Are you heading to this exciting city and are wondering about what to wear in Dubai? Then this post is for you – I share my experiences and knowledge about the dress code in Dubai for women and men.
Whether you are male or female, here is what you should know about what to wear in Dubai – a relatively modern yet still conservative and Islamic city (Emirate).
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I might earn a small commission when you buy a product via my link (no extra cost to you). More about it here.
Women Dress Code in Dubai
So, we start with what to wear in Dubai as a woman, which is a bit more tricky than answering the question of what to wear as a man.
In general, the Dubai dress code is not as strict as in some other cities/countries,e.g., Saudi Arabia. It isn’t even as strict as in Sharjah – a city/emirate next to Dubai. However, it is still not as westernized as some people might think after looking at pictures of “Influencers” in Dubai.
There are some things visitors should know.
In Dubai, most people are foreigners, so there are only a few Emiratis. These foreigners are tourists and people who work there, and they have had a great impact on the Dubai dress code.
I always read that you are not supposed to wear too revealing clothes, but actually, I have seen all of them.
Read this post for more information on What to pack for Dubai and buy, if necessary, some clothes/items before your trip.
Can Women Wear What They Want in Dubai?
Yes and no. Keep reading to find out.
P.S. The red Arabian dress I am wearing in the picture at the top was not compulsory. I just thought it was so pretty, and so I wore it.
Do I Have to Wear a Scarf in Dubai?
Though the United Arab Emirates are clearly Islamic, (foreign) women do not have to cover up and can wear more or less those clothes they feel comfortable in – to a certain extent.
So, no need to wear a scarf/cover your hair (exception for a few places I mention later):
What to Wear in Dubai at the Beach/Pool Area
What can women wear in Dubai at the beach? Dubai is a lot about beaches and pools, and thus, make sure to plan some time for your Dubai itinerary and pack the right clothes.
At the beach/hotel pool, women can wear bikinis or bathing suits. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are still quite liberal. Some other Emiratis aren’t.
However, being topless, of course, is not allowed.
And here are some clothes to wear in Dubai. These items are great for your day at the beach and pool in Dubai:
I am in love with kaftans – a perfect item for the beach, and it is great if you go back to the hotel/restaurant, etc., as bikinis are not liked to be seen in the hotel itself.
A bikini, burkini, or any swimsuit should not be missing on your Dubai packing list for some lazy days at the beach (probably do not take the smallest bikini you have).
You can also take some shorts and tops you can wear if you leave the beach/pool area.
What to Wear on Dubai´s Streets
Can I wear hot pants in Dubai? That is a question I have been asked many times.
When I left the hotel, I saw many people in the metro, cafes, and restaurants wearing hot pants, belly tops, skirts, and other such outfits – it is not forbidden. I assume that many won’t even care or look at you.
I felt uncomfortable showing too much skin when foreign workers, especially from countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, were around.
This was mostly the case in the metro (even though I normally am in the “women only compartment” or in Deira (the old part of Dubai). So, I recommend thinking about how to dress.
These items are definitely a great choice for strolls in the beautiful Marina, the Palm, or many other parts of Dubai but also in conservative areas like Dubai Deira.
Maxi Dresses and dresses that cover your knees – with or without sleeves.
Skirts – are good to wear, here you can go with long skirts or shorter ones, but I would not go for a mini skirt.
If the weather is not too hot, jeans are a great choice.
T-shirts and tank tops are fine for most places.
Shorts are okay. Hot pants not so much (even if you see many Instagrammers with hot pants, this is actually not always appropriate)
Dubai Dress Code for Dubai Malls/Restaurants etc.
There is a dress code if you go to Dubai Mall, saying that wearing too revealing outfits should be avoided. Ignoring it can lead to being asked to leave or change clothes. After speaking to some locals, they confirmed that security has gotten a bit stricter and have heard about troubles. However, many Europeans/foreigners don’t care.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a headscarf or long pants. Most malls have a (well, not so strict) policy, and naked shoulders are not allowed, and skirts/shorts have to be knee-length.
Many people, even expats living in Dubai, claim that there is no dress code and they have never heard of it. I saw signs throughout the mall – also check out the official website of Dubai Mall and scroll down. There you will find some info on how to dress.
What to Wear in a Mosque in Dubai
The Dubai Dress Code in a mosque – actually in any mosque in the world – is strict.
What do I have to wear in the mosque? Most mosques are not open to non-Muslims in Dubai. The Jumeirah Mosque can be visited and you might consider visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is, by the way, the most beautiful building I have ever seen.
At the Grand Mosque (also known as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque), they offer free dresses/scarfs for the duration of your visit.
You are exactly told what you can and what you cannot wear.
You need to be aware that, in case you actually visit any mosque, you have to wear long sleeves, cover your legs and have a scarf with you because you have to cover your head.
In this case, there is not much difference to churches, etc. – just a bit stricter. They take it very seriously, so there is no room for interpretation.
What to Wear in the Desert in Dubai
Dubai´s desert is an amazing destination, and though there is no strict dress code, I would like to mention a couple of things for visiting this part of Dubai.
The desert can get extremely hot in summer. And by extremely hot, I seriously mean extreme heat.
Once, I felt like ice in the sunshine – my feet were burning when I had the crazy idea to take off my sandals. It can get chillier in the evening, so take something to cover your shoulders (at least in fall, winter, and spring).
So, if visiting the desert take
a (floppy) hat
a scarf and a cardigan (it can get chilly in the evening)
wear bright colors
wear loose clothing
Extra tip, for great pictures, choose clothes that really pop. A yellow or red maxi dress or any other bright color will make you look even more stunning in pictures.
Men Dubai Dress Code
Good news for men visiting Dubai: rules are not as strict for men as women. Bad news: You still can’t wear whatever you want – especially not wherever you want.
So, if you are wondering about the dress code for Dubai for men, this is what to know:
Men can wear western clothes, like jeans, sweatpants, and shorts. They can also wear singlets, flip-flops and summer clothes. However, if you want to be respectful and not attract negative attention (or worse), then avoid shorts that are very short (and end way higher than the knees), tops that hang too low, or any see-through shirts or pants.
At the mall, there might be strict rules, but signs will tell you. Wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts that cover your knees (or at least, almost) is surely fine.
In the mosque, you normally have to wear long pants.
If you are at the beach, you can go top-less but leave your “top-less time” only for the beaches and no matter how hot it is, always wear two pieces (not sure about jumpers).
One exception would be to wear traditional Arab clothes. In Dubai, this means wearing an ankle-length, loose-fitting garment made of white cotton, known as a kandora or dishdasha. Actually, the white color and loose fighting are perfect for hot days.
Conclusion: What to Wear in Dubai
Although Dubai is Islamic, it’s still quite liberal.
However, keep in mind the heritage and do not “overdo” it if you do not want to cause any problems and put a bad light on the foreigners.
When you visit the country during the holy month of Ramadan you must be extremely careful – during that time, the dress code is strict, and you should re-think your visit if you do not want to stick to it.
Other than that, it is acceptable to wear skirts, shorts and show some skin. Remember to respect the tradition of every country. But with this post, you have a good understanding of what to wear and the dress code for Dubai.
If you want to find out more about traveling to Dubai as a solo female traveler, check out my Dubai Solo Travel Guide.
Dubai has so much to offer, and most people just do not realize that you can easily fill an itinerary for 7 days in Dubai, or even 14 days and more, with fun activities and places to see.
If you plan a trip to this exciting city, you might be wondering about a great 7-day Dubai itinerary so you can see the best it has to offer.
Some people might be surprised to hear that you can easily spend so much time in Dubai. After all, there are only skyscrapers and malls, right? Well, you will find out there is much more than that to see.
So, this 7-day itinerary for Dubai will take you to the main attractions of the city, and you will also get to see some less busy places, too. If you stay longer than one week in Dubai, this post will also give you recommendations for the best day trips to take in 7 days.
At the end of the itinerary, you´ll also find many travel tips that most likely will be useful for your trip – including information on how to get around, where to stay, and many more Dubai travel tips for 7 days in Dubai.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which means, I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
7 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
Okay, enough talking. Here are my ideas for 7 days in Dubai.
DAY 1 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – LA MER
Before getting to the busiest place in the city, start with some beach time. You will have enough hustle and bustle in 7 days in Dubai – so why not start slowly? After arriving and settling in, it is time to visit La Mer.
Dubai La Mer
Spend your whole day and evening at La Mer.
If you stay 7 days in Dubai, this is a must-see place, and actually, I suggest starting your Dubai trip here. Whether you arrive in the morning, evening, or afternoon, my recommendation is to head to La Mer first. La Mer has become one of the hotspots amongst locals and visitors and is located in the Jumeirah area. It is on the beach with many retail stores, stylish restaurants and cafes, the coolest bathhouses, and friendly and fun street art – and, of course, the beach!
It is a great way to get adjusted to Dubai. While you enjoy the nice views of Burj Khalifa, you can take it easy on the first day and hold off on getting into the crazy parts of Dubai. After all, you might still have a jetlag or just be tired from your flight.
TIPS FOR DAY 1 IN DUBAI
With 7 days in Dubai, you can stay at La Mer for more than just 2-3 hours.
There are free and very stylish showers, clean toilets, and you can either bring your own towels or book some sunbeds and umbrellas.
There are sooooo many restaurants that you will definitely find something for your tastes.
A water park has opened – perfect for those who like to switch from a beach to a water park with pools.
Watching the sunset from here is a beautiful way to enjoy your first day in Dubai.
La Mer is fun in the daytime, but it gets even better in the evening! So before leaving too early, make sure to end your day at La Mer and spend time even after sunset.
HOW TO GET TO LA MER: I admit, I am not the biggest fan of public transportation in Dubai. The bus connection is not great yet, but you can get there via RTA Buses 9 and 88. Taking a taxi/uber is another way to get here. If you arrive there by car, you have free underground parking. If you have a City Sightseeing hop-on and hop-off ticket, you can get off at Jumeirah Mosque and only have to walk two minutes to arrive at La Mer.
OPENING HOURS/PRICES: La Mer is open every day, all day, and there is no entrance fee. The shops are normally open between 10 am to 10, 11 or 12 pm.
Click here to read more about this fun part of Dubai.
DAY 2 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – DOWNTOWN
After your first slow day in Dubai, it is time to dive into the craziest part of Dubai – Downtown Dubai. This will probably be one of the busiest places during the one week in Dubai. There are several main attractions in Downtown – so, plan a full day for this area.
DUBAI FOUNTAIN SHOW
You can start your day in Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world with more than 1,200 fashion, food & entertainment options. Dubai Mall has its own aquarium, ice skating rink, and much more!
For the fanciest public restrooms and great photo opportunities, head to the Fashion Avenue area #IHaveaThingWithToilets. This posh place will probably overwhelm you and give you a good glimpse of the luxury in Dubai.
You´ll find cheaper lunch options in the food court, but you also have great restaurants that offer fine dining outside of the mall.
Even though Dubai Mall is big, it gets crowded. Especially on a Friday. Friday is the Sunday in the Islamic world, but shops are still open and if your second day in Dubai is a Friday, change the itinerary a bit.
HOW TO GET TO DUBAI MALL: You cannot miss Dubai Mall as it is located next to Burj Khalifa. And you cannot miss Burj Khalifa…Just because it is sooooo tall. You can get there by metro/bus. If you get off at “Dubai Mall Metro Station,” you can either take another bus that drops you off at the mall or you have to walk about one more kilometer from Dubai Mall Metro Station to get into Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall is also a popular drop-off point for sightseeing buses.
The most convenient way to arrive at the mall is probably via taxi, though.
OPENING HOURS DUBAI MALL / PRICES: Dubai Mall is open from 10 am to 1 am, restaurants and the food court are open to 2 am (!). There is no entrance fee for the mall itself, but you have to pay for the ice-skating rink and other activities.
Afterward, it is time to head to Burj Khalifa. If you are not scared of heights, you can get to the “top of Burj Khalifa” and either visit level 124+125 or level 148.
Get your tickets in advance. If you buy tickets online, you still have to queue but it will save you some time. The lines get crazy there, and you need to plan for the time spent waiting in line. If you do not buy tickets in advance, you might still be lucky and buy some at the ticket center.
If you want to get tickets for level 148 (which come with access to levels 124 and 125, too), you can skip the lines.
The ticket prices depend on the time of your visit and the level of access you buy.
For a more romantic time, you can also book a ticket to see the sunset, or just head there around 4 pm and then stay a little longer.
Visiting Burj Khalifa might take several hours (2-4 hours).
Before you get to the top of Burj Khalifa, take pictures of Burj Khalifa during daylight. Explore the area around the skyscraper – it looks nice especially from outside Dubai Mall, next to Dubai Fountain.
Click here to find out about the ticket prices for Burj Khalifa:
HOW TO GET TO BURJ KHALIFA: While you while seeing Burj Khalifa from everywhere, getting at the top is a bit more tricky. At least, that is how I felt. You have to go to Dubai Mall, and then you will see signs that leave you to “At the top of Burj Khalifa.” The ticket center/entrance is located in the Lower Ground Level of Dubai Mall. You cannot enter it from outside the mall as a regular guest.
OPENING HOURS/ TICKETS: “At the Top of Burj Khalifa” – opens around 10 am, and the last admission is at 9 or 10 pm (depending on the day).
After your time at “The Top” and a lot of time indoors, it is time to get out of Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and spend time in the fresh air. By the way, the Dubai Fountain spot is also the perfect place to end your day.
From 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on. Each show takes a few minutes, and it happens every half hour.
It gets crazy there. Unless you visit in the summer, this place will be one of the busiest in Dubai.
If your second day is on a Friday, I recommend avoiding this place! Dubai Mall is nuts on a Friday, and it gets so crowded that it can be hard to walk – even after 9 pm.
There are some nice restaurants with a view of the fountain, like the Mediterraneo of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand.
WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW SCHEDULE / PRICES: Evening shows 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes
HOW TO GET TO DUBAI FOUNTAIN:There is a metro station (Dubai Mall station), and many buses go there. You could reach the fountain even without entering Dubai Mall (e.g., coming from Dubai Opera), but if you are at Dubai Mall, you will see signs that lead you to the fountain as well.
DAY 3 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – OLD DUBAI
The third day is all about “traditional” Dubai and some more amazing views. Today it is about:
Gold and Spice Souk
You could start your day with a visit to one of the newer attractions: Dubai Frame. It is located in Zabeel Park, one of the biggest and lushest parks in Dubai.
There are some cool views of Burj Khalifa, and you can walk on see-through glass 100 meters from the ground.
If you get up there and take a walk, you will probably need one hour.
I recommend starting here around 9:30 or 10 am when the crowds are not there yet.
HOW TO GET TO THE FRAME: By metro: get out at the Al Jafiliya metro stop and then take a bus or walk for the last 2-3 km.
OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Open every day from 9:00 am to 09:00 pm. Tickets are around 12€ for adults.
If you need to rest, you could chill at Zabeel Park. The park is very neat, clean, and lush, and if you are visiting with kids, they will love this break, as there are some playgrounds. It is also not crowded and thus a perfect place after the craziness of Dubai Downtown.
HOW TO GET TO ZABEEL PARK: There are several entrances. If you come from Dubai Frame, you will see an entrance close by and can just walk.
OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: From Sunday to Wednesday from 8 am to 10 pm, from Thursdays to Saturdays and public holidays from 8 am to 11 pm, during Ramadan from noon to 11 pm. Ticket prices are about 1,20€ (payment via RTA-issued Nol Card), kids under the age of 2 do not have to pay.
Dubai Gold and Spice Souks
Afterward, jump into a taxi/bus and get to the Gold Souk of Dubai. The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit. If you are looking for places with a more authentic touch, you will especially love it here (though the shop owners are mostly from other Asian countries).
Souvenirs and Arabian clothes (and gold and spices) are much cheaper than in any other part of Dubai, so if you are hunting for souvenirs, make sure you do not buy them in one of the expensive malls.
From there, you can take a ride on a dhow, which is a traditional wooden boat. For less than 15€, you can go on a 1-hour cruise.
You can also hop on abras – water taxis that cost only about 0,25€ for a short cruise.
The Gold and Spice Souks are quite intense places – especially for female solo travelers. Staring and cat-calling are common. I suggest dressing moderately.
However, even after all, I always felt safe and did not worry. It is just loud and hectic at times but not a place I would love strolling after sunset on my own.
HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD/SPICE SOUK: From Zabeel Park – ADCB Metro Station 1- you have to catch a metro and get to Burjuman, then change metro lines and get to Al Ras, and then you just have to walk for a few minutes.
You can also take a taxi/Uber or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses, which drop you off at the souks.
OPENING HOURS / TICKETS: It is free to visit the souks and you could visit at any time. However, most shops are open every day from around 9:30-10 am to 9:30 pm. On Fridays, the shops open after 4 pm and are open until around 9:30 pm.
EXTRA TIP: DUBAI MUSEUM – If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting Dubai Museum.
It is an interesting but often crowded museum in Deira that illustrates Dubai’s history in an engaging way.
Entrance fees are just about 1€, and it is probably the best museum in Dubai.
From the souks, it is just an abra ride away.
Dubai Al Seef
To end the day, I recommend visiting Al Seef. Al Seef is a lovely new area with many restaurants. Some are in a new modern style and others in the traditional Arabic style (though the buildings are all new).
You will have plenty of options for dining, with nice views of Dubai Creek.
Also, there are all kinds of restaurants – from Arabic cuisine to Mediterranean or Asian food. Also, there are some quite fancy restaurants as well as more budget-friendly places to eat.
Also, there is a Museum of Illusions, some street art, you can do some boat cruises and more.
HOW TO GET TO AL SEEF: From the Gold/Spice Souk, take the abra (water taxi) to get to the other side of Dubai Creek. Then you can walk for 10-15 minutes, and you are in Al Seef.
OPENING HOURS / TICKETS: There is no entrance fee for Al Seef itself. It is open from Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight.
DAY 4 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – JUMEIRAH
Day 3 was all about traditional Dubai, so day 4 will focus on Dubai’s new, modern side.
Spend Your Day and Evening in the Jumeirah Area.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Jumeirah Beach / Kite Beach
Wild Wadi Water Park
If you are into waterparks, you can/should head to Wild Wadi Waterpark, where you will find some cool slides and fun water activities.
The water park belongs to the Jumeirah Group. As a guest of any Jumeirah hotel in Dubai, you will have free access (which actually was a reason for me to book a night at a Jumeirah hotel once).
Ticket prices start from around 25€ for adults.
It would be easy to spend a full day there.
You will have great views of the Burj al-Arab from the waterpark, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai.
The food there is overpriced and not that great – so bring your own snacks.
HOW TO GET TO WILD WADI WATERPARK: It is just right next to Burj al-Arab’s entrance (which is not open to the public, though). There is no metro station close by. The closest metro station is the “Mall of Emirates” – from there, take a taxi or bus to get there. Some buses stop close by (e.g., bus line 81).
OPENING HOURS: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays.
If you are looking for a cheaper option to spend time in the water, go to Kite Beach – a beach with nice views of Burj al Arab, where you can cool off there.
The beaches in Dubai are, in general, not very crowded (not to our European standard).
The beaches are clean and safe.
Always keep an eye on your valuables, but in general, I did not feel I have to watch my belongings like a paranoid (that I am sometimes).
I am not a person who spends endless hours at the beach, but water rats can have a fun day here without breaking the bank.
You can do all kinds of watersports – and rent equipment at the beach.
Bring your own food and towels with you.
OPENING HOURS / TICKETS: The beach is open from Sunday to Wednesday, from 10 am to 12 midnight, and on Thursday to Saturday: 10 am to 1 am. Shops and entertainment are normally open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (restaurants might be open longer). There is no entrance fee for the beach.
Dubai Madinat Jumeirah
In the afternoon/evening, I recommend visiting Madinat Jumeirah.
Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque – you should plan for a few hours (if you dine there) to check out the area.
It has its own souk and many restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab.
You could also do an abra ride here (though they are way more expensive than in Dubai Deira, the Gold and Spice Souk area) and just get lost for a few hours.
It is not far from the public part of Jumeirah Beach (and just a stone’s throw from Wild Wadi), and though the area is not huge, it is the perfect place to end your day.
It is free to visit the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
HOW TO GET TO MADINAT JUMEIRAH: From Kite Beach to Madinat Jumeirah, you can take a bus. From Wild Wadi, it is shorter, and you could walk (about 2km) or take a bus. Sightseeing buses also stop here.
OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Shops are open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, and restaurants are open from 08:00 am to 02:00 am. There is no entrance fee to visit Madinat Jumeirah.
DAY 5 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI
Now, it is time to leave Dubai for a day and plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi (you can also stay overnight in Abu Dhabi).
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is definitely a beautiful place and worth more than a one-day trip. Still, since Dubai also has a lot to offer, one day should be enough to see the most important places in Abu Dhabi.
It takes about 1-2 hours to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai.
You can do guided tours, rent a car and drive yourself, get there by taxi, or – quite complicated – by public transportation.
The beautiful Grand Zayed Mosque is reason enough to visit Abu Dhabi, but there is more to see.
If you stay one week in Dubai, you have to do a desert tour.
Dubai Desert Safari
A desert safari is a must! Spending half a day in the desert, going on an adventurous 4×4 wheel drive, dining under the stars, and stargazing is like a dream coming true in the desert. Every time I did a desert adventure (and I did a few), it became a highlight of my Dubai trip. These memories will last a lifetime.
There are several tours available – all fun and a bit different.
I recommend doing one with a BBQ (btw: as a vegetarian, I was pleased to find out that there were enough vegetarian options).
Normally, the tours – whether you do them in the morning or afternoon – take about 6-10 hours.
Most of the tours will include pick-up service from your hotel.
If you have one week in Dubai, this will be one great option to spend your day.
JBR Walk (The Beach)
JBR Walk – The Beach
If you would like to have a beach day, head to JBR Walk and “The Beach.” But there is more than just a beach – it is an experience! This area is popular during the day (and in the evenings, too), with many activities you can do. It is a fun place for kids and adults alike, so it’s probably a nice way to soak in some Vitamin D before heading back home.
There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
You have free beach access here.
Ride the “Flying Cup,” where you have a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk. With your Citysightseeing bus tour ticket, you also have a ticket included for Flying Cups – to enjoy great views of the beach and skyline. If you buy tickets separately, they cost about 15 € (adults).
You can rent equipment for all kinds of water sports.
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.
HOW TO GET TO JBR: Take the metro – JLT Metro Station or Dubai Marina Metro Station are the closest metro stations. From there, either walk or take the tram to get to JBR.
OPENING HOURS / PRICES: It is open 24/7, but shops and restaurants normally open around 10 am and are open until 10 pm. Restaurants usually close later.
I actually recommend heading to Dubai Marina for the afternoon/evening. It is one of the best places to visit in Dubai and should be on any Dubai itinerary.
This area is full of skyscrapers and one of the best places to take in the awe-inspiring progress Dubai has made in the last few decades.Most of the crazy skyscrapers are along the few kilometers stretch of Dubai Marina, and this is one of the best places to end your Dubai trip.
There is no entrance fee for Dubai Marina.
Stroll along Dubai Marina and keep looking up to enjoy the grandiose views.
Let your kids rent go-kart bicycles.
You can eat in one of the numerous restaurants there.Pier 7 has a handful of good restaurants that offer some of the best views of Dubai Marina.
For cheaper options, look for restaurants on the side streets or buy something from one of the supermarkets and sit on the bench, enjoying the illuminated buildings.
For a special dinner location, you can book a dhow dinner. You can do a few boat tours that you can check out:
Afterward, you could head to Global Village. You have a theme park with roller coasters and displays from many different countries in the world.
The tickets are about 5€.
Riding the roller coasters cost extra, but depending on how many rides you take, it is still a cheaper option than a theme park.
It is a fun place to visit for a day – especially in combination with Miracle Garden, as they are close to each other.
Dubai City Walk
Though I have not specifically mentioned it on your 7-day Dubai itinerary, I also strongly suggest visiting City Walk. This newly created area is perfect for strolls and shopping, but you will also find some murals and interesting details here.
City Walk is also a great place for families because of many child-friendly activities.
It is also good for adults to visit the shops, restaurants, and murals.
I enjoy it in the evening more (but that goes for almost all places in Dubai).
In general, City Walks is a bit less crowded than other places.
Sharjah is the smallest emirate and located right next to Dubai. And while Sharjah is so close to Dubai, it is totally different. Yes, you have a few skyscrapers, but Sharjah is much quieter, more relaxed, and very green.
It takes about 15 minutes by taxi to Sharjah from the eastern part of Dubai.
Sharjah is way more conservative than Dubai in terms of dress codes.
You are not allowed to drink alcohol.
I still loved it and recommend it as a day trip from Dubai.
So far, I have only made it to Oman for one day – visiting the Musandam Peninsula as a day trip from Dubai. And to be very honest, I have mixed feelings about it.
Somehow I totally enjoyed it – getting my very first glimpse of Oman was great.
However, the water was not really clean. It was full of oil. Maybe there was an accident, or maybe the water is just dirty.
It can take quite some time to arrive in Oman (it will still take about 2 or 3 hours – one way)
So, if you are in Dubai for one week or a bit longer, you should book a day trip to Musandam. However, keep in mind that everything can get delayed, and you might arrive at the hotel quite late. So plan some relaxing activities for the day after, and do NOT book this activity on the day of your departure.
I think this Dubai one-week itinerary is very diverse, and you´ll get to see so many different sides of Dubai that you will not have time to get bored. On the other hand, you also get some rest and have some time to chill and enjoy Dubai more slowly.
So, here are some tips for your 7 days in Dubai itinerary.
One Week in Dubai – How to Get to Dubai
Dubai has two airports: Al Makhtoum International and Dubai International Airport. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. Don’t be surprised to be stuck in traffic even at night – Dubai is always busy.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates. It is about an hour’s drive to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare).
How to Get Around in 7 Days in Dubai
Rent a Car: If you are in Dubai for one week, you could actually rent a car. But you should know that driving there, from my perspective, is a bit crazy. You should have nerves of steel if you decide to drive, particularly around Downtown Dubai.
Public Transportation:I recommend getting a NOL card for public transportation. There is a one-time fee for it, but you can then recharge it; public transpiration fees are cheaper this way than if you buy single tickets each time. Plus, it is valid for several years so that you can use it for your next Dubai trip. A ticket costs a bit more than 1€ with the NOL card (about 1.6€ without).
However, when it comes to public transportation, I am a bit skeptical because a) the metro stations do not have enough stops, so each stop is rather far from the last, and b) the buses are not always well connected for us travelers, so it is not easy to get from one popular station to another.
I mostly take the metro for long distances (especially downtown, where there is a lot of traffic and getting around by cab can mean that you are stuck in a taxi forever) and then jump into a taxi for the shorter rides, if there is no direct connection.
Sightseeing Buses:Hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get from one popular tourist attraction to another – at least for some places (the ones I tested). They will not stop at each stop, but at most attractions, and so I only used them as a means of transportation once in a while, as I had a 7-day pass.The pass also includes a few cool attractions, so it saves money in addition to getting you from Point A to Point B – e.g., the Flying Cup, which I will talk about later (and I even did two boat cruises that were included).
Uber is available in Dubai. Prices are similar (it is not cheaper), and since we can trust taxi drivers in Dubai, I do not see a real reason to use Uber.
Using a taxi in Dubai is great. There is no haggling. The taximeter shows the price, driven kilometers, and more. It is absolutely safe. There are also a few pinkish taxis – for female passengers, but the regular ones are just fine. Drivers know famous attractions and main streets, but not necessarily smaller hotels or streets – so, if you stay at a place less known, have an app to show him the address/way or take screenshots of Google maps, etc. There are the regular taxis (which a yellowish color and taxi is written on them), but there are also the black Lexus taxis, which are more expensive.
Money and Credit Cards
The local currency is the United Arab Emirates dirham. Though I always mentioned € in my post, you actually pay in dirham. You can also pay in $ – but normally, it gets more expensive. I recommend exchanging some money and have dirhams with you.
Most places also accept credit cards – I would not rely on it though. Smaller shops might refuse credit card payments. If you pay with your credit card, you might get asked, whether you want to pay in dirham or your currency. I always choose the local currency (dirham in this case), because I get the better exchange rates if “my bank at home” does it.
The official language is Arabic but people speak English throughout Dubai and the UAE. Most people, living in Dubai, are actually expats from all around the world and do not even speak Arabic themselves.
In restaurants and shops, you can definitely get around with speaking English only. With taxi drivers, I had some really long converstaions in English while some only spoke a few words.
If you speak English, you will be fine. Two of the most important words in Arabic are probably:
Salam OR marḥaba – hallo
Shukran – thank you
Accommodations for 7 Days in Dubai
Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap, but the standard is quite high. Many 5-star hotels are mind-blowing, but 4- or 3-star hotels in Dubai are fine.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING DUBAI FOR SEVEN DAYS OR LONGER
I have visited Dubai numerous times. I have spent many weeks in Dubai – I have not gotten bored yet. One week in Dubai will pass quickly. I wish you a wonderful time in the city, and I hope that your 7 days in Dubai will be amazing!
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?
If you stay longer than 2 days in Dubai, check out my 7-day Dubai itinerary. Otherwise, stay here to find out about creating a perfect 2-day itinerary for first-time visitors.
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.
ARE 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ENOUGH?
2 days in Dubai is a good amount to get an idea of the city. You can visit some of the main sights and attractions, but 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.
DUBAI ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS – THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Here are places I suggest visiting in Dubai in 2 days. I also give a time frame, but of course, it really is up to each person how much you can actually do and see.
HERE ARE THE PLACES TO VISIT ON DAY 1 IN DUBAI:
GOLD AND SPICE SOUK
LA MER OR JUMEIRAH BEACH
DUBAI WATER FOUNTAIN
HERE ARE THINGS TO DO ON DAY 2 IN DUBAI:
IN SUMMER: MIRACLE GARDEN
DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
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 pretty 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 at all. I understand the criticism, but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must.
Most stores are open from around 9 am to 10 pm, and it gets busy quickly. On Fridays, the shops open later.
So I recommend starting 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 in 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.
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 cheap way to get to the other side of the creek where you can continue your travel.
You can also have the whole abra to yourself for 5€. This allows great photo opportunities with no one else in the picture. However, if you make it to the front of the abra, you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
The abra ride just takes a few minutes.
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 areas of Dubai. If you want to budget your time more wisely, you can plan in one hour.
Stop 3: La Mer
La Mer is a new beachfront area with tons of cool and hip restaurants/cafes, street art and cool graffiti, and fun details. It is a great place to chill though it can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches). However, it is a place you should not miss out on.
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.
Okay, honestly, you won’t probably be able to visit both, Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches.
La Mer comes with Burj Khalifa’s view, while Jumeirah Beach comes with Burj al-Arab’s view.
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 because it is quite far from here.
Here you can rest or take a dip and cool off.
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.
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.
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.”
You should plan at least 2-4 hours for visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa (depending on how busy it is).
To get to the top, you have to use the entrance inside Dubai Mall.
The waiting lines to get on top can be very long.
You can either get tickets for levels 124 & 125 or get a ticket for levels 124 & 125 & 148. Of course, level 148 is much more expensive. With a ticket to level 148, you can skip the lines – vital if you have little time. I have been on levels 124 & 125 three or four times already but never bought a ticket for level 148. After reading reviews, I found out that the views are not much better – it is mostly about the service and skipping lines.
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.
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.
I suggest ending your first day in Dubai here.
Evening shows take place from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – every 30 minutes.
It just takes a few minutes, so if be on time.
It is free to watch.
It gets busy, so 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 end your day.
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 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
Day 2 in Dubai starts in Dubai Marina.
Stop 1: Marina
Start with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, which is probably one of my favorite parts in Dubai.
This man-made marina is one of the largest in the world.
I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts. I could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while.
Besides skyscrapers, you will also find many bars and restaurants.
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 tour starts around 3 pm, make sure to be back at the hotel in time. Plan in possible traffic on your way back from Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. It would be a pity if you missed out on the safari because of being late at the pick-up location.
Alternative: Miracle Garden
If you visit in the winter months, you could also add Dubai Miracle Garden to your 2-day itinerary. Miracle Garden is a very Instafamous flower park, located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions.
You will see flowers. 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)
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 already found a perfect dinner spot.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 2-DAY DUBAI TRIP
Here you´ll find essential travel tips for your trip to Dubai.
Safety Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers
Dubai is a super safe city to travel to, and I think it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler.
However, Deira – the area where you have the souks – is not the best place to spend the late evenings alone. I would not say, I felt scared but it is uncomfortable as a – female – traveler. So, I avoid this neighborhood in the evening.
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 this 4* 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.
You can also find budget hotels but you cannot expect super bargains. The best prices are often in Deira, and though I recommend visiting this fun area, it is not an area I recommend staying at – especially not as a female traveler. 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 averagetemperature ranges from 32.4 °C (90.2 °F) in May, 36.5 °C (98 °F) in August and 34 °C (93°F) in September.
Even October and April were too hot for me already. But it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
Some activities are not possible in the summer months because of the heat – Miracle Garden, e.g., is closed in the summer months.
The winter months from November to early March are the best times to visit in my opinion.
The average temperature ranges from 19.5 °C (67.5 °F) in January.
Hotel prices, however, go up during the winter months and it gets busier. Regardless, my tip is to visit in these months.
Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. You cannot do many activities during that few weeks (also, alcohol is less available).
Was this Dubai itinerary helpful? Then save it on Pinterest.
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 will 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.
BEST VIEWS OF DUBAI – HOW TO SEE THE CITY FROM ABOVE
Given the many skyscrapers (and rooftop bars) in Dubai, it is not difficult to see Dubai from above. Actually, seeing this super city from above is an amazing way to fall in love with the city. And while those rooftop bars offer scenic views indeed, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.
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.The view from level 124+125 (456 meters high) or level 148 (555 meters high) is the most iconic in Dubai, and you´ll get wonderful views of the city.
You will see how much construction work is still going on, you´ll get to see the desert (which is very close to the city center), but you´ll also have some stunning views of Dubai Fountain.
Overlooking Dubai this way is indeed a unique experience. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who thinks that visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa is a good idea – it is quite busy 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.The 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.This place is as nice to visit at night as during the day, and the entrance fee of about 12€ is worth it.
Actually, the views from here are almost better than from Burj Khalifa – because you can see the tallest building. Also, it is a great alternative if you are on a budget or 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.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.
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.You do not even need a drone to get amazing shots of the pristine waters of the Persian Gulf. Whether you do it by yourself or in a group, it is something different and, by Dubai standards, quite affordable (for about 20€, you can buy your ticket at the counter just in front of it).
You get 40 meters above the ground, and the capsule rotates, so you have a panoramic view.Bring your camera to take these shots, and if you are feeling brave, get a drink and enjoy it up there while your feet are dangling in the air.
You do not have to be scared, though – 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.
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.
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.Head to Dubai Marina and have a fun dinner (or lunch or afternoon tea) experience. There are some similarities to the Flying Cup, but in this case, you get up even higher (about 50 meters) and have a different view.
You´ll overlook Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity – the hip beach club in Marina, and have views of the beach! Hold your cutlery and especially your camera tight, so you do not see it falling 50 meters down, as there is no ground under your feet.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.
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.
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.
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.
There 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.
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!
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.
WHAT IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI?
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.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
HOW TO BOOK DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI
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).
MORE THINGS TO KNOW FOR YOUR DINNER IN THE SKY EXPERIENCE
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).
WHERE IS DINNER IN THE SKY IN DUBAI
The activity is located in Dubai Marina, next to SkyDive Dubai and Zero Gravity.I 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.
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.You 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). 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.
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. 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.
IS DUBAI´DINNER IN THE SKY WORTH IT?
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.
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.
DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS – THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.
BURJ KHALIFA TRAVEL TIPS
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.
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.
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:
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.
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. 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.
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.
Level 124 + Level 125
You will have great views of Burj Khalifa from level 124+125
Indoor and outdoor vantage points
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.
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.
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.
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.
DUBAI MALL LOCATION
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.
OPENING HOURS AT DUBAI MALL
For shops, these are the opening hours.
These are the opening hours for restaurants and the food court.
DUBAI MALL FACTS
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
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
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
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.
BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBAI MALL
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.
RULES AT DUBAI MALL
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.
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.
SHOPPING AT DUBAI MALL
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.
BEAUTY SALONS AT DUBAI MALL
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.
VISIT BURJ KHALIFA
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. 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.
WATCH THE WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW
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.
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.
SEE THE DUBAI AQUARIUM
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.
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…
SEE THE DINOSAUR
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. By the way, that dino has a head…I am not sure why I did not get it into the picture.
DUBAI ICE RINK
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.
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.
MORE THINGS TO DO AT DUBAI MALL
There are many more things you can do in Dubai Mall, and here they are for you:
Dubai Creek Tower
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.
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.
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
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is home to the stunning Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
It is home to the most beautiful building: Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque – Dubai has more interesting and famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The mosque is just beyond amazing and one of my favorites reasons to always re-visit Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it has nicer and more tranquil 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
Compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you get more luxury for less money.
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.
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!
Abu Dhabi is Quieter
Abu Dhabi is, in comparison to Dubai, the better place to visit because it is more tranquil and much 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.”
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you can visit 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.
Zaya Nuria Island
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you will find there the Maldives of the Emirates.
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.
So, this point goes to Abu Dhabi in terms of Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai.
Better Place to Relax
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is more like a vacation.
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.
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 better place to visit because it constantly breaks new records.
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.
More Attractions in Dubai
Dubai is the better place to visit because there is so much to do and see.
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 50 top activities in Dubai.
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.
More Luxury Hotels
Dubai is the better place to visit because there are so many luxury hotels to choose from.
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.”
The amount of luxury hotels in Dubai is seriosuly crazy.
Tip: if you want to slpurge but have to save money, visit during Ramadan (it might be less fun but the hote prices drop like crazy).
Dubai is the better place to visit because it has unique islands, like 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.
Dubai is the better place to visit because you will find the recreation of ancient Arabia in a modern dress.
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 is the better place to visit because you will find the biggest and most interesting shopping malls there.
Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.
Dubai is the better place to visit because there are also many local markets to shop.
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.
Better Day Trips Options
Dubai is the better place to visit because you can do some very fun day tours.
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.
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 of 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 🙂
TRAVEL TIPS FOR DUBAI AND ABU DHABI
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.