The 2016 public holidays have been announced early, so use it as an opportunity to finally get ahead in your life admin and plan some activities for the year ahead… we’ve kindly helped you out here.

Make 2016 the year you get the most out of life and take in as many exciting opportunities as you can. To help, follow our UAE Public Holidays: What To Do At Home And Abroad guide below and have fun…


UAE public holidays

Get fit with the GuavaPass

Friday January 1 – New Year’s Day

Here: Start 2016 on a healthy note and sign up to the GuavaPass, a new gym membership pass that encourages you to try new classes and regimens every month, well it certainly won’t be boring.

Away: After enjoying the bright lights and fireworks off Burj Khalifa, start the new year watching the Northern Lights. One of the best places to see it is in Svalbard in Norway. Until the end of January you can experience the Polar Night (aka days without daylight), which increases your chances of seeing this phantasmargorical phenomenon.


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Thursday May 5 – Al Isra’a Wal Mi’raj

Here: With the 8th Dubai Tango Festival on May 18 to 21, we’ll be spending the long weekend learning the famous Argentine dance at Tango Dubai.

Away: Cinco De Mayo is a celebration of Mexico’s victory over France in the battle of Puebla, and boy do the Mexican’s know how to celebrate with parades, street parties, food festivals and art spectacles. What better place to see in the anniversary than in the state of Puebla.


UAE public holidays

NOS Alive is one of Europe’s best kept secrets

Thursday July 7 – Eid Al Fitr

Here: Hit. The. Malls. It’s that simple. Dubai Summer Surprise is on (ends September 2016) so there will be sales on over 6,000 stores.

Away: Music lovers should head to Lisbon for NOS Alive (July 7 to July 9), which is known as one of Europe’s best kept secrets. The 2016 headline acts include The Prodigy, Foals, Years & Years and Mumford & Sons. With the concerts not starting until 4pm (they finish at 4am), spend the days at the beach, shopping or exploring the city’s many historical sights.


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UAE public holidays

Dubai Music Week is set to bring some incredible acts to the region

Saturday September 10 – Arafat Day and  Sunday September 11 – Eid Al Adha

Here: Dubai Music Week kicks off. It’s a week of live gigs (2015 saw Jason Derulo, Elie Goulding and 30 Seconds To Mars play in Dubai) and industry talks (Quincy Jones was a recent keynote speaker) at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Away: What better time to head to the Big Apple than during fashion which, which kicks off on September 1o. While the city will be buzzing with all things style-related there is still plenty to do other than fashion. On September 10 try the New York Nightclub Experience. It starts at 10.45pm at a central meeting place in Midtown; from here ‘tour guides’ take you to the best night clubs throughout the city. You even get to skip the queues!

On September 11 head to the 9/11 memorial site and watch the ‘Tribute in Light’, which  goes on as soon as the sun goes down. The lights are a reminder of where the Twin Towers once stood.


Nadya Hussein On Fashion Forward Season Five

Dubai designer will showcase at Fashion Forward

Sunday October 2 – Al Hijri

Here: Fashion Forward (official dates yet to be confirmed) is back with Dubai’s hottest designers showcasing their new collections. Afterparties and a ‘garden’ where you can shop unique style and accessories makes it one of the hottest events of the season.

Away: Is it just us or is everyone loving Justin Bieber at the moment? The pop singer seems to have had a second coming, churning out hit after hit. See him on stage, live in concert, at Copenhagen, Denmark on October 2.


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edition abu dhabi

Rendering of the Edition Abu Dhabi

Wednesday November 30 – Commemoration Day

Here: Chances are the day may change, perhaps even giving us a long weekend so treat yourself to a mini staycation in Abu Dhabi at the newly launched Edition hotel. The luxury five-start hotel will be the brand’s first property in the Middle East.

Away: Rather a vacation rather than a staycation? Well, head to Bangkok where the Edition also opens a new hotel. Rumour has it there will be a Dean & Deluca in the tower, which is the brand’s first property in Thailand.


national day

Burj Al Arab during National Day

Friday December 2 – National Day

Here: Celebrate with your family and loved ones and enjoy a plethora of free events that will be hosted across the emirate. We’ll be heading to the JBR Walk to catch the incredible fireworks.

Away: A trip to Miami’s never a bad option, but this holiday break will give you the chance to take in Art Basel (December 1 – 4). Leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa show significant work from the masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well the new generation of emerging stars. After the culture, rent a big open top car and head for Ocean Drive.


Monday December 12 – The birthday of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) 

Here: We’ve had Tom Cruise, Dev Patel, Emily Blunt and George Clooney, the Dubai International Film Festival is a much for film buffs and celeb stalkers. The 13th edition of DIFF will run from December 7 to 14. Head to the Madinat for screenings, red carpet action and parties.

Away: Affordable, picturesque and close by (five hours away), Sri Lanka makes the ideal long-weekend destination. Though if you can stay longer we recommend it, and you won’t regret it. For accommodation AirBnB has some incredible properties for a fraction of the price of five-star hotel chains – perfect for saving your dirhams in the lead up to Christmas.


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Main image: Getty (Northern Lights)

Images: Instagram and Supplied