How to Have an Epic 5 Days in Dubai Itinerary

HERE IS AN AMAZING ITINERARY FOR 5 DAYS IN DUBAI

Are you planning your 5 days in Dubai itinerary and wondering about the best things to do? Planning a trip to this fun city can seem overwhelming at first but here you a post that helps you plan your trip to Dubai.

From deserts to beaches, from skyscrapers to gardens, from adventurous activities to a relaxing day at the pool with a view. You could spend weeks there and do all the top things, but with just 5 days in Dubai, you need to prioritize what to see. And here you will find a useful 5-day Dubai itinerary to help you plan your trip.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

In this post you will find out:

  • How to get to Dubai
  • How to get around Dubai in 5 days
  • Where to stay for 5 days in Dubai
  • Best time to visit Dubai
  • More travel tips for your 5-day trip
  • 5 – day Dubai itinerary: 
  • Day 1 in Dubai:  Wild Wadi Waterpark or Jumeirah Beach/Kite Beach and Madinat Jumeirah
  • Day 2 in Dubai: Dubai Frame, Zabeel Park, Jumeirah Palm, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain
  • Day 3 in Dubai: Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai Deira, La Mer Dubai, Desert Safari
  • Day 4 in Dubai: Day trips: Abu Dhabi, Miracle Garden, and Global Village or Theme Parks
  • Day 5 in Dubai: JBR – The Walk and Dubai Marina

Travel Tips for 5 Days In Dubai

Before talking about your perfect 5 days in Dubai, here is some info for your trip, so you have a great experience.

How to Get to Dubai

Dubai has two airports. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes drive (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. However, Dubai is always busy and there is a lot of traffic, thus it might take longer.

Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates.

If you fly with Etihad Airways, you will most likely arrive in Abu Dhabi. It takes about an hour´s drive to get to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare).

How to Get Around Dubai in 5 Days

RENT A CAR

  • If you are in Dubai for five days, you could actually rent a car. But you should know that driving there, from my perspective, is a bit crazy.
  • There is traffic almost all the time (the streets are busy even at night), and the people drive fast, like to honk their horns, and are a bit impatient. You should have nerves of steel if you decide to drive, particularly around Downtown Dubai.
  • I do not recommend renting a car in Dubai. The only exception would be for day trips.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • Public transportation in Dubai is not perfect. You can avoid the crazy traffic by taking the metro, which is great, but a) the metro stations do not have enough stops, so each stop is rather far from the last, b) the buses are not always well-connected for us travelers, so it is not easy to get from one popular station to another, and c) the metros can be stuffed with people.
  • I mostly take the metro for long distances (especially downtown, where there is a lot of traffic, and getting around by cab can mean being stuck in it forever) and then jump into a bus (rarely) or a taxi for the shorter rides if there is no direct connection.
  • If you stay in Dubai for a few days, I recommend getting an NOL card for public transportation. There is a one-time fee for it, but you can then recharge it; public transpiration fees are cheaper this way than if you buy single tickets each time. A ticket costs a bit more than 1€ with the NOL card (about 1.60€ without). 

SIGHTSEEING BUSES 

  • Hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get from one popular tourist attraction to another – at least for some places (the ones I tested).
  • There are two main sightseeing companies. They offer similar services, but one has a 5-day ticket, and the other offers 7-day tickets. The pass also includes a few cool attractions, so it saves money in addition to getting you from Point A to Point B. 

Where to Stay in Dubai for 5 Days

Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap, but the standards are quite high. I suggest staying close to Dubai Downtown or Marina. If you are a beach person, pick a hotel close to JBR – Walk. However, these areas are also some of the most expensive ones. 

If you are looking for my personal recommendations for all budgets and areas, click here.

  • The Palm: only luxury hotels, best beaches in Dubai, very quiet and a bit remote if you stay at the end of the Palm. Check out this 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. My favorite hotel in Marina. 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. Check out 4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
  • 3* A nice budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha (not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.

BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBAI

Choose wisely when you visit Dubai.

  • I recommend visiting during the winter months – from late October to early April. October was too hot for me personally already, but it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
  • Summer is from May to September and it gets really hot. However, accommodation prices drop and crowds are gone. Check out my Dubai in the summer months for more info on the weather. 
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. Many activities cannot be done (also, alcohol is less available), because it is a holy period for Muslims.

Visit Dubai During Corona in 2021

Though I regularly visit Dubai, I have not visited Dubai in 2020 or 2021. However, here is some information if you plan to visit Dubai in 2021. 

YES, you can visit Dubai in 2021 and life is quite “normal” in Dubai. However, this is what you need to know before booking flights/planning a trip. The situation can change quickly and please double-check regularly to be up-to-date.

  • All people arriving in Dubai must hold a negative PCR test, not older than 48-72 hours. This certificate must be in English or Arabic (with the date on it).
  • You might have to do another PCR test at Dubai airport.
  • You should have medical travel insurance with international coverage that covers COVID-19  before arriving to Dubai.
  • For more information click here.

More Travel Tips for Your 5-Day Dubai Trip

  • The main religion is Islam, so Friday is the official day of rest. However, most shops, malls, and restaurants are open, and actually public places are even more crowded than regularly (avoid malls on Fridays).
  • Dress code: The dress code is quite liberal for an Islamic country, but there is a dress code you should follow. Find out more about the dress code here.
  • Intimacy between couples is not welcome in public. Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai. 
  • Alcohol is served and sold but drunk people might quickly get in trouble.
  • Check out my guide with more things NOT to do in Dubai.

PLAN A 5-DAY DUBAI TRIP

Okay, let´s talk about places to visit in Dubai in 5 days.

Day 1 of 5 Days in Dubai

Of course, it depends on what time you arrive in Dubai, but I recommend starting your Dubai trip slowly. If you have 5 days in Dubai, don’t jump into the busiest place right away.

Wild Wadi Waterpark or Jumeirah Beach/Kite Beach

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Wild Wadi Waterpark belongs to the Jumeirah Group and has some cool slides and fun water activities. As a guest of any Jumeirah hotel, you will have free access. 

Wild Wali park with kids in 5 days in Dubai
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Kids, in particular, will love them. You will have great views of the Burj al-Arab from the waterpark, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai. 

  • You could spend all day here, or less. I assume staying 4-5 hours is a minimum.
  • You can buy tickets online (and skip the lines) but the tickets are not cheap. 
  • If you are looking for a cheaper option, go to Jumeirah Beach and enjoy some time at the beach.

Jumeirah Beach / Kite Beach 

Both, Kite Beach and some of Jumeirah Beach are free public beaches in Dubai.

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Jumeirah Beach with Arzo Travels

Jumeirah Beach is lovely, with great views of the world´s most famous hotel – Burj al Arab. It is a public beach in Dubai and it is not overly crowded. Beaches in Dubai are spotlessly clean, safe, and fun. Normally, you can leave your stuff at the beach when you hop into the water. I felt safe enough to do so, but still, keep an eye on your things.

  • Both hop-on and hop-off sightseeing companies stop here, but there are also regular bus stops (there is no metro stop nearby).
  • There is no entrance fee for these beaches
  • I recommend the beaches as a great alternative to Wild Wadi Waterpark.
  • A couple of hours should be enough before visiting a place close by.

Wondering what else to do in Dubai in 5 days? Just head to pretty Madinat Jumeirah afterward.

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque and is a must-see to include on your 5-day Dubai itinerary. You should plan for a few hours (if you dine here) to check out the area. I recommend getting here while there is still daylight outside to see it during the day and night. 

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If you are a hotel guest at one of the Jumeirah hotels, you can take an abra (water taxi) for free. If you are not a hotel guest, you can buy a ticket for the abra and relax while seeing the area from the water.

It has its own souk and many restaurants and cafes come with a view of Burj al Arab. They are quite pricey though, but I do believe it is worth it, as the view is not something that you can get just anywhere. 

It is not far from the public part of Jumeirah Beach (and just a stone’s throw from Wild Wadi), and though the area is not huge, it is the perfect place to end your first day here.

  • There is no entry fee for the souk, and it is a great free thing to do in Dubai.
  • I think, 2-4 hours for the area is enough + dinner time

Day 2 of 5 Days in Dubai

Here is what you can do on day 2 in Dubai.

Dubai Frame

One of the newer attractions in Dubai, located at Zabeel Park, is the huge, golden Dubai Frame near Downtown Dubai (near = meaning 10 kilometers). 

Views from Dubai Frame - best photo locations
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You will have great views of Burj Khalifa (where you will be heading later that day), and it gives a good overview of the city. 

Walking on the glass floor is a bit weird and can be scary (after all, it is 100 meters above the ground), but it is so different from the rest of our 5-day Dubai itinerary. Though it probably isn’t the best place for people who are scared of heights, it is fun and quite lovely.

  • Tickets are around 12€ and you can buy them at the ticket center. 
  • At 9 or 10 am, when it opens, it is not crowded, so you can enjoy the views and have the glass pathways almost to yourself. 
  • It will probably take 1-2 hours in total to see the Golden Frame and walk through it.

Zabeel Park

If you don’t believe that Dubai has meadows and greenery, then you have not been to Zabeel Park. The Dubai Frame is located within Zabeel Park. This lovely little park is a perfect place to recharge your batteries (literally, because you can charge your mobile with the chargers you will find there for free) and prepare yourself for the craziest part of the day.

  • Entry is about 1€, and it is just next to Dubai Frame so that you can do both attractions in the morning.
  • An hour or two should be enough to spend in Zabeel Park.

Jumeirah Palm

Alternatively, you can spend the morning on Jumeirah Palm.

Arzo Travels Dubai Palm from above
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  • If you are interested in visiting an aquarium, you could visit the Lost Chambers at the Atlantis Hotel.
  • You could also do a boat tour or just stroll the area.
  • There are not many attractions on the island but if you walk along the promenade, you have great views of Dubai and also get to see some of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai.
  • I think a few hours on the Palm is definitely enough.

Whether you decide on the Palm or Zabeel Park and the Frame, I suggest getting to Dubai Downtown after lunch at the latest. Here you will find some of the main attractions in Dubai.

Dubai Mall

Even if you aren’t into shopping, you should visit Dubai Mall at least once. Dubai Mall is located directly next to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, and it is out of this world. 

Dubai Mall at night
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I have never bought a lot at Dubai Mall, but I like strolling it at least once or twice every time I am in Dubai. Fashion Avenue within Dubai Mall is extremely picturesque, and there are plenty of places to eat cheaply in the food court. Check out my Dubai Mall guide for more info.

  • TIP: Do not visit Dubai Mall on a Friday as it is the Muslim world’s Sunday. However, shops are open, but it is more crowded than usual because many people have a day off. Busy Dubai Mall gets even busier on Fridays.

Burj Khalifa

Afterward, it is time to head to Burj Khalifa, next to the Dubai Mall. If you are not scared of heights, there is an option to get to the “top of Burj Khalifa.”

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Get your tickets in advance. If you want to buy your tickets at the ticket counter, you will be waiting for an eternity (which isn’t so much fun). Even with an online ticket, you have to stand in line for a bit but not that much.

If you actually visit the Top of Burj Khalifa but want to see Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa from outside during daylight, you should probably check out the area before you get on the top. 

I would plan in between 3-5 hours for visiting Burj Khalifa. 

  • It takes some time to find the entrance (located within Dubai Mall) and lines can be long.

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountain is located just in front of the Dubai Mall and is a perfect place to end the evening.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
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@shutterstock

The water show takes place several times a day, and at night, it is an absolutely amazing place to visit. With the illuminated Burj Khalifa, it is just beyond beautiful. 

If you are on a budget, you can dine in the mall, which has cheaper dining options. Or, if you don’t have to watch your budget closely, you can enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants with a terrace and a view of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain.

  • It takes place daily from 6 PM to 11 PM – every 30 minutes
  • It only lasts for a few minutes.
  • The dancing water show is free and open-air.
  • Want to have an extra great view of the Dubai Fountain? Then click here to check out prices for an abra ride.

Dubai Downtown is also a nice place to stroll around at night, so after you are “done” with Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa, don’t go straight back to your hotel.

Instead, plan in a few minutes or an hour to discover the area after sunset because it is one of my favorite places in Dubai by night. It is quite beautiful and interesting to walk around – and absolutely safe, even as a solo female traveler in Dubai.

Day 3 of 5 Days in Dubai

For day 3, I recommend waking up early because this will be a busy day because some incredible Dubai highlights are waiting for you.

Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai Deira

The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit and, in my opinion, must-see spots. It is a perfect place to see another side of Dubai. 

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai
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Souvenirs, rugs, and Arabian clothes (and gold and spices) are much cheaper than in any other part of Dubai, which makes it also a perfect place to shop if you’re on a budget.

The amount of gold you will see here is astonishing. But so are the spices. It surely takes half a day to discover the area.

Extra tip: If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting the Dubai Museum. It is an interesting – even (or especially) for kids – museum in the area that engagingly illustrates Dubai’s history. The entrance fee is just around 1€.

  • The souks are free to visit.
  • Food, drinks, souvenirs are normally cheaper than in Dubai Downtown. So, this is the place to shop.
  • To get from the Gold and Spice Souk to the other side of Dubai, jump on one of the abras that only cost about 0.25€. 
  • From there, you can take a bus/taxi to the next attraction.

La Mer Dubai

La Mer is located in the Jumeirah area, but further away from Burj al-Arab than Kite or Jumeirah Beach. It is a fun beach section with many retail stores, stylish restaurants and cafes, the coolest bathhouses, and friendly and fun street art. 

La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai
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Burj Khalifa is omnipresent, and from La Mer, you will have a lovely view – a beach with a view of the tallest building in the world! There are free – and very stylish – showers, clean toilets, and you can either bring your own towels or book some sunbeds and umbrellas.

There are a lot of restaurants, so you will definitely find something to your tastes. To see some amazing street art, walk along the rail stores and bring your camera.

There will be many locals and expats here, as it is not a hot spot for tourists yet. Watching the sunset from here is a beautiful way to end your day (and as always, with Burj Khalifa in the background), and thus, it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

How to get here: I admit, I am not the biggest fan of public transportation in Dubai. The bus connection is not great, though there is a bus stop close by, so taking a taxi will probably be the best way to get here.

  • It is a free beach to visit. Quite some facilities are free, too. 
  • You could spend all day here, especially because it gets even better in the evening! So, you could end your day at La Mer with a nice dinner, or you can stay here for 2-3 hours and then consider this alternative – for your afternoon and evening – below.

Desert Safari

A desert safari is so much fun and perfect for people of (almost) all ages. So, make sure to add a desert safari in Dubai to your itinerary. 

Arzo Travels Abu Dhabi bestthings to do in Abu Dhabi Desert Safari
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There are different tours available, but I recommend the 4×4 dune bashing adventure, including a BBQ in the desert. You dine under the stars, often with Arabian music in an Arabic-style “village.” Book a tour. You will not regret spending a few hours in the desert as it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai in 5 days.

These evening tours often start around 3 pm (you will get picked up from the hotel and be dropped off there again around 10 or 11 pm).

There are some morning tours available, too. Find out about the best tours here:

Day 4 of 5 Days in Dubai 

Different Ideas for Day 4

For the fourth day in Dubai, I have several ideas, and you – of course – pick the one you like the most.

Day Trip to Abu Dhabi

For the fourth day in Dubai, I have several different suggestions, and you can see what is best for you.

A day trip to Abu Dhabi is a great idea. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and getting there takes about 60-120 minutes from Dubai. Though I recommend visiting Abu Dhabi for longer, one day is actually good enough to get an overview and see the main sights. 

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You can rent a car and drive yourself – driving TO Abu Dhabi is quite easy most of the time. Though I have never driven myself, the streets and roads are not that busy, mostly just a straight shot.

You have much more flexibility if you drive yourself, but driving in Abu Dhabi is a bit more stressful, and parking at popular sights is not always easy. 

If you go there for one day, I recommend booking a tour instead. Tours are not that expensive, and you can enjoy the window views more.

Of course, you are stuck with the tour itinerary and don’t have much freedom. However, it is great for those who like to have a fixed itinerary and learn about the sights and places from a tour guide.

Places to see in Abu Dhabi in a day:

Day Trip Tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Day Tour: Miracle Garden and Global Village

Alternatively, stay in Dubai and visit some more places there.

Miracle Garden is a flower park located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions. And it is only open in the winter months!

You will see flowers – a lot of flowers, designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes and designs. It is the biggest flower park around, and strolling the area should take about two hours. 

Better place to visit in UAE
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Afterward, you could head to Global Village. It is close to the above-mentioned garden, and for about 5€, you have entry to a theme park with roller coasters and displays from many different countries in the world. Hence the name. 

Though the roller coasters cost extra, it is a fun place to visit for a day – especially in combination with Miracle Garden as they are close to each other. 

  • Miracle Garden is only open in the winter months (normally from the beginning of November until May)
  • Entry is about 12€
  • I suggest planning 2-5 hours for Miracle Garden

Theme Parks

Dubai is also home to several theme parks that probably would take a whole day. I have not visited any of them, but if you prefer a theme park over the above-mentioned ideas, you could check them out.

Day 5 in Dubai

Okay, JBR – The Walk and Dubai Marina are both fun places to visit in the day or night, so you can decide which one you prefer to visit when. Both should be on your list for the last day. Their proximity to each other makes them super convenient to visit in one day.

JBR – The Walk

This area is trendy during the day (and also in the evenings). For me, it wasn’t love at first sight, but when I visited again, I finally got what the fuss was about. 

JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai--9
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You have free beach access here. You have street art. You have restaurants and cafes. You have stores. You have water sport activities and playgrounds. You have attractions like the Flying Cup (which offers beautiful views of the area from above). 
JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai--7
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JBR is definitely fun and a perfect place for your last day in Dubai.

Dubai Marina

Okay, if I had the money (I am working on that, but it might take a while), I would buy an apartment in Dubai Marina.

Personally, my favorite city in the world is New York. I was blown away by the skyline. You see, I have a thing for skyscrapers, so it’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite neighborhoods. 

Dubai Marina at nigt from Pier 7
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The density of skyscrapers is high here, and so are the prices for accommodations and dining. But it is still worth a visit.

Seeing the yacht club and strolling the area (beautifully illuminated by night) is now “typical“ Dubai to me, and if you have more than five days in Dubai, this is the must-see place.

SUMMARY: WHAT TO DO IN DUBAI IN 5 DAYS

If you spend 5 days in Dubai, you get the chance to see a lot – of course not all, but I guess you get a good idea of the city. I hope this itinerary is helpful and you have the answers to your questions about how to spend your time in the city.

From a neutral perspective (and if I hadn’t visited Dubai before), I would have loved this itinerary. I truly believe it is a fun, busy, but not exhausting itinerary. Enjoy your time!

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Safe Travels, Arzo
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