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Abu Dhabi or Dubai – Where is Cheaper?

Abu Dhabi or Dubai - Where is Cheaper

The year round warm Arab temperatures and dazzling sunshine appeal to tourists year after year. Not only that, but the luxury stays and bold architecture continue to attract tourists to the UAE. Two of the most popular cities are Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which are also two of the most expensive. But if you’re determined to venture to one of these luxurious cities, we have put together this guide. So today we will be looking at where is cheaper Abu Dhabi or Dubai?

Generally, Abu Dhabi is cheaper than Dubai especially in terms of hotels. However, in terms of activities and living costs in the cities, you will see some surprising variations!

Below, we will take a look at the two luxurious UAE cities to see how the two compare in more detail.

Does Abu Dhabi Have Cheaper Hotels than Dubai?

The first thing to do is to take a look at the hotel prices for both cities. Fortunately, to make it slightly easier, we used a Trivago search engine which allows us to look at average hotel prices per month from the past year.

It looks at the average overnight accommodation prices for a standard double room, so it’s very useful if you can’t decide where your next city break should be!

Click here if you’re interested in checking out Trivago’s tool!

This worked great for narrowing down Dubai, but unfortunately, Abu Dhabi is not on this comparison so we had to do it all on our own, but we got there! We looked at Kayak for the average overnight cost for a standard double room in each month from a range of hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Average Hotel Prices

MonthAverage Price
January792 AED
February352 AED
March390 AED
April311 AED
May303 AED
June311 AED
July308 AED
August308 AED
September335 AED
October423 AED
November679 AED
December553 AED

Dubai Average Hotel Prices

MonthAverage Price
January1019 AED
February876 AED
March748 AED
April790 AED
May530 AED
June823 AED
July699 AED
August639 AED
September593 AED
October869 AED
November608 AED
December1068 AED

As you can see the winter months from October to January are the peak and most expensive months for both cities. This is when tourism is at its highest as the temperatures are milder but are still pleasant enough to enjoy the Arabian warmth!

The summer months from May to September are the cheapest as this is when the extreme desert heat kicks in.

That being said, when you compare the prices between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you can see that Abu Dhabi generally offers cheaper hotels all round.

Is Abu Dhabi Cheaper for Eating Out than Dubai?

Food is one of the most exciting parts of any holiday. Who doesn’t love gorging themselves on all sorts of different types of cuisine? So, now we will be comparing how much it will cost to eat out in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. To do this, we have used the comparison site Numbeo which provides insight into the cost of living across cities worldwide.

The cost of a three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Abu Dhabi comes out at 200 AED.

The cost for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Abu Dhabi will cost approximately 26.50 AED

Abu Dhabi or Dubai - Where has cheaper food? | The Vacation Builder

The cost of a three course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Dubai averages out at 250 AED.

The cost for a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Dubai will cost on average 35 AED

As you can see, there isn’t a drastic difference in food prices for either type of restaurant in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

However, if you are wanting to save a little bit of money, Abu Dhabi is definitely cheaper for eating out.

Where Has Cheaper Things to Do?

Dubai and Abu Dhabi both offer some fantastic excursions, but where has cheaper things to do?

Now we will be looking on Trip Advisor for similar activities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to see which comes out as having the cheaper average price.

ActivityAbu DhabiDubai
Morning Desert Safari, Quad Bike287 AED179 AED
Kayaking225 AED243 AED
Jet Ski (1 hour)280 AED634 AED
Diving370 AED350AED

Surprisingly, the prices of activities vary drastically between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We’d recommend looking thoroughly into excursion prices as you could be missing out on a great deal.

In fact, overall similar activity prices come out as a tie between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Where is Cheaper to Live?

You may be looking to stay in the UAE, whether for work or for a permanent move. So you may be wondering which city is the cheapest to actually live in?

Home/FoodAbu DhabiDubai
Average Cost to Rent a 2 Bedroom Apartment85,000 AED90,000 AED
Average Cost to Buy a 2 Bedroom Apartment1,280,000 AED1,400,000 AED
Milk (1 litre)6.02 AED5.97 AED
Loaf of Bread4.77 AED4.96 AED
12 Eggs 10.12 AED9.52 AED
Water Bottle (1.5 litre) 2.31 AED2.23 AED

There is an interesting range in the cost of living for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. As you can see, on average it is cheaper to rent or buy an apartment in Abu Dhabi, but the price range for food varies between the cities.

However, Abu Dhabi is the cheapest place to live overall.


So there we are! If you are wanting that luxurious Arabian holiday, but perhaps not wanting to spend too much, especially on accommodation, Abu Dhabi takes the win. The benefit is that both cities are located an hour and half from each other so you can always take a day excursion to visit the other one!

If you are maybe wanting something even less expensive, check out our comparison of Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai.

Thanks for reading! For everything Dubai & Abu Dhabi make sure you visit our travel blogs. Also, feel free to follow us on Pinterest and subscribe to our Youtube channel too.

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