Things to Do in Dubai: The 31 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
You’re planning to visit Dubai during your next trip?
With its impressive skyscrapers and the numerous activities you can do in Dubai, you will for sure enjoy your trip to one of the trendiest destination in the world.
In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared this guide of the 31 best things to do in Dubai, with all points of interest and must-see attractions.
In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit Dubai in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days (or even 1 week!) as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.
So, what are the best things to do in Dubai? Where to stay?
- Things to Do in Dubai: The 31 Best Places to Visit (All Highlights)
- Visit Dubai: All Must See attractions
- 1. The Burj Khalifa
- 2. The Dubai Mall
- 3. The Dubai Fountain
- 4. Deira district and its souks
- 5. Bur Dubai
- 6. Atlantis Hotel / The Palm Jumeirah / Aquaventure Waterpark
- 7. The Palm Jumeirah / The Pointe / The View at The Palm
- 8. Dubai Marina
- 9. The Burj al-Arab
- 10. Dubai Museum / Al-Fahidi Fort
- 11. Dubaï Garden Glow
- 12. Dubai Frame
- 13. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
- 14. The Walk and The Beach / Jumeirah Beach Residence
- 15. The Madinat Jumeirah souk
- 16. Mall of the Emirates / Ski Dubai
- 17. Global village
- 18. Etihad Museum
- 19. La Mer
- 20. Dubai Canal Walk
- 21. The financial district
- 22. Jumeirah Mosque
- 23. Miracle Garden
- 24. Dubai Creek Park
- 25. Shopping in Dubai
- 26. IMG Worlds of Adventure
- 27. Dubai Parks and Resorts
- 28. Ain Dubai and more activities in Dubai
- The 3 best places to visit around Dubai
- Visiting Dubai with your family
- How many days to spend in Dubai?
- 1 day in Dubai
- 2 days in Dubai
- 3 days in Dubai
- 4 days in Dubai
- 5 days in Dubai
- 1 week in Dubai
- Where to stay in Dubai
- Where to eat in Dubai
- Flying to Dubai: Airfares
- Tourist map of Dubai
- You’re traveling to Dubai? These articles will help you !
- Visit Dubai: All Must See attractions
Visit Dubai: All Must See attractions
1. The Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is for sure THE place to visit in Dubai!
The tallest skyscraper in the world (828 meters) has been open to the public since 2010 and has quickly become the symbol of the city.
Every day, thousands of visitors flock to the tower and take one of the fastest lift in the world up to the viewing platforms located on the 124th and 125th floors .
From there, you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama over the whole city!
And that’s not the highest point yet!
You can even go up to the 148th floor, to reach the highest viewing platform in the world (555 m high).
You should visit the Burj Khalifa in the evening, to enjoy the view over the illuminated city from the highest observation deck in the world.
To visit the Burj Khalifa, you should really book your skip the line ticket online in advance.
This will allow you to choose your visit time slot and avoid the long waiting lines to buy your tickets.
Another important advantage is that tickets are cheaper online than directly at the counter. And that’s the same for all the activities you can do in Dubai!
There are different types of tickets available (click on the orange link for information and to book):
- Ticket At The Top Burj Khalifa – Access to 124th and 125th floors.
- Ticket VIP At The Top Sky – Access to the 148th floor of Burj Khalifa + 124 and 125 floors + quick access to the security checkpoints and elevator.
- Ticket The Lounge – Access to floor 152 + 153 + 154, the lounge bar of the Burj Khalifa
- Ascent to the 124th floor + lunch or dinner at the Burj Club restaurant.
If you plan to visit the Dubai Aquarium as well, you should choose the Burj Khalifa combined ticket (access to 124 and 125) + Aquarium. It’s much cheaper than buying the 2 tickets separately!
2. The Dubai Mall
In the city center, right next to the Burj Khalifa, there is the Dubai Mall.
This huge mall is the most visited shopping center in the world!
With more than 1200 shops and hundreds of restaurants, you will for sure find something that fits your taste and your budget.
And there is more:
This shopping temple also houses indoor waterfalls, an aquarium (more about it below), an ice rink, a go-kart track, a flight simulator, cinemas, arcade games and a lot more!
The Dubai Mall is open every day from 10am until midnight. Restaurants and food court until 1am.
If you want to prepare your visit, you can have a look to the official website to see all the existing shops, restaurants and attractions.
3. The Dubai Fountain
This fountain (the largest water fountain in the world) is one of Dubai’s main tourist attractions.
The fountain show takes place several times a day on the artificial lake located at the exit of Dubai Mall, at the foot of Burj Khalifa.
You must attend it during your trip to Dubai!
The best is to go there at nightfall, when the tower is illuminated. It’s simply magical to watch the ballet of water jets dancing to music.
The show takes place every 30 minutes between 18.00 and 23.00 (there are also a few during the day).
The access is free of charge.
Quick tip: To get a great viewpoint, try to be there as early as possible, as the fountain show attracts thousands of tourists!
If you want to admire the sound and light show up close, then you should take an abra (traditional boat) on the artificial lake. You need to click here to book your tickets.
4. Deira district and its souks
Dubai isn’t just about luxury and excess: there are still traditional and authentic neighborhoods to visit!
During your stay, you should really take a stroll through Deira district, a picturesque and popular place featuring several souks:
- The Gold Souk and its large number of shops with magnificent jewellery displays. It’s the largest of its kind in the Middle East.
- The Perfume Souk, in Sikkat Al Khail street.
- The Spice Souk and its colourful stalls to stock up on curry, saffron, cinnamon and more.
To visit the Old Dubai and Deira, the best is clearly to book a guided tour!
During this 3-hour tour, your guide will show you the souks as well as Dubai Museum, which I mention a bit further down this article.
The guide is really amazing, he will teach you everything about the culture, religion, daily life and history of Dubai.
You simply need to click on the button below to book your tour of ancient Dubai:
5. Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai is the other typical district you should definitely visit in Dubai.
This neighborhood is also one of the oldest in the city. It’s located just opposite Deira, on the other side of Dubai Creek.
To get there, you will have to take an Abra, a small traditional wooden boat (1 AED per person).
The short crossing will allow you to enjoy a beautiful view and see “Dhows”, the old ships with bright colors supplying the souks with goods.
Here are the best places to visit in Bur Dubai:
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House: The old house of the Al Maktoum family until 1958. You will see photos and documents about the history of the city.
- Old Souk, one of the oldest in Dubai. You can find everything there: slippers, souvenirs, fabrics, traditional lamps…
- Meena Bazaar, a market where you can buy Indian goods: fabrics, spices, jewelry.
- Hindi Lane and its Indian stalls. The best place to try traditional dishes at a reasonable price.
- Sheik Mohamed Cultural Center: Here you can have lunch with an Emirati in a traditional house. The center was opened by the Sheikh to allow tourists to learn more about United Arab Emirates (UAE) traditions. Reservation is required, click here.
- Al Seef Market, where you can admire replicas of traditional houses, with restaurants and shops.
- Dubai Museum: I will tell you more about it in section 9 of this guide.
6. Atlantis Hotel / The Palm Jumeirah / Aquaventure Waterpark
Let’s continue this Dubai travel guide with the very famous Atlantis The Palm Hotel. It’s clearly another landmark of the city!
Located on the the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah, this luxury hotel architecture was inspired by the myth of Atlantis.
This man made island in the shape of a palm tree (visible from space!), is mainly home to luxury villas and upscale hotels.
Even if you are not staying at Atlantis Hotel, you can access shops and restaurants in the lobby and enjoy the following attractions:
- Aquaventure Waterpark: Dubai’s most famous water park, where you can take some of the world’s best water slides and slide through a shark infested tunnel.
- Lost Chambers Aquarium and its thousands of animals: Sharks, rays, piranhas…
- Dolphin Bay, a lagoon where you can swim with the dolphins. Booking your “encounter with dolphins” automatically grants you access to the Aquaventure Waterpark on the same day. Buy your tickets here in advance to get the best price!
If you only want to visit the Aquaventure Waterpark and Lost Chambers Aquarium, you should buy this ticket in advance:
The Aquaventure Waterpark is one of the attractions that are included in the Dubai Explorer Pass.
To get to Atlantis Hotel and Aquaventure Park:
- Take the subway to DAMAAC Properties station
- Then take the tram to the Palm Jumeirah station
- Follow the signs to reach the monorail – 5 minutes on foot
- Take the monorail – 30 AED (round trip). There is a monorail every 15 minutes between 9:00 and 22:00.
7. The Palm Jumeirah / The Pointe / The View at The Palm
To get a great view over the Atlantis hotel, you should go to the small beach at “The Pointe”, a shopping center with shops and restaurants on the waterfront.
The surroundings are very beautiful and the place is quiet.
The Pointe is also famous for hosting the largest musical fountain show in the world, with water jets reaching 105 meters high!
Just like the fountains of the Burj Khalifa, the sound and light show takes place every evening from 6pm. It’s really a must-see in Dubai at night!
You can get there by taxi (less than 10 minutes from Atlantis Hotel) or, when the station will be ready, with the monorail.
In Palm Jumeirah, you should also go to the brand new tourist attraction of Dubai: “The View at The Palm Observatory”. Located on the 52nd floor, at 204 meters high, you will enjoy an extraordinary 360° panorama over the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai’s skyline!
As always in Dubai, it’s best to book your ticket for “The View at The Palm” in advance to avoid hours of waiting. You just have to click on the button below to book:
Access to The View is through level 2 of Nakheel Mall.
And if that’s not enough, on the 50th floor of The Palm, at 200 meters high, you can also swim in the world’s highest infinity pool! (It actually dethroned the famous Marina Bay Sands pool in Singapore).
To take a dip and enjoy the sumptuous view of Dubai from the AURA Skypool, you must make a reservation on the official website.
8. Dubai Marina
Let’s continue our visit of the city with a walk in Dubai Marina district.
There, you can take a walk on a pedestrian promenade along the waterfront and admire the yachts and buildings.
You will pass by Dubai Marina Mall, a big shopping center featuring brands stores such as Levi’s, H&M, Guess or Balmain.
A great way to discover the Marina is to opt for a cruise on a luxury yacht. A VIP moment you will never forget! Simply click here to book your VIP boat trip.
This boat tour is also included in the Dubai Explorer Pass.
9. The Burj al-Arab
The Burj al-Arab, in Dubai, is one of the few 7* hotels in the world.
Of course, staying in a luxury suite with sea view is pretty expensive (Click here to see the rates )!
But even if this hotel isn’t for everyone’s budget, I have good news: You can enter the most luxurious hotel in the world for a few hours by reserving a lunch, a snack or dinner at the Burj al-Arab restaurant.
Here are the different options available (click on the links for more info and to book):
- Snack and tea at the SkyView Bar on the 27th floor – Enjoy the view with pastries and cakes.
- Lunch or dinner at the Al Yam ball – The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Burj Al Arab and offers a breathtaking view over the Persian Gulf.
- Access to the SkyView Bar + 2 free drinks
- Lunch or dinner at the Al Mahara Aquarium Restaurant – Enjoy the unique experience of tasting the dishes of an award winning chef in the middle of an aquarium!
10. Dubai Museum / Al-Fahidi Fort
Dubai Museum is located in Bur Dubai, in Al Fahidi Fortress.
It traces the entire history of Dubai, from the first tribes who lived there through the economic boom in the 1960s, to the future plans for the coming years.
There, you will discover former fishing boats, objects from the nomads’ daily life, weapons and archaeological remains.
The museum is very interesting and allows you do get a good grasp of how the city looked like before its impressive development.
The entrance fee to the museum is 3 AED. It’s open every day except Friday morning.
11. Dubaï Garden Glow
You’re looking for things to do in Dubai in the evening?
Then I would recommend you to go take a walk in Dubai Garden Glow.
This park features hundreds of sculptures coming to life every evening during light shows with musical backgrounds.
It’s really impressive to see!
The entrance to the Garden Glow costs 65 AED and includes access to:
- Dinosaur Park, a park with several animated dinosaurs that move and growl. Kids will love it! It’s best to visit this park 1 hour before dusk and then go to the Garden Glow.
For another 30 AED, you will also be able to go to Magic Park, a place where you can take funny pictures, thanks to the optical illusions of the 3D decors.
There is also an ice park with a few ice sculptures, but the entrance fee (45 AED) is in my opinion a bit expensive for what it is.
Dubai Garden Glow is open every day from 4pm to 11pm.
12. Dubai Frame
The Dubai frame, one of Dubai’s newest tourist attractions, is already very popular!
You can go to the top of this huge 150 meters high photo frame and enjoy a panoramic view over the 2 parts of the city: Dubai Old Town on one side and Downtown Dubai (the Burj Khalifa) on the other.
To make things even more exciting, part of the floor is made of glass. You can see everything that’s happening under your feet!
Tickets for the Dubai Frame needs to be booked directly here:
13. Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The aquarium is located in Dubai Mall.
You can admire one side of the shark aquarium for free in the shopping mall and need to pay for the rest of the visit.
As the tickets are sold cheaper on the Internet than on site, you should buy your tickets in advance by clicking on the link below:
And if you also plan to visit the Burj Khalifa, you can save even more money by purchasing a combined ticket:
When entering the aquarium, you will first go through a tunnel filled with sharks and other fishes. Then, you will go to the underwater zoo located on the second floor to discover different species of fishes, seahorses and jellyfishes.
The highlight of the visit is the star of the zoo: King Croc, one of the largest living crocodiles in the world with 5 meters long for 750 kg.
14. The Walk and The Beach / Jumeirah Beach Residence
Where can you go to the beach in Dubai?
If you want to spend some time at the beach or have a swim, you should go to the public beach called “The Beach” (original, right? 🤪). Here you can rent deck chairs and umbrellas for the day and enjoy the sun and nautical activities.
Along the entire promenade called “The Walk”, you can take a stroll along the sea or enjoy the many restaurants with terraces and chic boutiques.
To reach The Walk and The Beach, take the subway to DAMAC and then the tram to Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).
15. The Madinat Jumeirah souk
Let’s now head to another beautiful place to visit in Dubai: Madinat Jumeirah souk.
This large shopping area is especially worth a look for its traditional architecture and oriental atmosphere.
With its canals and restaurants on the waterfront, the place is quiet and really beautiful. If you feel like it, you can even go on a boat tour on an abra.
From the outdoor areas of the souk, there are several beautiful viewpoints over the Burj Al Arab.
From Madinat Jumeirah souk, you can enjoy beautiful views over the Burj Al Arab.
In Madinat Jumeirah, there are also several luxury hotels: some parts of the souk are therefore only accessible to guests.
16. Mall of the Emirates / Ski Dubai
In addition to the Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates is another shopping mall you should visit during your stay in Dubai.
This is actually where Ski Dubai, the famous indoor skiing area is located!
Yes, in Dubai, you can even enjoy a ski or snowboard ride when it’s 40 degrees outside.
You simply need to book your ticket for Ski Dubai by clicking here, all equipment and clothing is provided.
And if you don’t want to ski, you can simply enjoy shopping or try one of the dozens of restaurants.
If you are traveling to Dubai with your children, you should take them to “Magic Planet“, an indoor amusement park with arcade games.
17. Global village
If you’re going to visit Dubai in winter, you will be able to discover the Global Village.
Located outside the city, the Global village features reconstructions of world-famous monuments (the Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum of Rome or the Taj Mahal) and dozens of pavilions, each dedicated to a different country: Thailand, China, Japan, United States, Egypt and a lot more!
In each pavilion you will find dozens of stands with local specialties: Food, clothes and objects.
The Global Village is pretty big, so plan at least 3 hours for your visit.
Practical information about the Global Village:
- Open only from the beginning of November to the beginning of April – Daily from 16.00 to midnight
- Entrance fee: 15 AED for a single ticket or 100 AED for the Wunderpass with 4 activities (fair, motorcycle show…)
- On Mondays, it’s open for families with children and women only
- There is a small fountain show every evening at 20h and 22h
- To get there: Take the Metro to Mall of the Emirates station and then bus 106 (20 AED round trip, 1/2 hour bus ride).
18. Etihad Museum
Let’s continue this list of the best things to do in Dubai with Etihad Museum, dedicated to the foundation of the United Arab Emirates.
Thanks to several films, testimonies and interactive terminals, you can discover the entire process that led to the creation of the Union Treaty and learn more about the 7 sheikhs founders of the nation.
If you’re interested in history, it’s a very good complement to the visit to Dubai Museum.
Plan about 1 hour for your visit. The entrance fee is 25 AED.
To get to the Etihad Museum, take the subway to World Trade Center station and then a taxi.
19. La Mer
La Mer is another nice place to walk next to the sea in Dubai.
There, you can find many restaurants as well as a long promenade and several beaches. You can also rent deck chairs for 100 AED/person.
La Mer also features a water park: Laguna Waterpark, with several slides, a wave pool etc.. An excellent idea if you are visiting Dubai with your children!
Click here to get your tickets for the laguna Water Park (cheaper than on site).
20. Dubai Canal Walk
The Dubai Canal Walk is, as its name suggests, a very pleasant walk alongside the canal.
The walk starts near Business Bay subway station and allows you to follow the Dubai Canal for about 3 km. You can walk on both sides of the canal, crossing by one of the 3 very beautifully designed bridges along the way.
Although the place is still under construction, it already offers a wonderful panorama over skyscrapers and the Burj Khalifa tower.
Tip: you should do this walk at night! Undoubtedly one of the best free viewpoints on Dubai’s skyline.
On the canal, you can also enjoy a diner cruise and Abra tours.
The boats pass under an artificial waterfall, whose “curtain” opens automatically to let the boats pass!
21. The financial district
The financial district and its skyscrapers are one of the iconic places of Dubai.
The DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) not only houses offices, but also restaurants, luxury hotels (Fairmont, Radisson), art galleries and more.
Here are the best points of interest:
- Jumeirah Emirates Tower, 2 skyscrapers over 300 meters high
- Gate Building, a 60-meter arch housing the Dubai Stock Exchange
- Gate Avenue, a new shopping center
- World Trade Center, Dubai’s first skyscrapers
- Galleries of the DIFC, with renowned art galleries.
22. Jumeirah Mosque
Jumeirah Mosque is one of Dubai’s main attractions for good reason: it’s the only mosque in the city that is open to non-Muslims.
Guided tours are organized daily (except Fridays) at 10.00 and 14.00. You should be there half an hour before to make sure you get a seat. The tour lasts about 1h15.
You will of course need to be properly dressed: Arms and legs must be covered (that applies to everyone), and women should cover their hair as well.
You can visit the inside of the mosque and learn more about the rites and the 5 pillars of Islam. Photos are allowed.
23. Miracle Garden
More than 150 million flowers are waiting for you at Dubai Miracle Garden!
You know it, in Dubai, when they do something, they are really pushing it it far. So you can imagine that the Miracle Garden is much more than just a garden.
During your visit, you will be able to admire impressive structures representing Disney characters and even a replica of an A380 completely covered with flowers.
The Miracle Garden is listed several times in the Guinness Book of Records, notably as the largest flower garden in the world.
The park is only open from November to May, every day from 9am until 9pm (10pm on weekends).
To get there: Take the subway to the Mall of Emirates + bus 105 (20 min. ride). The entrance ticket costs 55 AED and needs to be purchased online by clicking here!
If you prefer, you can opt for package “entrance ticket + pick up at your hotel” by clicking on the button below. This ticket also gives access to the Butterfly Garden, which includes a dozen domes with thousands of butterflies.
Combined Miracle Garden + Global Village tickets (section 16 of this article) are also available:
24. Dubai Creek Park
During your holidays in Dubai, you can also take a walk in Dubai Creek park, one of the largest parks of the city.
This huge park, located directly on the waterfront, is very popular among locals on weekends. They come here to picnic with their families, and children can play in the many playgrounds available.
The entrance fee to the park is 5 AED.
There are 2 more attractions in the park (not free):
- The Children’s City: It includes a planetarium and several areas dedicated to the universe and the mysteries of the human body.
- Dubai Dolphinarium, where you can swim with dolphins.
25. Shopping in Dubai
Can you imagine going to Dubai without doing a bit (or a lot!) of shopping during your stay?
Here are the best addresses in the city to go shopping:
- Dubai Mall, Dubai’s largest and most popular shopping center
- Mall of the Emirates and its hundreds of shops
- The Walk promenade and The Beach at JBR
- Souks of Deïra
- Old Souk and Al-Seef market in Bur Dubai
- City Walk, a pedestrian-only zone with chic and trendy shops
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah
- Outlet Village, where you can find the biggest Italian and American brands.
26. IMG Worlds of Adventure
IMG Worlds of Adventure is the second largest indoor amusement park in the world, just behind Warner Bros Park in Abu Dhabi.
In the park, you can for example ride a roller coaster, visit a haunted house or watch a 4D movie.
It’s divided into 5 zones:
- Marvel and its attractions featuring Hulk, Thor and other heroes!
- Lost Valley, dedicated to the world of dinosaurs
- Cartoon network
- IMG-Boulevard, with its restaurants and shops
- Novo Cinemas, a cinema equipped with the latest technologies.
The park is open daily from 11 am. More information about the prices and schedules can be found on the official website.
27. Dubai Parks and Resorts
In Dubai, you can also visit an other amusement park: Dubai Parks and Resorts.
This leisure complex includes several theme parks and a hotel:
- Motiongate Dubai and its movie-themed attractions: Hotel Transylvania, Underworld, Zombieland, Kung Fu Panda or even the Smurfs!
- Bollywood Parks Dubai and its various environments inspired by Indian films.
- Legoland Dubai, dedicated to Lego bricks! You can even see a miniature representation of Dubai made with Lego.
- Legoland Waterpark, a water park with slides and wave pools.
- Riverland Dubai, an area with shops and restaurants. Accessible free of charge even without an entrance ticket.
- Lapita Dubai Parks and Resorts: an hotel inspired by Polynesian themes. You can book your stay at Lapita by clicking here.
There are several options for 1 day, with tickets granting you access to 1 park, 2 parks or all of them.
If you plan to spend 1 day there, you should in my opinion choose the “2 parks” bundle ticket. It includes access to Motiongate (the main park) + 1 other park (choose between Bollywood and Legoland Dubai).
2 parks are easily doable in a day and it’s a great way to save money!
Book your Dubai Parks and Resorts Pass for 2 parks here:
And if you just want to go to 1 park, click on the link of your choice:
28. Ain Dubai and more activities in Dubai
You’re looking for even more activities in Dubai?
Here they are!
Here are the best activities to enjoy in Dubai (click on the links for more information and to book):
- The Green Planet, a biodome that recreates a tropical forest with its animals and plants.
- Tandem parachuting over Palm Jumeirah – Amazing!
- Helicopter flight above the main attractions of Dubai (Atlantis, the Burj Al Arab).
- Seaplane, scenic flight over Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah.
- A Jet-ski tour, to discover the main sights of Dubai from the sea: the marina, JBR and Atlantis Hotel.
- Dinner in the Sky, 50 meters above the ground
- Flyboard, a new trendy activity
- Introduction to scuba diving
- Simulated freefall in a wind tunnel
- Horse riding in Dubai National Park.
And for those who are not afraid of heights, I highly recommend you to try one of the new tourist attractions in Dubai: Ain Dubai. It’s nothing less than the biggest Ferris wheel in the world!
The cabins go up to 250 meters high, so you can enjoy a fantastic view over the whole city during 40 minutes.
Book your ticket for the Dubai Ferris wheel by clicking on the button below:
The 3 best places to visit around Dubai
Now that you know everything about the best things to do in the city, it’s time to discover the 3 best places to visit around Dubai.
You can get there with organized day trips from Dubai or by public transport.
29. Excursion in the desert
The most popular excursion around Dubai is an excursion into the desert.
Suggested day program:
- Pick up at your hotel and drive to the desert
- Jeep tour in the dunes
- Sandboard rides
- A camel ride
- Lunch or dinner (barbecue) in a Bedouin camp, with shows and entertainment: henna skin tattoo, belly dance.
To be sure that you are booking with a serious and reliable agency, you should book your desert tour in advance by clicking on the button below.
It’s clearly the best excursion into the desert: It’s so great that they will give you a full refund if you don’t enjoy your time!
And if you prefer a bit more action, you can opt for one of the 2 following tours:
- Excursion in the desert + Quad bike tour in the dunes
- Excursion in the desert + Buggy tour in the dunes
Both of them are really awesome, so choose the one that you prefer!
The excursion into the desert is one of the attractions that are included in the Dubai Explorer Pass.
30. Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is the most famous city near Dubai.
You should really visit it during your trip, as it’s only 1h30 away from Dubai by car or by bus.
If you want to rent a car, you should check all car rental agencies rates on Rentalcars.com (click here). It’s the best way to get the best price!
Here are the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi:
- Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: this masterpiece of architecture is the symbol of the city, you need to visit it!
- Louvre Abu Dhabi, a modern museum with works from antiquity to the 21st century. The modern architecture of the building is also worth a look.
- Fortress Qasr Al Hosn: now converted into a museum about the city’s history
- Emirates Palace, the 7* hotel in Abu Dhabi. You can visit the inside free of charge.
- La Corniche, a long seafront promenade with beaches.
- Qasr Al Watan, also called the “Presidential Palace”: a magnificent palace both inside and outside, everything is covered with gilding and mosaics.
- Yas Island, where the Warner Bros amusement park and Ferrari World are located.
In order to organize your stay in the capital of the UAE, you should read my detailed article: The 17 best things to do in Abu Dhabi
31. Al Ain
Near Dubai, you can also visit the City of Al Ain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The journey by car or by bus takes about 2 hours.
In Al Ain, you can visit:
- Palace of Sheikh Zayed, the first president of the UAE. Today it’s a museum.
- Camel and dromedary market, held every day except Mondays.
- The oasis, for a walk among the palm trees.
- Al Ain National Museum, dedicated to local traditions.
- Al Jahili Fort
- Jebel Hafeet mountain, which offers a magnificent view over Al Ain.
To book your trip to Al Ain, simply click on the button below:
Visiting Dubai with your family
If you’re planning to visit Dubai with your family, here is the list of the best things to do with children:
- Visit to the Burj Khalifa combined with a visit to the aquarium and underwater zoo Book your tickets here!
- Kidzania (tickets for sale here!) in the Dubai Mall
- The Aquaventure Waterpark of Atlantis Hotel
- Dubai Garden Glow and its wonderful and colorful lit sculptures
- Discover and enjoy the beaches of Dubai
- Global Village, the perfect place for a great family evening!
- Laguna Waterpark
- Miracle Garden and its millions of flowers
- Dubai Creekside Park, one of the few places where your children can enjoy a bit of nature!
- IMG Worlds of Aventure
- Dubai Parks and Resorts
- Green Planet
How many days to spend in Dubai?
As you have certainly noticed when reading this travel guide, there are many places to visit in Dubai!
You should thus plan at least 3 days to discover the city.
In my opinion, a one-week stay is really ideal to have enough time to see everything, enjoy the activities and even explore the surroundings.
In order to help you plan your stay, I will now give you optimized itineraries to visit Dubai in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 days or a week.
1 day in Dubai
If you only have one day to visit Dubai, then you should focus on the 2 main parts of the city:
- Visit Deira and the souks
- Cross the bay of Dubai on an Abra (traditional boat)
- Walk in Bur Dubai district
- Shopping at Dubai Mall
- Fountain show
- Go to the top of the Burj Khalifa
To get an overview of the city in 1 day, you can also take the Hop on Hop off bus. The tickets need to be booked here!
Another option can be to hire a driver for the day: he will take care of driving you everywhere.
It’s a great alternative if you don’t want to waste time on public transport!
2 days in Dubai
If you plan to spend a 2 days in Dubai, you should follow this itinerary:
- Visit Deïra and the souks
- Cross the bay of Dubai on an Abra
- Stroll through Bur Dubai district
- Visit the Dubai Museum, dedicated to the history of the city
- Go to the top of the Dubai Frame: it offers a magnificent view over the whole city!
- Visit Dubai Garden Glow, an enchanting garden with many illuminated sculptures.
- Visit Etihad Museum to learn everything about the history of the UAE
- Pass by Jumeirah Mosque
- Discover La Mer: take a dip, have lunch on a terrace, enjoy the good weather and the warmth of Dubai!
- In the afternoon, head to the Dubai Mall, the best shopping place in Dubai!
- Visit the Aquarium and the underwater zoo
- Attend the fountain show
- Go to the top of Burj Khalifa and enjoy the magnificent panorama from the viewing platforms at night!
For more info about this itinerary, you should read my detailed guide: 2 days in Dubai
3 days in Dubai
You plan to stay 3 days in Dubai?
For the 2 first days, you can follow the program I mentioned above. And for your third day in the city, you will have 2 options:
1) Spend 1 day in Palm Jumeirah to discover the Atlantis Hotel, the Lost Chambers aquarium and the Aquaventure Park (book here). Don’t forget to go to The Pointe in the afternoon to admire the view!
In the evening, you should see La Perle, the most famous show in Dubai.
2) Explore Dubai Marina district
- Start the day with a walk along The Walk. You can also go for a swim or relax by the sea.
- Go to the Marina and head to Dubai Marina Mall
- In search of thrills? Then you should really try the amazing Dubai Zip Line, starting from the roof of a skyscraper!
- And if you prefer a more relaxing activity, you should instead opt for a cruise through the marina.
- Go to the Mall of the Emirates
- And to end your day, you can choose between the following 2 activities:
- Visit the Global Village and its pavilions from all over the world
- Attend the spectacular La Perle show.
4 days in Dubai
For a 4-day stay in Dubai, you can do the 3 days itinerary I mentioned above and add an excursion into the desert for your 4th day!
4WD vehicle tour in the dunes, sandboard, camel ride, dinner in a Bedouin camp and animations: you will have a wonderful day!
And if you prefer a bit more action, you can opt for one of the 2 following tours:
- Excursion in the desert + Quad bike tour in the dunes
- Excursion in the desert + Buggy tour in the dunes
You’re planning to spend 4 days in Dubai? You should thus read my detailed itinerary: How to visit Dubai in 4 days.
5 days in Dubai
If you are lucky enough to travel to Dubai for 5 days, you can add for your 5th day:
1) Spend the day at an amusement park: IMG Worlds of Adventure or Dubai Parks and Resorts.
2) Visit Dubai’s points of interests you haven’t seen yet:
- Stroll through the blooming avenues of Dubai Miracle Garden
- Do some shopping or, why not, ski in the Mall of the Emirates.
- Go to the Souk Madinat Jumeirah
- Admire the view over the Burj Al Arab
- Spend the rest of the day at one of the nearby beaches.
You can have a look at my detailed 5-day itinerary by clicking here: 5 days in Dubai.
1 week in Dubai
You’re gonna spend one week in Dubai?
Then you can add the following:
And if you don’t want to leave Dubai, you can enjoy the city a bit more and do amazing activities:
- Do the Canal Walk or opt for a dinner cruise on the canal
- Discover the skyscrapers of the financial district
- Relax in Creekside Park
- You want to see the city from above? Then opt for a helicopter flight or Seaplane Tour!
- Enjoy a dinner cruise in Deira on a tradional boat.
Where to stay in Dubai
There are hundreds of hotels in Dubai, and choosing the best for your stay can be a bit complicated.
In order to help you out, I have selected for you the best hotels in Dubai for each district, depending on your budget. I have also made a special list of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Dubai.
As always, to get the best prices, you should book your hotel as early as possible!
The best hotels in Downtown Dubai (near the Burj Khalifa)
- DoubleTree of Hilton Dubai – Business Bay: Located 1.5 km from Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. Very spacious and comfortable room, well decorated and equipped from 110€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: free shuttle to the Dubai Mall, good breakfast, comfort, tranquility. This my favorite hotel in Dubai for its exceptional value for money!
- Rove Downtown: Only 600 meters from the Dubai Mall. Bright and clean double room with view on Burj Khalifa, from 150€, breakfast for 15€. Strong points: Access to the Dubai Mall on foot, helpful staff, free shuttle service to the beach, Dubai Museum or Madinat Souk.
- Taj Dubai: Located 800 meters from Burj Khalifa. Modern and luxurious room with bay window overlooking the city and marble bathroom starting at 220€ per night, breakfast at 32€. Strong points: The magnificent view from the roof, the Indian decoration, the large swimming pool. An excellent hotel in Dubai city center, perfect for a romantic stay!
- Palace Downtown: Located on the lake at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, this 5-star hotel offers magnificent rooms with balcony, with an exceptional view of the Burj Khalifa. From 380€ per night, breakfast at 39€. Strong points: the exceptional location, the beautiful surroundings, the very attentive and helpful staff. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Downtown Dubai!
The best hotels in old Dubai (Deira and Bur Dubai)
- Golden Sands Hotel Apartments: Located in Bur Dubai, 1.5 km from the Dubai Museum. Apartment equipped with kitchenette and washing machine, from 80€ per night, breakfast from 11€. Strong points: Cleanliness, the heated swimming pool, the comfortable apartments
- Swissôtel Al Ghurair Dubai: Located in Deira district. Warm and spacious room from 115€, breakfast at 27€. Strong points: the pleasant staff, the view, the good breakfast. It’s my favourite in Old Dubai for its excellent value for money!
- Hyatt Regency Creek Heights Residences: Located next to Creekside Park. Very spacious, super comfortable and very well equipped rooms starting at 130€ per night, breakfast at 33€. Strong points: 5 minutes walk from the metro, the warm welcome, the quiet location, the spa.
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek: 5* hotel located in Deira bay. Double room with balcony overlooking the bay from 150€, breakfast at 29€. Strong points: The proximity of the metro and the shops, the beautiful swimming pool, the comfortable bed and the amazing view. This is my recommendation for a luxury stay in Old Dubai!
Dubai’s best beach hotels
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Jumeirah Beach, Dubai: Located 300 meters from the beach. Rooms and apartments with sea view from 125€, breakfast at 27€. Strong points: The view, the comfortable beds, the location near the beach and the harbor.
- Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach – Dubai: Located along “The Walk”. Rooms with balcony overlooking the Gulf and Palm Jumeirah from 175€, breakfast at 24€. Strong points: the exceptional view, the proximity of the tram and metro, restaurants and shops at the foot of the hotel.
- Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach: Located 150 meters from the beach. Contemporary room with balcony and sea view from 230€, breakfast at 22€. Strong points: the infinity pool, the very good breakfast, the spa, the ideal location to enjoy the sea.
- Grosvenor House Hotel and Apartments: Located on the port promenade. Elegant and bright double room from 290€, breakfast at 42€. Strong points: Comfort, access to the private beach, the quality of the food.
The most beautiful luxury hotels in Dubai
- Atlantis The Palm, Dubai: One of the emblematic hotels of the city, located in Palm Jumeirah. Room from 300€, breakfast from 42€. Strong points: Includes access to Aquaventure Park and The Lost Chambers aquarium, private beach, swimming pools.
- Rixos The Palm Hotel & Suites – Ultra All Inclusive: Also located in Palm Jumeirah, this luxury hotel offers all inclusive rooms (all meals included) from 452€. Strong points: the quality of the meals, the setting, the amazing rooms.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai: Located directly on the beach of JBR Walk. Elegantly furnished rooms with balcony and sea view from 500€ per night, breakfast at 39€. Strong points: 6 swimming pools, a private beach, the spa, the very helpful staff.
- Armani Hotel Dubai: Located in the Burj Khalifa Tower! Rooms decorated by the fashion designer Giorgio Armani, starting at 550€ per night, breakfast at 41€. Strong points: the privilege of sleeping in the Burj Khalifa, the refinement of the place, the view.
- Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah: Located in Palm Jumeirah. Luxury suite with living room and dining room starting at 750€, breakfast included. Strong points: The private beach, the huge swimming pool and the beautiful gardens.
- Burj Al Arab Jumeirah: THE luxury hotel, one of the rare 7* hotels in the world! The “smallest” suite is 170m² and prices start at 1290€, breakfast at 74€. I can assure you that your stay in Dubai will be truly exceptional and unforgettable!
Where to eat in Dubai
In every shopping mall or touristic place in Dubai, you will find dozens of restaurants offering cuisines from all over the world.
The hardest thing will be to choose one!
If you feel like dining on a terrace with a beautiful view, you should go to Madinat Al Jumeirah souk and eat in one of the restaurants along the canals.
La Mer or The Walk and The Beach are also great locations to enjoy a meal close to the sea.
As restaurants are quite expensive in Dubai, if you want to spend less money, you can also eat in the food courts of the shopping malls.
You will find the classic Mc Donald’s, KFC, Burger King etc.. as well as small fast foods offering Chinese or Indian cuisine for example.
The old districts of Dubai (Deira/ Bur Dubai) are also an excellent choice to enjoy “real” traditional cuisine at low prices!
Flying to Dubai: Airfares
As always, you should book your plane tickets as early as possible to get the best prices.
To check the rates and schedules for flights to Dubai, you can use our flight comparator, in partnership with Skyscanner:
Tourist map of Dubai
To help you get a better idea of the city, I have created a tourist map of Dubai that lists all the tourist attractions I mention in this guide. You can view the legend of the map by clicking on the upper left button with a small arrow.
And you, what do you plan to do in Dubai?
🚗 Rent a car
🗽 Book entrance tickets and guided visits
🏄 Book your sports activities
🚤 Book your rental boat
🌍 Take a travel insurance
🙎 Book a tour
🚅 Book your train tickets
✈️ Book your flight
You’re traveling to Dubai? These articles will help you !
Discover all my articles about Dubai: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Dubai are listed there.
- Dubai: The 30 best places to visit – All best things to do and activities!
- 2 days in Dubai – The perfect itinerary for 48h!
- 3 Days in Dubai – The best 72h itinerary
- 4 Days in Dubai – The defitinive guide to plan your trip
- 5 Days in Dubai – How to spend 5 days in Dubai
- 1 Week in Dubai – The best itinerary to visit Dubai in 7 days!
- Burj Khalifa: The definitive guide to all tickets + Tips
- Dubai Aquarium: discover one of Dubai’s must see attraction
- Dubai Mall: How to plan your visit of this huge shopping center!
- Dubai Old Town: 10 best things to do
- Dubai Fountain Show: all my tips to enjoy it to the fullest!
- Palm Jumeirah: the 15 best things to do!
- TOP Activities in Dubai – The 30 best activities and excursions to do in Dubai!
- Dubai Zipline – Price, info and reservations for the best experience in town!
- The best desert safaris in Dubai – my 7 favorites! (4WD, quad, buggy and more)
- Where to stay in Dubai? The guide to the best hotels by district, for all budgets
- Dubai Pass: The best way to save time and money in Dubai!