BEST JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Jordan road trip, cover

HOW TO PLAN A PERFECT JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Here is why a Jordan road trip is a must!

Jordan is not only beautiful it is also one of the best places for a fun and easy road trip.

Even as a solo female traveler in Jordan I had a blast and congratulated myself for making the decision to discover Jordan by car.

This country…the people, the sights, the nature, the food – it was an absolute amazing experience and luckily, Jordan is also a very safe destination to visit with and conditions are great for road tripping.

I came to Jordan right after spending time in Lebanon and I admit, I was worried that Jordanians would drive like Lebanese people – luckily, they do not. I did not drive myself in Lebanon and I could nit have driven in Jordan if this had been the case. Actually, this Jordan road trip was so relaxed and fun, so I have to recommend it to anyone.

Joran road trip

DRIVING TIPS FOR YOUR JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Here is some information about driving in Jordan for your Jordan road trip. While I think that driving in Jordan was quite easy and straightforward (and the streets, overall, were in very good condition), you should probably be aware of these things before starting your road trip.

Driving tips for Jordan

Rules

  • Drive on the right side.
  • You have to wear a seat belt.
  • Driving age: 18; if you want to rent a car: 25 years old.
  • Bring a driver‘s license when renting a car and a credit card (a deposit is charged most times, but you will get refunded if everything is okay).
  • You are not allowed to throw things out of a car – and compared to many other countries in the Middle East, it actually is quite clean.
  • GPS – I had Google Maps and Here We Go. However, sometimes they did not get me where I wanted to go. Since there are some new streets, both apps had problems guiding me. Overall, they worked well, but not perfectly. Make sure to download an offline map before your trip.
  • Signs are in Arabic and English, so you should be fine understanding directions.
  • For the Jordan road trip, you will most likely need to rent a car and not driving with your own one. When you rent a car, you will get a paper – and if the police give you a fine, it has to be written on that paper, which you have to hand in to the rental company when you drop off the car.
  • There are a lot of police stops throughout the country – so, you could be pulled over at any time, but normally it is fine and you just have to present your papers.
  • P.S. I was pulled over and, apparently, one paper was missing. The rental company did not give it to me. The police charged a fine – I did not have to pay on spot  – and wrote a note on the paper. When I handed that over to the rental company, they said that it would not be a problem and they would pay for it… Apparently, they do not always hand over that particular certificate and so they accept the consequences.
  • Just double-check all the papers when you pick up the car, so you avoid any – unnecessary – problems.
  • Speed limits: There are many speed signs that will tell you the exact speed limit, but in general: 60 km in cities, 80 km in rural areas, and 120 km on highways.
  • There are speed humps. A lot of them. I mean really a lot of them. They are everywhere. So, always watch out for them because they sometimes even appear out of nowhere – and even if you stick to the speed limit, you very quickly have to sharply reduce your speed if you don’t want your car to be damaged.While speeding in Jordan is less of a problem than in other countries, they sometimes even cause some danger. Anyhow, don’t be surprised by allllll the speed humps.
  • Sometimes, animals are on the street. And sometimes humans. In the town center near Petra, people sat on the curb (with their legs and feet in the street)… smoking shisha. Also, some people in groups don’t like to walk behind each other, but would rather walk next to each other – even if that means that people walk in the street. So, always watch out.
  • Compared to other countries in the Middle East, driving in Jordan was easy – people mostly stick to their side of the lane. However, never believe that drivers will follow all the rules and drive carefully.
  • Don‘t drink and drive. Unfortunately, this isn’t a global rule (some countries do allow drivers to have a few drinks), but in Jordan, you can’t drive if you have had a drink.
  • I saw plenty of petrol/gas stations – however, this does not mean you will find one every 50km. So, whenever you have a longer distance to drive, make sure you refuel your petrol/gas. There is always service and you can wait in the car while it gets refuelled – you have to pay in cash. 
  • Petrol/gas prices are quite affordable – and unlike in Germany, where prices change many times over the course of the day, the prices are more stable here and cost about 1€ for 1 liter.
  • One of the reasons I loved Jordan was because of the friendly locals.When I drove through villages and towns, many kids waved at me and were smiling – however, some teenage boys did throw stones at me and my car. My tip: ignore and continue driving.
  • If you drive at night, double-check your lights as there aren’t many street lights.
  • The King’s Highway: In ancient times, the King’s Highway was a trade route that linked Africa with Mesopotamia. It ran from Egypt to Aqaba, then to Damascus and the Euphrates River. Today, you can still travel along this ancient 280-kilometer-long roadway, passing through tiny villages and mountain towns. Popular attractions include St. George’s Church, the ruins of Mukawir, the site of Umm ar-Rasas, the Crusader castle of Kerak, and Shobak Castle, among many others. This road will also take you from Amman and pass through other popular destinations in Jordan, like Wadi Mujib, Dana National Park, and Petra.
  • Jordan Pass: Most nationalities have to pay for a visa: The Jordan Pass is a pass, that you can buy (online or when you arrive in Jordan) and which includes the visa and also entry to most attractions in the country. Financially, it makes sense to buy the Jordan Pass if you stay in Jordan for a few days and visit places like Petra or Jerash.
  • Jordan is a very safe country and as a solo female traveler in Jordan I never had to worry about my security – just exercise common sense whether you travel alone or not.

10-Day Jordan road trip

How to Rent a Car in Jordan

Renting a car in Jordan is quite straight forward. I used RentalCars to find a car – I picked the smaller car available and it was fine. I realised, later in the mountains, that it was challenging for the car to drive up the mountains but it did a good job after all. BUT, with what I know now, I suggest not taking the smaller car but probably a medium-sized car.

Unless you have a lot of luggage or you are a group of 5 people you will not need a big car. Street conditions are good – and a medium-sized car should be fine. A 4wheel car is not needed – for a trip to the desert, I highly suggest, to book a tour.

When renting a car, make sure all damages are well recorded when you pick up the car so that you don’t get blamed for damages you did not cause.

TIP: Get full insurance. I always do that – it is a bit more expensive, but it is less stressful in case anything happens to your car (whether it is your fault or not) and make sure all papers are complete when picking up the car.

With the above driving tips, you should be fine to drive in Jordan. 

Where to Stay in Jordan When Road Tripping

While I have hotel recommendations under each stop, you can also check out my Jordan accommodation guide to find the best areas and hotels in Jordan.

Find more general travel tips for Jordan here.

JORDAN ROAD TRIP ITINERARY

So, for this Jordan road trip itinerary, you will need a minimum of 5 days – however, 7 or 10 days in Jordan would be much better as you could actually see all places mentioned here. If you plan a two-week Jordan road trip, you will actually have enough time to also rest and relax and spend time at the beach (or in the desert). So, if you can visit Jordan for 2 weeks, then go for it.

But you can even discover Jordan on a 7 or 10-day road trip. And with a 5-day road trip you have to skip two or three places mentioned here. Anyway, here we go, here are places not to miss when road tripping Jordan.

Jordan Road Trip

Stop 1: Amman

Personally, I really enjoyed my time in Amman and I do think, it is one of the best things to do in Jordan – especially for every Jordan road trip. Amman is the capital of Jordan and a very busy and exciting place to visit. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, and also well populated as half of the people in Jordan live here.

View from Citadel in Amman

While the city is very old, there is a mix of both ancient and modern architecture.

Amman is teeming with shops, restaurants, and an active nightlife, and has a hectic feel as everything always feels like it’s in motion. There are a number of attractions offered within the city, such as the Roman Ampitheater, downtown Amman and the souks, and the views from the Citadel. 

Entry to most attractions are free with your Jordan Pass.

Tip: I recommend spending one or two days in Amman – and discover the city WITHOUT a car. Unless you enjoy driving in busy places. Then Amman is a good place to drive. But for all others: Make Amman your starting point of the road trip and pick up the car after your time in Amman (or make it the end point of the trip).

You can get around on foot or take a bus or an Uber if needed in Amman.

WHERE TO STAY IN AMMAN

I stayed in Nomads Hostel Hotel (and another place that isn’t worth mentioning). It was very conveniently located near Rainbow Street and made it easy for me to connect with other female travelers. The hostel was fun, modern, and clean, with a great location. Check it out here because it surely is a perfect budget accommodation.

For a midrange hotel option, I suggest Albasem Hotel, because it is well-rated and centrally located. Check out rates and availibilities here.

For a luxury hotel, try The House Boutique Suites, which is also near Rainbow Street (which is probably one of the best places to stay) and offers lots of amenities.  Find out more about the hotel here.

Stop 2: Jerash

Dating back almost 6,500 years, Jerash is located just north of the capital, Amman, and in the northwest part of Jordan. I think, there is no way to skip Jerash when you do this Jordan road trip.

Jerash Theater in Jordan

It is one of the best preserved cities from under the rule of the Roman Empire and is really amazing. It was rediscovered about 70 years ago and restored. You can explore a lot of attractions in Jerash, including the 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch (aka Triumphal Arch), the South Gate, the forum, the hippodrome, the Corinthian columns of the Temple of Artemis, and the Temple of Zeus, among others.

The Jerash Archaeological Museum also exhibits their finds for viewing.

Tip: I recommend renting a car now, and getting there after your time in Amman and plan in half a day (max. one day if you are really into history) and then head to the Dead Sea. Entry is free with your Jordan Pass.

You can leave early in the morning and – after a few hours or a full day – head to the Dead Sea which is a 1,5 – 2 hours drive.

Stop 3: Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is located along the western border of Jordan and is the lowest point on the planet – and it surely is a must-see for any Jordan road trip.

Dead Sea, Mövenpick pool with a view

It is more than 400 meters below sea level. It is so salty that you cannot swim in it because you only float. But it is a destination for many because the mud from the Dead Sea can be used to soften skin – even Cleopatra was known to do it. So, the minerals in the mud make it a natural spa destination and the beaches are also popular.

Most are owned by the resorts in the area, but there is a public beach to enjoy as well.

Tip: Many people visit the Dead Sea on their way back to Amman – because this is the place to chill and relax. I did not wait until the end – I was ready for a day in a luxury accommodation and wanted to get pampered.

If you plan a 5-day road trip, I would probably just visit for a few hours but if you road tip Jordan in 7 days, stay a night here and chill before you get to experience some adventure. I would continue my journey around 10 am and visit a real highlight in Jordan which is quite close.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DEAD SEA

I stayed at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa. My room was nice, but a little outdated, especially in the bathroom, but Stthe bed was comfortable (I had an amazing sleep) and staff is very friendly. The hotel was done in the Arabic style, and breakfast and dinner were included. Butt you can also book it without any dinner/breakfast/lunch. I would say it was definitely worth the money and my first choice for staying at the Dead Sea. Check out rates here.

The Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa is also a good place to stay, situated among beautiful mountain landscapes and offering relaxing spa amenities. It is a bit more expensive than Mövenpick Hotel – find out more about this luxury hotel here.

For a budget option, try the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, which is a well-rated 4-star hotel with great amenities and private beach access. Find the rates here.

Stop 4: Wadi Mujib

Wadi Mujib is a river canyon, where the Mujib River empties out into the Dead Sea, making the area the lowest nature reserve in the world at 420 meters below sea level.

Wadi Mujib in Jordan is one of the fun places to go in Jordan

The Wadi Mujib Gorge is a stunning place, and a fun and exciting destination while in Jordan. You can hike the area, climbing stairs under waterfalls, crossing through the water, and floating in between the gorge. The water is filled with the little fish often used for “pedicures.”

This is a very adventurous place to visit and was one of the highlights during my Jordan road trip.

Tip: It is closed in the winter months (exact times depend on the actual weather conditions but it might close mid-October for a few months). You can get there from your way from the Dead Sea to Dana and it will take a few hours (or up to a day, depending which tour you want to do).

There is an entrance fee (not covered by the Jordan Pass) that is about 25€ – you can only pay in cash – and then you can rent a guide. I did hire a personal guide for another 25€ and it was absolutely amazing. I did the shortest – yet not easiest – hike through the gorge and it was just better than expected.

I am an active person though not very sporty and it was not always easy but definitely doable with the help of a guide (and if you are active and fit you can do it yourself!). Bring suitable shoes with you! I would try to leave Wadi Mujib at around 3 pm so you can experience the sunset at this gorgeous place that I am talking about now.

Stop 5: Dana

Located between Petra and the Dead Sea, Dana is a lesser-known stop and many dont add it to a Jordan road trip, but features stunning sights.

Dana Nature Reserve at sunset

The Dana Nature Reserve encompasses about 300km around Dana Village and Wadi Dana.

It is inhabited by the Al Atata Tribe, who have been living there for 6,000 years. Popular among hikers, Dana offers many hiking trails. Wadi Dana, a canyon, is also visited for its natural beauty and views. The town of Dana is about 500 years old and you can see many aspects from the 19th century well-preserved and still present today. 

Tip: This place is a bit more off-the-beaten path – but if you are into hiking or hidden gems, you should not miss out. I am not a hiking fan but did a short hike but most of all, I loved the sunset in Dana. Accommodation here is mostly very basic yet it is a great place for any road trip itinerary.

WHERE TO STAY IN DANA

I stayed at Al Nawatef Bedouin Camp – it is a very basic camp. You have shared toilets and mattresses were not great. However, I still recommend it because the views are great (and sunset from here is top!), and the food was great.  They also offer guided hiking tours (from a few hours to a 2-day hiking trip).

So, I definitely recommend staying here (plus it is very budget-friendly). Check out their rates here.

If you are looking for a bit more comfort you will probably find it at Mount Dana Hotel. You can check out their rates and amenities.

Stop 6: Petra

Petra is perhaps the most visited place in Jordan and one of the best stops for your Jordan road trip. Located in the southwestern part of the country, it was the prosperous capital of the Nabatean kingdom around 1 BC.

Petra, Treasury_

It flourished under Roman rule, but was then destroyed by an earthquake in 4 AD.

Only the Bedouins remained after that, until a Swiss explorer discovered it in the 19th century. Some attractions in Petra are the Siq, the Theater, the Treasury (Al Khazna), the Monastery (Ad Deir), the Royal Tombs, and the Colonnade Street. You can also visit a nearby Nabatean site that was built around the same time as Petra.

Tip: Petra is huge…I am serious. You can’t see it in a few hours. You will be able to the Siq and the Treasury but you won’t be able to see the main attractions. You would need more than a day for all that. I booked a 3-day pass with my Jordan Pass, but I only visited on two days because I somehow felt it gets repetitive (apps, yes, I said it) and some places looked similar.

There is a lot of walking and some hiking included – wear comfy shoes and never, never ride a donkey.

There are terribly treated (what I saw) and if you need a ride, you can take an electric mini bus for some parts. Even though they don’t take you up all the way to mountain peaks, I guess, it is not an option to ride a donkey, so bring enough drinks and snacks (though there are stalls where you can buy all that) and prepare for some nice walks.

Petra By Night was a little disappointment – too many people, too loud and too short. It wasn’t worth the money in my opinion (and it is not covered with the Jordan Pass).

WHERE TO STAY IN PETRA

The Mövenpick Resort is a very nice luxury hotel located just next to Petra (so perfectly located). But it is very popular and fills up fast, so if you want to stay there, then I suggest you book early. Check out rates here.

Another beautiful place to stay near Petra is the Hyat Zaman – while it is rated as a 3-star hotel, it actually is a beautiful luxury hotel about 15 minutes drive from Petra. It was my favorite place to stay in Jordan and definitely recommend staying there. It is a great choice if you don’t have to watch your budget closely. Check out the hotel here.

For a cheaper option, you can stay in Wadi Musa at the Cleopatra Hotel, which is only 2 km away from Petra. It is a simple place to stay but was fine for the 2 nights I stayed there as it is close to min attractions. Read more about the hotel here.

Stop 7: Wadi Rum

There is absolutely no way to skip Wadi Rum on your Jordan road trip. Wadi Rum, also known as Valley of the Moon, was named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and natural significance.

Wadi Rum on Jordan itinerary

Inhabited by the Nabataeans in prehistoric times, this area has a unique landscape and stunning views. It is also the largest wadi in Jordan. It is famous for its red-pink desert sands, natural arches, mountains, and prehistoric rock engravings.

Wadi Rum also became well-known as a filming location for movies, such as Lawrence of Arabia. Other attractions include the Burdah Rock Bridge, Al Hasany Dunes, and the Khazali Siq.

Tip: I suggest, staying at least one night in Wadi Rum. Most other visitors only come for a day (for few hours) but they miss out on a magical night. There are several camps (unfortunately, the one I stayed is closed atm) and it was amazing. Basically all camps offer tours for the day – and do have dinner/breakfast and lunch if you stay with them overnight and book a tour.

You should not drive with your own car in the desert – the desert is huge and you would need a 4 wheel drive and should have at least some experience driving in sand. So, you can leave your car at the visitor center and will then be picked up by the company you booked the tour / accommodation with. Sounds complicated but is quite easy if you book in advance.

WHERE TO STAY IN WADI RUM

I stayed in a very good camp but it seems the owner has some troubles with the police and it was closed?! I am not sure but you cannot book it anymore and the last review looked like this. Anyhow, you should not worry.

Make sure that you ask about the tours once you have your accommodation booked. This camp looks pretty similar to the camp I stayed at and they also offer tours, so once you have your night booked then email them and ask about tours.

Check out this luxury camp that offers beautiful rooms with great views.

Stop 8: Aqaba

Located in the southern part of Jordan, Aqaba is the only coastal city in the country. This port city is situated off the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea.

It is a popular destination for those who enjoy diving, wind surfing, snorkeling, and other water sports. It also has a rich history, dating back to 4,000 BC when it was first inhabited. Some attractions to see here are the Yamanieh coral reef and the Aqaba Fort. There are many beach resorts here as well, but this city generally attracts lovers of water sports.

Since I, personally, had not added Aqaba to my Jordan road trip, I actually can’t say much as I am not into diving and am also not a beach person. However, it is very popular with the people who like to dive. Aqaba is probably one of the best places to chill and rest – so, if you road trip Jordan for more than 7 days, then you will have time to do so here.

WHERE TO STAY IN AQABA

For accommodations, you can stay at Al Manara Hotel in Aqaba, which is a luxury resort that is highly rated for its location, service, and amenities.

A more mid-range hotel would be the Lacosta Hotel, which is close to the beach and other attractions, and often includes breakfast.

A budget option would be the Amir Palace Hotel, which is a charming boutique hotel in the city center.

Tip: This could be your last stop – and from here you could head back to Amman or continue your journey (many visit Israel afterwards).

Stop 9: Amman

Aqaba – or Wadi Rum – is quite far from Amman. If you flight is from Amman it is time to head back north. It takes time so make sure to leave early – or better, book your last night in Amman so you don’t have to stress.

As great as driving in Jordan is, it always can happen that something happens with your car or streets are closed so plan in enough time for the drive back.

PLACES TO STAY IN AMMAN

Though I mentioned i above, here are three places that are probably the great fits for all budgets.

Nomads Hostel Hotel: Check it out here because it surely is a perfect budget accommodation.

Albasem Hotel, is well-rated and centrally located. Check out rates and availibilities here.

The House Boutique Suites,  is also near Rainbow Street (which is probably one of the best places to stay) and offers lots of amenities.  Find out more about the hotel here.

CONCLUSION: JORDAN ROAD TRIP

Jordan is such an amazing country – as public transportation is not great, a Jordan road trip is actually the best way to explore the country. As mentioned, I traveled through Jordan as a solo female traveler and I loved it! So, whether you plan a road trip in Jordan by yourself, with friends or family or alone – do it (here are more tips for solo female travelers in Jordan):

Jordanians are very relaxed, friendly and always happy to help, Whether you do a Jordan road trip by yourself, with friends or family or your partner – I am sure, you will have a great time!

Stay safe and great travels!

best Jordan road trip, travel tips and more for Pinterest

Safe Travels, Arzo

Dubai from Above

Dubai best view points -

HOW TO FIND THE BEST VIEWS IN DUBAI AND SEE IT FROM ABOVE

Given the many skyscrapers (and rooftop bars) in Dubai, it is not difficult to see Dubai from above. Actually, seeing this super city from above is an amazing way to fall in love with the city. And while those rooftop bars offer indeed scenic views, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.

Dubai best view points

At the Top – Burj Khalifa

The classic! Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is not only a popular site to photograph, but is also a popular place to take pictures from and offers perfect views from above.

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

The view from level 124+125 (456 meters high) or level 148 (555 meters high) is the most iconic in Dubai, and you´ll get wonderful views of the city. 

You will see how much construction work is still going on, you´ll get to see the desert (which is very close to the city center), but you´ll also have some stunning views of Dubai Fountain.

Overlooking Dubai this way is indeed a unique experience. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who thinks that visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa is a good idea – it is quite busy at most time of the day, so booking tickets in advance can be quite helpful. 

Ticket prices depend on the time of the visit – its just a few € difference in ticket prices but if you don’t want to stand in line and also have access to level 148, you have to pay a few more extra €.

The building will not be the highest building for long – a new tower is going to break the record but for now, book yourself tickets for Burj Khalifa if you want to experience the taller building in the world.

Dubai Frame

One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located close to Zabeel Park.

Views from Dubai Frame

It just opened in January of 2018, and this frame allows you to overlook the city and have great views of Burj Khalifa.

But you also have a unique view if you walk the glass floor – looking 100 meters down while casually strolling along. 

What to do in Dubai in 7 days

This place is as nice to visit at night as during the day, and the entrance fee of about 12€ is worth it.

Actually, the views from here are almost better than from Burj Khalifa – because you can see the tallest building. Also, it is a great alternative if you are on a budget or just want to have some adrenaline rush when walking on the glass and look down.

Helicopter Flight

While 15 minutes seem extremely short, it is enough to get some of the best views of Dubai.

Best view posts in Dubai

Flying over the beaches, the Palm, Burj al Arab, and Burj Khalifa, a helicopter ride gives you the chance to see all the iconic places of Dubai. You can book longer helicopter flights and even get to Abu Dhabi by helicopter – probably the fanciest way to get around in Dubai. 

Flying over Dubai was probably one of the best things to do – a unique experience I will never forget. Click here to read my review of a helicopter flight in Dubai.

Arzo Travels Heli Dubai Fligh

Flying Cup

The newest attraction in March of 2018 opened at JBR Walk. This fun Flying Cup definitely offers great views of JBR – The Walk and the Beach.

Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

You do not even need a drone to get amazing shots of the pristine waters of the Persian Gulf. Whether you do it by yourself or in a group, it is something different and, by Dubai standards, quite affordable (for about 20€, you can buy your ticket at the counter just in front of it). 

You get 40 meters above the ground and the capsule rotates, so you have a panoramic view.  Bring your camera to take these shots, and if you are feeling brave, get a drink and enjoy it up there while your feet are dangling in the air.

You do not have to be scared though – you are secured by a belt. The experience lasts about 10 minutes, and you can even book the whole capsule and have your birthday celebration up in the sky.  If you travel to Dubai with kids, you can either take them with your or let them enjoy JBR which is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

One of the most beautiful rides you can take is a hot air balloon ride.

Sunrise perfect timing for hot air ballon rides

A balloon ride above Dubai´s desert is gorgeous and unique – seeing the sun rise in the desert (yes, it means waking up very early) while passing sand dunes is a very special way to experience Dubai.

High in the air-how to do a hot air balloon tour in Dubai

While there is no guarantee how high you will soar above the ground (as it depends on the weather conditions), it is a fun thing to do and one of the best views you will have from above. Duration: about 40 minutes but the whole trips takes a few hours including hotel pick-up etc. So if you have a few days in Dubai, add it to your itinerary.

Dinner in the Sky

The concept of having dinner in the sky (and we are not talking about plane flights), has arrived in Dubai as well. 

7 days in Dubai itinerary

Head to Dubai Marina and have a fun dinner (or lunch or afternoon tea) experience. There are some similarities to the Flying Cup, but in this case, you get up even higher (about 50 meters) and have a different view. 

You´ll overlook Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity – the hip beach club in Marina, and have views of the beach! Hold your cutlery and especially your camera tight, so you do not see it falling 50 meters down, as there is no ground under your feet.

Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)

Oh, I should, of course, mention that food and drink are included (prices depend on the dining option, but the activities start from about 120€ for the afternoon tea, which includes sandwiches and snacks and some non-alcoholic drinks). Click here to read my review “Dinner in the Sky”

Seaplane flight

Something for the bucket list (even mine) is to see Dubai´s attractions from a seaplane.

Dubai - The Palm @shutterstock
@shutterstock

The trip starts from the water and you´ll get to see Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah before landing back in the Persian Gulf.

Each of the passengers has a window to look out from, which gives you perfect views of the Dubai skyline. Though the views from a seaplane are supposed to be amazing I, myself still have to experience it, but as I have heard positive reviews, I have added it here for you.

Sky Dive

For the very brave ones, a unique way to overlook Dubai is from a jump from the plane. 

Best areas to stay in Dubai
@shutterstock

At 120 miles per hour, you fall freely, and while you probably will not be able to enjoy the view at the beginning, you might do so once you are more relaxed and soaring rather than falling.

I am not that brave – are you? Apparently, the “crown prince” of Dubai is a fan of skydiving so you might even meet him up in the sky. Though chances are low, you can still enjoy incredible views that not many others do experience.

Dubai from above - best views in Dubai

Whether you decide to go on a tandem skydive or do it solo, skydiving allows you to see Dubai in a way only few have – so just do it (easy said as I would not, but maybe you are braver than me :).

Rooftop Bars

So, if you want to enjoy a drink while having great views, here are some rooftop bars that have some of the best views in Dubai (though I have not been t all myself, these are known to be the best bars that come with a view).

Level 43 Sky Lounge at Four Points by Sheraton

For 360-degree views of the city, head to this rooftop bar which is located 155 meters above ground.

Tomo at Raffles Hotel

This rooftop bar and Japanese restaurant is located at the 17th floor of Raffles Hotel in the older part of Dubai so you can enjoy the views of  the “new” skyline (which includes Burj Khalifa).

Shades at Address Dubai Marina

For beautiful views of Dubai Marina, head to this rooftop bar. It is open at day time, too and was a perfect choice for my lunch. But the views were even better than the food. I did not use the infinity pool there – but you can buy a day pass and enjoy these views while relaxing in the water.

Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai Marina

 

There are some more amazing viewpoints in Dubai – many of the skyscrapers offers stunning views of the city and also Burj Khalifa. However, the above mentioned places are pretty great if you are looking for the ultimate, the best views in Dubai because each offer quite a unique experience.

Dubai is a fun city but to really understand the city, you have to see it from above – and if you pick a few of the places/activities mentioned in my post, you will get to see Dubai from its best side.

 

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

WHAT TO DO IN One Day in Dubai

best things to do in 1 day in Dubai, itinerary

HOW TO SPEND 1 DAY IN DUBAI

Planning your 1-day Dubai itinerary? Whether you spend one day in Dubai as a stopover or as a day trip from Abu Dhabi etc. this post is about how to spend your time in Dubai.

As a regular Dubai visitor, I know how much the city has to offer – I never tire of it and often revisit old places, but also discover something new each time I visit the city.

And when people ask me about what to do in Dubai in 1 day, I struggle because I could name tons of place. However, I sat down and narrowed it down, so you have a 1-day itinerary for Dubai that will ease your headache of planning.

Yes, it is busy day, but I want to make sure you get to see different places and don’t miss out on too much – so you can make the best of your 1 day in Dubai.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN DUBAI

Anyhow, Dubai has two airports, and most likely you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-20 minutes drive (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20-30 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. Warning: There might be a lot of traffic and it might take longer.

Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates and it takes about an hour drive to get to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare, public transportation from the airport to Dubai is not really great.

How to Get Around in Dubai in One Day

I highly suggest not renting a car but only use public transportation and taxi/Ubers when needed.

Where to Stay for One Day in Dubai

Accommodation in Dubai is pricey but if you stay in Dubai for one night only, I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown so you are close to the main attractions mentioned in this 1-day itinerary.

You can check out my full Dubai accommodation guide to find the perfect place for your stay here.

WHAT TO SEE IN ONE DAY IN DUBAI 

Okay, with only one day in Dubai, there is not much time to relax and to waste time – so let’s get started straight away with the main places to visit in 1 day.

Old Dubai

Around 9 am

In the morning, start in Old Dubai – if you are up and out at 9 am, you are actually doing quite well because most people in Dubai start the day rather late and you can seize your one day in Dubai to the fullest.

The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit, and even with only 1 day in Dubai, it is a must-see.

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

So, if you arrive at the Gold and Spice Souk around 9 am, there will not be many other tourists – and you can enjoy the calm (which you will not experience often in Dubai). 

Most shops might not be open yet – they open around 10 am – but at least it is not overly busy yet. If you want to wait for all the shops to open, stroll Dubai Creek – I love getting here early and watching the people getting ready for the day before checking out the shops myself.

While most shop owners are foreigners (Afghan, Indian, and Pakistanis), it is still somehow authentic. 

This is the place to buy souvenirs, affordable clothes, or spices. They are much cheaper here. Haggling with the shop owners can be fun and it feels more authentic than shopping in the malls and one of my favorite places to visit in one day in Dubai.

Where to buy cheap things in Dubai

And if you want to buy gold, then buy it here. Oh, and even if you don’t want to buy gold, it is worth it to see what people could buy. Shops mostly open around 10, but you can stroll the area before that and then explore both souks for an hour or so. 

Tip: Just a quick warning – visiting the souks can feel intense. Shop owners approach you a lot and it is not really a relaxing time. If you are a female traveler, especially traveling solo, you might want to dress a bit more moderately, as stares can be intense.

Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 days

To get from the Gold Souk to the Spice Souk, jump on one of the abras – the water taxis that cost only about 0.25€ and are a fun activity, and you have crossed the creek.

La Mer

Around 11 am

Then, it is time to get to La Mer. It is quite close to Old Dubai. However, walking there would take too long. Take an Uber, taxi, or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus (there is no direct bus connection from Old Dubai). You might not find it on many 1-day Dubai itineraries as it is quite new and many itineraries are a bit older but it is a must see if you have 24 hours in Dubai.

La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai

There is a lot of beach, cafes, and restaurants, as well as water activities you can enjoy – and you’ll get the first good glance of Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.

The beach is free and open to the public. The beaches in Dubai are, in general, very clean and safe. There are even free showers (which are quite stylish), and after some time at the beach (and in the water?), it is time for lunch at La Mer.

Restaurants at La Mer Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah

Around 2 pm

So, this is optional as it depends how fast/slow you travel and how much to want to hurry. You can spend some more time at La Mer, or add another area to your 1-day Dubai itinerary.

If you want to do another activity in 1 day, it is time to continue your journey to Madinat Jumeirah (no direct bus, but if you are on a budget and like to walk, then you can do that and take a bus for the most part).

It takes some travel time (about 30 minutes by car), so if you don’t have a full day in Dubai, I would probably skip this.

What to do in Dubai on a layover

Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque – it has its own souk and a bunch of restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab. You could also do an abra ride (abras are small wooden boats) here. They are way more expensive than in Dubai Deira, the Gold and Spice Souk area, but you can ride them for free if you stay in a Jumeirah hotel.

If you have seen Instagrammers on an abra with Burj al Arab in the background, then those pictuures were taken here. While it is picturesque and pretty, I think that 1-3 hours is definitely enough. 

Burj Khalifa

Around 4 pm

Then, it is time to visit the tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa. Before you go to the top, take a few pictures of the iconic building in the daytime.

What to do in Dubai in 1 day

It saves you time to book your tickets in advance – with one day in Dubai, you don’t want to waste too much time in lines. 

If you want to avoid all lines, buy tickets for level 148 (with access to levels 124 and 125). Ticket prices vary slightly depending on the level access (only levels 124 and 125 are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.

If you want to watch the sunset from Burj Khalifa, it is slightly more expensive. And it is not guaranteed that there is a nice sunset to watch. However, you can try to arrange your Burj Khalifa visit in the late afternoon and watch Dubai from above. 

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

It gets busy and it is not really a relaxed atmosphere, but I still love going up, and have done so three times so far.

Don´t underestimate the time it takes to find the entrance for Burj Khalifa – it is located in Dubai Mall. Also, you can book other packages and combine it with a dinner at Burj Club (I loved it).

Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:

Level 124 & 125

Level 124 & 124 and 148

Level 124 & 125 including a dinner at Burj Club

Dubai Mall

Around 6 pm

Then, it is time to take the lift down and explore Dubai Mall, which is just gigantic – and busy, especially on a Friday (Friday is the Sunday of the Islamic world).

Dubai: What to do and see in 3 days
@shutterstock

If you are into shopping, you could spend days here – I just love to stroll the mall because it houses several attractions like Dubai Aquarium (tip: unless you are super into aquariums don’t buy a ticket). 

You get to see some parts of the aquarium just by being in the mall (the aquarium itself is not worth the money, in my opinion) and the dinosaur skeleton that is on display. Shopping in Dubai is more expensive than in Germany – whether it is luxury items or the clothes in one of my favorite shops (Oasis). Everything is pricier than in Germany. 

The time has definitely passed when Dubai was known as a shopping paradise. If you are from the US, it will be even more expensive to you – so, unless you are looking for something specific, I would not necessarily recommend shopping a lot.

Dinner: It is probably time for dinner. Inside Dubai Mall, you will find many restaurants – and in the food hall, some very affordable places that have food from all over the world. 

Then there are also other – quite high-class – restaurants inside Dubai Mall. I suggest, however, having dinner at Burj Club (and buy your combined ticket with an entrance ticket to Burj Khalifa) or choose a restaurant outside with a view of Dubai Fountain.

Dubai Fountain / Burj Khalifa LED show

Around 8 pm

After 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on and I tell you, it gets crazy there. I mean, really crazy just because it is so crowded.

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

Whenever the fountain show or Burj Khalifa LED shows take place, this place will be one of the busiest in Dubai. To get a good view, secure yourself a good spot before the shows starts.

You can also book an abra ride and enjoy the water show without all the crowds.

Dubai Downtown is a beautiful place to end the evening – this is where you have all the bling-bling you can imagine.

Everything is illuminated, and with the view of Burj Khalifa, ending the day here is one of the best things to do in Dubai in 1 day.

Sometimes, there also the LED show takes place – which is honestly, even more stunning than the water show. However, I have never really figured out when the LED show takes place. Check out the LED show time the day of your arrival to find out when to see it.

OR: ALTERNATIVELY

Dubai Desert Safari

Around 3 pm

Alternatives: One of my favorite activities in Dubai is a desert safari. If you have only 1 day in Dubai, I am not sure if it is the best activity to do though.

Exploring the desert in Dubai
Exploring the desert in Dubai

It takes some time (around 4-10 hours) and you will have to schedule all your other activities around it. So, while I do truly love them and recommend them to everyone, it might be tough to squeeze one into this 1-day itinerary.

You have to decide for yourself whether you want to skip on some other activities instead.

With one day in Dubai you can get an idea what the city is about – however, I suggest staying at least 3 days but knowing it is not always possible, I hope you get the most out of your time.

Whether you follow this 1-day Dubai itinerary rigorously or not – the city is surely like no other and though surely not perfect it is a lot of fun. Just thing to keep in mind – Dubai is a conservative city (even after all) and there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the city – check out my guide on what NOT to do in Dubai so you will stay safe!

Enjoy your one day in Dubai!

Safe Travels, Arzo

THINGS TO D DO IN 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

best things to do in Istanbul in 2 days, itinerary

HOW TO SPEND 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

To find out about the best things to do in 2 days in Istanbul, read on because I am happy to share my travel tips. Besides the best tips on what to do in Istanbul in 2 days, you’ll also find some travel tips so that you can easily plan your visit.

Istanbul is one of the most unique cities in the world – what other city is spread over two continents? But that is not the only reason to visit this fun city.

This is a city that offers many historical and religious sites – but is also rich in modern sights and has the cutest cafes and restaurants, which also translates into a fun nightlife.

Istanbul offers all that to its visitors, and of course, I do not want to forget to mention the extremely delicious food (that also caters to vegetarians and vegans) – no, you cannot go wrong with booking a trip to Istanbul for a weekend.

Istanbul itinerary for 2 days

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

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR 2-DAY ISTANBUL ITINERARY

Check out the quick travel tips or your Istanbul itinerary.

How to get to the City Center From the Airport

If you arrive at the Istanbul Airport – the main one, the Atatürk Airport closed and the new main airport just opened in 2019 – you can easily take the Airport Shuttle to get to the city center.

Whichever of the two main tourist areas – Sultanahmat or Taksim – you choose, the shuttle bus gets you there for around 3€ one way.

The buses are modern, clean, and the ride is quite comfortable. Once you arrive at the bus station, you might have to walk to your accommodations or you can then take a taxi.

There are taxis that are waiting just outside or you can book a private pick-up service in advance.

Where to Stay in Istanbul for 2 Days

I recommend staying in Sultanahmad, which is the old part of Istanbul.

I booked two different hotels and both of them were close to the Sultan Ahmad Square.

My tip: Hotel Poem is a small, but lovely, boutique hotel with friendly staff and a great breakfast! Check out rates here and book before it is full booked (it is quite small).

Hotel Spectra Sultanahmad is another option. I booked it just for the views from the breakfast room, and those views did not disappoint. Find out more about this hotel here.

Blue Musque view

However, I liked Hotel Poem a bit more, and if prices are similar, I suggest staying at Hotel Poem (despite the smaller rooms).

Best Time to Visit Istanbul in 2 Days

Istanbul is a popular travel destination all year round. Expect a lot of crowds in the summer months – if you can, pick spring or fall for your trip to Istanbul though winter in Istanbul might also be a fun time to visit.

Solo Female Travel Tips for 2 Days in Istanbul

I traveled to Istanbul by myself. My Turkish Airlines flight – without any explanation – arrived more than 2 hours late in Istanbul and so I arrived in the middle of the night. I took the airport shuttle and just had to walk a few hundred meters to my hotel – but at that moment, it felt uncomfortable. It was raining, it was cold and it was dark and there were not many people around.

BUT that was the only short moment I felt uncomfortable – I think, Istanbul is a safe place to visit as a solo female traveler. So many people visit Istanbul that you don’t stand out from the crowds when traveling alone. If you exercise common sense, there is no reason to not travel alone in Istanbul.

Be aware of your political statements but as a solo female traveler there are no particular precautions to take. People are friendly and nice and its easy to do small talking to locals (if they speak English) there is so much to do – even solo – that I did not have time to feel bored.

TIP: You might want to check out the Museum Card if you plan to visit many attractions as it could save some money. However, you normally will not be able to skip the lines, and with two days you might not want to stand in lines forever.

PLACES TO VISIT IN 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

Without further ado, here is how to spend 2 days in Istanbul.

DAY 1 IN ISTANBUL

For the first day, I recommend staying in Sultanahmet – the old town – only and visit the main attractions here. This is the perfect place to start your 2 days in Istanbul – Sultan Ahmad Square.

Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya)

One of the top places to visit in Istanbul in 2 days is the Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sophia was a Christian Cathedral commissioned by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century and was then converted to a mosque by the Ottomans. But it did not stay a mosque for long.

After 1935 it was converted to a museum (on Atatrürk´s order)- and nowadays there are ideas to convert it back to a mosque, but for now, you can still visit the museum. 

It is one of the busiest places and the main tourist attraction in Istanbul, so lines are quite long – even during the off-season. So, make sure to book a guide or buy skip-the-line tickets.

The Hagia Sophia is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture – for the best views, go to the second floor.

Hagia Sophia, view from the upper gallery is one of the best things to do in 48 hours in Istanbul
@shutterstock

Hagia Sophia is closed on Mondays (as well as on the first days of Ramadan, and Sacrifice Festivals for half time) and opens at 9 am. 

On the website, it says it is open every day, but when you scroll down, it says that it is closed on Mondays starting from the 1st of November in 2019. Check out skip-the-line-tickets here and make sure to plan it in your 2-day Istanbul itinerary.

Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Mosque)

Another must-see in Istanbul in 2 days, is the Blue Mosque – which is free to enter and is still used as a mosque (to avoid the busiest times, don’t visit during prayers).

Blue Mosque, (Sultanahmet Camii), Istanbul one of the most beautiful places
@shutterstock

The Blue Mosque was completed in 1616 and is beautiful inside and out. While it actually is not really blue from the outside, it has 20,000 handmade mosaic blue tiles surrounding the walls of the interior, which is where it derives its name.

Interior of the Blue Mosque, Istanbul is a must-see in 2 days
@shutterstock

The Blue Mosque was built to rival Hagia Sophia and I must say, from the outside, it is surely more impressive and stunning than the neighboring building.

Visit the Blue Mosque website and check the prayer times – it’s closed to non-worshippers for a half hour or so during the five daily prayers (avoid visits on Friday mid-morning, as this is the main prayer time).

Sultan Ahmet Square and Have a Snack

2 days in Istanbul will most likely be quite stressful, so plan in enough breaks. After visiting the Blue Mosque it is time for such a break.

Snacks in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia and Sultanahmed Square in Istanbul is a must for a 2-day itinerary
@shutterstock

The Sultan Ahmet Square is one of the major public areas in Istanbul – and oh man, I loved the Sultanahmat Square. Not just because of the many sights, but also because of the little snack stalls that offered delicious snacks, like corncobs and chestnuts.

I could have snacked all day (and kind of did), so after the sightseeing, it is time to buy those snacks that are also quite affordable.

Take the snacks and sit down at the park and watch the people before you continue your journey.

Topkapi Palace

Topkapı Palace is the next major attraction to see in 2 days in Istanbul.

Topkapi-Palasce is one of the best things to see in 2 days in Istanbul
@shutterstock

It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985 and was built in the 15th century of the Ottoman period. It was used for the longest time as a royal palace and was the resident of Ottoman sultans and center of state management and education.

The palace covers an area of around 700,000 square meters, most of which are actually the Royal Gardens (Hasbahçe). 

This is one of the best places to learn about its history as you’ll find many weapons, porcelain, Islamic manuscripts, Ottoman treasures and jewelry, and more that date back to those times.Given its size and importance, it can take several hours to go through the palace.

Topkapi Palace is open every day except Tuesdays, and the museum pass is accepted here. An admission ticket without a Museum Pass is 30 TL – but you can buy skip-the-line-tickets for this one as well. Check them out here.

Basilica Cistern

This attraction is not just a great way to escape the heat in the summer months: visiting the Basilica Cistern is a popular activity in Istanbul and close to the main attractions mentioned above.

The Basilica Cistern, (Yerebatan), Istanbul, Turkey is one of the best places to see in 2 days
@shutterstock

Cisterns were built all around the city to meet the populations water requirement – in the case of a siege and the Basilica Cistern was the largest cistern in Istanbul, providing water to the Tokpaki Palace and other buildings in the area. Check out skip-the-line-tickets here

Okay, before talking about another place to visit in 2 days, here are more attractions located on Ahmed Sultan Square. It is easy to see in the first day and it does not take much time, so you will probably more or less just pass them.

The Fountain of Ahmed III

One of the other things to see in Istanbul – without much effort – is the Fountain of Ahmed III that is all located on the Ahmed Sultan Square.

Fountain in Istanbul in 2 days

It was built in the 18th century and is known as one of the most beautiful samples of Turkish rococo styles.

Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed

You can also visit the Mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed – the construction of the Mausoleum started shortly after his death in the 17th century.It is free to visit (but dress accordingly and be respectful when visiting).

Grand Bazaar 

Of course, you have to visit the Grand Bazaar. But a word of warning: if you visit at the wrong time, it is crazy and hectic and crowded.

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one of the best places to visit in 2 days

After checking out the Grand Bazaar, I needed to sit down and take a long break.

But given its size, it is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, with around 30,700 square meters full of shops and restaurants. 

It is great for buying souvenirs and little presents – and gold and other jewelery! Depending on which streets you visit, you might have to pass a security check, but then you can basically shop till you drop.

Open every day from 9 am to 7 pm, except Sundays.

For the first day in Istanbul you are set – however, if you want to end your day at a more relaxing place, cap your day at the Bosperus (more on that later).

Extra: Sulemaniye Mosque 

Other than the Blue Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque is another well-known mosque in Istanbul and is actually the largest mosque in the city.

It is located on the Third Hill of the city, near Istanbul University, and if you have some free time on your hands, then check out this mosque, too.

DAY 2 IN ISTANBUL

After a busy day 1 in Istanbul, it is time to continue your 2-day Istanbul trip.

Bosphorus Cruise

Depending on how fast you have been, you could then end your day at the Bosphorus on day one or you can start your second day here.

Bospherus in Istanbul itinerary

I loved this area in particular – it is busy and it was here that I first got the feel for how big Istanbul actually is. Sultanahmed is beautiful, but it felt like a smaller city on its own.

I am all about boat tours and ferry rides – so, if you are like me, then hop on a boat/ferry and see Istanbul from a different perspective.

 Those Bosporus boat cruises take a couple of hours and so it is nothing to squeeze in quickly.

You can buy tickets on the spot, if you like or check out prices here and book in advance. If you want to book a Bosphorus boat cruise with dinner and entertainment click here.

Galata Bridge

Then, it is time to cross the Galata Bridge – and on your way to Beyoglu, look back because the views are gorgeous!

Istanbul from Galata Bridge view_

You could take the tram (or do a boat ride), but I recommend walking towards Beyoglu from the Old Town. You will arrive in a hipster area of Istanbul – Beyoglu.

Galata Tower 

The Galata Tower is one of the main landmarks in Istanbul and in Beyoglu, and its a great place for great views. Apparently. 

The lines are probably always long (that was the case when I visited in October), so I skipped this – but the 66-meter-high medieval stone tower built in the 14th century – on a hill – offer panoramic views over Istanbul. The views are said to be great from the top.

Even if you don’t climb the stairs to enjoy the views, I loved the atmosphere in this part of Istanbul. The tower was built in the 14the century as an addition to the Galata Wall for defence purpose and was the main tower of the Galata Walls. It also served as a dungeon for slaves before it then was converted to a depot for the boatyard.

There was such a fun and relaxed vibe here that you should not miss out on this area.

Lunch/Coffee in Beyoglu 

This is the place to sit down and have lunch or just a coffee – food and drinks are reasonably priced and the cafes are the cutest I have seen in Istanbul (indoor and outdoor cafes).

Cute cafe in Istanbul is one of the top things to see in 2 days

It has a bit of a hipster feel, but it still felt authentic and I would make sure to plan in enough time to spend some here. Plus, you might get lucky and have some great live music playing somewhere nearby.

Fruits in Istanbul

Tram 

There is an old red tram – similar to the ones in San Francisco – that you can use for a small amount (less than 1€), which will take you all the way up to Taksim Square and back (you need a separate ticket for each ride). 

Iconic red tram in Istanbul

I hopped on it, but it was so busy that I did not find a seat and was squeezed in with many others. So, my tip is to make sure to wait for the tram and be on time, so you can be one of the first to get in, grabbing a seat and better views.

On a busy day, it will be almost impossible to take a picture of the tram without tons of people standing in front of it, wanting a souvenir picture.

Istiklal Street

As I was visiting Istiklal Street on a Saturday, I experienced the busiest shopping street I have ever seen – probably.

This long shopping street, pedestrian and tram only, is am incredibly busy and bustling place with many international shops. 

Personally, it was not my favorite place in Istanbul – if you are into shopping, then this is the place to see. If you aren’t, you could skip it.

Taksim Square

Taksim is the heart of modern Istanbul and probably best known at the moment for the place where the demonstrations against the current president, Erdogan, started, but it is generally known as a place for political protests.

However, it is also where all the fancier restaurants, shops, and hotels are, but apart from that, there are not that many interesting sights or attractions. It is not really a must-see place with only 2 days in the city in terms of attractions, but due to the importance of the place, I have still added it on this 2 days in Istanbul itinerary.

From there, you can either take the tram back to Beyouglu and end your day there or you can take the underground and go back to Gelata Bridge, and then either walk back to Sultanahmad or end your day at the Bosperus.

I loved the numerous cafes and restaurants in Sultanahmad. So, if you had lunch in Beyuglou already, then I suggest having dinner in one of the many cafes or restaurants in the old town of the city.

Hammam

Extra: If you have time and want to relax, I definitely suggest visiting a Turkish Hamman.

 While I have not visited any in Istanbul, I did so on other Turkey trips and can highly recommend them. Because 2 days in Istanbul can be crazy and hectic, what better way is there to relax and enjoy than in a Turkish bath where you can end your day with a relaxing massage? 

CONCLUSION: BEST THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO VISIT IN 2 DAYS IN ISTANBUL

2 days in Istanbul will be fun and excited – the city is so vibrant and interesting and with 2 days in the city you will not be able to see all of the highlights but you will get a good idea and can cover the main attractions.

Hopefully, this Istanbul itinerary will help you plan your trip and you will have an unforgettable 2 days in Istanbul.

Safe Travels, Arzo

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN LEBANON

Best places to visit and things to do in Lebanon in 5 days, itinerary

PLACES TO ADD TO YOUR LEBANON ITINERARY

Are you planning your Lebanon itinerary and wondering about the best places to visit in Lebanon in a few days?

An often overlooked, but definitely great travel destination in the Middle East is the small country of Lebanon.

It is a beautiful, small country with friendly people, ancient sights, modern cities, cute villages, pretty landscapes, and a wild nightlife – that is what you can expect in Lebanon.

Since I am from Germany, I have always been around Lebanese people, but the country was never really high on my bucket list. Eventually though, I added it to the list and went for about a week and before I then went to Jordan.

And what can I say? Lebanon was a fun place to visit and exceeded my expectations. 

I did not know what to expect as a solo female traveler – but it turned out to be fine and there is no reason to worry. Lebanon is, in general, a safe travel destination – even for solo female travelers. But of course, for other kinds of travelers, too.

Was everything perfect? No, for sure not. Was it still fun? Yes, definitely. 

A bit crazy, hectic, and chaotic – here is what to expect when visiting Lebanon. Find out where to go and what to see in only 5 days in Lebanon. While I wished that I had two more days in Lebanon (I think that 7 days in Lebanon would be awesome), I got a good glimpse of the country and got to see some really beautiful places – and so can you with less than one week.

While the political situation in Lebanon is tense at the moment, it is also a quite liberal and modern country, where different religions coexist and, thus, has a different feeling from many other Arab countries.

So, before talking about the very best places to visit in Lebanon, here are some travel tips for your itinerary.

Lebanon with Arzo Travels

TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR LEBANON ITINERARY

Before talking about the best places to visit in Lebanon in 5 days (or so) here are some travel tips.

How to Get to Lebanon

I suggest flying into Beirut. There are many flights from Istanbul, but also other countries in the Middle East, and it allows you to combine your trip easily with a trip to Jordan, Istanbul, or other nearby destinations.

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

How to Get Around in Lebanon

If you are brave, you can rent a car and explore Lebanon on your own. However, driving in Lebanon seems very crazy to me because I experienced it as crazy, hectic, and wild, where drivers make their own rules.

This did not only apply to Beirut, but also many other places. Streets are always crowded and an extra car would only add to the pollution (which is a big problem in the country).

However, the alternatives are not perfect, but there are some fun other ways to get around.

I mostly used the minibuses to get around. There are some newer ones (as you can see in the picture) and some which were really old. In general, they are for sure not fancy and the drives were insane in some parts, but they were fun – and cheap. And in the end, I did not have to worry about driving myself.

Whether I went to Baalbeck, Byblos, or Tyre, it was possible to go in the small buses and get around for very little money. 

There are also Ubers and taxis available, but I suggest only using Ubers in Lebanon, if needed – my first time ever using Ubers was in Lebanon actually. I did not use them often, but there are plenty of Ubers available and you do not have to worry about being ripped off.

Where to Stay

For this Lebanon itinerary, I suggest staying in Beirut for most of the time. Lebanon is small, but stretched, and Beirut is quite centrally located.

I did only day trips (mini buses all the way) – getting around in Lebanon is time-consuming and even a 80-km drive can take up to 3 hours, but you will also get to see different landscapes and do not have to worry about checking in and checking out all the time.

However, if you stay for more than 5 days, it might make sense to book one or two nights near Byblos and do a few trips from there, so you avoid too much driving.

I stayed in a hostel / hotel in Hamra – a popular district in Beirut. There are dorms but you can also book private rooms. The great thing about this hostel is that it has a pool on the rooftop and that you, especially if you travel as a solo traveler, easily meet other people. Check out rates at Hamra Urban Gardens.

If you are looking for a luxury accommodation then you might want to check out Four Seasons Hotel Beirut – it comes with a great location and the views from the rooftop are great!

What to Eat

The good news: Lebanon is a foodie heaven!

Whether you are a meat-lover or a vegan, this country has an amazing cuisine. So, as someone who eats veganish (and strictly vegetarian), I was in heaven. All the delicious food was to dream off – of course, there is falafel & hummus and the fresh Fattoush salad but there was so much more to eat and enjoy. 

It is more diverse than in many other countries in the Middle East and probably one of the best cuisines in the world, so plan in enough time for good food and fresh juices.

Safety

I am generally cautious, but did not feel the need to take extra precautions.

In general, Lebanon is a safe country to visit. Despite its very complicated history (and present), it is a safe destination to visit.

However, if you visit these days, there might be some demonstrations and problems. 

Also, not all public services function properly, like waste collection ( I must say that Lebanon is – unfortunately – very dirty in many parts and you will see tons of trash everywhere. Though I doubt that this is the result of the irregular waste collection, but more a result of people just littering wherever they go).

If you stay in a hotel/hostel, you will not be strongly affected by regular blackouts (even though there are many).

BEST PLACES TO SEE IN IN LEBANON IN 5 DAYS 

Let´s start with the capital of the country: Beirut.

Beirut – 2 Days

My tip is to spend 1.5 or two days in Beirut and explore the gems of the city. 

While Beirut is the capital, it is still quite small, and with 2 days, you will have time to see the main attractions and places in Beirut.

I love Beirut sign in Lebanon

Also, while Beirut is small, it is not so small that you could see everything in less than one day – especially if you plan on only  (or mostly) walking.

My tip for the first day (especially if you do not have a full day) is to visit the Amercian University first and explore this area for an hour or so before heading to the Rauche Rocks (for the sunset), and then having dinner/drinks there before strolling the promenade. Start this day slowly and prepare for a busy day 2.

If you have more time on your hands, also visit Hamra – a popular busy area with many cafes and shops. This is also a good place to visit in the evening.

Beirut attractions

Day 2 in Beirut will be busier. Start at the Sursock Museum and then walk down and visit the St. Nicolas Stairs, the St. Elian & Gregory Cathedral, and Beirut Souks, and stroll the Gemayzeh area – this is also a lovely area to have lunch or dinner.

Then, make sure to visit Zaitunay Bay and stroll Beirut´s Marina, where you will find – besides yachts – a lot of restaurants, too.

The most stunning building in Beirut is the Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque – so make sure to not only admire the architecture from outside, but to also pay a visit inside (free and you do get something to cover yourself up with if you are not dressed appropriately).

Mohammad Am Amin Mosque in Beirut

Lebanon mosque in Beirut

There are also a few churches in the area that you can visit.

Next to the mosque, you will also find the Roman Bath Gardens that you can visit (it does not take much time though). 

Beirut is one of the very best places to go out – even I went to a club. Okay, it was during the week and there was not that much going on, but if you want to experience the infamous nightlife in Beirut visit during the weekends. There are many rooftop bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.

Balbeeck – 1 Day

Plan in one day for visiting Baalbeck – one of my favorite places in Lebanon and a must-see place in Lebanon. 

Getting there is time-consuming, but worth it. Baalbeck is Lebanon‘s greatest Roman treasure – actually, it is the largest Roman temple ever built and still very well-preserved, even though it has suffered from theft, war, and earthquakes.

But thanks to the efforts of archaeologists, it is still in great condition and so it does not surprise that it is actually quite busy. 

There are quite a few sights, including Jupiter Temple, Bacchus Temple, and Venus Temple, so make sure to plan in some time to explore them. 

In early July through August, there is an international festival held.

Yes, we all know the Acropolis in Athens, but Balbeeck is actually way more impressive, so either take a minibus (we had to change buses once and it took me than 2.5 hours in total, but it was an interesting ride), join an organized group, or hire a car and get there yourself. 

Jeita Grotto – Harissa – Byblos – 1 Day

My favorite day was when I visited these three attractions in one day because they are some of the best places to visit in Lebanon.

Many tour operators offer tours to these places in one day and it is definitely doable. 

One of the girls I met at the hostel where I stayed and I mostly used mini buses to get around (but also Uber and a taxi). It saved us tons of money this way and we saw all three beautiful places – and it was fun!

Jeita Grotto

The first stop is probably Jeita Grotto, which is less than 20 km north of Beirut. I am surely no expert on visiting caves, but I have seen a few over the years – and these were my favorites.

The best EVER. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to take pictures but it is – I am repeating myself – one of the best places to visit in Lebanon.

This limestone cave is really impressive and they exceeded my expectations. The grotto was discovered in 1836 by an American and opened in 1958 (Lower Grotto) and 1969 (Upper Grotto).

After a scenic drive, you can get out at the funicular station and buy your ticket (cash only) for a bit more than 11€ ,and then you can use the funicular to go up.

Cable Cars in Jeita Grotto in Lebanon

It is a very short ride up, and once there, you can explore the Upper Grotto. 

Over a distance of 700 meters (the total length of the cave is more than 2 km), you’ll find many lime formations, which come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. 

If you look closely, you’ll find many different “animals,“ “vegetables,“ and more.

You cannot take pictures inside, but I can assure you that it is well worth it. It did not take us too long to go through and after probably less than 30 minutes, we were walking out and walking down to the Lower Grotto.

At the Lower Grotto, you can do a short boat ride over the distance of 400 meters. 

Don´t worry – you don’t have to row yourself. Just sit down and enjoy the short electro ride. 

It is quite chilly inside, so bring a pullover with you (around 16 degrees Celsius).

All those activities are included in the ticket price (funicular, Lower and Upper Grotto, and a ride on the mini train, which I did not use).

A documentary is also shown in different languages, but we missed the English version and would have had to wait for a few hours for the next one. So, if you wanna watch it, ask for the times beforehand.

The whole tour took less than one hour, and on the way to the car park, we also spent time in the pretty gardens on the property.

Jounieh / Harissa – Téléférique 

At the car station, we took a taxi. We were approached by many people and ended up with an older driver in a very ancient, but cool, taxi that brought us to Harissa – Téléférique. 

Old Taxi in Lebanon

We paid around 12€, but you could probably haggle and get a better price (but I did not feel the need to haggle with this older man).

One of the best tourist attractions in Lebanon is going up via the Téléférique .

The Téléférique leaves a few kilometers north of the old center of Jounieh and you have beautiful views already on the cable car ride up – I have never seen cable cars riding so close to house buildings (and I am an expert in cable car riding) – and it gets even better once you have arrived in Harissa.  

View from Harissa Teleferique

You could hike up or drive up, but why not take the cable car and enjoy the ride? Especially given the affordable prices for the cable car (less than 7€ for a 2-way ticket) and the views along the way, I do recommend hopping on a capsule. 

I am all about the views and here you can probably experience some of the best views of the country.

Also, you’ll find the Our Lady of Lebanon here – a bronze, white-painted, 13-ton statue of the Virgin Lady that has become a popular place for religious people to visit.

Our Lady in Lebanon Statu

Once you get out of the cable car, you need to walk a few minutes and then climb a few steps to enjoy the views.

Harissa from above

There are several cafes/restaurants with good views and also playgrounds if you visit Lebanon.

Byblos

From Harissa, we took a mini bus and headed to Byblos which is surely one of the best places to visit in Lebanon. 

Byblos old town in Lebanon is a must-see in 5 days

The mini buses leave from the highway, so you need to get there to take them (unfortunately, I did not save the exit location, but if you ask for the mini bus to Byblos, locals might be able to help you).

Byblos was another of my favorite places to visit in Lebanon. It is a charming little village with a long history.

Located about 40 kilometers north of Beirut, it is one of the oldest continuously-inhabitated cities in the world – with over 7,000 years of history. It received UNESCO World Heritage Status in the 1980´s. 

Vegan food in Lebanon

I am all about cute cafes, narrow streets, and pretty views and I found all of that in Byblos. The village is small and we strolled Byblos for around 2 or 3 hours before having an early dinner. 

Byblos old town is one of the most beautiful places to see

However, I would not have minded staying longer – not because I felt that I missed out on something, but because I liked the relaxed vibe… and because Byblos is so over-the-top cute!

Check out the ancient fishing harbor, the small but pretty historical center with its narrow streets and small shops, and check out the side streets for the cute cafes. Visit the archaeological sites, like Crusader Castle, where you can find out more about its history and have lovely views, or St. John the Baptist Church (Eglise St. Jean Marc).

Byblos views

If you‘re in Lebanon for just 5 days – or something like that – 1 day is definitely enough to see the aforementioned places in one day.

 Yes, it might be a busy day (whether you join guided tours or organize it yourself), but it is worth the hassle – this day was my favorite day in Lebanon.

With less than a week, you should add at least one day in the south of the country to your Lebanon itinerary.

Tyre – 1 Day

I opted for Tyre (Sour) and wanted to experience a lesser known place on my itinerary in the south of Lebanon. 

Colorful Tyre in Southern Lebanon is one of the best places to visit

Again, one of the girls from the hostel joined me, and again, the mini bus was our best friend that brought us to our destination.

The drive was interesting because it was my only time going to the south and I loved to see the numerous banana plantations along the way.

Again, we got to visit one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. 

It is a small town (but busier than Byblos) with several Roman and Byzantine archaeological sites, colorful buildings, and a busy town center.

Shopping in Tyre, South Lebanon

Colorful town in Tyre, Sour in Lebanon

There is also a beach area (if you are into beaches, check out the public beach in the Tyre Coastal Nature Reserve – the water color looks lovely, but unfortunately, there is a lot of trash everywhere, which was sad to see). 

Beach in Tyre, Sour Lebanon

Tyre suffered a lot during the war and there are still UN soldiers and jeeps deployed in Tyre, but I also remember the overly friendly people here and so it was another must-see in Lebanon.

MORE PLACES TO GO IN LEBANON IN 7 DAYS 

With five days in Lebanon, I got a good idea of the country – I just wish I had two more days to hike in the mountains because Lebanon is known for some pretty mountain areas, like Qadisha Valley. 

It is great for hiking in the summer and good for winter sports in the winter. If I had 7 days in Lebanon, I would have stayed a night in Byblos, and on my way back to Beirut, I would have stopped at some villages and towns along the way.

Looking back now, I am pretty happy with how I created my 5-day Lebanon itinerary and don’t regret the way I planned my trip at all.

So, this is why I hope this Lebanon itinerary helps you to plan your trip as well (and if Lebanon isn’t on your bucket list yet, then make sure to add it now) – it is a beautiful country that has deserved much more recognition.

Hope, these tips on the best places to visit in Lebanon will help you plan your Lebanon trip!

READ MORE: Is Jordan safe for solo female traveler?

                         Find out about the best stay to visit in Jordan

 

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Things to do at La Mer, Dubai 

Dubai´s newest place to visit, Dubai La Mer

Best Things to Do at La Mer, Dubai

One of Dubai´s newest and most popular hotspots has opened in October 2017 – and has become a popular place for people of all ages.  

“The wind in your hair. The sand in your toes.” La Mer welcomes you with this lovely quote and it matches.

Dubai has a new, fun hotspot, and if you come to see it, you will find out very quickly why La Mer is a great place to visit.

On my recent trip, I could not help but visit La Mer several times. After all, it has a lot of different things to offer and quickly became one of my favorite spots – and I am not even a beach person! Find out why you should add it to your Dubai itinerary and what to do at La Mer. And I came back: Whenever I am in Dubai, I make sure to hit La Mer several times.

La Mer Dubai with Arzo Travels Graffiti

La Mer is a newly created area that just opened and will be one of the hotspots in 2018.

It is perfect if you just want to escape the craziness of Dubai Downtown (while still having a cool view on Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline), enjoy some beach time and water sports, go shopping, have a nice lunch/dinner, and if you like to see some really cool street art. Even though the private beaches are sometimes quieter and nicer, this is more fun and one of the best beaches in Dubai.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean 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.

How to Get There

La Mer is located in the Jumeirah area. It takes about a 20-minute drive from attractions like Burj Khalifa (without the traffic) or 30 minutes from Burj al-Arab,

I suggest getting there by car or cab. There is are (underground parking available).

City Sightseeing buses stop at Jumeirah Mosque (blue line), which is just around the corner, and from there you can start your journey at La Mer – North Beach.

Buses also get here: RTA Buses 9 and 88

There is a complimentary shuttle bus from a few hotels in Dubai (though I could not figure out if they also offer the return transfer) that anybody can use.

What to do at La Mer Dubai

Where to Stay at La Mer

There are several very good hotels and also more budget-friendly places, close to Jumeirah. While the area, in general, is a more expensive one, there are some 3 and 4-star hotels quite close La Mer and for more budget-friendly places you check out our rates in Dubai Deira and Dubai Creek.

Click here to find the best rates for your stay in Dubai

Extras/Services at La Mer

Free Wifi

Information Hub

Mobile charging boxes (though none of those worked when I was there and the staff could not figure out what the problem was)

Free parking

Valet service

Complimentary shuttle buses to only a few hotels in Dubai 

Prayer room

Free showers and toilets

Baby changing facilities

Wheelchair accessible (many areas)

La Mer Dubai with Arzo Travels-

What to do in La Mer, Dubai

You can also start your journey at La Mer – South Beach or the North Beach.

Chill at the Beach at La Mer

Before you see the beachfront, you´ll get to see some restaurants, beautiful new walking paths, and a tiny artificial pond. But you do not have to walk for long to discover the coolest section of beach in all of Dubai.

La Mer Beach Dubai

Dubai´s beaches are not bad, but with all the city life, I get the feeling that a day at the beach is underrated.

However, not so at La Mer. This area has the coolest outdoor toilets ever (seriously, they are really stylish) and the absolute, most stylish (I probably have to use this adjective quite often when talking about La Mer) outdoor showers ever, as well as other fun details.

Things to do at La Mer Dubai

Best places in Dubai

You can rent sun lounges and umbrellas, or even your own cabana, but you can also budget and bring your own towels and umbrellas, and chill under the sun.

While the showers and toilets are free, you can also get the paid version (but even the free toilets are quite clean and okay to use).

Is La Mer worth going?

Toilets at La Mer Dubai

You can do all kinds of watersports – obviously, those activities are not free, but probably worth it if you are into water activities. You can rent inflatable pool floats, you can go stand up paddling, flyboarding, boat cruising and more.

The view from the beach is great, at least if you ask me. Surely, a secluded beach is also fantastic, but a day at the beach with such a view is unbeatable for a city girl like me.

Katersports at La Mer Dubai

Activities for kids at La Mer

Play Around – Kid´s Heaven

Most kids love the beach, but there are more things for children (and adults) to do at La Mer.

Places to see at La mer Dubai

Whether you visit a playground with them at La Mer or let them trampoline at Hawa Hawa, this is a kid’s heaven and your children – regardless of their age – will love this area.

What can kids do at La Mer

Laguna Waterpark

Just recently, the Laguna Waterpark opened. Four distinctive zones – Surf, Relax, Slide and Splash – seem like a heaven for those enjoying being in the water (without the fish). Plus, there are also a few rides, including a children’s zone.

There are also a few waterslides that are totally unique in the United Arab Emirates. Also, tickets for this water park are much cheaper than tickets for the other two main waterparks.

Click here to buy tickets for your day at Laguna Waterpark.

Dining at La Mer Dubai

While many restaurants and cafes are open already, there are still many that are not. However, you will definitely find something that satisfies your cravings.

Restaurants at La Mer Dubai

While there is not really any budget food, you can find more affordable restaurants, as well as nicer and finer dining options. The restaurants are numerous and pretty stylish (here we have that word again).

 There are healthy eating options, as well as hearty ones, and a lot of choices for dessert.  

I just loved the food/cuisine choices and the pretty interiors that made me want to stay in the restaurants forever. From Greek to Arabic, from Italian to Turkish food – you will have a hard time deciding on the perfect restaurant because of its numerous choices.

Cafes at La Mer Dubai

Shopping at La Mer

While I like (or better used to liked) shopping in Germany, I do not shop in Dubai. It is more expensive and I would probably prefer a mall to the beachfront for shopping. 

However, shopping addicts will find retail stores here to their heart´s content like Sephora. On a winter day (so probably from November to March) it is probably more fun to shop here than in a mall.

Shopping at La Mer Dubai

Once the area is further established, I am sure that there will be even more shops open.

Check out Street Art / Architecture at La Mer

In a city that is, normally, all about glitter and gold, skyscrapers and modernity, La Mer is refreshingly different.

Street art at La Mer

Best art in Dubai

What to see at La Mer Dubai

I am not sure how to label this kind of style – but this retro, New Yorkian, fun style is so pretty and beautiful that it creates a perfect contrast to the skyline of Dubai, which you can see in the background.

The street art is awesome; not only the “habibi” graffiti, but each of the images is fun, friendly, and interesting.

The buildings and different elements are so pretty, and this whole retro style has been implemented perfectly. While I do love modernity, I am head over heels for this area and style.  

It shows a different side of Dubai and, okay, it might seem out of place to some, but I found it refreshing and interesting.

Gala Habibi Grafit in Dubai

Each detail is so cute at La Mer Dubai

If you visit Dubai anytime soon and skip La Mer, you will have definitely missed out.

Wondering where to stay in Dubai? Find out about the best hotels for all budgets and areas.

Here are more ideas for things to do in Dubai.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Things to Do in Dubai with Kids

What to do in Dubai with teenager

FUN THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI WITH CHILDREN

Are you planning a family vacation and wondering about the best things to do in Dubai with children? Holidays in Dubai with kids might seem like a crazy idea at first – but actually, it is not a bad place to visit with your family.

Dubai has become a very popular tourist destination and while when you think of Dubai you probably only think about the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, or the most expensive hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab, you should know that it is also a great destination for families.

The more often I visit Dubai, the more often I realize how great it is for kids and how much there is to do – the options seem endless, so I will focus on the best things for kids – from babies to teenagers. Though I do not have kids myself, I visited Dubai with my two nephews and also, I teach kids between 10-18 years, so I think, I have a good feeling for what children enjoy.

So, if you are planning to visit Dubai as a family, you have definitely come to the right place to find out about the best things to do in Dubai with kids.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – this means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

TRAVEL TIPS FOR DUBAI WITH CHILDREN

Before I tell you about the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids, here are some pre-travel tips.

Dubai is a great place to visit between October and April. You can also visit in September or May, but for children especially it might become a little too hot and a few activities may not be available, so Dubai in winter is the best idea.

In general, people in Dubai or in the Middle East, are very child-friendly so I’m sure your kids will love it. Read on to find out what to do in Dubai with kids.

How to Get Around With Children in Dubai 

Getting around is actually not expensive. Whether you pick a taxi or public transportation – prices are moderate. Your kids, especially the younger ones might enjoy metro rides more than taxi rides (at least my nephews do). If you plan on using the metro more often buy get a NOL card at the metro station. This smart card helps you saving even more.

However, metros are often very crowded so my tip (especially with kids) avoid rush hour and try to get a window seat – kids will love that.

Taxis are roughly about 0,5€ per kilometer (but there is a minimum fare) and if you are a family of four, a tax might even come cheaper. Being stuck in traffic is a big problem though (DUbai´s road are actually always busy).

Rent a car: Renting a car is an option but personally, not my top tip when you are with kids. While you can store a lot of things in the car, you would have to rent child seats etc. separately and other means of transport might be the better option. You can check out prices for renting a car in Dubai here.

Sightseeing buses are probably the best way of transportation – fun, safe and several attractions are included in the tickets.

Check out prices for hop-on and hop-off bu tickets: – 1-5 days

Check out prices for sightseeing bus tickets – 1-7 days

Where to Stay in Dubai With Children 

In general, I recommend staying at the beachfront. Whether you opt for Jumeirah or JBR- The Walk. The hotels in Dubai tend to be very child-friendly – if you don’t book a hotel at the beach, I suggest booking a hotel with a pool (many hotels have an outdoor pool in Dubai).

Click here for my Dubai accommodation guide and if you are looking for the family-friendly hotels in Dubai click here.

More Tips for Your Trip to Dubai With Kids

  • Dubai can be really sunny – so make sure to bring suncream, hats etc with you. If you are a female traveler, then you should check out the dress code for females in Dubai.
  • Booking tours in Dubai: Kids under two years almost never have to pay for any attraction, sometimes kids under 4 years have free entry (e.g. for Burj Khalifa), so it really depends on the activity and the age of the kids. When booking tours, I mostly use GetYourGuide – especially with kids this is the best option because the cancellation policy is good.
  • Some of the mentioned activities are free, some are paid activities. If you are on a budget (Dubai is not cheap), then read my tips on how to save money in Dubai.
  • Dubai is home to some fantastic fine dining restaurants – but there are also many different restaurants and cafes that have more kid-friendly dishes. So, food will not be a problem when traveling to Dubai with your families (the malls probably have the biggest variety of cuisines – for each budget).
  • Dubai is NOT stroller-friendly. The more modern areas are better but if you plan to just stroll – what I normally do, even with my nephews, you might see that not every place is pedestrian-friendly let alone stroller-friendly. However, most of the places mentioned below can be visited even with a stroller.

FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES IN DUBAI WITH CHILDREN

Enough general tips, here are the best activities for Dubai with children.

Visit the Desert with Kids

Kids activities in Dubai don’t just have to be fun for them, they can be fun for you too.

Where to go in Dubai with kids

I visited the desert several times and each time I somehow was accompanied by kids (not my own but strangers sitting in a car with me).

They always enjoyed whatever we decided to do, whether it was taking advantage of the variety of desert safaris, trying sand boarding, camel riding or dune bashing. However, children under the age of 5 years are normally not allowed to participate in the tour.

So, if you are traveling to Dubai with younger kids, this might not be the best thing to do with your family.

The dune bashing would probably even make my top ten things to do in Dubai with children and though it is probably best not to take very small children, there are so many other things to enjoy there that they are sure to love anything they do.

Prices depend on the exact tour and also on the age of the participants (one car can normally seat up to seven people, so even medium-sized and biggish-families can sit in one car together).

Find some of the best Dubai Safari tours here:

La Mer

La Mer is a new area that was just created a while ago and just opened about two years ago.

Best things to do in Dubai with kids

La Mer has something for everyone and so it does not surprise it has become a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.

Spend the day at the free beach (cabanas and umbrellas for a fee) and enjoy the pristine water while enjoying great views of Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) and the Dubai skyline.

The kids will love this area of Dubai and there are plenty of activities to do for kids of all ages.

Watersports, restaurants, street art, and so on – this is the best place to visit with kids and it is easy to spend a full day there without getting bored at all. One of those perfect “family things to do in Dubai” – none of your children will dislike the place and probably none of the grown-up neither).

Entry is free, if you bring your own water toys and snacks it can be even a cheap activity for the family in Dubai. The waterpark and some activities like, Haha Haha Bouncing charge money.

Check out their website for detailed kids activities.

Dubai Ice Rink

Apart from skiing, people can also actually ice skate in Dubai and this is always a thing that my students and all kinds of kids love and enjoy so I’m sure your kids will as well.

It is located in Dubai Mall, so if you do not have to supervise your kids. If you prefer not skating yourself you can head to the shops or numerous cafe/restaurants there. Find out more about prices.

Miracle Garden

Miracle Garden is a spectacular paradise made of huge floral sculptures.

What to do in Dubai with kids

It’s pretty magical for both adults and children – so it’s one of the best Dubai attractions for families. Miracle garden will definitely fascinate your children and give them lots of lovely memories to take home.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the giant teddy bear and the adorable mushroom houses!

Prices: The garden is located a bit further (so perfect to combine with a trip to Global Village, RTA bus No. 105 will take you there). Entry for adults is about 12€, kids aged between 3-12years pay about 10€ and kids under 2 years don’t have to pay).

Global Village

Global Village is one of the best places to visit in Dubai for kids, because this huge theme park is open in the winter months for a very small entry fee. It is perfect to combine with a trip to Miracle Garden.

It tries to bring lots of different cultures together and there are also lots of different roller coasters which your kids can ride for an additional fee.

Prices: Entrance fee about 5€, each ride costs extra.

Boat Tour

One of the best things to do in Dubai with kids is a boat tour.

Boat Tour in Dubai

A boat tour will definitely be fun for the kids as well as the adults (unless they get seasick).

So, if you take a dhow cruise along the creek they will have a great time and if anything, kids normally enjoy it the most! For the older kids, you can book a speedboat tour so they can enjoy some thrilling activities and those children who like it calmer you can book a dhow cruise or just a Marina or Palm Cruise.

Prices depend on the tour. Of course, you can book the most luxurious boat cruise, but if you have to watch your budget more closely (like most of us) you can do a dhow boat cruise (traditional wooden boats) which are not that expensive.

Check out different tours and prices here

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountain is located at Dubai Mall and several times a day (after 6 pm, on Fridays also at 1pm and 2 pm) there is a water dance which includes music so kids normally love it as much as adults do. Check out times here.

It’s best to either visit in the morning or after six o’clock so you can enjoy a spectacular water show.

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

The fountain show is free to watch – you can get on the platform which you have to pay for or you can get on a little boat to get close to the fountain. However, this is probably one of the best free things to do in Dubai with kids.

Family Go-Kart Bicycles

One of the great things to do in Dubai with children is to hop on a family go-kart bicycle and explore it by these fun bikes.

They can be rented at many places, but especially at Dubai Marina, you will see kids driving them (you do not have to get a family go-kart, you can also get single ones).

If you stroll along the Marina you will notice some little go-kart/bicycle hybrids where kids and adults can just hop on and race through on the little karts together.

Burj Khalifa

Personally, this is not my top recommendation for a visit to Dubai with very small kids – though it will definitely be something that the older ones (six and over) will enjoy.

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

Be warned: Strollers are not allowed. So, this means you might have to carry your 1 year old baby (or so) for quite a long time. Looking back, bringing an active one year old was probably not the best idea as we did. However, the 4-year old boy loved the views.

If you get a ticket for level 124 and 125 but don’t get it fast access then you will have to stand in line. With kids, normally, you can skip the line and have the fast track option to get up there.

I’m sure the kids will be amazed by the view from the tallest building in the world and thus, I have added it as one of the best things to do in Dubai with children.

Click here for my detailed guide on how to enjoy the view from the top of Burj Khalifa (including ticket prices, the best choices for you and more),

Find out about ticket prices and more info:

Aquarium

If you’re looking for more family things to do in Dubai why not try one of its famous aquariums, the Lost Chambers Aquarium in Atlantis (The Palm) and Dubai Aquarium which is located inside Dubai Mall.

You can see some of the Dubai Aquarium for free but if you are with kids they will probably want to go inside and have an amazing time at the Dubai Aquarium.

There is also an underwater zoo which is included in the basic ticket, so if your kids want to see some underwater animals this is the place to go.

P.S. I visited twice myself and I know, it is a very popular Instagram spot in Dubai – but I do not think it would be worth the entry fee. The entrance fee is quite high – but I visited both time (and once with my nephews) because I had my Hop-on and hop-ooff ticket and the entrance fee was included.

The Lost Chambers ticket is also included in the Big Bus Sightseeing Ticket but the City Sightseeing Bus Tours have a ticket included for the Aquarium in Dubai Mall.

JBR Walk

JBR Walk / The Beach is another awesome place your kids of all age will love.

JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai

There is the beach many playgrounds, and even a new attraction which is called Flying Cub where you can see JBR from above (included in the City Sightseeing Bus Tour).

People under 105 cm are not allowed to get on it, but those who are not afraid of heights will enjoy this activity which is the most fun to be done with a few people.

My both nephews LOVED JBR and kids and teenagers will love the funny and cute street art that you can find along JBR walk and since it is located directly by the beach it is another fun thing to do there so you can combine a day at the beach with checking out street art.

Prices: The beach access is free and many activities don’t cost anything but some do, so bring along some change.

Souks

Another one of the fun things to do in Dubai with kids is to take a trip around the souks.

The souks either in Bur Dubai or Deira are little markets with lots of little shops and the owners are very nice so if your kids like to dress up and try out Arabian clothes they can do it for free.

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Very small kids might be overwhelmed but not enjoy it as much, but especially teenage girls will find some affordable fun clothes and souvenirs to buy. While it might be too busy for the little ones, older kids will enjoy experiencing the different flavors, or enjoy sampling Arabic snacks

Ski

Of all of the things to do with children in Dubai, I bet you weren’t expecting this one! You may not know it but Dubai is also home to a ski hall so if the heat is getting the better of you or if you want to do something really crazy, you could hit the slopes and spend a day at the ski hall.

It is located in the Mall of Emirates and if your kids do not need supervision you can leave them there and just enjoy some time in the air-conditioned mall.

  • Click here to find out about prices for skiing in Dubai

IMG World of Adventure

IMG World of Adventure has recently opened and it is perfect for kids. It is one of the newest theme parks and they have loads of different thrill rides to enjoy. You can spend a whole day there and it’s especially great for younger kids. It surely is one of the top Dubai attractions for families who enjoy theme parks.

  • Click here to find the best rates for your day at the theme park

City Walk

Yes, kids often don’t like shopping malls, but there is one shopping district called City Walk which is extremely kid-friendly in Dubai and has areas, where they can play and have a great time.

Most Insta worth places in Dubai

Younger kids will love the little sightseeing bus and stuffed animals which they can “drive” and there is a fun laser show in the evening that is loved by the kids (and adults like me, probably less popular amongst the teenagers but some might also like it as it includes some water elements, too).

If your kids are older they will love the illuminated walkways in the evening (evenings start early in Dubai, so depending on the season it can start between 5-7 pm).

Strolling the area and watching some shows are free, other activities vary heavily on the price.

KidZania

A great idea for places for kids in Dubai is KidZania.

This is a place that I haven’t checked out myself, but it is one of the kid’s attractions in Dubai Mall where there is a mini town where kids can play grown up, playing doctors and firemen or pilots. They get to run their own little town there which is very cute and lots of fun for them.

Water Parks

Dubai has some amazing water parks which surely are perfect for children of all ages.

Wild Waldi park with kids in Dubai

I have visited the Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis and even as an adult, I had a great time there and I am sure that if your kids like water, fun, and adventure then they will love a water park.

If you ar staying at one of the Jumeirah hotels, then you will have complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark next to Burj al Arab (updated: I have just visited it and think both are fun, though I probably enjoyed the Aquaventure in Atlantis a bit more).

If you are a guest of one of the Jumeirah hotels you will have free access to the Wild Wadi Park, and as a guest of the Atlantis, you will have free access to the Aquaventure.

I definitely recommend visiting the Aquaventure water Park and would plan in a whole day for it.

Click here to find out about the rates for the different waterparks in Dubai:

Looking for more Dubai attractions for kids?

Bounce Dubai

My little nephew is the biggest fan of jumping and if it was up to him he would love to spend all day at a place where he has trampolines as he can never get enough!

There is one place called Bounce Dubai with hundreds of interconnected trampolines which is another great place to visit in Dubai with kids.

It is not very close to other main attractions – like Burj Khalifa – but you could probably combine it with a trip to Mall of Emirates.

Metro

Ok, this is probably not as popular with older kids but for smaller ones 4-year old nephew, it can be one of the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids. He just loves to ride the tram or metro in Germany and definitely loved the metro in Dubai.

Metro Station in Dubai

In Dubai the metro is over-ground so they get to see a lot – if you take the red metro line your kids can admire the Burj Khalifa and many other builds from the train. The only downside is that it is busy and the metro get crowded often.

So, avoid busy times to make sure your kids have a great view and get a seat.

It is also fast, modern and clean so it really is a great thing to do with kids in Dubai and the stations look like little space shuttles-

Legoland

Of all of the Dubai children’s attractions, this one is always a hit!

Kids love theme parks and Legoland is probably one of the most popular children activities in Dubai so you should definitely plan a visit! Find out more about prices by by clicking here.

Beach

Dubai has some very nice beaches and when it’s hot it’s one of the best places for kids in Dubai.

things for kids to do in Dubai

Some of the beaches are free to the public so anyone can visit, even if your hotel doesn’t have a beach.

As mentioned, JBR and La Mer have some nice beaches, but if you prefer a place where the kids are not distracted by activities that cost money head to the Kite Beach (Jumeirah beach) where it is really only about the beach.

The view of the stunning Burj al Arab might be less popular by the kids (though older ones will love the interest architecture) but this view is popular with the parents.

This includes Kite Beach so why not head there and spend a day in the water.

If you are at one of the luxury hotels at Jumeirah Beach or The Palm you will normally have hotel beaches which are most likely even quieter and stunningly beautiful. But believe me, even the public beaches, JBR Walk and Jumeirah Beach are lovely places to visit in Dubai with kids.

CONCLUSION: FAMILY VACATION IN DUBAI WITH KIDS

Dubai with children is actually a lot of fun – as you can see, Dubai is not only for adults who like to go shopping and enjoy nice dinners. There are many things to do in Dubai with kids – it is also fun because there are so many fun activities for families and people of all ages and a family trip surely isn’t a bad idea! Read about 50 fun things to do in Dubai (if you need some more travel inspiration).

Safe Travels, Arzo

Where to Stay in Jordan for an Amazing Trip

BEST PLACES TO STAY IN JORDAN FOR ALL BUDGETS

Are you planning your Jordan trip and wondering about where to stay in Jordan? Then this post is for you – find out about the best places to stay in Jordan, the best areas and best hotels for all budgets.

The country of Jordan is absolutely amazing. It has become a very popular tourist destination, and for good reason. This is one of the most beautiful places in not only the Middle East, but in the world. Jordan has so much to offer, from stunning scenery to small cute villages and fun cities.

It is a great place to visit for anyone, whether you are an adventurer, a family, or a solo female traveler. Jordan is very safe. And let’s not forget Jordan’s generous hospitality.

This post will let you know where to stay in Jordan and the best accommodations in all price ranges, from budget to midrange to luxury. There will also be travel tips to make your own trip to Jordan even better.

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

Amman

Amman is the capital of Jordan, so of course you must make a stop here. This conservative and traditional Arabic city is full of fun and activity. It is very modern, and with about 4 million people living here, also very hectic and busy.

Amman citadel is one of the best places to see in Jordan

This city is the perfect place to either start or end your Jordan trip. It’s also in a convenient location, making it easy to take a day trip to Jerash, which is only 48 km north of the capital. 

I would suggest staying for 2 nights if you are planning to be in Jordan for at least 7 days.

Where to Stay in Amman

I stayed in Nomads Hostel Hotel while I was here. It was very conveniently located near Rainbow Street and made it easy for me to connect with other female travelers. The hostel was fun, modern, and clean, with a great location. Check it out here.

For a midrange hotel option, I suggest Albasem Hotel, which is well-rated and centrally located. Check out rates and availibilities here.

For a luxury hotel, try The House Boutique Suites, which is also near Rainbow Street and offers lots of amenities.  Find out more about the hotel here.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is located along the western shores of Jordan and is a great place to visit in Jordan. This salt lake is situated at the lowest land elevation in the world. If you are visiting this fun locale, one night is enough to experience it. 

Dead Sea, Mövenpick pool with a view

You should know that there are only luxury hotels here, which are quite expensive.

But staying at one is great if you are looking to relax at the hotel’s private beach or lay out by the pool after a few busy days in Jordan – or if you need a place to refuel before the real adventure begins.

Best places to Stay at Dead Sea

I stayed at the Mövenpick Resort & Spa. The staff was really nice and very polite. My room was nice, but a little outdated, especially in the bathroom, but the bed was comfortable. The hotel was done in the Arabic style, and breakfast and dinner were included. I would say it was definitely worth the money. Check out rates here.

The Ma’in Hot Springs Resort & Spa is also a good place to stay, situated among beautiful mountain landscapes and offering relaxing spa amenities. Find out more about this luxury hotel here.

The Kempinski Hotel is another luxury accommodation here, which sits at the edge of this famous salt lake. Find out about the rates here.

For a budget option, try the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, which is a well-rated 4-star hotel with great amenities and private beach access. Find the rates here.

Petra

The next great place to stay is the most famous and most popular place in Jordan. This is not just because Indiana Jones was filmed here, though that does increase its popularity.

No, it is also because Petra has been declared one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. 

It is just amazing. You must stay in Petra during your time in Jordan. There is so much to do and it is so huge that you will not be able to see everything in one day. You will need to stay over at least one night. 

Best places to Stay in Petra / Wadi Musa

The Mövenpick Resort is a very nice luxury hotel located just next to Petra. But it is very popular and fills up fast, so if you want to stay there, then I suggest you book early. It really is the perfect location. Check out rates here.

Another beautiful place to stay near Petra is the Hyat Zaman – while it is rated as a 3-star hotel, it actually is a beautiful luxury hotel about 15 minutes drive from Petra. It was my favorite place to stay in Jordan. Great if you don’t have to watch your budget closely. Check out the hotel here.

For a cheaper option, you can stay in Wadi Musa at the Cleopatra Hotel, which is only 2 km away from Petra. It is a simple place to stay but was fine for 2 nights as it is close to min attractions. Read more about the hotel here.

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum is a must see place in Jordan. You should not miss it. Known as the Valley of the Moon, it is the largest wadi in Jordan and so it doesn’t surprise that it is one of the best places to stay in Jordan.

There are several options to stay in Wadi Rum.

My tip: stay in a beduin camp. Though they are made to appeal to tourists and visitors from around the world, they feel authentic and so they have been adapted for this purpose. There are quite a number of camps ranging from simple to luxurious, and most of them offer also desert tours.

I advise that you stay overnight so that you can watch the sun set over the wadi. Though it can rain, the experience is worth it.

My suggestions is to arrive in the evening, end your day in the camp  and have dinner at the fire camp (and watch the sunset) and then do a full day tour the next morning. If you do a full day tour it ends around 5 or 6 pm so you can then spend another night in the camp and then depart in the early morning.

The Bedouin camps will normally breakfast to guests – and you can also have dinner on request. If you do a full-day safari tour, lunch is included with a tour.

While there, I stayed in a simple, but nice, camp that I booked through Booking.com., however, that camp is – for unknown reasons closed now.

Where to Stay in Wadi Rum

Make sure that you ask about the tours once you have your accommodation booked. This camp looks pretty similar to the camp I stayed at and they also offer tours, so once you have your night booked then email them and ask about tours.

Check out this luxury camp that offers beautiful rooms with great views.

Aqaba

Aquaba is a port city in Jordan that is located on the Red Sea’s Gulf of Aquaba. It is a top destination for water sports lovers.

I didn’t go here because I don’t dive or snorkel and with only a bit more than 7 days in Jordan I had to set priorities about the places to visit but Aqaba is very popular among visitors and a great place if you like windsurfing, scuba diving, etc.  

The Yamanieh coral reef found at the Aqaba Marine Park is a favored dive site and if you are into this, then Aqaba is a great place to stay in Jordan.

Best places to Stay in Aqaba

For accommodations, you can stay at Al Manara Hotel in Aqaba, which is a luxury resort that is highly rated for its location, service, and amenities.

A more mid-range hotel would be the Lacosta Hotel, which is close to the beach and other attractions, and often includes breakfast.

A budget option would be the Amir Palace Hotel, which is a charming boutique hotel in the city center.

Dana Reservation Camp

On the way from the Dead Sea to Petra, you will find the less popular and famous Dana Nature Reserve. Despite not being as well-known as other places in Jordan, Dana is absolutely beautiful.

Dana Nature Reserve at sunset

Everything here is quite simple, but it is the place for seeing great sunsets and hiking. Normally, all hotels and Bedouin camps offer hiking tours, which you can join for a fee. 

Whether you are staying a full day, two days, or even longer, this is a great place to visit in Jordan. It is a little different than the other spots you will see in the country, but that is part of its appeal. Once you have booked your accommodations, ask about the tours.

Jordan is an amazing country with so many places to see. Picking the right accommodation can help you really enjoy the experience in each city you visit and make it easier for you to explore the country’s landmarks.

Whether it is a 5-star luxury hotel (which does not really exist in Dana) or a tent in a Bedouin camp, you will get to see and experience the true beauty of Jordan if you pick the right activities and the perfect accommodation for you.

Where to Stay in Dana

I stayed at Al Nawatef Bedouin Camp – it is a very basic camp. You have shared toilets and mattresses were not great. However, I still recommend it because the views are great (and sunset from here is top!), and the food was great. 

So, I definitely recommend staying here (plus it is very budget-friendly). Check out their rates here.

If you are looking for a bit more comfort you will probably find it at Mount Dana Hotel. You can check out their rates and amenities.

CONCLUSION: WHERE TO STAY IN JORDAN

As stunning as Jordan is, staying in one place and only do day trips is not the best idea. So, traveling around – and changing hotels – is the best way to see the country. 

I hope, these tips will also help you creating your Jordan itinerary  but of course, I also hope, you have found the answer to your question on where to stay in Jordan and now know which hotels and areas to choose when planning your Jordan trip (whether you do a road trip or do day trips .

READ MORE: Solo female travel in Jordan

Safe Travels, Arzo

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