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.
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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
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 has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me. Though Saadiyat Island charges a small fee (about 5€) it is definitely worth the money, and if you do not want to spend money on a day at the beach you will have a nice time at the free beaches in Abu Dhabi – which are quite empty, and you´ll not see it crowded.
Luxury Accommodation is Cheaper
Accommodation in Abu Dhabi, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research to be sure it was not only at the time I visited.
It seems that accommodation is cheaper throughout the year in Abu Dhabi. To check out the best hotel deals, click here.
I have stayed in several hotels in Abu Dhabi, and whenever I visited, the prices were below the prices in Dubai – while the standard is the same!
Abu Dhabi is Quieter
Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling-bling” and too much of the hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai. Though you will also find authentic areas in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is still a bit more “Arabian-like.”
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 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
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 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
There are more attractions, more to see and more to do. It will not get boring in Dubai. Whether you head to the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), or Miracle Garden, Dubai Mall, or Madinat Jumeirah – there is so much to do that it was hard for me to pick only 5o top activities in Dubai (click here to read my tips 50 things to do in Dubai). So many “wow” effects the time, even though I have visited Dubai several times I have these “wow” effects all the time, one of them was when I visited the top of Burj Khalifa.
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
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.
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 has Madinat Jumeirah, which is, without any doubt, one of my favorite areas in Dubai. It is just a great place to spend the day, get lost, and crop the day off.
Bigger Shopping Malls
Dubai has more shopping (and bigger) malls (quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.
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
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 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.
If you are heading to Dubai, you are probably looking for some Dubai travel tips because it is different than any other place – whether in the west, east, or any other city in the Middle East.
Dubai – the city of superlatives, the city that polarizes. Not everybody loves the city in the United Arab Emirates, but I can say that I love it.
I have been to Dubai quite often and have written many different posts about activities, hotels, restaurant reviews, and travel tips. I finally summarized all the important information for tourists and travelers visiting Dubai and prepared this Dubai Travel Advisory.
DUBAI TRAVEL INFORMATION
You’ll find general information, info on how to get around and about the different areas, top tips on what to do in Dubai, and some extra tips for female travelers. If you are looking for more detailed information, click on the link you’ll find in this post.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (no extra cost). More about it here.
Before discussing the best Dubai travel tips, here are some facts that can help you plan your Dubai itinerary/trip.
The biggest city (emirate) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
More than 2 million inhabitants
Only about 14% are actually from the UAE
Language in Dubai
English is very common, and in all stores, restaurants, hotels, good English is spoken by most (basic English by almost all)
Money in Dubai
Currency: Dirham, though € and $ are often accepted, I mostly used credit cards and had some change for smaller amounts and tips in Dirham.
Credit Cards are accepted at most places (American Express, however, is not always accepted)
Tip: If you dine, the tip is often included in the bill (10%), have a look at the bill. If it is not included, I always tip about 10% ( don’t forget to tip taxi drivers and hotel housekeeping)
Though there are many foreign workers, the main religion is Islam, so Fridays are official rest days (most shops, malls, and restaurants are open, though, and actually public places are even more crowded than regularly.
Dress and behavior code for people: women can wear what they want at the beach (not topless, though) but should respect the dress code in other areas. More information about the dress code here. Also, men should follow dress rules.
Intimacy between couples is not welcomed in public (it is forbidden to share a hotel room with a partner if you are not married. You could get in real trouble if you still do it – and though I have never heard of people being arrested for this, you should be aware that it is against the law. However, most people still do it, and hotels turn a blind eye to this).
Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai.
Sex before marriage is forbidden in Dubai – you might have heard of the case of foreigners that were raped and reported it to the police. And not only the alleged rapist got arrested but also the victim. So, thus it is even more important to be aware of your surroundings. Though, as mentioned, Dubai is safe, you might have to deal with these issues – especially if you drink alcohol and then report such a crime, etc.
Is Dubai Safe?
I think Dubai is one of the safest places to visit – in every aspect. Even as a female solo traveler, you are safe to visit. Dubai’s crime rate is among the lowest globally. More about security and safety issues here.
Best Time to Visit Dubai
One of the main and best Dubai travel tips I can give: is to choose wisely when you visit Dubai. I am not a fan of heat, so I do not recommend visiting during summer (May – September), October was almost too hot for me already, but it depends on what kind of weather you prefer.
Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during that time. Many activities cannot be done (also, alcohol is less available).
How to Get to Dubai
Dubai has two airports – the Dubai International Airport is the main one, and if you fly into Dubai, you will most likely arrive here. The airport is well connected to the rest of Dubai, and you can find taxis in front of the airport (there is a small surcharge for taxis starting at Dubai Airport). But there is also a metro station that you can use.
My most favorite airline ever is Emirates Airlines – a Dubai-based airline. Check out their prices here, and if you can, book via them (they are amazing!).
How to Get Around in Dubai
Public Transportation in Dubai
Dubai is developing pretty quickly, and so is public transport. The Metro is fast, reliable, operates regularly, and is super clean – it even has its own women-only-departments, and the prices are okay. There are only two metro lines (the green and red line), and the main line starts in Dubai Downtown and ends after Dubai Marina. However, the stops are spread out quite far, e.g., the “Dubai Mall Stop” does not mean you are actually at Dubai Mall.
It just means it is the closest station to Dubai Mall, and it includes another 1-kilometer walk.
In Dubai Marina, there is also a tram, and there are many buses throughout Dubai. The metro ticket allows you to use buses as well. BUT tickets are not available on the bus, so you need to buy a ticket beforehand.
Thus, the metro/public transport is not my preferred means of transport, but it is pretty good for long distances, especially because the red line travels along Sheikh Zayed Road for most of its length. (Btw: Sheikh Zayed Road is THE main road in Dubai.)
Taxis in Dubai
There are several kinds of taxis: the black Lexus taxis are a bit more expensive and apparently more service-oriented, but the other, the “normal,” taxis are totally fine to use. A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers.
Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer. I had some great conversations with taxi drivers (mostly Afghans, Pakistanis, or Indians). If they speak English, they will actually give you a lot of insights, and you’ll probably get a different view of Dubai.
A display shows you not only the price but also the driven kilometers. Petrol is cheap in Dubai – and so are taxi rides. There is a minimum charge of about €4, but it gets you some kilometers. Other than that, taxis charge about €0,50 per kilometer.
However, if you do not want to visit a main attraction or a very famous hotel, I would advise you to google the address beforehand and/or take a screenshot of the route since most taxis do not have a GPS. Many drivers might not be aware of less famous hotels/places.
Hop-On and Hop-Off Buses in Dubai
I admit I am a huge Hop On and Hop Off fan. I recommend getting a ticket if you stay longer and want to see several places and do more activities.
Other than that, Dubai is one of the best places for (solo female) travelers, as it is safe and women are free in their daily routine. However, as in all parts of the world, I can only recommend using common sense if traveling alone – even in Dubai.
No post about the best Dubai travel tips would be complete if we didn’t talk about areas to stay and visit in Dubai – because Dubai has many faces, and it is important which places you add to your itinerary.
My favorite areas in Dubai are:
Dubai Downtown is home to some major tourist attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, or Dubai Mall and some top-notch hotels, like the Armani Hotel, etc. (inside Burj Khalifa).
Though I do not think it is the most charming part of Dubai, it is a must-visit area, and it is not far from Dubai Deira or the public beach.
Dubai Deira and the Creek
The old part of Dubai is located in the eastern part of Dubai and is very charming.
You’ll find the lively Gold and Spice Souk. There are also some museums to visit, and you can spend much more time in the Souks. Dubai’s oldest part is located more or less next to the airport (9km). It is a busy area, and the Gold and Spice Souks’ small and narrow streets give you probably one of the most authentic feelings – though the shopkeepers are mostly non-Arabs.
As a solo female traveler strolling through Deira, I definitely felt safe, BUT not always comfortable. It is widespread to be constantly approached by men – either by people trying to sell you stuff or because they are hitting on you. I met a couple of female expats who told me they do not visit Deira anymore because of that reason.
If you are in Dubai, I still think it is a lovely place, and you should not miss out on it. They are also some museums and riding an abra from one side to the other is a lovely experience (and very inexpensive).
Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of ancient Arabia and one of my most favorite parts. Once you enter Madinat, it is like nothing of the hustle and bustle that is so common in Dubai. Little shops sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc., and some restaurants and cafes allow you to enjoy the lovely atmosphere. There is also an outdoor part, and you get the best view of Burj Al-Arab. You could also ride an abra, which is much more expensive than in Deira, though.
The desert is actually my favorite area in Dubai. I have been to the desert the times (the hot-air balloon ride, a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari, and a Morning Dune Bash), and I cannot wait to visit again.
Dubai Marina is a beautiful part of Dubai and was created in 2003. It is still constantly changing and expanding, and thus you’ll always have to see construction work almost everywhere you look. Currently, it is the second biggest artificial marina, but Dubai would not be Dubai if it did not plan to break records and make it the biggest in the world. It is home to many hotels, including the world’s highest hotel, and the perfect place for nice strolls and beautiful views.
JBR Walk is, unlike Dubai Marina, located along the beach with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars. However, I also enjoy the proximity to Dubai Marina and love going there for a walk.
When I heard about the Palm(s) on TV for the first time, I was more than skeptical about the negative impacts on the environment. However, on my second and third trip to Dubai, I stayed at one of the Palm Jumeirah hotels.
There were supposed to be three palms but actually, one got only finished, and a second one is supposed to be finished eventually. The third one was stopped as a result of the financial crises, which also hit Dubai.
Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is better than other 3* hotels worldwide.
To get the best deals on your Dubai hotel, click here. Not surprisingly, 5* hotels are better than in other parts of the world. Following are some hotels I have visited and reviewed in the past:
5* Hotel and Resort: Atlantis Hotel – The Palm Dubai The hotel is a bit old (if you look at the interior, you can tell at some parts) but after all, it is a very luxurious and fun place to stay in Dubai. It is also the perfect choice for families and people who want to indulge at a hotel property.
5* Resort: Review: Anantara The Palm Dubai: I really liked the vibe and the hotel itself. It is so different from all the other places in Dubai and perfect if you prefer a quieter place with a touch of Thailand.
5* Hotel: Review: Grosvenor House in Dubai – one of my favorite hotels in Dubai. Elegant and quiet (not the perfect place for families with smaller kids) and a great location.
Before I visited Dubai for the first time, I thought Dubai is just skyscrapers and shopping malls, but I was proven wrong. There is soooo much to do and see, and there’s something for almost any taste.
Do a Dubai desert safari, either a Morning Dune Drive or a Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari.
Take a hot air balloon ride in Dubai.
Visit Dubai Deira and the Gold and Spice Souk and ride an Abra.
Visit Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping center in the world (check out Dubai Mall Quick Guide)
Hopefully, these Dubai travel tips will help you for a smooth and yet exciting trip! There is a lot to see, and you will find out there is so much more to Dubai than most people think. I hope you are now well-prepared and know everything you need to know before visiting Dubai.
Though Dubai does not have any real super-budget hotels that you might love from other destinations, like Bali or Las Vegas, you can find cheaper hotels that are not total crap and still offer good value for the money – and of course, you´ll find plenty of the most luxurious hotels in the world in Dubai.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – this means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you). More about it here
Best Places to Stay in Dubai – Accommodations in Dubai for all Budgets
Okay, here are the best places to stay- whether the best luxury hotels, mid-range hotels, and cheaper hotels in Dubai – divided by different places to stay in Dubai.
Best Hotels for Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai is home to some major tourist attractions, like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, and some top-notch hotels. For the longest time, I was not very impressed with this area, but now I have to admit that it has become one of my favorite places, and it is one of the best places to stay in Dubai.
I love the proximity to Burj Khalifa and the crazy Dubai Mall, and it is not too far from the public beaches, the airport, and Dubai Marina.
You´ll also find plenty of restaurants and bars, so it is not boring at all – this is a fun area to stay for people who enjoy a day out to explore Dubai or who want to spend an evening checking out Dubai´s nightlife.
Hotels in this area do not have their own beaches, but the above-mentioned location makes up for that deficiency. Most hotels in Dubai have pools – some of them are quite fancy and perfect for the relaxing part of your trip. I have stayed in most of the hotels myself – if I have not stayed there, I only pick the best hotels for that budget.
Luxury Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Armani Hotel
It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just next to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance. Giorgio Armani delivered what you can expect from a high-quality designer.
Mid-Range Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Carlton Downtown
This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall and is the perfect accommodation if you are looking for a nice hotel that does not cost a fortune.
The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation (being close to a metro station is great as it eases things extremely if you do not want to be stuck in traffic when using a taxi).
The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa, and from the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms all the way up to penthouse suites. So there is definitely no shortage of luxury, even if it is not a 5-star property. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown.
Budget Hotels in Downtown Dubai – Rove Downtown Dubai
Downtown is a pretty expensive area to stay in Dubai, so finding budget hotels that are still nice is not easy.
This 3-star hotel is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa (not far from the international airport) and close to other attractions, like La Mer, Dubai Garden Glow, and Dubai Deira.
While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown.
Best Hotels for Dubai Deira and the Creek
Dubai Deira and the Creek – the old part is located in the eastern part of the city and is very charming but NOT the perfect choice for everyone. Here, you’ll find the lively Gold and Spice Souk. There are also some museums to visit, and you can spend plenty of time in the Souks.
Dubai’s oldest part is located more or less next to the airport (9km). It is a busy area, and the small and narrow streets of the Gold and Spice Souks will give you what is probably one of the most authentic experiences – though the shopkeepers are mostly non-Arabs.
There are also some museums to see, and riding an abra from one side to the other is lovely (and very inexpensive).
Where to stay in Dubai on a budget? In Dubai Deira? Well, as a solo female traveler strolling through Deira, I definitely felt safe – BUT not always comfortable.
It is very common to be constantly approached by men – either by people trying to sell you stuff or because they are hitting on you. It is one of the cheapest areas to stay in Dubai, but I still cannot recommend it unless it is a big hotel chain in the main street.
If you are on a budget, look for another area to stay. Even as a couple, I recommend only booking a hotel on the main street.
Male travelers can find real bargains here, though the standard for cheaper accommodations is quite low for those accommodations. Though I do not say Deira is one of the best places to stay in Dubai, it can be okay if you pick the right hotel.
Luxury Hotels in Deira – Hyatt Regency Dubai
For a luxury stay in Deira, the Hyatt Regency Dubai is the first choice. It is located along the Corniche (a lovely waterfront promenade made for nice strolls) in the historic district and within walking distance of the busy Gold and Spice Souk.
Rooms normally include a view of the Persian Gulf or the old town of Dubai.
You can choose between 421 luxury rooms, and for the most luxurious stay, you can pick one of the suites and enjoy access to the Regency Club Lounge.
I have not found any nice budget hotels in Deira that I can recommend.
Deira has many budget hotels, especially those on the side streets, but I do not necessarily recommend them.
While the staff is often nice and friendly, it should be said that it is not the safest area to stroll through at night (though I never actually felt physically threatened, it is just not the best place to book a hotel in Dubai, especially for female travelers). But if you are male (or female and less worried than I am), then this a very budget-friendly area to stay in Dubai.
Best Hotels in Madinat Jumeirah
Madinat Jumeirah is a re-creation of ancient Arabia and, in my opinion, one of the best areas to stay in Dubai.
Once you enter Madinat, it is nothing like the hustle and bustle that is so common in Dubai. Little shops sell souvenirs, jewelry, etc., and some restaurants and cafes allow you to enjoy the lovely atmosphere.
There is also an outdoor part where you get the best view of Burj Al-Arab. You could also ride an abra, which is much more expensive than in Deira, but well, the hotels in this area are not a bargain either.
In return, you have one of the best hotels in all of Dubai and can enjoy more privacy than in many other parts of the city.
Luxury Hotels in Madinat Jumeirah – Al Qasr and Dar Al Masyaf
Madinat Jumeirah is home to several luxury properties, and here is the most luxurious of them all. They are all part of the hotel group Jumeirah Hotels, as is Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
The location of the Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf and Al Qasr (these two hotels belong somehow together) is almost perfect.
Nestled in beautiful Madinat Jumeirah, between beautiful gardens and waterways, private pools, and Madinat Jumeirah’s own private beach. Near Dubai Marina (a short taxi ride), this is indeed a perfect place to stay.
Two-hundred eighty-three rooms offer pure luxury, and it cannot get any more exclusive than staying here (as a guest, you also have free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, the tickets are not cheap, so if you are a waterpark fan, this might be a great way to spend your day without any extra costs).
The desert is actually my favorite area in Dubai, and if you are looking for a unique place to stay in Dubai, then the desert could be a great choice. I have been to the desert several times. It is not only the perfect spot for an adventure (dune bashing in Dubai is fun, as is a hot-air balloon ride or a BBQ), it is also a fun place to stay in Dubai overnight (probably one or two nights are enough here), and the desert is actually one of the best places to visit in Dubai.
You can either opt for a luxury hotel in the desert or book a desert safari and stay in one of the re-creations of bedouin life overnight.
Al Maha is a luxury hotel and part of the Starwood Luxury Collection. Located in the desert, this is indeed the perfect hotel for a quick and relaxing getaway from Dubai´s craziness.
Nestled in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, this hotel plays a part in conserving the area. You can spot Arabian oryx and gazelles while staying there overnight – if you are lucky, you may even see them while spending time at the pool.
But there is more to do as a guest: You get up to two free desert activities every day!
Mid-Range / Budget Accommodations in the Desert – Desert Safari
Another great way to stay overnight in the desert is to book a desert safari that includes an overnight stay in a tent.
Dubai Marina is a beautiful part of Dubai and was created in 2003. It stretches over several kilometers, and it one of the best places for nice walks in Dubai. It is still constantly changing and expanding, and thus, you’ll see construction work being done almost everywhere you look.
Currently, it is the second biggest man-made marina, but Dubai would not be Dubai if it did not plan to break records and make it the biggest in the world.
It is the home to many hotels, including the tallest hotel globally, and the perfect place for nice strolls and beautiful views. Dubai Marina is also home to one of the best hotels, including one of my favorites, and thus, my top tip for booking a luxury hotel.
Luxury Hotels in Dubai Marina – Grosvenor House
Dubai Marina is home to some amazing hotels, and one of my all-time favorite hotels is the Starwood Luxury Collection’s Hotel Grosvenor House.
This property represents a simple and pure form of elegance and is the perfect place to stay for any business traveler or couple.
Whether you head out to explore Dubai Marina, or spend your time in their amazing spa, or chill in the nice lobby or one of the numerous bars or restaurants – Grosvenor House is definitely a great place to choose if you’re looking for a luxury stay in Marina.
JBR Walk is, unlike Dubai Marina, located along the beach with many shops, restaurants, hotels, and bars and is one of the best places to stay in Dubai, especially with children. I also enjoy the proximity to Dubai Marina and love going there for a walk.
This area is perfect if you stay with kids – most hotels have direct beach access, so it is the perfect place for those who prefer lazy days at the beach rather than the hustle and bustle of Downtown or Marina.
Don’t worry, even if you do not like the beach, you won’t get bored – with all the restaurants and cafes, street art, and fun activities, there is always something going on.
Luxury Hotels in Dubai JBR Walk – Ritz-Carlton Dubai
Ritz-Carlton is the first choice when it comes to luxury accommodations at JBR Walk.
This elegant hotel does not impress with its height. Rather it is stretched out and quite lovely with its unique style. The beach and garden area is extensive and the perfect place for kids and adults alike. Different pool areas and the proximity to the busy JBR area make it a great place to book your stay.
It is just next to Dubai Marina and, thus, not a very affordable place to stay. If you are looking for mid-range or budget hotels, I recommend the hotels I mentioned in the Dubai Marina section.
When I heard about the Palm(s) on TV for the first time, I was more than a little skeptical about the negative impact on the environment. However, on my second and third trips to Dubai, I actually stayed at one of the hotels on Palm Jumeirah, and to be honest, I loved it – but there are a few things to know before booking your stay on the Palm.
There were supposed to be three palms, but the only one finished, and a second one was supposed to be finished eventually. The third one was stopped as a result of the financial crisis, which also hit Dubai.
Now, Palm Jumeirah is home to one of the most expensive and best hotels around. Looking for a budget hotel in this area is impossible. Still, you will find one of the most iconic hotels of all in Dubai – The Atlantis in Dubai – as well as other very well-known luxury chains, like Fairmont or Sofitel.
If you are fine to stay away from main attractions, then the Palm is one of the best places to stay in Dubai.
Luxury Hotels on the Palm – Atlantis – The Palm
Atlantis – The Palm is like a little city in itself.
There is hardly any reason to leave the hotel at all – with its own waterpark, aquarium, plenty of restaurants, little shops and stores, its own bars for clubbing, and several pools (it probably goes without saying that the hotel has its own private beach area, which is actually extensive), there is no shortage of activities.
Whether you plan a weekend with your friends, a family trip, or want to relax, this place is anything but boring.
If you are looking for another 5-star luxury hotel on the Palm, but like it is a little quieter and even more remote, then Anantara – The Palm is the perfect option for you.
Being at the end of the Palm, it is located in a tranquil area of the Palm, and you will not have many other travelers stumble upon it (keep this in mind as it is time-consuming getting to other parts of Dubai).
The beach area is tranquil and lovely, and with its many restaurants and pools, it is perfect for those who want to enjoy a romantic getaway or escape the craziness of Dubai.
While the ratings are not the best for this property in Al Barsha, a not really charming district, due to the distance to Dubai Marina and sights like Miracle Garden, I cannot actually say anything bad about it enjoyed my stay there.
While this place is very simple and not directly next to a metro station, many places, including Dubai Marina, are close by and easily reachable via cab. Or, after a few minutes of walking to the metro station, you can also get to the main sights for a little money via the metro.
CONCLUSION: TOP HOTELS AND BEST PLACES TO STAY IN DUBAI
So, hopefully, this guide has helped you find out about the best places to stay – in terms of area but also in terms of the best accommodation for your budget, and you have found an answer to your question “where to stay in Dubai.” So, wishing you a wonderful trip – whether you go there for a vacation or your business trip.
ONE WEEK IN DUBAI – WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN 7-14 DAYS
Dubai has so much to offer and most people just do not realize that you can easily fill 7 days in Dubai, or even 14 days and more with fun activities and places to see.
If you are planning a trip to this exciting city, you might be wondering about the absolute best 7-day Dubai itinerary so you can see the best has to offer.
Whether you stay 7 days in Dubai, 10 days or two weeks – this itinerary will give you plenty of tips on how to spend your time in the city without getting bored.
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?
So, this one-week itinerary for Dubai will take you to the main attractions of the city, but you will also get to see some lesser busy places and if you stay longer than one week in Dubai, this post will also give you recommendations for the best day trips to take.
At the end of the itinerary, you´ll also find many travel tips that most likely will be useful for your vacation – including information on how to get around, where to stay, and many more Dubai travel tips.
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 a perfect Dubai one-week itinerary (or up to two-week itinerary).
Day 1 in Dubai
Before getting to the busiest place in the city, start with some beach time
Spend your whole day and evening at La Mer
If you visit Dubai for 7 days, this is a must-see place and actually I do 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 in Dubai and is located in the Jumeirah area. It is on the beach with a lot of retails 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, one of the main attractions, you can take it easy the first day and hold off on getting into the crazy parts of Dubai.
This place is perfect to spend a full day (there are free and very stylish, showers, clean toilets, and you can either bring your own towels or you can book some sun beds and umbrellas).
There are sooooo many restaurants that you will definitely find something to your tastes. To see some amazing street art, walk along the rail stores and bring your camera.
As beautiful as La Mer is in the daytime, it gets even better in the evening! So before leaving too early, make sure to top your day off at La Mer.
There will be many locals and expats coming and there will be plenty of options for dining. Watching the sunset from here is a beautiful way to enjoy your first day in Dubai (and always Burj Khalifa in the background).
Now, there is a water park that has opened (and which is way cheaper than the other two main water parks in Dubai). Perfect for people who really love to be in the water and who like to switch from a beach to the water park with pools.
How to get here: 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 is another way to get here. If you arrive there by car you have free underground parking.
(P.S. 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.)
Click here to read more about this fun part of Dubai.
Day 2 in Dubai
After your first slow day in Dubai, it is time to dive into the craziest part of Dubai – Downtown Dubai. This will probably one of the busiest places during the week – but of course it is a must-see in 7 days in Dubai and you cannot not visit this area.
Spend your day and evening in Dubai Downtown
You can start your day in Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world. It has its own aquarium, ice skating rink, etc.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 outside of the mall, you also have great restaurants that offer fine dining.
Even though, Dubai Mall is big it is still busy – 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 there: You cannot miss Dubai Mall as it is located right next to Burj Khalifa. And you cannot miss Burj Khalifa…Just because it is sooooo tall. You can get there by metro/buses and it is also a popular drop-off point for sightseeing buses.
If you get off at “Dubai Mall Metro Station” you have to walk about one more kilometer to actually get into Dubai Mall (there are also buses available that bring you from the metro station closer to Dubai Mall.
Afterward, it is time to head to Burj Khalifa, which is just next to the Dubai Mall. If you are not scared of heights, there is an option to get to the “top of Burj Khalifa” and either visit level 124+125, or level 148.My top tip: Get your tickets in advance. If you want to buy your tickets at the ticket counter you will have to wait endlessly (seriously, it is a lot of waiting most of the time).
The lines get crazy there and you need to plan for the time spent waiting in line. If you want to get tickets for level 148 (which come with access to level 124 and 125, too), you can skip the lines. The 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.
This might take several hours, so if you actually visit the top of Burj Khalifa, you should probably go outside the mall (before you go up) so you can take pictures of Burj Khalifa during in the daylight. It really depends on how much time you want to spend there, but I guess 2-3 hours is a minimum.
How to get there: 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”. You cannot enter it from outside the mall as a regular guest.
There you could buy tickets at the ticket center (in case you did not buy them in advance ).
Click here to find out about the ticket prices for Burj Khalifa:
By the way, this spot is also the perfect place to end your day.
After 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on (each show takes a few minutes, and it happens every half hour), and I tell you, 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 is can be hard to walk – even after 9 pm (shops are open until 11 pm).
The water dance is fun to watch and is free – it just takes a few minutes and it is always crowded but make sure to check out the times and adjust your itinerary accordingly. You can also book an abra ride and enjoy the water show without all the crowds though.
Water Fountain Show Schedule:
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
For cheap dining options, head to the Dubai Food Mall. For dining with a view, visit one of the numerous restaurants close by (ideally with a view of the fountain, like the Mediterreano of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand).
How to get there: There is a metro station (Dubai Mall station) and many buses that 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 in Dubai
The third day is all about “traditional” Dubai and some more amazing views.
Spend your day in the Old Part + Zabeel Park + Dubai Frame
Time to discuss the next day in Dubai.
But before you do, you could start your day with a visit to one of the newer attractions, which is Dubai Frame. It is located in Zabeel Park, one of the biggest and lushest parks in Dubai.
There are some cool views from there of Burj Khalifa, and you can walk on see-through glass 100 meters from the ground.
It opens at 9 am (though when I visited, they did not have tickets until 9:20 and it seems they are still not well organized; so probably get there shortly after 9 am, so you still have the view and glass floor almost all to yourself).If you get up there and take a walk, you will probably need one hour.
How to get there: By metro: get out at Al Jafiliya metro stop but you need to do some walking.
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 (entrance fee is about 1.20€). It is also not crowded and thus a perfect place after the craziness of Dubai Downtown.
How to get there: There are several entrances, if you come from Dubai Frame, you will see an entrance close by.
Gold and Spice Souks
Afterward, jump into a taxi and get to Gold Souk of Dubai.The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit and, in my opinion, must-see spots.
If you are looking for places that have 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.To get from the Gold Souk to the Spice Souk, jump on one of the abras – the water taxis that cost only about 0.25€.
If you ask for the Spice Souk, people will direct you to the correct abra, and after a short ride, you will get to the other side of Dubai, passing the creek.From there, you can take a ride on a dhow, which is a traditional wooden boat. For less than 15€, you can go on an hour cruise.
To end the day, I recommend visiting Al Seef.
Al Seef was just recently created and is a lovely new area with many restaurants – some in new modern style and others in the traditional Arabic style (though the quislings are new, too).You will have plenty of options for dining, with nice views of Dubai Creek.
Extra tip: If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting Dubai Museum, which is an interesting, but often crowded, museum in Deira that illustrates the history of Dubai in an engaging way. Entrance fees are just about 1€ and it is probably the best museum to visit in Dubai.
Day 4 in Dubai
Day 3 was all about traditional Dubai, so this day will be all about the new, modern side of Dubai.
Spend Your Day and Evening in the Jumeirah Area
Time for the beach or waterparks.
Wild Wadi Water Park
If you are into waterparks, you can head to Wild Wadi Waterpark.It belongs to the Jumeirah Group and has some cool slides and fun water activities. As a guest of any Jumeirah hotel, you will have free access (which actually was a reason for me to book a night at a Jumeirah hotel once).
The tickets are not cheap, but kids, in particular, will love it. It would be easy to spend a full day there.
From the waterpark, you will have great views of the Burj al Arab, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai.
The food there is overpriced and not that great, but it is a nice activity. You can read my full review here.
How to get there: There is no metro station close by. You can get to “Mall of Emirates” and then take a taxi or bus to get there. It is just right next to the entrance of Burj al-Arab (which is not open to the public though).
Jumeirah Beach / Kite Beach
If you are looking for a cheaper option, go to Jumeirah Beach. It is an open beach with nice views of Burj al Arab and you can cool off there.The beaches in Dubai are in general not very crowded (not to our European standard), they are clean and safe. 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.
Tip: Bring your own food and towels with you.
In the 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 a bunch of restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab (though quite pricey, I do believe it is worth it, as the view is not something that you can get just anywhere).
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.
How to get there: The closest metro station is the Mall of Emirates. From there, you could take a taxi or walk (though it is a few kilometers). From Jumeirah Beach you could walk, though it is a bit far (from Wild Wadi it is shorter and easier to walk to).
The best is to take a taxi or a bus. Sightseeing buses also stop here (both companies).
Day 5 in Dubai
Plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi (or 2 or 3 days in Abu Dhabi).
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is definitely a beautiful place and worth more than a one-day trip, but since Dubai also has a lot to offer, one day should be enough to see the most important places in Abu Dhabi.You can read more about a day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi here and which sights you should visit. Okay, here is the thing: If you stay in Dubai for more than 7 days, I highly suggest staying overnight in Abu Dhabi.
While Dubai is fun and all that, Abu Dhabi is special and I personally enjoy Dubai more but my sister, whom I just recently took on a Dubai trip with me, liked Abu Dhabi better. If you are in the UAE for 14 days, I would even stay in Abu Dhabi for three days.
If you plan a trip book one of the best rated day trip tours from Dubai
If you stay one week in Dubai, you cannot leave without doing a desert tour. Normally, the tours – whether you do them in the morning or afternoon – take about 6-10 hours so you will have time to add another activity to this day or you take it easier and chill the rest of the day.
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 star gazing is like a dream coming true in the desert.You have to fit it in your Dubai itinerary – whether you are there for 2 days, and especially if you are staying longer. Every time I did a desert adventure (and I did a few), it became e a highlight of my Dubai trip.
There are several tours available – all fun and a bit different but I recommend doing one with a BBQ (btw: as a vegetarian, I was pleased to find out that there were enough vegetarian options). These memories will last a lifetime.
Find out more about fun desert safari tours in Dubai
If you have one week in Dubai, this will be one great option to spend your day.
Spend Your Day at JBR Walk (The Beach) and Visit Dubai Marina
JBR Walk – The Beach
If you would like to have a beach day, then head to JBR Walk and “The Beach”. But there is more than just a beach – it is an experience!This area is extremely popular during the day (and in the evenings, too) and you have free beach access here.
There are so many other things to do, including a ride on the newest attraction, the “Flying Cup,” where you have a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk).
Tip: With your Citysightseeing bus tour ticket, you have also 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).
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. 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.
Other than that, the Palm is lovely for a nice bike ride, but I actually recommend heading to Dubai Marina. To me, 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 can be found along the few kilometers stretch of Dubai Marina, and this is one of the best places to end your Dubai trip.
Stroll along, let your kids rent go-kart bicycles, and keep looking up to enjoy the grandiose views. For a special meal, you can book a dhow dinner, or 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 there and sit on the bench, enjoying the illuminated buildings.
But dining on a boat, cruising Dubai Marina, is also a wonderful option…Truth is, I love this area and think, it is a great place to end a Dubai trip!
Strolling Marina, and admiring the skyscrapers, are free. However, you can do a few boat tours that you can check out:
If you are longer in Dubai, this might be even your 8th day (if you spend 2 days in Abu Dhabi). However, since you can tweak the itinerary as you like.
10-14 DAYS IN DUBAI
If you have 10-14 days, I suggest visiting above mentioned places, and then here are a few more suggestions for the next few days.
Miracle Garden is quite Instafamous – the flower park located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions.Tickets are about 12€, and for that, you will see flowers – a lot of flowers, designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes and designs.
It is Dubai, so of course, it is the biggest flower park in the world and seeing all pieces should take about two hours.
Afterward, you could head to Global Village.
Tickets are about 5€, and you have entry to a theme park with roller coasters and displays from many different countries in the world.
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.
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.I think, it is also a great place for families because there are many child-friendly activities offered, but with the shops, restaurants, and murals it is also good for adults to visit.
Personally, I enjoy it in the evening more (but that goes for almost all places), but whether you visit during the day or in the evening, it is less busy and crowded than other places.
Yes, Dubai is fun but with 10 days in Dubai, I suggest staying two days in Abu Dhabi. So, whenever you visit Abu Dhabi, make it an overnight stay.
Okay, actually I am surprised myself that I did not add this for the first week in Dubai…because, I really liked the emirate of Sharjah.
Sharjah is located right next to Dubai and the smallest emirate. From the eastern part of Dubai (Dubai Deira where the Gold or Spice Souk are), it takes about 15 minutes by taxi to get there. 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. Yes, it is way more conservative than Dubai in terms of dress codes (but I am sure that will change once more Russians and Britains are coming 🙂 and you are not even 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. I somehow totally enjoyed it – getting my very first glimpse of Oman was great.However, if you stay in the western part of Dubai and do a guided tour it can take quite some time to arrive in Oman.
If you are staying in Dubai Deira it should save you around 30 minutes. However, it will still take about 2 or 2,5 hours (one way) and in Oman, the water was not really clean. Still, we (my cousin and I) had a blast and did not regret it. It was the first time we actually relaxed in the UAE.
So, if you are in Dubai for one week or a bit longer, you should book a day trip to Mussandam – however, keep in mind that everything can get delayed and you might arrive in the hotel quite late (so plan in some relaxing activities for the day after – meaning tweaking the itinerary as needed).
I haven’t visited any theme parks yet, but Dubai is, no surprise, also home to some fun theme parks. While it would visit Miracle Garden and Global Village on my last day, I know how popular them pars are and have added them as suggestions:
If you are into something more adventurous, why not head to The Palm or to the Police Station near the Mall of Emirates and take a helicopter ride? It is a perfect activity for those who would like to see Dubai – once again – from above so add this to your itinerary.This is definitely an amazing way to get great views of Dubai. Seeing Burj Khalifa, the Palm, Burj al Arab, etc. is something you will probably always cherish.
Click here to find out about the prices for a helicopter ride in Dubai (I admit, I did the shortest ride because prices aren’t cheap but it was worth it and I wish, I had done a longer helicopter flight).
If you like to read my review of my helicopter tour, click here
Dinner in the Sky
Tip: For a very unique dinner, you can book a “Dinner in the Sky” experience – a very unique and fun way to enjoy dinner 50 meters up.It is located at the end of Dubai Marina (or the beginning?) so if you plan to do it, it would be best to schedule it when you are at the Marina.
So, if your flight is not early in the morning I would suggest the same to you.
Of course, you could visit one of the places you have not visited yet, but I would not want to stress out on my last day. So, I take it easy and remind myself which place made me feel the happiest – and then I go there again.
So, probably this helps you plan your last day, too.
So, what do you think? Does this sound like a boring week in Dubai?
Personally, I think this Dubai one-week itinerary is so diverse and you´ll get to see so amen 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 just chill and enjoy Dubai in a slower way.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE WEEK IN DUBAI
So, here are some tips for your Dubai itinerary.
How to Get to Dubai
My favorite airline is probably Emirates Airlines – but I use different airlines whenever I fly to the Emirates. The Dubai-based airline offers great services. It is a bit more expensive than other airlines I have flown with (including Turkish Airlines or KLM) but I just like it more.
Dubai has two airports: 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 and if you fly with Etihad Airways you will most likely fly over Abu Dhabi. It takes about an hour drive to get to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare).
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.
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 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.
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, but I have never used it.
If you need a taxi (which unfortunately is needed sometimes as attractions are quite spread and public transportation not always the best), you can just grab one from the street.
There are the regular ones (which a yellowish color and taxi is written on it) but there are also the black Lexus taxis, which are more expensive but also official.
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.
Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap but the standard is quite high. There are many 5-star hotels that are mind-blowing (among them Atlantis – The Palm or Grosvenor House), but also 4- or 3-star hotels are fine.
You can check out rates for accommodations in Dubai here, and if you are looking for my personal recommendations for all budgets and areas click here. There you will also find my tips for the best neighborhoods to stay in Dubai.