what to see and do in Dubai in 2 days, the best itinerary for Dubai


Are you planning to visit Dubai but are unsure what to do in Dubai in 2 days or how much to fit into your 2-day Dubai itinerary?

I recommend visiting Dubai for at least two days. 2 days is the minimum to get a good glimpse of the city and see the main tourist attractions. If you stay longer, check out my 7-day Dubai itinerary.

In this 2-day Dubai itinerary, you will find out where to go and what to see, plus many travel tips for a smooth 2-day trip.

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


2 days in Dubai is a good amount to get an idea of the city. You can visit some of the main sights and attractions but 2 days is not enough to see some hidden gems or really see all of the main sights. It is the minimum amount of days to explore Dubai.


Here are places I suggest visiting in Dubai in 2 days. I also give a time frame, but of course, it really is up to each person how much you can actually do and see.






So, let´s start your 2-day trip by visiting the souks (markets).

Stop 1: Gold and Spice Souk in Deira

The Gold and Spice Souk is located in Deira, the old part of Dubai. Deira is located in the north of the city and quite close to the airport. Discover the hectic and crazy part of Dubai. Retailers can be quite persistent, which can be quite stressful. However, I truly enjoy strolling along this part, and it is one of the places you have to visit in Dubai in 2 days.

Many people say it is a very intense place, and some did not like it that much. I understand the criticism, but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must. 

  • Most stores open around 9 to 10 pm, and it gets busy quickly.
  • So I recommend a start early in the morning before all the other tourists come and it gets even more hectic.

  • You can buy souvenirs, clothes (including Arabian clothes), gold, spices, rugs and all kind of things.
  • The prices are much better than in the malls (especially for souvenirs) and if you are about to buy something, then do it here.
  • If you buy something, you must haggle. It is part of shopping in this area, and actually, it can be fun if you do it n a nice way.

TIP FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS: I love this area, but as a solo traveler, it is not easy. There are stares. There will be shop owners who approach you, and so on. It is safe, no need to worry, but it can be tiring. I recommend wearing less revealing clothes if you want to avoid them.

Stop 2: Abra Ride / Bur Dubai 

A must-do to include on your Dubai itinerary is a short abra ride. Abras are traditional water taxis that are popular and super cheap. Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 days

  • The most authentic abra ride is near the gold and spice souk.
  • You can walk towards the abra station of Deira Gold Souk and get to the other side (Bur Dubai) by taking an abra (water taxi).
  • It just costs a few cents and is a nice and cheapest way to get to the other side of the creek where you can continue your travel.
  • You can also have the whole abra to yourself for 5€. This allows great photo opportunities with no one else in the picture, but if you make it to the front of the abra, you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
  • In Bur Dubai are some museums and another souk where you find more spices, gold, and other things.
  • Of course, you can spend a whole day exploring this part of Dubai, but if you only have 2 days in Dubai, I recommend planning in 2-5 hours for seeing these two parts of Dubai.
  • If you want to budget your time more wisely, you can plan in one hour. 

Stop 3: La Mer

La Mer, a new beachfront area with tons of cool and hip restaurants and cafes, street arts and cool graffiti, and fun details, is a great place to chill. It can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches), but it is a place you should not miss out on.  La Mer Beach Dubai

  • La Mer is a must-see in 2 days in Dubai.  
  • The beach at La Mer comes with a Burj Khalifa view.
  • Take a dip in the ocean, or do some water sports.
  • Have some lunch, enjoy the graffiti (there is quite a lot) and then head to the next place.
  • Check out my guide on La Mer.

Stop 3: OR Jumeirah Beach

Okay, honestly, you won’t probably be able to visit Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches.

La Mer comes with Burj Khalifa’s view, while Jumeirah Beach comes with Burj al-Arab’s view.Where to go in Dubai in 2 days

  • Jumeirah Beach is not too far from Dubai Deira and the souks. You can get there by bus or taxi.
  • The open Jumeirah Beach also offers nice views of the only 7* hotel in the world, Burj Al-Arab. Luckily, the Burj Al-Arab is huge, so the pictures do not really show Burj Al-Arab’s distance to Jumeirah Beach.
  • Here you can take a rest or take a dip.
  • Many beaches in Dubai are private and reserved for relevant hotel guests – Jumeirah Beach is open to the public and free of charge.
  • It can get busy, but it does not get as busy as we know from European beaches. From there, get a bus or taxi to Downtown Dubai.

PERSONAL OPINION: If I had time for one beach, I would choose La Mer.

Dubai Downtown

After some time at the beach, slowly head to Dubai Downtown. Dubai Downtown is stuffed with many interesting attractions. You will find, among others, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa in this area.

  • There is no train connection (neither from Jumeirah Beach nor from La Mer), but you can get there by bus or taxi.

what to see in dubai in 2 days

Stop 4: Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world – standing at 828 meters. You can enjoy some amazing views “At the Top of Burj Khalifa.” The best of Dubai in 2 days

Stop 5: Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit, even if you are not a big shopper. It is not only about shopping. You’ll also find the Dubai Aquarium and more attractions here. You could spend several days at the Dubai Mall, so it really depends on how much you are into malls and shopping.

What attractions in Dubai Mall

  • Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa, so there is no travel time. You can start your window shopping straight away.
  • You can spend anything between 30 minutes to many, many hours here.
  • Considering you only have 2 days in Dubai, try to limit your time to 2 hours max. 
  • Dubai Mall also has a food court that offers affordable food from all around the world. Of course, there are also all kinds of restaurants in and near Dubai Mall, including many luxury hotels.

Stop 6: Dubai Fountain

Next to Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain. Here you can watch nice water fountain shows in the evening. 

Dubai 2 day itinerary - what to do in dubai for 2 days
Dancing Fountain Show @shutterstock

I suggest ending your first day in Dubai here.

  • Evening shows take place from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM – every 30 minutes.
  • It is free to watch.
  • It gets busy, and to secure yourself a good spot to watch it, get there way before a show takes place.
  • Dubai is safe, and this area is safe at night. 
  • You can also sit there by yourself in the evening.
  • Sitting there and watching tourists while Burj Khalifa is beautifully illuminated at night is a fun day to crop off your day.

Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 1

Deira is great for cheaper food – you´ll find many different cuisines at the Gold and Spice Souks. I suggest having lunch there or at La Mer.

For dinner, I recommend having it in Downtown. Restaurants with a fountain view tend to be more expensive, but there are also good restaurants in the medium-price segment. For the cheapest dinner in Downtown, check out the Food Court of Dubai Mall. 


Day 2 in Dubai starts in Dubai Marina.

Stop 1: Marina

Start with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, which probably one of my most favorite parts in Dubai.

This man-made marina is one of the biggest in the world.

  • I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts and could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while. 
  • Besides skyscrapers, you will also find many bars and restaurants.
  • To see Marina from a different perspective, I recommend a Marina Cruise. There are several options, so look at which one is the perfect choice for you by clicking here.
  • Dubai Marina is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the day. It might be even more fun to visit in the evening when it gets busier, livelier, and prettier with all the lights.
  • However, for the evening, I recommend another place (more on that later). After lunch and 1-3 hours here in Marina, I suggest one or two more stops for the day.

Stop 2: JBR Walk

You can, alternatively or additionally, add JBR – The Walk to your 2-day Dubai itinerary.
Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

Since it is within walking distance (20-30 minutes) to Dubai Marina, you could also combine it with a trip to Dubai Marina.

  • If you prefer some beach time rather than strolling in Marina, I suggest visiting JBR-The Walk only.
  • There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
  • It is the perfect place to swim – there are many options to rent water sports equipment.
  • You can find some street art, so also get away from the beach and walk around.
  • Ride the “Flying Cup,” where you have a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk. You can buy tickets just at the Fyling Cup.
  • It is also great to have good food – there are so many restaurants and cafes that you will be happy to have a wonderful lunch in a lovely place.

Read more: Best places to visit in Dubai at night

Stop 3: Desert Safari

A desert safari tour incl. BBQ normally starts around 3 or 4 pm, so reserve half a day for a trip to the desert. 

what to do in dubai for 2 days

  • You can do the desert tours either in the morning or afternoon.
  • A morning desert safari is great as it often includes some sandboarding activities and other activities like dune bashing.
  • A morning desert is surely a great experience if you do not have so much time to do shorter tours. The Morning Dune Drive takes about 4 hours instead of 7-8 hours. But if you have two full days in Dubai, I suggest the Sundowner tour. Ending the day in the desert is a great experience.
  • Click here for a desert safari in the afternoon/evening.
  • Find out more about a morning desert safari here.
  • If you have a meal included and are vegetarian/vegan, you can request this in advance. I was so pleased to see the many vegetarian options.
  • Often, you will be picked up at your hotel.
  • If your start starts around 3, make sure to be back at the hotel in time. Plan in possible traffic on your way back from Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. It would be a pity if you missed out on the safari because of being late at the pick-up location.

Alternative: Miracle Garden 

If you visit in the winter months, you could also add Dubai Miracle Garden to your 2-day itinerary. Miracle Garden is a very Instafamous flower park, located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions. 

Miracle Garden @shutterstock

You will see flowers. You will see a lot of flowers. They are designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes. It is Dubai, so of course, it is the biggest flower park in the world.

  • The tickets are about 12€.
  • Seeing all pieces should take about two hours.
  • However, it is only open in the winter months (normally, it is open from November to May)
  • Check out their website for more info

Where to Eat in Dubai – Day 2

For lunch, I suggest having it at Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk.

For dinner, lay back and do not worry. If you book a desert safari with a BBQ, you have to find a perfect dinner spot. 


Here you´ll find essential travel tips for your trip to Dubai.

Security Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers

Dubai is a super safe city to travel to, and I think it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler.

Here are some tips on the dress code for females – to avoid stares and show your respect to the local culture.

How to Get Around in 2 Days in Dubai

Dubai has good public transportation.

  • However, some stations are spread out, which means that some walking may be required.
  • The metro trains and trams are super clean, safe, reliable, and fast.

Using taxis is an easy and safe way to get around.

  • Make sure to use the official ones.
  • The black Lexus cabs are more expensive than the normal ones, which are super fine to use.
  • There is a meter which has to be on when you get onto the taxi. You normally do not have to worry about scams in Dubai. You pay what you see on the meter (and feel free to tip).

One of my favorite ways to get around in Dubai is by getting a hop-on and hop-off ticket.

Where to Stay in Dubai in 2 Days

Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is often better than other 3* hotels worldwide. I stayed at all of the ones I mention below.

I recommend staying in a central area, so you don’t waste too much time driving around. With a weekend in Dubai only, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic from your hotel to the attraction.

  • Dubai Marina is the best place to stay if you prefer to be in a  lively part of Dubai. With the Marina close by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions. Check out this 5* Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai.
  • JBR Walk is a lovely area with many restaurants and shops. Most hotels have beach access. It is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out this4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
  • Extra tip: 3* A decent budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha. It is not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.
  • My full Dubai accommodation guide is here – all the best areas and all the best hotels for all budgets.

You can also find budget hotels though you cannot expect super bargains. The best prices are often in Deira, and though I recommend visiting this fun area, it is not an area I recommend staying at – especially not as a female traveler. So make sure to book a room on the main street when choosing Deira.

Best Time to Visit Dubai

  • One of the most important travel tips I can give you for your 2-day Dubai is: choose the time of your visit wisely.
  • I do not recommend visiting during the summer (May – September). The average temperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August and 34 °C (93°F) in May.
  • Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
  • Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat.
  • The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion. 
  • The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January. 
  • Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available).
  • In 2022 Ramadan is from 3rd April to 2nd May.
  • In 2022 it is from 23rd March to 23rd April. 

More Things to Know About Dubai

Here are a few more posts for your Dubai trip.


Was this Dubai itinerary helpful? Then save it on Pinterest.

2 day itinerary Dubai, Arzo Travels

I hope you have found some inspiration. Honestly, this is a good itinerary for Dubai in 2 days – in my eyes, at least. You will see the main sights, which do not include any hidden gems but rather great places for a first-time visitor to Dubai.

There are many more things to do in Dubai, but this 2-day Dubai itinerary might allow you to see the most important attractions in Dubai if you have minimal time.

If you have decided to extend your stay – a good idea, by the way – check out my other itineraries.

Safe Travels, Arzo

Best Places to See Dubai from Above

Dubai best view points -


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 scenic views indeed, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.Dubai best view points

See Dubai From Burj Khalifa “At the Top”

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 pointsThe 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 most of the day, so booking tickets in advance can be quite helpful.

Ticket prices depend on the time of the visit – it’s just a few € difference in ticket prices, but if you don’t want to stand in line and 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 will break the record, but for now, book yourself tickets for Burj Khalifa if you want to experience the taller building in the world.

See Dubai from Dubai Frame

One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located close to Zabeel Park.Views from Dubai FrameThe Frame 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 daysThis 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 want to have some adrenaline rush when walking on the glass and look down.

Enjoy Amazing Dubai Views From a 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

See Dubai From 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 daysYou 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 – a belt secures you. 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 you or enjoy JBR, one of the best places to visit in Dubai.

See Dubai’s Desert on 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 sunrise in the desert (yes, it means waking up very early). At the same time, passing dunes is an exceptional 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 trip takes a few hours, including hotel pick-up, etc. So if you have a few days in Dubai, add it to your itinerary.

Have Thrilling Views at 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 itineraryHead 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.”

Hop On a Seaplane flight

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

Dubai - The Palm @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.

Enjoy Thrilling Views and do Sky Dive

A unique way to overlook Dubai is from a jump from the plane for the fearless ones. 

Best areas to stay in Dubai

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 a few have – so do it (easy said as I would not, but maybe you are braver than me :).

Great Views From Rooftop Bars

So, if you want to enjoy a drink while having great views, here are some rooftop bars with some of the best views in Dubai (though I have not been to 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 located 155 meters above the ground.

Tomo at Raffles Hotel

This rooftop bar and Japanese restaurant is located on 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 in the daytime, 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 MarinaThere are some more amazing viewpoints in Dubai – many of the skyscrapers offer stunning views of the city and Burj Khalifa. However, the above-mentioned places are pretty great if you are looking for the ultimate, the best views in Dubai because each offers 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

Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Review Dinner in the Sky Dubai


Best afternoon tea in Dubai

Seen Burj Khalifa? Spent a day at the new hotspot, La Mer? Done all the typical sightseeing things, and now you are looking for something more unique to do in Dubai?

Then, it is time to enjoy dinner in the sky! Dining in the sky, with your feet hanging 50 meters up in the air, is surely something special, and you’ll have great views of Dubai Marina, too!Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels

In this post, I will share my experiences for my dinner in the sky in Dubai. Please find out how to book tickets, where to go, and what to expect, plus my unbiased conclusion of Dinner in the Sky.


Dinner in the Sky is a floating dinner table and a trendy way of eating while having amazing views (and often being a bit scared). These days, you will find Dinner in thy Sky in more than 60 locations – and one of them is in Dubai.

A big dinner table, lifted 50 meters in the sky by a crane, can host up to 22 people (plus the staff that stands in the middle and serves food, entertains, and mostly takes great pictures).

When I saw this activity for the first time (on GetYourGuide, I’m sure), I knew I had to do it – and so I did.

Dining in the Sky is a new invention, and some places offer the experience, but it is still unknown amongst many travelers. When I asked my followers on Instagram about whether I should opt for a helicopter ride or dinner, it was a tie. 

However, most people were thrilled to hear about this activity. If you are interested in having a lunch/dinner or afternoon tea in the sky, here are my impressions and some important information for this experience in the city of superlatives.Review Dinner in the Sky 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.


I booked Dinner in the Sky via GetYourGuide – I often use this website (or Viator) and hardly ever book my tours directly. 

I know the cancellation policy is very generous (we never know what could happen, right?), and if something happens, they could help me.


You can either book lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner. Afternoon tea is the least expensive, while dinner is the most expensive.

Depending on the season, you can see the sunset from up there if you book an afternoon tea. Keep in mind that it could be quite hot if you book lunch in the warmer months.

I opted for the afternoon tea (I ended up booking the helicopter tour), and prices vary greatly.

Also, the timing suited me better (it starts around 4 pm).Book Dinner in the Sky


  • You have to be at least 1,20 meters to be allowed to take part.
  • There are lockers (without any charge) to stow your items you do not need (do not forget to take out your cameras and mobiles).
  • The activity lasts about 60 minutes (plus 15 minutes of preparation time), and, personally, I found it to be neither too long nor too short.
  • It allows you to eat while also taking a lot of pictures from different angles and also have pictures taken of you (more on that later).


The activity is located in Dubai Marina, next to SkyDive Dubai and Zero Gravity. Where is Dinner in the Sky DubaiI was in this area already, so I just walked from Dubai Marina. Public transportation does not drop you there directly. So either get to Habtoor Hotel (or close to Grosvenor House) and then walk (about 10 minutes) or take a taxi and ask to be driven to SkyDive or Zero Gravity.

If you have other activities like skydiving planned, or a day at the popular Zero Gravity, you can schedule dinner here around that.Online tickets for dinner in the sky

Review: Dinner in the Sky Experiences Dubai

Okay, here are my impressions – things I liked and things I did not like when I had my afternoon tea in Dubai. I arrived early. There was no wifi, and the toilets did not work, so I went to Zero Gravity for an hour to kill time.


I found out that my request for vegetarian snacks did not go through. It was not a great start, but the staff managed to organize vegetarian food for me last-minute. The catering is by Westin, one of Dubai’s best hotels, so the food is great and of high quality.Afternoon tea in the skyYou get some snacks, juices (not fresh, though it was written in the description), soft drinks, tea, and coffee for afternoon tea.

It can easily replace a meal (you get some more than you see on the tablet here), so I recommend not having lunch right before or planning a big dinner afterward.

The staff, especially onboard, is great. Friendly, fun, with great photography skills (not sure if it was only the person responsible for us, but they did take great pictures and put some effort into it).Unique activities for Dubai They did everything they could to make sure that we had a great time up there, including nice music that was perfect for a fun time.

With a crane, you get lifted 50 meters above the ground, and the table rotates slowly, so you get amazing views from all angles.

I felt safer than I thought I would. Since you get moved to the table very closely and have some arm support on the left and right side, it is not as scary as some people might expect and less thrilling than you might think.

However, if you are scared of heights or faint-hearted, this might be an extreme challenge though. But I am sure you (yes, you) will be able to handle it even if you think you will not.Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels (8 von 24)

I was holding my glass, etc., with two hands, though, and had my camera wrapped around my neck. I had a necklace/wrist strap that made me feel much more comfortable taking pictures.How to book Dinner in the Sky Dubai You can turn the chairs around, which is cool. Unfortunately, not 360 degrees, which is a pity, but it still allows you to enjoy better views, and you can lean back.

Seeing the Marina skyline from this perspective is definitely unique and amazing. Seeing the beach underneath you and Zero Gravity while the sun is setting was a wonderful experience.Where is Dinner in the SkyReview of Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Fun things in Dubai


The experience was great, and I am happy I went for it. It is probably a great one-time experience, and if you want to try something new, this is a unique thing to do.

If you are looking for an extremely thrilling activity, then this is not for you – skydiving might be the better option, but it does not have to be extremely adventurous to have a great time, right?

I wished the crane was positioned differently, though, so the metal bar (sorry, I do not know the technical term) would not be in the way when taking pictures of the Dubai Eye.

However, it is fun and nerve-wracking initially, but the staff makes you feel safe, so even those who are normally terrified should try this out.Book a sunset dinner in Dubai

Check out prices at Get Your Guide for Dinner in the SkyLunch in the sky Dubai - Review: Dinner in the Sky Dubai

Find out about the 50 best things to do in Dubai

If you have not booked your hotel yet find out about the best areas to stay in Dubai for each budgetSafe Travels, Arzo

How to Visit Burj Khalifa in Dubai 

Burj Khalifa- at the top


Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world – making it one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is now standing at 828 meters high and has become one main attraction in Dubai.

At night it gets wonderfully illuminated (LED shows at certain times, not in the summer), and it doesn’t really matter if you visit in the daytime or the evening – this place is a must-see place.

In this post, you can find out more about Burj Khalifa: Some facts, information about visiting the building, and if it is worth it. You will find out about the Top of Burj Khalifa’s ticket prices, about opening hours, and more important information.

Visiting Burj Khalifa had been on my bucket list for quite a while visit to the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai. I missed it on my first trip, but I made sure to visit on my second visit. And on my fourth trip – and my seventh trip. Yes, I have visited a couple of times, so I share my tips and experiences about my Burj Khalifa with you.Burj Khalifa Angel Wings with Arzo Trav



Here are some facts and background information.

What is Burj Khalifa?

Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. It stands at 828 meters in Dubai Downtown. It was formally opened in 2010.

Burj Khalifa is home to offices, some luxury apartments, the luxury Armani hotel, and a fine dining restaurant at 442 meters. And then, there are the two observation decks that can be visited. 

Records of Burj Khalifa

Its unique shape makes Burj Khalifa distinctive, but of course, its height, standing tall in 828 meters with 160 stories, is the most important feature. It doesn’t really matter where you stay in Dubai (or even in the neighbor emirate of Sharjah). The building is almost visible from any place.

It actually holds several records (among others)

  • The tallest building in the world (828 meters)
  • The tallest free-standing structure in the world
  • The highest number of levels in the world (160 levels)
  • The highest occupied floor in the world
  • The highest outdoor observation deck in the world (level 148 at 555 meters)
  • The elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
  • The tallest service elevator in the world (cruising at 10m/s)

As you can see, there are several records Burj Khalifa holds.Burj Khalifa from Burj Club Arzo Travels

Location of Burj Khalifa

It is located in Dubai Downtown on 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, next to the Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain. Well, apparently, it is impossible to miss Burj Khalifa but finding the “entrance” takes some time.

From the airport to the tower, it takes about 20 minutes drive – without traffic (15km). It takes about the same getting from the highest tower in the world to the most expensive hotel in the world -Burj al-Arab (16km).

You have to get the ticket from Dubai Mall at the ticket store. It is on the LG floor, and there are signs with “At the top of Burj Khalifa“ everywhere. There seems to be no direct way to get into Burj Khalifa for us normal people, and we all have to go there to get up.

Getting Tickets for Burj Khalifa

If you want to book tickets, you need to think about the level of access and your visit time.

Tickets for Level 124 & 145 or Level 148?

Let´s start with the level access. There are two ticket options available. You can buy tickets for Level 124 and 125 or for level 148 (that ticket also includes tickets for level 124 and 125)

  • Level 148 is at 555 meters
  • Level 125 at 456 meters 

All levels offer stunning views. But there are some differences which you should know about. It makes a huge difference regarding prices and services (there is a fast lane for level 148). As far as I have heard, it does not necessarily offer a much better view, though.

LEVEL 148: Advantages: If you book your ticket for level 148 you can also visit level 124 and level 125 + you have access to the Sky Lounge (and get serves dates and coffee). Also, you can skip the lines. Burj Khaliga from level 124, 125

However, prices are much higher. Though I have visited three times so far, I have only bought tickets for level 124+125.

If you know about prices, it will maybe help to decide which tickets to buy. Check out tickets:

While I had twice a regular ticket for level 124+125, I also booked a ticket once that included dinner at Burj Club.

Also, there are a few more tickets available. When I visited the Burj Khalifa for the second time, I bought tickets that included a dinner in the Burj Club. THAT was totally worth the money. Check out prices for a nice lunch/dinner with a view, including tickets for Burj Khalifa.

Best Time to Visit Burj Khalifa

Once you have decided whether you are happy with level 124 & 125 or with level 148, you have to decide on the time of your visit. 

  • Sunrise Tickets – only available on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 – 7:30 am. You don’t have to leave the Burj at 7:30. You can stay as long as you like. It is just important to arrive by 7:30 am
  • Basic Tickets – from 8:30 am to 3 pm. You can stay longer but need to buy your tickets for that time and arrive in that time span and from 6:30 to midnight.
  • Sunset Tickets – after 3.30 pm (to 6:30 pm) tickets get more expensive – than the tickets for the sunset.

Tip: I can’t guarantee it, but I saw families with little kids who were allowed to skip the lines (which is totally understandable). If you are lucky and don’t buy the more expensive ticket for level 148, you still might get a fast-track entry if you are with little (not the bigger teenager ones) ones.

How to Get Tickets for Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is very popular – tickets can be sold out quickly during busy times. So, buying online tickets in advice is a must between November and April.

If you want to visit between November-March, I recommend booking your tickets a few days earlier (if not weeks in advance). If you visit in the shoulder season, booking tickets a few days in advance should be fine.

I have visited Burj Khalifa three times so far – and I booked via GetYourGuide. Check out prices and availabilities here.

If you have your online ticket, you will still have to go to the main entrance of Burj Khalifa in Dubai Mall.

I came here three times, and to be honest, no one checked the exact time on my ticket. Mostly, because it is so busy, it is difficult to be here totally on time. So, while you decide on the time, don’t worry if you will be a bit late because you stand in line for too long. However, I still recommend being in Dubai Mall at least 30 minutes early. Some people might check, and it takes time to get to the entrance.

Burj Khalifa With Kids

On my third trip, I was accompanied by my two nephews (10 months and 5 years at that time). The younger one did not really enjoy it. The older nephew appreciated the view and had a blast.

I think Burj Khalifa is not very child-friendly – especially if you visit with toddlers, it might be stressful. We were not allowed to take the stroller. So, my little nephew had to be carried around most of the time! This made a trip to Burj Khalifa less fun. Would I visit with strollers/babies again? No, I would only visit Burj Khalifa with kids who can walk. 

Kids under the age of 4 don’t have to pay any entry (for no level). Kids between 4-12 years pay less. However, there is only a reduction for levels 124 and 125 (no reduction in prices for level 148).

Getting to Level 124 + 125 of Burj Khalifa

Whether you buy your tickets online or at the ticket center: The ticket center will be the starting point of your trip to Burj Khalifa. And here is where standing in lines starts. You might have to stand in line for quite a while. If you do not have a VIP ticket (level 148), you need to be patient. While the views aren’t supposed to be better, using the fast track is probably worth it.Burj Khalifa entrance You have to pass security (remember to not carry illegal things with you) and then walk to the elevator (this includes more standing in line). When you take the lift, you will hear some interesting facts about the highest building in the world. This makes waiting a bit less boring, but it can still be tiring.Info on Burj Khalifa

This procedure took me between 30-60 minutes, but the views were worth it.

The first views were nice, but the first impression was not overwhelming. I was looking for THAT one particular view: The view of the Water Fountain and Dubai Mall. This spot was one of the most crowded – apparently, I was not the only one who wanted to enjoy this particular view. 

The view is stunning, and as the Water Fountain Show was going on, it was heavily crowded. People were delighted to see the spectacle from the top of Burj Khalifa.

Once the show stopped and the crowd cleared up (funny how quickly that happened), I waited for another half hour to witness the show again. Watching the water show from above was just nice. However, it isn’t easy to get good pictures through a window, but I tried my best.

Views of Burj Khalifa from level 125Level 124 + Level 125

  • You will have great views of Burj Khalifa from level 124+125 
  • Indoor and outdoor vantage points 
  • Souvenir shops
  • New: step on an inspired glass floor with a twist. Feel the glass crack underneath your feet as you explore the heights on level 125


I have not been on level 148, but the views are apparently the same as from level 124 + 125. However, you can have access to Sky Lounge, where non-alcoholic drinks and coffee is included (plus minor snacks)

Dubai Fountain From the Top of Burj Khalifa

Watching the Dubai Fountain Show from above is amazing. So here are the showtimes (if you like to book your tickets accordingly).

  • Saturday to Thursday: 1:00 PM 1:30 PM 2:00 PM
  • Friday afternoon shows 1:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM
  • Evening Shows 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes

Times can change, so please double-check if you want to see the fountain show from Burj Khalifa.

Conclusion: Is At The Top of Burj Khalifa Worth it?

Is it worth to get at the top of Burj Khalifa? I am happy I have visited Burj Khalifa several times. This was, that I visited with my friend the second time and then with my nephews. Except for the long waiting, it was a great experience to get up there. However, if you are willing to pay a lot extra, level 148 might be a good choice. You can buy the “skip the line” ticket here with some extra VIP services.

If you are okay waiting in line and not getting treated like a VIP, level 124+125 is a great opportunity to see Dubai from the top of Burj Khalifa.


Is it worth to get on top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai, th highest building in the world, or not UAE


A quick guide to Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world.


Dubai Mall: A quick guide gives you an overview of what to expect at the biggest mall in the world.

If you like records, you will love Dubai, and if you love shopping, you will adore the Dubai Mall. As a regular Dubai visitor, I often visit Dubai Mall – even if I am not shopping a lot, but there is just so much to do around it and in it. Find out more about the biggest shopping mall in Dubai. Or well, actually the biggest one in the world.Dubal Mall at Night

If you like shopping as well as the hustle and bustle, you will love Dubai Mall. It is not only the biggest mall in the world but also the most visited. But even if you prefer quieter places, the mall is still worth a stop (as there are some of the main Dubai attractions located next to and inside the mall).

Dubai Mall is different from any other mall in the world. Nothing can be compared to it. I do not mean it because of its sheer size. There is always something new at Dubai Mall. New art, new attractions, new events take place.

With more than 1200 stores, an extensive food court, and many beauty salons on four levels, this “guide” gives you a quick overview of the mall. 

Read more: My tips for the best hotels in Dubai – for all budgetsDubai Mall at night


The mall opened in 2009 and still growing and plans to expand and become even bigger. It is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. or midnight, so you have plenty of time to spend discovering the area. I was surprised it opened more than 11 years ago because it still looks so new, and the whole mall is spotlessly clean.


ADDRESS: Financial Center Street, along Sheikh Zayed Road and next to Burj Khalifa in Dubai (United Arab Emirates)

HOW TO GET THERE BY METRO: The nearest metro station is the Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall station. It is then another 1km walk (by using the Metro Link Bridge) from there. Alternatively, you can take a bus from The Dubai Mall Station and get out just in front of Dubai Mall.

HOW TO GET THERE BY BUS: There are two buses that service The Dubai Mall: Route 27 from the Deira Gold Souk station and Route 29 from Ghubaiba bus station and stops at the Lower Ground Floor of The Dubai Mall.

HOW TO GET THERE BY CAR: It is impossible to miss – just head towards Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.

From Dubai Center: Take the first interchange and proceed through Financial Centre Road (formerly Doha Street), and then you will see the approach road to The Dubai Mall on the right-hand side.

From Abu Dhabi: Take the exit to Financial Centre Road (formerly Doha Street) from the first interchange.

Follow the signs to the carpark. There are more than 14,000 undercover spaces available (free parking).

HOW TO GET THERE BY SHUTTLE BUSES: If you stay in a bigger hotel in Dubai, there might be a shuttle bus to and from Dubai Mall. Ask the hotel and use the free offer.

HOW TO GET THERE BY TAXI/UBER: Every taxi/Uber driver will be very familiar with bringing you to Dubai Mall safely.

HOW TO GET THERE BY SIGHTSEEING BUSES: All hop-on and hop-off buses stop here.


For shops, these are the opening hours.

10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM
11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 11:00 PM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM

These are the opening hours for restaurants and the food court.

10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM 10:00 AM
12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 12:00 AM 01:00 AM 01:00 AM 01:00 AM


  • Completed in 2009
  • The largest mall in the world by total land area and the 26th-largest shopping mall in the world by gross leasable area
  • The total retail floor area of 502,000 square meters
  • More than 80 million visitors annually
  • More than 1,300 retail outlets, including two anchor department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s
  • More than 200 food and beverage outlet

What attractions in Dubai Mall

Services at Dubai Mall

It doesn’t really feel like a regular mall – not only because of the size but everything that comes with it. Listing all services could take forever. So, I list a few.

  • Information points, touchmaps, and leaflets for orientation throughout the mall
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Rent strollers, wheelchairs, power banks (free of charge), or use the concierge service (e.g., leave your shopping bags, etc. but not free).
  • Complimentary shoeshine service for men
  • Complimentary buggy service
  • Prayer´s room
  • Clean and free (as a German, this is not standard for me) toilets (check the ones at Fashion Avenue out)

There are many more services you can rent/book etc.


My best tip is: DO NOT visit the mall on a Friday. It is stuffed and very unpleasant to navigate through the crowds. If you take one thing from this post, then this should be it. Friday is the official Sunday in the Islamic world and then people just go to malls.

If you enjoy busy malls and want to watch people, come here in the evening during the week. It gets busier in the evening because it is so much more than just a shopping mall.

If you prefer to explore Dubai Mall without the crowds come early – around 10 am it really is quiet.


Though many wear whatever they want, Dubai Mall has a dress code “Shoulder and knees should be covered.” However, since Dubai relies heavily on tourism, it seems they turned a blind eye on people, ignoring the rules (I still try to respect rules)

The Dubai Mall Courtesy Policy also does not allow pets or weapons and asks people to keep intimate moments for their homes’ privacy. Also, skateboarding is not allowed, and smoking is also forbidden.

Read more: Find out about fun things to do in Dubai 

Flag of the UAE, Dubai


Shopping is one main activity in Dubai Mall, but there are many more attractions. Here I am sharing some of the best Dubai Mall attractions.


There is almost any shop outlet you can imagine at Dubai Mall. Everything from book stores and fashion to home furnishing stores, supermarkets, beauty salons, and souks. 

While there are multiple high-fashion labels, you will also find more affordable brands too.

Fashion Avenue is probably the most photogenic area in the mall – it is so pretty and exquisite that I recommend heading there, even if you are not into high-end luxury products – especially the restrooms are nice and probably one of the most elegant you will find in a big mall.

If you are a shopaholic, you could spend weeks or months shopping in Dubai Mall. I have become much more mindful of what I shop and bring home, so I have never done much shopping here and still enjoy Dubai Mall.

Dining Tips at Dubai Mall

The food court is extensive. Apart from the typical fast-food restaurants, you will also find fine dining restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and international restaurants. 

Italian, Indian, Chinese, Arabian…..all kinds of cuisines are at Dubai Mall, so you will be pleased to find something for everyone’s palate and budget with the many bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and takeaways. You can easily pay 5€ for one scoop of gelato or 8€ for a large scoop.

If you look for budget-friendly food, check out the Food Court at Level 2.

As a vegetarian/vegan, I can happily say there are many choices for us.


I might not spend money on unnecessary items, but I love some relaxing beauty treatments. And Dubai Mall is heaven.

One of my favorite places at Dubai Mall is on the lower ground. After an exhausting day, the best thing you can do is spoiling yourself with a spa or a beauty treatment. I decided to visit Sisters Beauty Lounge (they have several other stores all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi) on the lower ground lever next to the Center Management. It is a bit hidden but worth checking out.

But there are many more beauty parlors in Dubai Mall.


The tallest building in the world is not directly located in Dubai Mall but just next to it. To get to the “Top of Burj Khalifa,” you need to use the entrance via Dubai Mall.7 days in Dubai - best vintage points I highly recommend booking tickets a few days in advance (especially during peak season) and then enjoy the views from up there. Check out ticket prices here.

How to Get There: Once you are in Dubai Mall, you will see signs that will lead you there.


A must-do activity in Dubai is to watch the water fountain show. It takes place several times a day just in front of Dubai Mall.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock

It is a free show and lasts a few minutes. Especially in the evening, it gets hectic. So, make sure to be there early to secure a good spot.

How to Get There: Once you are in Dubai Mall, you will see signs that will lead you there.


Okay, I am kind of reluctant to mention Dubai Aquarium here.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is home to thousands of animals – including 400 sharks and rays live in a 10 million liter tank. You can find it on the Ground Level, and you do not even have to pay for it to see most of the tank. Dubai Mall Aquarium from above Arzo Travels

It is a free activity – I have visited twice because my ho-on and hop-off tickets had tickets included. I do not think it is worth the money. You do not see much more *new than what you can see from a distance. My 5-year old nephew loved it, but I do not recommend actually visiting unless you want to take the popular picture inside the tunnel.

I do not even want to open the can of worms about keeping sharks in tanks…


On the ground floor of Dubai Mall, you will also find the Dubai Dino. It is supposed to be sold soon, but at the moment, you can still see a 115-million-year-old dinosaur skeleton. Yes, it is very random to see a dino in a mall. But actually, it is fascinating to see the 24.4-meter-long, 7-meter-high skeleton of a Diplodocus.Dubai Mall Dino Arzo Travels By the way, that dino has a head…I am not sure why I did not get it into the picture.


If you are into ice skating, you might want to check out the Ice Rink inside the Dubai Mall. Yes, on the ground floor, you will find an ice rink.


I have not visited myself, but this Dubai Mall attraction is for those who enjoy some thrill-seekers. Hysteria takes guests on a journey through their darkest nightmares and deepest fears. This is not for the faint-hearted and if you are ready to experience it, visit Hysteria.


In Dubai Mall, there are many more attractions.


The Human Waterfalls have become a popular photo spot. The Dubai Waterfall is an indoor art installation and comprises two large cylindrical walls 30 meters in diameter and 24 meter high – spanning the three floors of the Dubai Mall.Attractions in Dubai - Human Waterfalls

VR Park – Virtual Reality Indoor Theme Park

For VR fans, there is good news: Dubai Mall has its own Virtual Reality indoor theme park. It offers visitors a high-tech virtual-reality area to experience reality through rides and experiences. Check out their website for prices.


There are many more things you can do in Dubai Mall, and here they are for you:

  • Cinema
  • Trampo Extreme
  • Dubai Opera
  • Dubai Creek Tower
  • Soft Play

The mall is extremely kid-friendly (though the lifts were always busy, and when I visited with my nephew in a stroller, I realized how annoying it is). There are many things to do and see for people of all ages and all budgets.

There is hardly a way to avoid Dubai Mall when you are in Dubai. Some luxury hotels are also attached to the shopping mall, so enjoy this experience of Dubai Mall. Here are more Dubai malls and read more about the best activities in Dubai.

Dubai Mall Arzo Travels


Abu Dhabi vs Dubai – Which is the Better Place to Visit?

Dubai or Abu Dhabi, where to go, Arzo Travels


One of the questions I got asked a lot is whether I recommend Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai?! Which city is the better city to visit? To cut a long story short, I can say it depends on your interests and preferences whether you prefer Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai, Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi: Which city (emirate) wins? I am happy to share a list with you, which I have created based on my experiences, hoping that this list helps you make the perfect decision.

Both cities are incredibly safe regarding female solo travelers or concerning any crime. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are “rich” and “clean.”

You can do desert safaris in both places (in my opinion, desert safaris are one of the best things to do in both places), as you can do water sports activities, helicopter rides, and you can shop in both cities pretty well.

Both are quite westernized, so there is not a cultural shock for western tourists.

Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai?

Find an itinerary for Abu Dhabi here and find out what to do in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi

  • The capital of the United Arab Emirates
  • biggest emirate (in size of geography)
  • about 1 million inhabitants

Here are my personal reasons why I tend to say that Abu Dhabi wins if it comes to Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai 

Grand Mosque

It is home to the most beautiful building: Grand Sheikh Zayed MosqueDubai has more interesting and famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai

The mosque is just beyond amazing and one of my favorites reasons to always re-visit Abu Dhabi.

To find out more about the mosque and tips when visiting (and see many more images click here).

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

More Beautiful Beaches

Abu Dhabi has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me. Though Saadiyat Island charges a small fee (about 5€) it is definitely worth the money, and if you do not want to spend money on a day at the beach you will have a nice time at the free beaches in Abu Dhabi – which are quite empty, and you´ll not see it crowded.

Luxury Accommodation is Cheaper

Accommodation in Abu Dhabi, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research to be sure it was not only when I visited.

It seems that accommodation is cheaper throughout the year in Abu Dhabi. To check out the best hotel deals, click here.

I have stayed in several hotels in Abu Dhabi, and whenever I visited, the prices were below the prices in Dubai – while the standard is the same!Which is better to visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is Quieter

Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling-bling” and too much of the hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai. Though you will also find authentic areas in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is still a bit more “Arabian-like.”Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace

The Emirates Palace, the top hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also open to “ordinary” people who want to have a look, while Dubai´s “top” hotel (Burj Al-Arab) is much more difficult to access.Emirates Palace Kempinski in Abu Dhabi (Emirates)

Zaya Nuria Island

Abu Dhabi has Zaya Nurai Island – one of the most beautiful islands in the region. Zaya Nurai Island – after a 12-minute boat ride, you will get to the private island – to be allowed to get on the island, you have to get either a day pass or stay there as an overnight guest.

Why visit Abu DhabiSo, this point goes to Abu Dhabi in terms of Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai.

Better Place to Relax

Where can you relax better? In Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Well, I would say Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax. There are fewer crowds and less traffic in Abu Dhabi. So, Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax and chill.Abu Dhabi relax

Read about my 12 top tips for things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Why is Dubai better than Abu Dhabi?

Here are the reasons why I like Dubai better than Abu Dhabi.


  • The Biggest city in terms of inhabitants and the most famous city of the UAE
  • about 2,5 million inhabitants

The City of Superlatives

Dubai is the city of superlatives. There are many interesting buildings: It is home to the highest building globally, Burj Khalifa (pictures from the top of Burj Khalifa here), the 7* hotel Burj Al-Arab, and many more interesting buildings. If you are into superlatives, visit Dubai.Dubai in 2 days

More Attractions in Dubai

There are more attractions, more to see and more to do. It will not get boring in Dubai. Whether you head to the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), or Miracle Garden, Dubai Mall, or Madinat Jumeirah – there is so much to do that it was hard for me to pick only 5o top activities in Dubai (click here to read my tips 50 things to do in Dubai).Abu Dhabi or Dubai So many “wow” effects the time, even though I have visited Dubai several times I have these “wow” effects all the time, one of them was when I visited the top of Burj Khalifa.

Dubai is More Liberal

Dubai is more liberal- I think it is less conservative than Abu Dhabi (click here to find out what to wear in Dubai as a female).

Though I am not into clubbing, there are more bars, clubs, more parties than in Abu Dhabi. I, somehow, also feel less restricted in my clothing than in Abu Dhabi.Better place to visit in UAE More Luxury Hotels

There are more luxury hotels.  If you are on a budget, you can just do hotel sightseeing for free – and you´ll do not get disappointed – like the  Atlantis- The Palm.

Palm Island

Dubai has Palm Island. Though the beaches are private (you can get a day pass though at many hotels), it is a perfect place to ride a bike and enjoy great views.

Madinat Jumeirah

Dubai has Madinat Jumeirah, which is, without any doubt, one of my favorite areas in Dubai. It is just a great place to spend the day, get lost, and crop the day off.

Bigger Shopping Malls

Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.

Crazy Souks

I have a love-hate relationship with Dubai Deira – the old part of Dubai often means to be stressed out as it is hectic, but it is a place that reminds me like no other in the UAE (except for the desert) that I am in Arabia. The souks (markets) there are just something you have to experience once – you cannot find souks in that intensity in Abu Dhabi.Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai Better Day Trips Options

Location: Dubai has, in my opinion, a better location. It is closer to Oman (and a day trip to Oman is fun) and to other emirates like Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, and so day trips to other places are easier and more fun.Oman

Find my tips for the 50 best things to do in Dubai here – and click here to find all my Dubai posts. 


As you can see, it really depends on what you are interested in and what you like to answer the question of whether Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better for a vacation.

Are you more a person who likes to go out and enjoy those “wow” moments, or do you enjoy the “natural” beauty and more quietness?

What about me? Do I think Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better?

I actually liked Abu Dhabi as well as Dubai. I have to admit that I visited Abu Dhabi only three times while I have visited Dubai more often and have spent much more time there.

Knowing what I know now, I would say: If I stayed in the United Arab Emirates for one week, I would probably stay 4-5 nights in Dubai and then in Abu Dhabi for 2 nights.

By the way: Abu Dhabi and Dubai are not that far away from each other. So if you still cannot decide which place to visit, you can just take a hop-on and hop-off bus to Abu Dhabi or Dubai or take a taxi to get from one city to the other (about 80 kilometers).

There is also a bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi or the other way around.

Ready to book your next trip? Will you visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Or both 🙂


Dubai and Abu Dhabi are both fun cities to visit with great tours and activities to see – before you plan your trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, check out visa regulations.

What to Pack for Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Read more about important things to pack for Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Dubai on a Budget: Click here to find some budget travel tips for Dubai

Where to Stay in Dubai: Check out my accommodation guide for Dubai.

Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi: Check out my full Abu Dhabi accommodation guide.

Safe Travels, Arzo


PIN ME FOR LATERAbu Dhabi or Dubai? Which is the better city to visit? Find out which is the perfect destination for you. United Arab Emirates.


Where to Stay in Abu Dhabi – Tips For Best Areas & All Budgets

Abu Dhabi best places to stay - where to stay in Abu Dhabi

The Best Places to Stay in Abu Dhabi

Are you planning a trip to Abu Dhabi and are wondering where to stay in Abu Dhabi? Here are my personal picks – the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi for each budget.

Abu Dhabi is often overlooked, even though there is so much to see and do there! While nearly everyone knows Dubai, the actual capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Abu Dhabi, is lesser known to the extent that, until not long ago, it was still a hidden gem.

This has changed over the last few years, and Abu Dhabi is becoming more and more popular with tourists, and there are quite a lot of things to do in Abu Dhabi. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that a lot of new hotels have been built.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Booking Hotels in Abu Dhabi

If you are looking for the perfect Abu Dhabi accommodation, from cheap hotels in Abu Dhabi to luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi, keep reading to find your ideal hotel.

When looking for the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, you need to keep a few things in mind.

  • First of all, of course, you have to consider your budget. Are you looking for a budget hotel in Abu Dhabi, a five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, or a mid-range hotel?
  • The second thing you have to consider is whether you are looking for a family-friendly hotel in Abu Dhabi, a beach, or a business hotel in Abu Dhabi?
  • Your third consideration for your Abu Dhabi vacation should be the location. While taking a taxi is quite cheap, the public transport system there still isn’t fully developed. With this in mind, you need to think about which places you would like to visit the most often if you don’t want to spend a fortune on a taxi. As mentioned, they are cheap by European standards but still.


Abu Dhabi has several great areas to stay in, so here are some of my recommendations for you:

Best Areas to Stay in Abu Dhabi 

  • Corniche
  • Saadiyat Island
  • Zaya Nurai Island
  • Yas Island
  • Near Grand Mosque

For each area, you will find

  • Luxury Accommodations
  • Mid-Range Accommodations
  • Budget Accommodations


Accommodations in Corniche in Abu Dhabi

One of the most famous and best places to stay in Abu Dhabi is Corniche.

Corniche in Abu Dhabi @shutterstock

Corniche is a beautiful area right on the west coast of the UAE, which is very modern and boasts a new promenade.

There is still some construction work going on. Still, despite all of the development, it has a lovely beach (not all of the beaches are public, some parts are only for hotel guests). There are hotels both directly on the beach and throughout the Corniche area.

Getting to Corniche beach from this area is quick, and you can either walk, take the bus or get a taxi. Abu Dhabi’s most important landmark, the Grand Mosque, is about a twenty-minute drive away from here, so you should reserve around fifteen euros for that if you want to go and see it.

Neither choice will disappoint as it is one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi if you want to quickly get to many other landmarks.

Luxury Hotels  in Corniche – Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace is one of the most famous and most expensive hotels in the world. This luxurious 5* Kempinski hotel has 394 luxury rooms and suites, and it is one of the most iconic hotels in the region.

2 Favorite Luxury Hotels in Abi Dhabi @shutterstock

All guests are spoilt with views of the Persian Gulf or the Abu Dhabi skyline. Guests have several pools to relax, direct beach access (this area is, of course, a private section of the hotel), and there are several amazing restaurants with different cuisines.

While there are many great and secluded areas, it changes once you step out for the hotel.

This area is one of the best places to stay at. Especially at night, it gets busy and adds more beauty to this hotel and area.

Check out the best rates for a stay at Emirates Palace here

Luxury Hotels  in Corniche – Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi

Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel is a multi-award-winning hotel located by the beach that provides stunning views of the Arabian Gulf, especially if you head up to the Observation Deck on the 74th floor.

Usually, you have to pay to go and admire the views here as it is the highest observation point in Abu Dhabi, but if you’re a guest, it’s free.

Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi

The hotel consists of 382 luxurious rooms and suites, some world-class restaurants and bars, three swimming pools, and the hotel’s secluded private beach.

If that’s not enough for you, Avenue in Etihad Towers gives you a wide choice of high-end outlets if you’d like to do some shopping, and their Talise Spa is a great place to relax afterward.

Click here to find the best rate for Etihad Towers here

Read more: Best things to do in Dubai

Luxury Hotels in Corniche – The St. Regis Abu Dhabi

If you would like a view of the Corniche combined with top-class service, then St Regis, Abu Dhabi might be a good choice.

As well as the stunning views, each of the hotel’s 283 rooms comes with complimentary butler service. best places to stay in Abu DhabiTheir popular Remede Spa provides various treatments and a nourishing menu of drinks and snacks, all in a serene location overlooking the hotel’s own 200 meter stretch of beach, the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, and the hotel gardens.

Find the best rates for your stay at St. Regis Abu Dhabi here

Mid-Range Hotels in Corniche – InterContinental Abu Dhabi

Though a five-star hotel, Intercontinental Abu Dhabi is definitely good value for the money, and thus, it is listed here as a mid-range hotel.

The Intercontinental also has a private beach! Many visitors have great views of the marina and beachfront gardens from their room, and there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that you love.

What’s more, the hotel’s Bayshore Beach Club provides lots of activities, including water sports for those who are feeling active, an infinity pool, and a splash pool with slides that are great for kids.

Find the best rates for your stay at Intercontinental Abu Dhabi here

Mid-Range Hotels in Corniche – Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Another hotel overlooking the Corniche is Sofitel Abu Dhabi.

This luxury 5-star hotel also overlooks the Corniche and is just a 30-minute drive from Abu Dhabi airport. Included in your stay is using a shuttle bus to take you to Marina Mall, Yas Island, or directly to the beach. This makes it a good location to stay if you are looking for a nice hotel but do not want to spend a fortune.

Its architecture and 280 rooms are designed with a modern feel and a French Art Deco twist. It also has all mod cons such as free Wi-Fi, pool, gym, and spa and is very popular with couples.

Click here to find the best rates for Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche

Budget Hotels in Corniche – Aparthotel Adagio Abu Dhabi

Aparthotel Adagio boasts a central location in Abu Dhabi – in between the Grand Mosque and Corniche. Due to this handy location, you can be anywhere within a few minutes.

It is known for being very clean, quiet, and spacious and shares great pool and spa facilities with the Novotel hotel next door.

Find the best price for a stay at Aparthotel Adagio Abu Dhabi

Accommodations in Saadiyat Island

With its many luxurious, expensive-looking properties, Saadiyat Island is one of the most beautiful areas in Abu Dhabi, and the beach is top-notch too!

Arzo Travels Abu Dhabi most beautiful places in Abu DhabiThe few hotels here are all luxury hotels. They provide access to a private beach ( a part of Saadiyat Island is public even though there is a 5€ ($6) charge for the day. Still, if you want to enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches around in a gorgeous, secluded setting, Saadiyat Island has some of the best hotels in Abu Dhabi.

Since the Louvre museum opened at the end of 2017, it is one of the very few attractions in this area, and so it is a quiet place that is one of the best places to relax in Abu Dhabi.

Luxury Hotels on Saadiyat Island- The St. Regis Saadiyat Island

St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort is ideally located on the beachfront, ten minutes away from the city center and just 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport. Abu Dhabi and its best places to stayAs you can expect from its island location, St. Regis is known for being perfect for beach lovers, with its private beach being thought to be one of the best in the UAE.

If this isn’t your cup of tea, it also has three outdoor pools and 5 restaurants.

This hotel is known as one of the best ones in Abu Dhabi, and if you stay there, you will surely not be disappointed.

Click here to find the best rates for a stay at St. Regis Saadiyat Island.

Luxury Hotels on Saadiyat Island – Park Hyatt

The Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi is great for families, couples, and lone travelers alike. If you’re after a relaxing vacation, there are gardens surrounded by palm trees and one of the largest pools in Abu Dhabi.
where to stay in Abu Dhabi

For families, Camp Hyatt hosts fun and interactive activities for younger guests to enjoy while parents can take a break and enjoy the spa.

It’s also near a range of nightlife! Plus, the staff is known to be extremely accommodating too, which we all know to be a significant detail!

Book your stay at Park Hyatt and find the best rates

Accommodations in Zaya Nurai Island

The most secluded and exclusive area to stay in is Zaya Nurai Island, which is a twelve-minute boat ride away. 

Luxury Hotel on Zaya Nurai Island – Zaya Nurai Island Resort

Take it from me; Zaya Nurai Island is a gorgeous private island and just one of the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi. Though day tickets are sold for people who don’t wish to stay there overnight, it is mostly for hotel guests, and the beaches are incredible!

Private Pool at Zaya Nurai Island in Abu Dhabi

There are lots to see and do too so you can easily stay for two nights and not get bored. You can try water skiing, jet skiing or surfing and if you’re worn out from all of that there are restaurants, a spa and several pools where you can relax, unwind and have fun.

If you stay at the Zaya Nurai resort, most rooms have their own private beach section and private pool. It doesn’t get much more secluded than this, even compared to other Abu Dhabi luxury hotels!

Getting off the island is a little bit more difficult, so if you want to see a lot, I recommend staying a maximum of two nights on Zaya Nurai Island and then checking in an Abu Dhabi hotel that is more centrally located.

Find the best rates for your stay at Zaya Nurai Island Resort here

Accommodation on Yas Island

Situated around 120 kilometers southwest of Dubai is Yas Island.

Yes, Island is home to some of the top hotels in Abu Dhabi and of Abu Dhabi’s Marina Circuit Ferrari World, one of the biggest theme parks in the world.

The only downside is that it is further away from landmarks like the Emirates Palace, located in North Corniche.

Luxury Hotels on Yas Island – Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi 

If you are a Formula 1 fan or petrol head, then you’ll love Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi. Located in Yas Island’s center, the hotel hovers over the Yas Marina Circuit, the favorite racetrack of many F1 legends.

If you like to be woken to the sound of race cars whizzing around underneath you instead of songbirds, this is an enjoyable experience. After this, you’re really close to Ferrari World (the world’s largest indoor theme park!).

Being in the heart of Yas Island, it’s also right by Yas Mall, Yas Beach, and Yas Waterworld, among many other great attractions. The hotel provides a complimentary shuttle bus service to all of the main attractions.

Click here to find the best rates for accommodation at Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi.

Mid-Range Hotels on Yas Island – Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi

Another Yas Island hotel, the Radisson Blu, is close to Abu Dhabi city center and only 15 minutes away from Abu Dhabi Airport.

While it is still close to all of the Yas Island fast-car-related attractions, this hotel is known for being a little more tranquil than Yas Viceroy with its peaceful atmosphere, including a special relaxation zone in the pool for adults only.

Of course, nearby, you also have Yas Beach and a top-class golf course, Yas Links, or if you feel like staying on-site, there is a spa, fitness center, and tennis courts.

Find out about the best rates at the Radisson Blu Hotel

Accommodations in The Area Around the Grand Mosque

As this beautiful sight is one of the main attractions in Abu Dhabi, I can understand the urge to need to stay in this area.

Best places to Stay in Abu Dhabi

If you want to stay closer to the Grand Mosque and enjoy a great view of it, I recommend staying at the southern end of Abu Dhabi.  The Traders Hotel, where I stayed, is a good choice.

Getting to Corniche takes about 10-15 minutes by taxi and costs about 12€ for one way.

Luxury Hotels Near Grand Mosque – Fairmont Bab Al Bahr 

This 5-star hotel is located at the gateway to Abu Dhabi and gives great access to the city center and Abu Dhabi Airport.

It is said to boast some of the best views of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi from both the rooms (make sure you ask for the view when booking) and its private beach. If you like to go for a wander on foot, it is close to a popular local souk and many independent specialty shops where you can also take a leisurely boat ride down winding canals as though you were in Venice.

Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Mid-Range Hotels Near Grand Mosque- Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, by Shangri-La

Traders Hotel is on the beachfront between the two bridges of Al Maqta and Mussafah leading into Abu Dhabi and just ten minutes from Abu Dhabi Airport.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi Traders Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi Hotel review

As well as having its own small private beach with plenty of sun loungers and free towels, there’s also a gorgeous garden to walk through towards the nearby souk where there’s lots of bars, cafes, and restaurants to while away your time when you’re not on the beach.

This hotel has its own little souk, a beautiful long stretch of private beach with nice views and friendly staff, and even a little supermarket.

Don’t miss the gorgeous night-time views of the Grand Mosque from here, either. 

Click here to find the best rates for your stay at Traders Hotel by Shangri-La.


Sо, whеthеr you’re looking for a rеlаxing break complete with luxurious surroundings and beautiful beaches or you’re looking tо bооk уоur Abu Dhabi budget-friendly accommodation. Hopefully, this post has helped you find out where to stay in Abu Dhabi.

The choices are numerous, but the above-mentioned areas are my personal tips for staying in Abu Dhabi.

Safe Travels, Arzo


Dubai Guide


If you are heading to Dubai, you are probably looking for some Dubai travel tips because it is different than any other place – whether in the west, east, or any other city in the Middle East.

Dubai – the city of superlatives, the city that polarizes. Not everybody loves the city in the United Arab Emirates, but I can say that I love it.

I have been to Dubai quite often and have written many different posts about activities, hotels, restaurant reviews, and travel tips. I finally summarized all the important information for tourists and travelers visiting Dubai and prepared this Dubai Travel Advisory.


You’ll find general information, info on how to get around and about the different areas, top tips on what to do in Dubai, and some extra tips for female travelers. If you are looking for more detailed information, click on the link you’ll find in this post.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (no extra cost). More about it here.

Before discussing the best Dubai travel tips, here are some facts that can help you plan your Dubai itinerary/trip.

Dubai Facts

  • The biggest city (emirate) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • More than 2 million inhabitants
  • Only about 14% are actually from the UAE

Language in Dubai  

Arabic but English is very common, and in all stores, restaurants, hotels, good English is spoken by most (basic English by almost all).

Money in Dubai

  • Currency: Dirham, though € and $ are often accepted, I mostly used credit cards and had some change for smaller amounts and tips in Dirham.
  • Credit Cards are accepted at most places (American Express, however, is not always accepted)
  • Tip: If you dine, the tip is often included in the bill (10%), have a look at the bill. If it is not included, I always tip about 10%  ( don’t forget to tip taxi drivers and hotel housekeeping)
  • Dubai is expensive – not everything but accommodation, for example, is costly – however, you can buy food and do activities that are cheap and save money there. Here is my full budget travel guide to Dubai

Religion in Dubai / Don´ts in Dubai

  • Though there are many foreign workers, the main religion is Islam, so Fridays are official rest days (most shops, malls, and restaurants are open, though, and actually public places are even more crowded than regularly.
  • Dress and behavior code for people: women can wear what they want at the beach (not topless, though) but should respect the dress code in other areas. More information about the dress code here. Also, men should follow dress rules.
  • Intimacy between couples is not welcomed in public.
  • Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.
  • Sex before marriage is forbidden in Dubai – you might have heard of the case of foreigners that were raped and reported it to the police. And not only the alleged rapist got arrested but also the victim. So, thus it is even more important to be aware of your surroundings. Though, as mentioned, Dubai is safe, you might have to deal with these issues – especially if you drink alcohol and then report such a crime, etc.

Is Dubai Safe?

  • I think Dubai is one of the safest places to visit – in every aspect. Even as a female solo traveler, you are safe to visit. Dubai’s crime rate is among the lowest globally. More about security and safety issues here.

Dinner in the Sky Dubai with Arzo Travels

Best Time to Visit Dubai

  • One of the main and best Dubai travel tips I can give: is to choose wisely when you visit Dubai.
  • I do not recommend visiting during the summer months (May – September). The average temperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August and 34 °C (93°F) in May.
  • Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
  • Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat.
  • The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion. 
  • The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January. 
  • Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available). In 2022 Ramadan is from 3rd April to 2nd May and in 2022 it is from 23rd March to 23rd April. 

How to Get to Dubai

Dubai has two airports – the Dubai International Airport is the main one, and if you fly into Dubai, you will most likely arrive here. The airport is well connected to the rest of Dubai, and you can find taxis in front of the airport (there is a small surcharge for taxis starting at Dubai Airport). But there is also a metro station that you can use.

My most favorite airline ever is Emirates Airlines – a Dubai-based airline. Check out their prices here, and if you can, book via them (they are amazing!).

How to Get Around in Dubai

  • Public Transportation in Dubai 

Dubai is developing pretty quickly, and so is public transport. The Metro is fast, reliable, operates regularly, and is super clean – it even has its own women-only-departments, and the prices are okay.Metro Station in Dubai There are only two metro lines (the green and red line), and the main line starts in Dubai Downtown and ends after Dubai Marina. However, the stops are spread out quite far, e.g., the “Dubai Mall Stop” does not mean you are actually at Dubai Mall.

It just means it is the closest station to Dubai Mall, and it includes another 1-kilometer walk.

In Dubai Marina, there is also a tram, and there are many buses throughout Dubai. The metro ticket allows you to use buses as well. BUT tickets are not available on the bus, so you need to buy a ticket beforehand.

Thus, the metro/public transport is not my preferred means of transport, but it is pretty good for long distances, especially because the red line travels along Sheikh Zayed Road for most of its length. (Btw: Sheikh Zayed Road is THE main road in Dubai.)

  • Taxis in Dubai

There are several kinds of taxis: the black Lexus taxis are a bit more expensive and apparently more service-oriented, but the other, the “normal,” taxis are totally fine to use. A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers.

Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer. I had some great conversations with taxi drivers (mostly Afghans, Pakistanis, or Indians). If they speak English, they will actually give you a lot of insights, and you’ll probably get a different view of Dubai.

A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers. Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer.

However, if you do not want to visit a main attraction or a very famous hotel, I would advise you to google the address beforehand and/or take a screenshot of the route since most taxis do not have a GPS. Many drivers might not be aware of less famous hotels/places.

  • Hop-On and Hop-Off Buses in Dubai

I admit I am a huge Hop On and Hop Off fan. I recommend getting a ticket if you stay longer and want to see several places and do more activities.

Female Travel Tips for Dubai

Why is Dubai betterOther than that, Dubai is one of the best places for (solo female) travelers, as it is safe and women are free in their daily routine. However, as in all parts of the world, I can only recommend using common sense if traveling alone – even in Dubai.

More Dubai Travel Tips

  • If you take medication, read this post on “Traveling to the Emirates with Medication” it will help you find out what you are allowed to take and what not. Find some unusual Dubai facts.
  • Alcohol is allowed in Dubai – however, only in certain hotels and restaurants. To be on the safe side, don’t take any bottles/glasses of alcohol and drink it on the streets.
  • Nightlife is also big in Dubai – if you like to party, Dubai is the perfect place for you (though you shouldn’t get totally drunk). Here are my favorite places to visit in Dubai at night (though there are non-party places.
  • Use these free Dubai apps to plan your trip

Neighborhoods in Dubai

No post about the best Dubai travel tips would be complete if we didn’t talk about areas to stay and visit in Dubai – because Dubai has many faces, and it is important which places you add to your itinerary.

My favorite areas in Dubai are:

Dubai Downtown

Dubai Downtown is home to some major tourist attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, or Dubai Mall and some top-notch hotels, like the Armani Hotel, etc. (inside Burj Khalifa).

Though I do not think it is the most charming part of Dubai, it is a must-visit area, and it is not far from Dubai Deira or the public beach.

Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock
Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock

Dubai Deira and the Creek

The old part of Dubai is located in the eastern part of Dubai and is very charming.

You’ll find the lively Gold and Spice Souk. There are also some museums to visit, and you can spend much more time in the Souks. Dubai’s oldest part is located more or less next to the airport (9km). It is a busy area, and the Gold and Spice Souks’ small and narrow streets give you probably one of the most authentic feelings – though the shopkeepers are mostly non-Arabs.

As a solo female traveler strolling through Deira, I definitely felt safe, BUT not always comfortable. It is widespread to be constantly approached by men – either by people trying to sell you stuff or because they are hitting on you. I met a couple of female expats who told me they do not visit Deira anymore because of that reason.

If you are in Dubai, I still think it is a lovely place, and you should not miss out on it. They are also some museums and riding an abra from one side to the other is a lovely experience (and very inexpensive).

Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of ancient Arabia and one of my most favorite parts. Once you enter Madinat, it is like nothing of the hustle and bustle that is so common in Dubai. Little shops sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc., and some restaurants and cafes allow you to enjoy the lovely atmosphere. There is also an outdoor part, and you get the best view of Burj Al-Arab. You could also ride an abra, which is much more expensive than in Deira, though.

The Desert

The desert is actually my favorite area in Dubai. I have been to the desert the times (the hot-air balloon ride, a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari, and a Morning Dune Bash), and I cannot wait to visit again.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is a beautiful part of Dubai and was created in 2003. It is still constantly changing and expanding, and thus you’ll always have to see construction work almost everywhere you look. Currently, it is the second biggest artificial marina, but Dubai would not be Dubai if it did not plan to break records and make it the biggest in the world. It is home to many hotels, including the world’s highest hotel, and the perfect place for nice strolls and beautiful views.

JBR Walk

JBR Walk is, unlike Dubai Marina, located along the beach with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars. However, I also enjoy the proximity to Dubai Marina and love going there for a walk.

Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

Palm Jumeirah

When I heard about the Palm(s) on TV for the first time, I was more than skeptical about the negative impacts on the environment. However, on my second and third trip to Dubai, I stayed at one of the Palm Jumeirah hotels.

There were supposed to be three palms but actually, one got only finished, and a second one is supposed to be finished eventually. The third one was stopped as a result of the financial crises, which also hit Dubai.

Dubai - The Palm @shutterstock
Dubai – The Palm @shutterstock

Click here for more information on each area and the best attractions there.

Best Places to Stay in Dubai

Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is better than other 3* hotels worldwide.

To get the best deals on your Dubai hotel, click here. Not surprisingly, 5* hotels are better than in other parts of the world. Following are some hotels I have visited and reviewed in the past:

The Palm

5* Hotel and Resort: Atlantis Hotel – The Palm Dubai The hotel is a bit old (if you look at the interior, you can tell at some parts) but after all, it is a very luxurious and fun place to stay in Dubai. It is also the perfect choice for families and people who want to indulge at a hotel property.

5* Resort: Review: Anantara The Palm Dubai: I really liked the vibe and the hotel itself. It is so different from all the other places in Dubai and perfect if you prefer a quieter place with a touch of Thailand.

Dubai Marina

5* Hotel: Review: Grosvenor House in Dubai – one of my favorite hotels in Dubai. Elegant and quiet (not the perfect place for families with smaller kids) and a great location.

5* Hotel: Review: Intercontinental Dubai Marina – another of my favorite places. A modern and bright interior and a good location make IC Dubai Marina a fantastic place to stay.

JBR Walk

4* Resort: Review: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai

What to do in Dubai

Before I visited Dubai for the first time, I thought Dubai is just skyscrapers and shopping malls, but I was proven wrong. There is soooo much to do and see, and there’s something for almost any taste.

  • Do a Dubai desert safari, either a Morning Dune Drive or a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari.
  • Take a hot air balloon ride in Dubai.
  • Visit Dubai Deira and the Gold and Spice Souk and ride an Abra.
  • Visit Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping center in the world (check out Dubai Mall Quick Guide)
  • Watch the Dubai Fountain (once or twice an hour)
  • Visit “At the Top of Burj Khalifa”
  • Stroll through Dubai Marina
  • Do a boat tour from Marina
  • Stroll along JBR Walk
  • Visit Miracle Garden
  • Discover The Palm and rent a bike (the Palm is perfect for a bike ride)
  • Check out Madinat Jumeirah and discover the souks and the best views of Dubai Burj Al-Arab
  • Spend time at Kite Beach
  • Visit the Gold and Spice Souks in Dubai Deira

Click here to book one of the tours now and save money.

Want to read more about Dubai? Head to my archives and read about the top things to do in Dubai.

More Tips For Dubai

You’ll find plenty of tips on my blog for your Dubai trip.

Find out “How to spend a layover in Dubai (6,8, or 10 hours),” and if you are lucky and spend more time there, read “How to Spend 2 Days in Dubai”.

I also have itineraries for 

How to travel Dubai with kids

Hopefully, these Dubai travel tips will help you for a smooth and yet exciting trip! There is a lot to see, and you will find out there is so much more to Dubai than most people think. I hope you are now well-prepared and know everything you need to know before visiting Dubai. 

Safe Travels, Arzo


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