Are you planning to visit this unique city but are unsure what to do in Dubai in 2 days or how much into fit into your itinerary?
I recommend visiting Dubai for at least for two days – that is the minimum to get a good glimpse of the city and to see the main tourists attractions. However, if you can stay longer, it is even better (check out my 7-day Dubai itinerary).
TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 2-DAY TRIP TO DUBAI
Before you find my recommendations, you´ll find a short pre-travel guide for the city.
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Security Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers
Dubai is a super safe city to travel and I think, it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler. Here are some tips on the dress code for females – to make sure you are safe in Dubai.
How to Get Around
Dubai has a good public transportation, however, some stations are spread out, which means that some walking may be required. However, the trams are super clean, safe, reliable, and fast.
Using taxis is an easy and safe way to get around- make sure to use the official ones (the black Lexus cabs are more expensive than the normal ones which are super fine to use).
One of my favorite ways to get around in Dubai is by getting a hop-on and hop-off ticket.
Where to Stay in Dubai in 2 Days
Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is often better than other 3* hotels throughout the world. I stayed at all of the ones I mention below and I truly recommend them.
Apart from the prices, it depends on where you like to stay in Dubai. Even though, taxis and public transportation is affordable in the city, I recommend staying in a central area, so you don’t waste too much time on driving around. With a weekend in Dubai only, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic from your hotel to the attraction.
Not surprisingly, 5* hotels are better than in other parts of the world. Following are some hotels I have visited and reviewed in the past. However, the Palm is not very central (Atlantis is more central than Anantara).
So, if you don’t mind driving a bit to many locations and enjoy more exclusivity, then the Palm might be the best choice.
- The Palm (one of my favorite areas, only luxury hotels, best beaches in Dubai, very quiet and a bit remote if you stay at the end of the Palm) = 5* Hotel and Resort: Atlantis Hotel – The Palm Dubai
- Dubai Marina (best place to stay if you prefer to be in a lively part of Dubai, with the Marina close-by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions) = 5* Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai
- JBR Walk (a lovely area with many restaurants and shops, most hotels have beach access, it is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah ) = 4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai
Extra tip: 3* A decent budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha (not perfectly located but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina).
My full Dubai accommodation guide is here – all the best areas and all the best hotels for all budgets.
Budget hotels can also be found though you cannot expect super bargains. The best prices are often in Deira, and though I recommend visiting this fun area, it is not an area I recommend staying at (especially not as a female traveler), so make sure to book a room at a main street when choosing Deira.
More Things to Know About Dubai
Find out what to pack for your Dubai Trip
Day 1 in Dubai
So, let´s start your Dubai trip with visiting the souks (markets).
STOP 1: Gold and Spice Souk in Deira
Start your first day in Dubai with a tour in Deira – the old part of Dubai, located in north, and quite close to the airport.
Discover the hectic and crazy part of Dubai- retailers will tell you to buy whatever they offer and it can be quite stressful. However, I truly enjoy strolling along this part and it is one of the places you have to visit in Dubai in 2 days.
Most stores open around 9 to 10 pm and it gets busy quickly. So I recommend with a start early in the morning before all the other tourists come and it gets even more hectic.
You can buy souvenirs, clothes (including Arabian clothes), gold, spices, rugs and al kind of stuff actually. The prices are much better than in the malls (especially for souvenirs) and if you are about to buy something, then do it here.
If you buy something you must haggle – it is part of shopping in this area and actually it can be fun if you do it n a nice way.
Tip: I love this area, but as a solo traveler it can be difficult. There are stares, there will be shop owners who approach you and so on. It is safe, no need to worry but it can be tiring. I recommend wearing less revealing clothes if you want to avoid it.
STOP 2: Abra Ride / Bur Dubai
A must-do to include on your Dubai itinerary, is a short abra ride. The most authentic abra ride is near the gold and spice souk which is also super inexpensive.
You can walk towards the abra station of Deira Gold Souk and get to the other side (Bur Dubai) by taking and abra (water taxi).
It just costs a few cents and is a nice way (and cheapest way) to get to the other side where you can continue your travel. You can also have the whole abra to yourself for 5€. This allows great photo opportunities with no one else in the picture but if you make it to the front of the abra you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
In Bur Dubai are some museums and another souk where you find more spices, gold, and other things (including souvenirs, rugs, and clothes).
Of course, you can spend a whole day exploring this part of Dubai but if you only have 2 days in Dubai, I recommend planning in 2-5 hours for seeing these two parts of Dubai.
Many people say, it is a very intense place and some did not like it that much – I understand the criticism but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must. If you want to budget your time more wisely you can plan in one hour, but I love visiting the souks as it is completely different to the rest of Dubai.
Stop 3: La Mer
I have found a favorite area in Dubai – La Mer, a new beachfront with tons of cool and hip restaurants and cafes, street arts and cool graffiti and fun details is great place to chill and while it can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches), it is a place you should not miss out.
I just had to add it as it is really nice – especially if you head there in the afternoon and end your day there, but it is also great to visit during lunch time, take a dip in the ocean, have some lunch, enjoy the graffiti and then head to the next place.
It comes with a Burj Khalifa view and is close to areas like Dubai Downtown or Jumeirah Beach (Kite Beach, which I mention further below, though, close normally means about 5 km when I talk about Dubai).
Stop 3: OR Jumeirah Beach
Okay, to be honest, you won’t probably be able to visit the Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches. La Mer comes with a view of Burj Khalifa, Jumeirah Beach comes with a view of Burj al-Arab.
Jumeirah Beach is not too far from Bur Dubai. You can get there by bus or taxi.
The open Jumeirah Beach (Kite Beach), which also offers nice views of the only 7* hotel in the world, Burj Al-Arab allows you to take a rest, as it will get busier in the afternoon again.
Luckily the Burj Al-Arab is so huge, so the pictures do not actually really show the distance Burj Al-Arab to Jumeirah Beach. Many beaches in Dubai are private and reserved to relevant hotel guests – Jumeirah Beach it is open to public and free of charge.
It can get busy but it does not get as busy as we know that from European beaches. From there, get a bus or taxi to Downtown Dubai.
After some time at the beach, slowly head to Dubai Downtown. There is no train connection (neither from Jumeirah Beach nor from La Mer) but you can get there by bus or taxi.
Stop 4: Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world – and definitely interesting to see. If you plan to get “At the Top of Burj Khalifa”, you should plan at least 3 hours for visiting it (depending on how busy it is) and enjoying the awesome view.
I personally definitely recommend a trip to Burj Khalifa – you can check out the rates here (online booking in advance is a must, especially if you have limited time and don’t want to spend much time in line) though the waiting lines to get on top can be very long.
You can either get tickets for level 124 & 125 or get a ticket for level 148. Of course level 148 is much more expensive but with a ticket to level 148, you can skip the lines – especially important if you have little time.
Find out about ticket prices (prices depend vary a bit and do get a bit more expensive between 3-6pm):
Stop 5: Dubai Mall
Another place to add to your Dubai itinerary is Dubai Mall, which is located next to Burj Khalifa.
Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit, even if you are not a big shopper – there is so much to see. It is not only about shopping, you’ll also find the Dubai Aquarium and more attractions here.
You can spend several days at the Dubai Mall, so it really depends on how much you are into malls and shopping.
Stop 6: Dubai Fountain
Another free thing to see is the water fountain show. Next to Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain, where you can watch a nice water fountain show.
Saturday to Thursday: 1:00 PM 1:30 PM 2:00 PM
Friday afternoon shows 1:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM
Evening Shows 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes
This area is also lovely to visit in the evening – Dubai is safe and this area is safe at night as well. Sitting there and watching tourists while Burj Khalifa is beautifully illuminated at night is a fun day to crop off your day.
Where to eat the first day in Dubai:
Deira is great for cheaper food – you´ll find many different cuisines, but for a nice dinner/lunch I recommend dining in Downtown.
Restaurants with a view of the fountain tend to be more expensive but there are also some more affordable restaurants and fast-food stores in Dubai Mall.
Day 2 in Dubai
The last day starts in Dubai Marina.
Stop 1: Marina
Start the second day with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, probably one of my most favorite parts in Dubai.
This man-made marina is one of the biggest in the world. I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts and could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while.
It is also a great place for visiting in the evening with its many bars and restaurants and it´s also a beautiful place to visit in the evening but if you just have 2 days in Dubai, I would spend my second evening at another place (more on that later).
I recommend a Marina Cruise (there are several ones, so have a look at which one is the perfect choice for you by clicking here).
Stop 2: JBR Walk
If you prefer some beach time rather than strolling in Marina, I suggest you visiting JBR-The Walk. It is the perfect place if you like to swim, watch people or if you are with children (there are many activities besides swimming). You can find some street art, many luxury hotels and more things to do.
Also, there are many restaurants and shops – so a fun place for people of all ages. Since it is in walking distance you could also combine it with a trip to Dubai Marina and then skip the next suggestion instead – Madinat Jumeirah.
Stop 3: Madinat Jumeirah
Another highlight in Dubai is definitely a visit to Madinat Jumeirah, which is a recreation of ancient Arabia. Though several luxurious hotels are located there, many parts are open to the public, and it is very charming with all the beautiful souks, nice canals, and restaurants.
You can also do an abra ride (not as cheap as in Deira) and enjoy rides on the man-made canals – or just get lost in this cute area. It gives you the best views of Burj Al-Arab. For your trip, without dining or taking a coffee break, 1-2 hours are enough if you are in a rush.
To be honest, visiting all three places in half a day is a challenge – one full day for Marina, JBR and Madinat Jumeirah would be better but my top tip for your Dubai itinerary is yet to come. So, you can skip one of the above-mentioned places or you could skip the activity below.
Read more: Best places to visit in Dubai at night
Stop 4: Desert Safari
A must-do is definitely a desert safari tour incl. BBQ (you can even request vegetarian BBQ which is just great), which normally starts around 3 or 4 pm so reserve half a day for a trip to the desert – either in the morning or afternoon.
Do not leave Dubai without doing such a tour – it is a highlight on each of my Dubai trips (and I do a tour each time I visit Dubai).
If you like to do a morning desert safari click here to find out the best prices for a tour that normally include dune bashing, photo stops, camel riding, and sand boring activities as well.
It is surely a great experience if you do not have so much time you can do shorter tours, e.g. the Morning Dune Drive which just takes about 4 hours instead of 7-8 hours).
Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 2:
If you book a desert safari with a BBQ you just have to find a perfect lunch spot – I recommend walking along the Marina and sit in one of the restaurants that are the most appealing to you.
I hope you have found some inspiration. Honestly, this is a good itinerary for Dubai in 2 days – in my eyes at least.
There are many more things to do in Dubai but if you have only a very limited time this itinerary might allow you to see the most important attractions in Dubai.