2-DAY DUBAI ITINERARY + TRAVEL TIPS
Are you planning to visit Dubai but are unsure what to do in Dubai in 2 days or how much to fit into your 2-day Dubai itinerary? Then this post is for you – here is how to create a perfect 2-day itinerary for first-time visitors plus many travel tips.
P.S. If you stay longer than 2 days in Dubai, check out my post on 1 week in Dubai.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.
ARE 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ENOUGH?
2 days in Dubai is a good amount to get an idea of the city. You can visit some of the main sights and attractions, but it is not enough to see some hidden gems or really see all of the main sights.
DUBAI ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS – THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Here are places I suggest visiting in Dubai in 2 days. I also give a time frame, but of course, it really is up to each person how much you can actually do and see.
HERE ARE THE PLACES TO VISIT ON DAY 1 IN DUBAI:
✔️ GOLD AND SPICE SOUK
✔️ LA MER OR JUMEIRAH BEACH
✔️ BURJ KHALIFA
✔️ DUBAI MALL
✔️ DUBAI WATER FOUNTAIN
HERE ARE THINGS TO DO ON DAY 2 IN DUBAI:
✔️ DUBAI MARINA
✔️ JBR WALK
✔️ DUBAI DESERT
✔️ IN WINTER ONLY: MIRACLE GARDEN
So, let´s get started and talk about your itinerary.
DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
So, let´s start your 2-day trip by visiting the souks in Dubai (markets).
Stop 1: Gold and Spice Souk in Deira
The Gold and Spice Souk is located in Deira, the old part of Dubai which is north of the city and quite close to the airport.Here you can discover the hectic and crazy part of Dubai. Retailers can be pretty persistent, which can be quite stressful. Many people say it is a very intense place, and some did not like it at all. I understand the criticism, but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must. I truly enjoy strolling along this part, and it is one of the places you have to visit in Dubai in 2 days.
ℹ️ Most stores open around 9 am to 10 pm, and it gets busy quickly. On Fridays, the shops might open later.
ℹ️ I recommend starting early in the morning (around 9 am or so) before all the other tourists come and it gets even more hectic.
You can buy souvenirs, clothes (including Arabian clothes), gold, spices, rugs, and all kind of things. The prices are much better than in the malls (especially for souvenirs) and if you are about to buy something, then do it here.
ℹ️ TIP: 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 in a nice way.
ℹ️ TIP FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS: I love this area, but as a solo traveler, it is not easy. There are stares. There will be shop owners who approach you. Overall, it is safe, so there is no need to worry, but it can be tiring.
Stop 2: Abra Ride / Bur Dubai
Abras are traditional water taxis that are popular and super cheap – and I consider riding an abra a must-do.
The most authentic abra ride is near the gold and spice souk. You can walk towards the abra station of Deira Gold Souk and get to the other side (Bur Dubai) by taking an abra.
The ride just takes a few minutes and costs a few cents and is a nice and cheap way to get to the other side of the creek 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. However, if you make it to the front of the abra, you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
ℹ️ In Bur Dubai are some museums and another souk where you find more spices, gold, and other things.
ℹ️ 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 2-5 hours for seeing these two areas of Dubai. If you want to budget your time more wisely, you can plan in one hour.
Stop 3: La Mer
La Mer is a new beachfront area with tons of cool and hip restaurants/cafes, street art, cool graffiti, and fun details. It is a great place to chill though it can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches). However, it is a place you should not miss out on – especially as the beach at La Mer comes with a Burj Khalifa view.
Take a dip in the ocean, or do some water sports – water enthusiasts definitely will love that place but eve those who need to rest for an hour or two, will enjoy La Mer.
Have some lunch, enjoy the graffiti (there is quite a lot) and then head to the next place.
ℹ️ Check out my guide on La Mer.
Stop 3: OR Jumeirah Beach / Kite Beach
Okay, honestly, you won’t probably be able to visit both, Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches. La Mer comes with Burj Khalifa’s view, while Jumeirah Beach comes with Burj al-Arab’s view.
Many beaches in Dubai are private and reserved for relevant hotel guests. Jumeirah Beach is open to the public and free of charge. And though it can get busy, it does not get as busy as we know from European beaches.
The open Jumeirah Beach also offers nice views of the only 7* hotel in the world, Burj Al-Arab. Luckily, the Burj Al-Arab is huge, so the pictures do not really show Burj Al-Arab’s distance to Jumeirah Beach because it is quite far from here. Here you can rest or take a dip and cool off.
ℹ️ Jumeirah Beach is not too far from Dubai Deira and the souks. You can get there by bus or taxi.
ℹ️ From there, get a bus or taxi to Downtown Dubai.
PERSONAL OPINION: If I had time for one beach, I would choose La Mer over Jumeirah/Kite Beach.
After some time at the beach, slowly head to Dubai Downtown. Dubai Downtown is stuffed with many interesting attractions – among others, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa.
- 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 – standing at 828 meters. You can enjoy some amazing views “At the Top of Burj Khalifa.”
ℹ️ You should plan at least 2-4 hours for visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa (depending on how busy it is).
ℹ️ To get to the top, you have to use the entrance inside Dubai Mall.
ℹ️ The waiting lines to get on top can be very long.
ℹ️ You can either get tickets for levels 124 & 125 or get a ticket for levels 124 & 125 & 148. Of course, the ticket that includes entrance to level 148 is much more expensive. With a ticket to level 148, you can skip the lines – vital if you have little time. I have been on levels 124 & 125 three or four times already but never bought a ticket for level 148. After reading reviews, I found out that the views are not much different – it is mostly about the service and skipping lines.
GET YOUR TICKETS FOR BURJ KHALIFA
➡️ Check out Burj Khalifa ticket prices for levels 124 & 125
➡️ Check out Burj Khalifa ticket prices for levels 124 & 125 &148 (including skip-the-line)
➡️ Check out my Burj Khalifa travel guide for more info
Stop 5: Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit, even if you are not a big shopper because it is not only about shopping. You’ll also find the Dubai Aquarium and more attractions here. You could spend several days at the Dubai Mall, so it really depends on how much you are into malls and shopping.
ℹ️ Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa, so there is no travel time. You can start your window shopping straight away.
ℹ️ You can spend anything between 30 minutes to many, many hours here.
ℹ️ Dubai Mall also has a food court that offers affordable food from all around the world. Of course, there are also all kinds of restaurants in and near Dubai Mall, including many luxury hotels.
Stop 6: Dubai Fountain
Next to Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain. Here you can watch nice water fountain shows in the evening.
Sitting there and watching tourists while Burj Khalifa is beautifully illuminated at night is a fun day to end your day. Evening shows take place from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – every 30 minutes. Check out more information here.
It gets busy, so secure yourself a good spot to watch it, and get there way before a show takes place. Also, the show just takes a few minutes, so be on time or you will miss it.
ℹ️ Free to watch.
ℹ️ Dubai is safe, and this area is safe at night, and you can also sit there by yourself in the evening.
Read more: Best places to visit in Dubai at night
Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 1
Deira is great for cheaper food – you´ll find many different cuisines at the Gold and Spice Souks. I suggest having lunch there or at La Mer.
I recommend having dinner in Downtown. Restaurants with a fountain view tend to be more expensive, but there are also good restaurants in the medium-price segment. For the cheapest dinner options, check out the Food Court of Dubai Mall.
DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
Day 2 in Dubai starts in Dubai Marina.
Stop 1: Marina
Start with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, which is probably one of my favorite parts of Dubai.
This man-made marina is one of the largest in the world. I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts. I could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while. Besides skyscrapers, you will also find many bars and restaurants.
Dubai Marina is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the day. It might be even more fun to visit in the evening when it gets busier, livelier, and prettier with all the lights. However, for the evening, I also have another place you could visit (more on that later).
➡️ To see Marina from a different perspective, I recommend a Marina Cruise. There are several options, so look at which one is the perfect choice for you by clicking here.
➡️ I suggest spending a few hours here (and having lunch) and then adding one or two more stops for the day.
Stop 2: JBR Walk
You can, alternatively or additionally, add JBR – The Walk to your 2-day Dubai itinerary.
Since it is within walking distance (20-30 minutes) to Dubai Marina, you could also combine it with a trip to Dubai Marina. If you prefer some beach time rather than strolling in Marina, I suggest visiting JBR-The Walk only.
It is the perfect place to swim – there are many options to rent water sports equipment. You can find some street art, so also get away from the beach and walk around. Hop on the “Flying Cup”, which is a ride that takes you up 40 meters, to get a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk.
You can buy tickets just at the Flying Cup. It is also great to have good food – there are so many restaurants and cafes that you will be happy to have a wonderful lunch in a lovely place.
➡️ There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
Stop 3: Desert Safari
A desert safari tour incl. BBQ normally starts around 3 or 4 pm, so reserve half a day for a trip to the desert.
You can do the desert tours either in the morning or afternoon.
A morning desert safari is great as it often includes activities like sandboarding or dune bashing. It surely is a great experience if you do not have so much time to do shorter tours. The Morning Dune Drive takes about 4 hours instead of 7-8 hours.
BOOK YOUR DESERT SAFARI HERE
➡️ Find out more about a morning desert safari here.
➡️ If you have two full days in Dubai, I actually suggest the Sundowner (afternoon) tour. Ending the day in the desert is a great experience. Click here for a desert safari tour in the afternoon/evening. If you have a meal included and are vegetarian/vegan, you can request this in advance – I was so pleased to see the many vegetarian options.
➡️ Often, you will be picked up at your hotel and also be dropped off there as well.
➡️ If your tour starts around 3 pm, make sure to be back at the hotel in time. Plan in possible traffic on your way back from Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. It would be a pity if you missed out on the safari because of being late at the pick-up location.
Alternative: Miracle Garden
If you visit in the winter months, you could also add Dubai Miracle Garden to your 2-day itinerary. Miracle Garden is a very Instafamous flower park, located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions.You will see flowers – a lot of flowers. They are designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes. It is Dubai, so of course, it is the biggest flower park in the world.
➡️ The tickets are about 19€.
➡️ Seeing all pieces should take about two hours.
➡️ Miracle Garden is only open in the winter months (normally, it is open from November to May). Check out their website for more info.
Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 2
For lunch, I suggest having it at Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. If you book a desert safari with a BBQ, you have already found a perfect dinner spot.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 2-DAY DUBAI TRIP
Here you´ll find essential travel tips for your trip to Dubai.
Safety Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers
Dubai is a super safe city to travel to, and I think it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler. However, Deira – the area where you have the souks – is NOT the best place to spend the late evenings alone. I would not say, it was scary but it is uncomfortable as a – female – traveler. So, I avoid this neighborhood in the evening.
Here are some tips on the dress code for females – it helps you to avoid stares and show your respect to the local culture.
How to Get Around in 2 Days in Dubai
Dubai has good public transportation.
- However, some stations are spread out, which means that some walking may be required.
- The metro trains and trams are super clean, safe, reliable, and fast.
Using taxis/uber is an easy and safe way to get around.
- Make sure to use the official ones – they have a sign on the taxi. I normally just hail a taxi on the street or take one while waiting at taxi stops at tourist attractions.
- The black Lexus cabs are more expensive than the normal ones, which are super fine to use.
- There is a meter which has to be on when you get into the taxi. You normally do not have to worry about scams in Dubai. You pay what you see on the meter (and feel free to tip).
- Dubai also has Uber.
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 worldwide. I stayed at all of the ones I mention below.
You can also find budget hotels but 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.
I recommend staying in a central area, so you don’t waste too much time driving around. With a weekend in Dubai only, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic from your hotel to the attraction.
Dubai Marina is the 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. Grosvenor House in Dubai.
➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT DUBAI MARINA HERE
JBR Walk is a lovely area with many restaurants and shops. Most hotels have beach access. It is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out this 4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT JA OCEAN VIEW HOTEL DUBAI HERE
Extra tip: 3* A decent budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha. It is not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.
➡️ BOOK YOUR STAY AT IBIS AL BARSHA HERE
My full Dubai accommodation guide is here – all the best areas and all the best hotels for all budgets.
Best Time to Visit Dubai
- One of the most important travel tips I can give you for your 2-day Dubai is: to choose the time of your visit wisely.
- I do not recommend visiting during the summer (May – September). The average temperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August, and 34 °C (93°F) in September.
- Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
- Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat – Miracle Garden, e.g., is closed in the summer months.
- The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion.
- The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January.
- Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
- Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available).
- In 2023, Ramadan is from 23rd March to 23rd April.
More Things to Know About Dubai
Here are a few more posts for your Dubai trip.
➡️ Click here for money-saving tips in Dubai
➡️ Find out what to pack for your Dubai Trip
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FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE 2-DAY DUBAI ITINERARY
I’m thrilled to share with you an itinerary that’ll make the most out of your 2-day stay in Dubai. Although some may say that it’s lacking hidden treasures, I believe it’s a terrific way to experience this marvelous city for the first time.
Don’t worry about missing out on anything either, as this top-notch plan covers all the essential highlights. However, if you do have more time, there’s plenty more to discover! I hope this itinerary inspires you to explore the best of Dubai in 2 days. Have an awesome trip!
If you have decided to extend your stay and stay longer than 2 days in Dubai – a good idea, by the way – check out my other itineraries.
➡️ Itinerary for 3 or 4 days in Dubai
➡️ Itinerary for 5 days in Dubai
➡️ Itinerary for 7 days + in Dubai