mean for tourists? Are there any restrictions in the hotels? What rules should travelers follow? And how is the holy month going in times of the coronavirus pandemic? In this blog article we answer the most important questions about Ramadan in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

When is Ramadan 2021?

In 2021, Ramadan in the UAE starts on April 12th and ends on May 11th. This is followed by “Eid al-Fitr” - the three-day festival of breaking the fast.

How does Ramadan work in times of the coronavirus pandemic?

Although the UAE has already provided a large part of the population with vaccinations against the coronavirus, the fasting month of Ramadan in 2021 will not proceed as usual. In order to minimize the risk of infection from the Covid-19 disease, special rules apply in all the Emirates of the UAE, which are accompanied by restrictions on the celebrations, especially in the public area.

Mosques are open, but only for the Taraweeh prayers, only for men and for a maximum of 30 minutes. In the places of worship (like everywhere else in the UAE) there is a strict mask requirement plus compliance with hygiene and distance regulations. All mosques must close immediately after the prayers. Gatherings and serving of food inside and in front of the religious institutions are strictly prohibited. In the private sector, Iftar meals may only be served for members of the own household. Home visits and the setting up of private or public Ramadan tents to break the fast in the evening are prohibited. Believers should make their donations online and send Ramadan greetings via social networks and messengers. Visiting shopping centers and markets at peak times should also be avoided. Restaurants usually only accept online registrations for the Iftar menus or deliver menus to the room or home.

What rules should tourists observe?

From dawn to sunset, devout Muslims abstain from eating and drinking. Fasting is only allowed in the evening after sunset - the so-called Iftar - to get broken. In the last third of the night, i.e. before sunrise and the beginning of fasting of the day, the believers take the last meal - that Suhoor - a. Tourists should also refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public out of respect for those who are fasting. Even chewing gum is considered impolite.

Are there any restrictions in the hotels?

For example, while in the Oman or the other emirates, the rules for tourists are more restrictive, in almost all international hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi food and drinks are served in the restaurants during the day. From 12 noon, alcoholic beverages are usually served in all EWTC partner hotels, and smoking is permitted in the outdoor areas and in the hotel's restaurants. The service at the pool also takes place as usual. Meanwhile, numerous restaurants and cafes across the city are open to international visitors during the day. Only music and live entertainment are prohibited. Some hotel restaurants are not open at this time due to the lower occupancy.

Do you recommend a holiday in Dubai during Ramadan?

We think so! But every traveler has to decide for himself whether he sees a holiday during Ramadan as an interesting enrichment and experience or whether he finds it disturbing in public Eating, drinking and smoking to renounce. This holy month is a time when the city's otherwise fast-paced and irrepressible rhythm slows down and takes a deep breath. Visitors to Ramadan experience a whole new side of this emirate. In general, there is a very nice, festive atmosphere in Dubai and the region. Tourists and non-Muslims are cordially invited to the evening iftar buffets in restaurants and hotels. A visit to one of the festively decorated Ramadan tents or the mosque is also worthwhile. Many shopping malls and souks are open until well after midnight. In the large shopping malls, too, eating and drinking is permitted in shielded restaurant areas during the day, before the food courts are again accessible to everyone in the evening.

What is Eid al Fitr?

At the end of Ramadan it is traditional Eid al Fitr celebrated. The celebration of breaking the fast usually begins after the morning prayer with family and friends. Then it is time to celebrate, eat, give presents (especially to the children) and many people donate money and meals to the poor. The festival lasts two to three days and everyone celebrates the end of Lent: with extensive shopping in Dubai's shopping malls, going out in the evening to eat, to the cinema or to dance or to attend fireworks, parades and events that take place all over Dubai.

You can find more information about Ramadan in Dubai and everything you need to know from entry formalities to the best travel time at

Photos: DTCM, Harald Wickel