Are you heading to this exciting city and wondering about what to wear in Dubai? Then this post is for you – I share my experiences and knowledge about the dress code in Dubai for women and men. Here is what you should know about what to wear in Dubai – a relatively modern yet still conservative and Islamic city (Emirate).
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Women’s Dress Code in Dubai
So, we start with what to wear in Dubai as a woman, which is a bit more tricky than answering the question of what to wear as a man.
In general, the Dubai dress code is not as strict as in some other Islamic cities/countries, e.g. Saudi Arabia. It isn’t even as strict as in Sharjah – a city/emirate next to Dubai. However, it is still not as westernized as some people might think after looking at pictures of “influencers” in Dubai.
In Dubai, most people are foreigners, so there are only a few Emiratis. These foreigners are tourists and people who work there, and they have had a great impact on the Dubai dress code.
I always read that you are not supposed to wear too revealing clothes, but actually, I have seen all of them.
Read this post for more information on What to pack for Dubai and buy, if necessary, some clothes/items before your trip.
Can Women Wear What They Want in Dubai?
Yes and no. Keep reading to find out.
Do I Have to Wear a Scarf in Dubai?
Though the United Arab Emirates is clearly Islamic, (foreign) women do not have to cover up and can wear more or less those clothes they feel comfortable in – to a certain extent. So, no need to wear a headscarf/cover your hair (except for a few places I mention later).
What to Wear in Dubai at the Beach/Pool Area
What can women wear in Dubai at the beach? Dubai is a lot about beaches and pools, and thus, make sure to plan some time in your Dubai itinerary and pack the right clothes.
At the beach/hotel pool, women can wear bikinis or bathing suits. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are still quite liberal. Some other Emiratis aren’t.
However, being topless, of course, is not allowed.
And here are some clothes to wear in Dubai. These items are great for your day at the beach and pool in Dubai:
I am in love with kaftans – a perfect item for the beach, and it is great if you go back to the hotel/restaurant, etc., as bikinis are not liked to be seen in the hotel itself.
A bikini, burkini, or any swimsuit should not be missing on your Dubai packing list for some lazy days at the beach (probably do not take the smallest bikini you have).
You can also take some shorts and tops you can wear if you leave the beach/pool area.
What to Wear on Dubai´s Streets
Can I wear hot pants in Dubai? This is a question I have been asked many times.
When I left the hotel, I saw many people in the metro, cafes, and restaurants wearing hot pants, belly tops, skirts, and other such outfits – it is not forbidden. I assume that many won’t even care or look at you. However, I felt uncomfortable showing too much skin when foreign workers, especially from countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, were around.
This was mostly the case in the metro, even though I normally am in the “women-only compartment,” or in Deira (the old part of Dubai). There, staring and cat-calling are more common. I definitely dress more conservatively in Dubai Deira. So, I recommend thinking about how to dress.
These items are definitely a great choice for strolls in the beautiful Marina, the Palm, or many other parts of Dubai but also in conservative areas like Dubai Deira.
Maxi Dresses and dresses that cover your knees – with or without sleeves.
Skirts are good to wear, here you can go with long skirts or shorter ones, but I would not go for a mini skirt.
If the weather is not too hot, jeans are a great choice.
T-shirts and tank tops are fine for most places.
Shorts are okay. Hot pants not so much (even if you see many Instagrammers with hot pants, this is actually not always appropriate).
Dubai Dress Code for Dubai Malls/Restaurants etc.
There is a dress code if you go to Dubai Mall, saying that wearing too revealing outfits should be avoided. Ignoring it can lead to being asked to leave or change clothes.
After speaking to some locals, they confirmed that security has gotten a bit stricter – some tourists were told to follow the dress code (or they would not be allowed to enter the mall). However, many Europeans/foreigners don’t care.
Of course, you don’t have to wear a headscarf or long pants. Most malls have a well, not so strict, policy: naked shoulders are not allowed, and skirts/shorts have to be knee-length.
Many people, even expats living in Dubai, claim that there is no dress code and they have never heard of it, but I saw signs throughout the mall. Also, check out the official website of Dubai Mall and scroll down, there you will find some info on how to dress.
What to Wear in a Mosque in Dubai
The Dubai Dress Code in a mosque – actually in any mosque in the world – is strict.
What do I have to wear in the mosque? Most mosques are not open to non-Muslims in Dubai. The Jumeirah Mosque can be visited and you might consider visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is, by the way, the most beautiful building I have ever seen.
In case you actually visit any mosque, you have to wear long sleeves, cover your legs and have a scarf with you because you have to cover your head.
At the Grand Mosque (also known as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque), they offer free dresses/scarves for the duration of your visit.
In this case, there is not much difference to churches, etc. – just a bit stricter. They take it very seriously, so there is no room for interpretation.
What to Wear in the Desert in Dubai
Dubai´s desert is an amazing destination, and though there is no strict dress code, I would like to mention a couple of things about visiting this part of Dubai.
The desert gets extremely hot in summer. And by extremely hot, I seriously mean extreme heat. Once, I felt like ice in the sunshine, sweating all over. When I had the crazy to take off my sandals, I immediately burnt my feet. My tip: Do not take off your shoes in the desert on a hot day. It is a terrible idea!
So, if visiting the desert take:
solid footwear (sand can get very hot, and you do not want to burn your feet)
a (floppy) hat to protect your head
a scarf and a cardigan (it can get “chilly” in the evening, so take something to cover your shoulders – at least in fall, winter, and spring).
wear bright colors if you want to take gorgeous pictures of yourself in the desert
wear loose clothing (helps with the heat)
Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen…
EXTRA TIP: For great pictures, choose clothes that really pop. A yellow or red maxi dress or any other bright color will make you look even more stunning in pictures.
Men Dubai Dress Code
Good news for men visiting Dubai: rules are not as strict for men as for women. Bad news: You still can’t wear whatever you want – especially not wherever you want. So, if you are wondering about the dress code in Dubai for men, this is what to know:
Men can wear western clothes, like jeans, sweatpants, and shorts. They can also wear singlets, flip-flops and summer clothes. However, if you want to be respectful and not attract negative attention (or worse), then avoid shorts that are very short (and end way higher than the knees), tops that hang too low, or any see-through shirts or pants.
Wearing short sleeve shirts and shorts that cover your knees (or at least, almost) is surely fine.
In the mosque, you normally have to wear long pants.
If you are at the beach, you can go topless. But leave your “top-less time” only for the beaches and put a short on if you leave the beach area.
One exception would be to wear traditional Arab clothes. In Dubai, this means wearing an ankle-length, loose-fitting garment made of white cotton, known as a kandora or dishdasha. Actually, the white color and loose fighting are perfect for hot days.
Conclusion: What to Wear in Dubai
Although Dubai is Islamic, it’s still quite liberal. However, keep in mind the heritage and do not “overdo” it if you do not want to cause any problems and put a bad light on the foreigners.
When you visit the country during the holy month of Ramadan you must be extremely careful – during that time, the dress code is strict, and you should re-think your visit if you do not want to stick to it.
Other than that, it is acceptable to wear skirts and shorts and show some skin. Remember to respect the tradition of every country. But with this post, you have a good understanding of what to wear and the dress code for Dubai.
So, there is a dress code for female and male visitors, and if you do not want to be a total jerk, try to adjust to it and respect the rules (which aren’t too strict, so it should not be too hard).
Are you planning to travel to Dubai as a solo female traveler? Then this post is for you!
When I started the blog, my intention wasn’t to focus strongly on travels to the United Arab Emirates. Still, somehow, Dubai has become one of the main focuses of my blog. After many visits and trying out a lot of different activities, I feel confident enough to write about my experiences as a solo female traveler in Dubai.
Some of the questions I get asked the most is: Is Dubai safe for solo female travelers? I also get asked a lot about the best things to do in Dubai solo. So, today I am happy to answer your questions in this “Solo Female Travel in Dubai guide.”
TIPS FOR SOLO TRAVELERS TO DUBAI
Dubai is, I think, one of the safest places that I can think of and the best place to travel solo as a female.
Are there security issues? Yes. Can we trust all the security information we get from the government in the UAE? Surelynot. However, this post is not about the political situation in the UAE (in terms of women´s rights or human rights) but rather how it feels actually to be there (while neglecting the political situation) as a solo female traveler.
Security Aspects in Dubai
The crime rate in Dubai is extremely low, also because there are serious punishes for many crimes.
It seems that the police are capable of doing their jobs efficiently. Maybe it is better not to know by which means the police achieve that. However, this makes me feel more secure than in many other places. I have been told by a person who lives there that even if something gets stolen, they will find it very quickly and solve the crime. After a few days in Dubai, I felt safe enough to leave my bag (unattended) at the table while going to the buffet and getting food for several minutes. In Germany, it would be unbelievable to do so. I actually get very careless in Dubai because it seriously feels safe. This does not mean that you should be so careless, though.
Based on a woman´s traveler perspective, the country is totally safe. Although people might think Arab countries might not be the most secure places, I cannot second that for Dubai.
Actually, since alcohol is not drunk that much in public, I felt much more secure at night than in many parts of Western countries, where drunk people run around at the weekend and make me feel uncomfortable.
I feel totally fine strolling popular places like Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai by night.
However, avoid Dubai Deira at night and exercise common sense and you should be fine!
Dress Code For Solo Female Travelers
Though there is no strict dress code for women, I feel safer when I do not reveal too much skin.
You can wear bikinis and swimwear at the beach.
You should cover your shoulders and knees when in malls. There is actually a strict dress code in most of the malls though many tourists don’t stick to them, and wear extremely short skirts and pants. I heard from locals that security might ask you to leave if that is the case. However, this hasn’t happened often, and most wear whatever they feel like.
How to Get Around as a Solo Traveler
I always felt 1000% safe in regular taxis. There are “pink taxis” which are particularly for women but I have never used them. But I always make sure to sit in the back.
When I take the metro, I always go to the women’s department (clearly marked). Stares in the regular compartments can be intense.
So, whether I walk, ride a bike, use the metro or call a cab or an Uber – I always felt safe!
As a female traveler, I only sometimes felt a little bit uncomfortable in Dubai, though. This normally always had some foreign workers involved, mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, etc. Especially in places like Dubai Creek/Deira, I did not feel totally comfortable. It has gotten better the more often I went. However, I never felt unsafe. I heard some women don’t feel comfortable at all in Dubai Deira, so they refrain from going there.
If you are unsure about how to dress as a female in Dubai, read these recommendations here.
Alcohol as a Woman
While Alcohol is not forbidden for tourists and non-Muslims, I would be cautious. If you have drunk some alcohol and something happens to you – an assault e.g. – the police might be way stricter, and you might end up being punished.
In general, I recommend watching your drinking carefully – especially if you travel solo.
Accommodation for Female Solo Travelers
Though Dubai is super safe – even at night – I recommend, especially for females, to avoid staying in Dubai Deira. Dubai Deira is fun in the daytime but a bit shady after dark – even if it is probably the cheapest area to stay in Dubai (or one of the most affordable). I suggest investing a bit more into accommodation and, if needed, reducing the spending on activities or food.
I rather recommend picking another area to stay for solo female travelers – like Dubai Downtown, JBR Walk, or Dubai Marina.
Accommodation cost for solo travelers is almost as high as if you share a room. So, this is the main reason I dislike traveling alone in Dubai.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI AS A SOLO TRAVELER
Okay, while I have another post that lists my 50 top activities in Dubai, the list is more focused on solo travelers in Dubai. So here are fun things to do in Dubai yourself.
Dubai Downtown Sightseeing
When you travel in Dubai alone, you can be sure to feel safe in Dubai Downtown. It is the city’s busy tourism hub and home to many attractions like Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), Dubai Mall (biggest mall in the world), and Dubai Fountain (the biggest water fountain show in the world).
This part is crazy. Especially at night, it is crazy! There is no shortage of superlatives, and it will not be boring to travel alone. There is so much to see that you will probably be too overwhelmed even to realize that you are on your own.
You can visit Dubai Downtown easily as a solo traveler. If you are on a budget, you can enjoy the tallest building from a distance, watch the water fountain show for free, and do window shopping.
If you want to get to the “Top of Burj Khalifa”, it saves you time to book your tickets in advance. Ticket prices vary depending on the level of access (levels 124 and 125 only are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.
Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:
Desert safaris are one of the most popular activities in Dubai. I love a good desert safari in Dubai. I am actually not sure how many I have done so far. But what I know for sure is that I loved each tour. A desert safari is not only for families or love birds (the BBQ in the desert, which often comes with a safari, is indeed extremely romantic) but a top thing to do for ANY traveler to Dubai.
The desert safari is actually one of the best activities to make friends. Depending on the kind of safari you get picked up from your hotel, and while there are tons of jeeps (like a caravan), it feels like you form a little team with the other ones in your car.
Most tours include dune bashing, belly-dance shows, a diner, and stargazing.
Somehow, no matter if I ended up with a family or a group of friends, we stuck together, dined together, and had a great time together. If you prefer to be yourself during your whole Dubai trip, you can, of course.
But it is a great way to connect with other Dubai travelers and exchange ideas and experiences. There are also morning desert tours, but my tip is to do the evening desert safari – another fun activity to do alone in Dubai at night.
Here is another place to visit in Dubai alone – one of the numerous beaches!
Sometimes I am paranoid – unfortunately. That is probably why I am not so much into beach holidays. I am always afraid my stuff gets stolen while I am in the water. I am stressed out and not relaxed. In Dubai, I don’t have this feeling, just because Dubai is so freakingly safe. I can leave my valuables at the beach and hop into the water.
And I even feel safe enough to turn my back and leave my stuff unattended for a few minutes. All thanks to a low crime rate. So, if you are in Dubai, you can feel free to hit the beach – even if you are as paranoid as I am. Okay, still – exercise common sense and keep an eye on your items but there is no need for paranoia.
Best beaches in Dubai to visit solo: La Mer, Jumeirah Beach (Kite Beach), and the private beaches on Dubai Palm.
Boat and Abra Rides
Given the Persian Gulf and Dubai Creek, you have enough options to experience boat rides. I openly admit that I am into boat rides – speedboats, dinner cruises, or whatsoever. Just put me on a boat and let me enjoy the city from a different perspective.
Dubai is great for boat tours – as a solo traveler, you have the chance to make friends. If you prefer being on your own, you can enjoy the beauty of the city while sailing around.
If you are on a budget, try out an abra ride in Dubai Deira. The traditional water taxis are fun, very cheap, and a great way to get around. It is just 0,25€ for a ride – a fun and cheap thing to do in Dubai alone.
Some females have told me they disliked strolling the old town of Dubai, Dubai Deira, with the gold and spice markets because people stare. I understand their point. It is a lovely area full of life with many foreign sellers who actually stare at women (and might even call after you).
I normally dislike this. However, I tend to dress more conservatively and try to take it easy. I talk to the salespeople and ignore them if it gets too much. If you know how to ignore people or keep them at a distance, it is fun to visit – even as a solo traveler. Even as a female solo traveler.
It probably is NOT a place I would visit in the evening on my own, though.
Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and the biggest city/emirate in the country. It might be less famous but also a great place to visit. It is about 130km from Dubai and makes a great day trip.
If you are by yourself, you can do a guided tour to Abu Dhabi – or take a taxi. While the latter option is not very environmentally friendly, the taxi ride prices are not high. You pay around 50-70€ for more than 100 km (so 100-140€ in total).
In Abu Dhabi, you can visit the most beautiful building in the world – Grand Zayed Mosque. But there are more fun things to do in Abu Dhabi. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is super safe to travel alone.
If you are looking for things to do in Abu Dhabi in 1 day, check out my quick guide here.
Marina is an expensive neighborhood in Dubai with stunning skyscrapers, many restaurants & shops, and one of the largest man-made marinas in the world. So you can admire the skyscrapers – the density of high buildings is crazy.
While it is also nice to walk along in the daytime (if it isn’t too hot), it is even more fun in the evening. When the buildings are illuminated, the restaurants get busy, and people get here to enjoy their evenings. I have been here so many times on my own, and it makes me so happy to stroll the area.
Since there are many foreigners from all over the world, families, couples, and solo travelers, it is also easy to meet other people and make friends. It is also easy to get to know people here because it is also popular amongst younger people who enjoy a night out.
Dinner in the Sky
Dinner in the Sky Dubai is a restaurant service that uses a crane to hoist its diners, table, guests (up 10 16), and waiting staff 150 feet (50 meters) into the air. If you want to meet people and like to have dinner with others – then try out dinner in the sky (or have lunch or high tea).
This way you get to meet others and don’t have to dine by yourself (if you mind that). I found it a lot of fun. Music, good food (vegetarian/vegan food available on request), entertaining staff, and hopefully some nice dinner guests – this is a fun activity for solo travelers.
Click here to book your “Dinner in the Sky” experience and find out about prices.
JBR – The Walk
JBR – The Walk is a popular outdoor dining and shopping promenade in the Jumeirah Beach Residence/Dubai Marina area. It is another fun place to visit solo. There is a beach section, restaurants, bars, and shops. Whether you like to be alone to meet others – here is the chance to do both.
Bring your towel and swimwear if you plan to spend a day at the beach. Water activities are big here – you can rent some equipment and try out water ski. SUP, or any other of the many options.
If you like to see a different side of Dubai, I recommend visiting the Dubai Museum in the city’s old town. The museum is located in Al Fahidi Fort – the oldest building in the city and features galleries about souks, marine life, and more.
For a little entrance fee (about 1€), you can learn a lot about this rapidly growing city’s history and culture.
Conclusion: What to Do Alone in Dubai
I think Dubai is one of the most secure places to visit as a solo female traveler. Of course, there is no freedom of the press in Dubai – so we only learn about things the government wants us to learn about. So, even if there are incidents, we will probably never find out. However, from my own personal experience – as someone who regularly does a solo trip to Dubai – I can say that I feel safe.
It is not only because of the absence of mugging but also because of getting hit by men constantly. Also, Dubai is fun. I travel solo because I enjoy doing activities on my own. But I also am chatty and like to meet new people once in a while – and meeting people is quite easy in this city.
By the way: I have a thing for countries in the Middle East though I have not traveled much in that area, mostly because I do not know whether I could feel safe in the region (Lebanon is very high on my list). If you are also thinking about visiting Lebanon, you can find out How safe it is to travel to Lebanon? Want to read more about Dubai? Click here to read more about it.
You can take nice shots from Burj Plaza, the Frame (more about that later), or just while standing in front of it (next to the Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall).
For more unique views, head to one of the cafes or restaurants to see Burj Khalifa in its full, astonishing glory. Here are some places that offer great views of Burj Khalifa: CÉ LA VI at the Address Sky View, Morimoto Dubai, or Thiptara restaurant. But there are many, many more places.
As pretty as the Burj is, standing on top of it, either on levels 124+125 or level 148 (there are different tickets for those levels), makes the picture even more perfect.
You can take the best pictures from the side where you can look down at the Dubai Fountain. It adds some nice blue to the picture – no surprise, this is one of the most photogenic places in Dubai.
One of the newer areas that is a good photo spot in Dubai is the City Walk. The area, located between Jumeirah Beach (La Mer) and Burj Khalifa, is lovely in the daytime and an even better spot in the evening.
With all the lights, it makes this place pretty picture-perfect. You´ll also find a bit of street art – those images might be familiar to you if you have followed some Dubai hashtags – but there are more photo opportunities than that.
If you like to take outdoor pictures with some nature and city life in them, then head to La Mer. This area is newly created and recently opened, and it seems like it was made for Instagrammers.
The numerous cafes are extremely stylish (in a casual way), and you will find some of the best cafes to take images in. But the beachfront, the cute beach houses, and of course, the beach view (with a stunning view of Burj Khalifa) make this place picture-perfect from every angle.
To see more pictures and find out more about this pretty place, read my La Mer Guide.
The souks are so pretty here in Dubai (probably everywhere)! Many of the souks could be used as an Instagram location, the Gold and Spice Souks in Deira (the old part of Dubai) are the most picturesque. There is so much gold to see, so many beautifully presented spices, and loads of colorful Arabian clothes that you need to have your camera ready when visiting.
Tip: As a woman, I recommend dressing more modestly if you want to avoid stares. This area can be quite intense – not everyone feels comfortable here. I enjoy my visits to the souks but I dress more conservatively.
If I get rich one day, I will buy an apartment overlooking Dubai Marina. I will sit on my balcony all day and admire the place – with its many, many skyscrapers; the (artificial) canal; and all the lights, abras (water taxis), yachts, and illuminated dhows (old Arabian boats); this place is perfect for taking tons of pretty pictures.
The best places to take photos are from Pier 7 (a building that hosts seven restaurants), from the Pool Restaurant of the Address Hotel, and just by randomly strolling along.
A Marina boat tour is also a lot of fun, and you get to take many cool pictures (I mostly book my tours via Viator and GetYourGuide, so I have listed these two websites with relevant tours for you).
For fun and some cute street art, head to JBR Walk. But there is more than street art that is Insta-worthy in Dubai.
You can head to one of the numerous (really, there are tons of them) cafes or get shooting in front of the graffiti that you see on the walls (some are a bit hidden, so keep your eyes wide open).
Get on the Flying Cup, which is another good place for Instagrammers or people who like to take fun photos. You will not even need a drone to take shots from above. Isn’t the beautiful greenish water a great photo opportunity?
Whenever you are in Dubai, you have to visit Madinat Jumeirah – whether for taking pictures or just because you want to see something nice.
You can start at Madinat Jumeirah’s entrance and then walk towards the souks (markets) for nice pics.
And for more pictures of Burj al Arab, the most expensive hotel in the world, visit one of the restaurants/cafes to see it from a unique angle.
Another great way to take photos in Madinat Jumeirah is from one of the abras (water taxis). As a guest of a Jumeirah hotel, you can ride them for free. If you are not a hotel guest, you have to pay a fee to get a ride.
Burj al Arab
If you have been looking at Dubai pictures, you have probably seen the photos of a beach with Burj al Arab in the background.
Honestly, even though these have been all over Instagram for the longest time, this place does not get old.
If you go to Kite Beach or Jumeirah Beach, you have Burj al Arab in the background.
If you want to have the Burj on the other side, you have to either stay in one of the Jumeirah hotels in Madinat Jumeirah or get a beach day pass for one of the luxury hotels.
Either way, this place is Insta popular for a reason.
If you are looking for an area with a more historical touch, then head to Al Bastakiya. It is located at the Creek, and the old houses are pretty nice to photograph.
If you come here early in the day, you do not have to share the place with too many others, which allows you to take your photos with less stress.
The most Instagrammable cafe in Al Bastakiya is the Secret Garden. Make sure to stop there and have your camera ready.
If you think that malls cannot be that Instagram-worthy, you have not been to Dubai Mall.
This place is perfect for those who like indoor shootings. There are so many great spots to take pictures of that it is crazy.The lovely cafes alone are gorgeous elements that are constantly changing, adding more beauty to this place. You will see that there is no shortage of Instagram spots.
While you will stumble upon nice spots all the time, definitely check out the Fashion Avenue area in the mall, which is the best spot for taking images.
There is also a dino! Yes, a real skeleton of a dino.
Atlantis – The Palm
Atlantis is one of the most iconic hotels in Dubai and a popular photo location in Dubai.
The unique shape (sort of, as it is a re-creation of the Atlantis in the Bahamas) has made this place one of the best for taking pictures. Whether you take images from above (via a relic flight), from a boat (e.g., a Palm Boat Cruise), or visit it by stopping by the staircase, cafes (like Nassima), or beach area, this hotel is amazing for Instagrammers.
You can book a boat tour (especially the speedboat tours are great) and get to take pictures of the Atlantis from a distance.
Of course, Dubai Miracle Garden is one of the very best places and an Instagram heaven.
Unfortunately, this is not a secret gem, so it is quite busy. Getting a shot of the heart without anyone else in it can be quite challenging.
However, if you come here early in the morning or during the off-season (or are just patient enough), then this will be your place. Tickets are about 10€, but you normally do not need to book tickets in advance.
Simple, yet stunning! The desert is always overwhelming, and, without question, one of those places that scream, “Take my picture!” Endless dunes make it one of the best places for IG pics.
For the best images, visit during sunset and book a desert safari, so you can take photos of the areas that were created to spend some time in an “authentic” Arabian place – with tents and Arabian carpets, another place for your Instagram shooting.
Find the best rates for your photo location in Dubai
One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located in Zabeel Park.
Taking a photo of its full size is no easy task, but you can also take beautiful shots from above. The interior design is beautiful and makes for some great pictures, too.
Whether you walk along the glass floor or look at Burj Khalifa, this place was made for bloggers in Dubai.
Dubai from Above
There is no better way to take nice images from Dubai than from a helicopter.
The opportunities for great views from there are endless. While it is tricky to take images through a window, the view might make up for that. Depending on the tour you book, you can take pictures of the Palm, Burj Khalifa, and Burj al-Arab with the kilometer-long beach.
Just check your images quickly when taking photos, so you can see the best way to avoid reflections through the glass. Here are the best views in Dubai – my personal recommendations for Dubai from above.
I cannot get enough of Dubai´s Instagram places. Okay, here is my last tip.
Wings of Mexico Statue
You will find many wings all around Dubai – the Wings of Mexico statue is definitely one of the best photo spots in Dubai. Not only are the wings itself are really photogenic, but especially with Burj Khalifa in the background, it is a perfect location in the city. Like many other popular photo spots, it normally is jam-packed, and people line up. It was not really worth my wait though I regretted not having taken my picture there in hindsight.
Museum of the Future
Another rather new amazing photo location in Dubai is the Museum of the Future on the main road of the city – Sheikh Zayed Road. Hardly to oversee, this impressive building is a beauty!
Designed as an asymmetric torus clad in steel and glass – with some Arabic calligraphy – it has been named one of the most beautiful museums in the world by National Geographic.
While I have not visited the museum itself, the exterior quite amazed me (the entrance is about is about 40€ – about $40) and thus, it made it on the list.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON INSTAGRAM-WORTHY PLACES IN DUBAI
Though I do blog and write about my travels, I am not the typical Instagram blogger. However, I do enjoy beautiful photo locations as much as you do. And Dubai has quite a lot to offer – as someone who likes taking pictures, Dubai surely spoils us.
I hope you enjoyed my post about the most Instagrammable places in Dubai.
Are you planning your Dubai itinerary and wondering about what to pack for Dubai? Then this post is for you. Here is your complete Dubai packing list.
Dubai is an interesting destination. It has nice beaches, interesting indoor places (well, many malls), gorgeous hotels, and many more great places to visit. And while you can buy everything you will need in Dubai, I have noticed that Dubai is quite expensive. So I normally do my shopping in Germany and buy everything I need to avoid unnecessary shopping in Dubai. I definitely recommend the same to you.
So I have listed all items that are essential to me (and you), and you´ll find a packing list with things you will need in Dubai:
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.
WHAT TO PACK FOR DUBAI
Let´s start with the luggage to take for Dubai.
Luggage to Take For a Dubai Trip
How to Choose the Perfect Luggage for Dubai
Suitcase: Though it depends, on where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. Dubai is not a backpacker´s paradise – though you will find all kinds of people and travelers, I hardly (never?) have seen any “obvious” backpacker so a real suitcase might be the better choice:
Carry-On: I normally always have extra carry-on luggage with me, and the good thing about Dubai is that it is totally safe – you never have to worry about your items, even if you choose an expensive piece of luggage.
Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up.
Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are convenient, and they also come in cool colors.
Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel to Dubai (ID is not enough), so I need a bigger wallet, and I love the fun colors here.
Beauty Products and Toiletries to Pack For Dubai
If I travel for 10 days or shorter, I take travel-sized toiletries that I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water, and cleansing milk). If I travel for longer, I take the original sizes.
More products that I need in Dubai (at any time of the year) – of course, this totally depends on whether you use a lot of make-up or none at all (I don’t use a lot but need some other products to feel great).
Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit.
Travel bottles to refill. I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
Electric Hair Removal Epilator (razor etc.)
Face cream – (which I also use as a ]hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel size)
Magnifying make-up mirror
Nail polish remover or Nail polish remover pads
Tangle Teezer (my favorite brush for longer hair) – or if you have less space, take a comb.
A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
Eyeliner – I sometimes use black eye shadow as an eyeliner
Glass nail file
Here are a few more items that I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:
hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitizer
What Clothes to Pack For Dubai
It can get really, really, really hot in Dubai. Especially in summer – but even winter in Dubai is sometimes warmer than summers in Germany.
So my main advice is to wear bright and light clothes mostly made of cotton in the summer months. It can get chilly in the evenings (at least in winter), so some warmer jackets should be on your list. But before I say too much, better check my list.
Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in Dubai, so my must-have item for Dubai is a stylish hat.
Sunglasses: Another must-have item in sunny Dubai are sunglasses – the most important thing is the quality. Sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes.
Handbags: What I really liked in Dubai is that you will see all kinds of people with different styles. I did not feel uncomfortable wearing more expensive but also more affordable clothes and handbags. While I often recommend carry-on bags for traveling (because they are more practical and safer), I do not worry much about it in Dubai.
Jewelry: I love jewelry, but I do not wear much since I tend to lose stuff. One exception are watches: I am totally addicted to watches. Though there are rumors that people do not take time so seriously in Arabian countries, I could not survive without any. I added a Rolex and a Chanel watch – it is Dubai, after all, and for more affordable watches, click here.
Maxi Dresses – Dubai is made to wear maxi dresses, most of the time, it is hot (warm) enough, and it is also great for more conservative areas in Dubai.
Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers (which you can get here). Combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals, it can be super chic.
Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places. Some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules).
Tops: The more, the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them, especially for the beaches.
Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in Dubai – not only but also after the sun sets. Though this might not be the case in summer, it definitely is for “winter.” So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
Footwear: Since it is almost always hot, I am always happy to wear new flat sandals, flip flops, and ballerinas.
What to Pack for the Beach in Dubai
Swimming Suits: It is totally fine to wear bikinis in Dubai (topless is not allowed), but I would not necessarily recommend wearing the smallest bikini.
I love kaftans and think it is best to wear them from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days. Beach Bag: Dubai is super safe, and I assume you could leave your expensive designer bag at the beach – however, I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towels yet. Click here to get your beach essentials.
Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? If you like beach sports, bring your beach ball (click here to get yours) or a floating unicorn. Unfortunately, this is not part of most hotels’ essentials yet, so you need to get them yourself.
A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.
P.s. If you do not stay at a hotel with a great private beach, you can still get access to Dubai’s wonderful beaches.
Going Out in Dubai – What to Take
I am not much of a clubber (anymore), but I love dining in beautiful restaurants – Dubai is the place to dress up. You can never be too dressed up – well, that is partly true for Dubai.
So, high heels, dresses are surely the right way to dress in Dubai and thus the perfect items to pack.
Tech Stuff to Take to Dubai
I have my laptop with me whenever I fly.
Since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline), I have found one good argument for bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel.
My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
Camera – Dubai has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
I have to admit that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this is an essential
Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter
What Not to Pack for Dubai
Dubai – or the UAE – in general, has some pretty strict rules. I would be super careful with what I bring to the country. Make sure you only bring medication that is allowed and no drugs, porn, etc.
I do not think I have had my bag checked carefully in Dubai – when entering – but you never know, and you do not want to risk starting your Dubai trip in a bad way. For a more detailed list with “things not to do in Dubai,” check out this post.
Final Thoughts on Dubai Packing List
Hopefully, this quick packing guide for Dubai has helped you plan your trip, and you now know what to pack. As a regular visitor, I have written quite a few posts on Dubai. Check out my post about the best tours to take in Dubai or, if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, find out where to stay.
If you plan a trip to this exciting city, you might be wondering about a great 7-day Dubai itinerary so you can see the best it has to offer. Most people do not realize that you can easily fill an itinerary for 7 days in Dubai, or even 14 days and more, with fun activities. So, this itinerary will take you to the main attractions of the city but you will also get to see some less busy places, too. If you stay longer than one week in Dubai, this post will also give you some more recommendations for the best day trips.
At the end of this post, you´ll also find many travel tips – including information on how to get around, where to stay, and many more travel tips for 7 days in Dubai.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This 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
Here are my ideas on how to spend one week in Dubai.
DAY 1 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – LA MER
Before getting to the busiest place in the city, start with some beach time. You will have enough hustle and bustle in 7 days in Dubai – so why not start slowly? After arriving and settling in, visit La Mer.
Dubai La Mer
Spend your whole day and evening at La Mer.
Whether you arrive in the morning, evening, or afternoon, my recommendation is to head to La Mer first. With one week in Dubai, you can stay at La Mer for more than just 2-3 hours and I suggest staying here the rest of the day.
La Mer has become one of the hotspots amongst locals and visitors and is located in the Jumeirah area. It has many retail stores, stylish restaurants and cafes, the coolest bathhouses, friendly and fun street art – and, of course, the beach!
It is a great way to get adjusted to Dubai. While you enjoy the nice views of Burj Khalifa, you can take it easy on the first day and hold off on getting into the crazy parts of Dubai. After all, you might still have jetlag or just be tired from your flight.
La Mer is fun in the daytime, but it gets even better in the evening! So before leaving too early, make sure to end your day at La Mer and spend time even after sunset.
TIPS FOR DAY 1 IN DUBAI
You will find free and very stylish showers, clean toilets, and you can either bring your own towels or book some sunbeds and umbrellas.
There are sooooo many restaurants that you will definitely find something for your tastes.
A water park has opened – perfect for those who like to switch from a beach to a water park with pools.
HOW TO GET TO LA MER: I admit, I am not the biggest fan of public transportation in Dubai. The bus connection is not great yet, but you can get there via RTA Buses 9 and 88. Taking a taxi/uber is another way to get here. If you arrive there by car, you have free underground parking. If you have a City Sightseeing hop-on and hop-off ticket, you can get off at Jumeirah Mosque and only have to walk two minutes to arrive at La Mer.
OPENING HOURS/PRICES: La Mer is open every day, all day, and there is no entrance fee. The shops are normally open between 10 am to 10, 11 or 12 pm.
Click here to read more about this fun part of Dubai.
DAY 2 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – DOWNTOWN
After your first slow day in Dubai, it is time to dive into the craziest part of Dubai – Downtown Dubai. This will probably be one of the busiest places during the one week in Dubai. There are several main attractions in Downtown – so, plan a full day for this area.
DUBAI FOUNTAIN SHOW
You can start your day in Dubai Mall, the biggest mall in the world with more than 1,200 fashion, food & entertainment options. Dubai Mall has its own aquarium, ice skating rink, and much more!
For the fanciest public restrooms and great photo opportunities, head to the Fashion Avenue area #IHaveaThingWithToilets. This posh place will probably overwhelm you and give you a good glimpse of the luxury in Dubai.
You´ll find cheaper lunch options in the food court, but you also have great restaurants that offer fine dining outside of the mall.
Even though Dubai Mall is big, it gets crowded, especially in the evenings.
HOW TO GET TO DUBAI MALL: You cannot miss Dubai Mall as it is located next to Burj Khalifa. And you cannot miss Burj Khalifa… Just because it is sooooo tall. You can get there by metro/bus. If you get off at “Dubai Mall Metro Station,” you can either take another bus that drops you off at the mall or you have to walk about one more kilometer from Dubai Mall Metro Station to get into Dubai Mall.
Dubai Mall is also a popular drop-off point for sightseeing buses.
The most convenient way to arrive at the mall is probably via taxi, though.
OPENING HOURS DUBAI MALL / PRICES: Dubai Mall is open from 10 am to 1 am, and restaurants and the food court are open to 2 am (!). There is no entrance fee for the mall itself, but you have to pay for the ice-skating rink and other activities.
Afterward, it is time to head to Burj Khalifa. If you are not scared of heights, you can get to the “top of Burj Khalifa” and either visit levels 124+125 or level 148.
Before you get to the top of Burj Khalifa, take pictures of Burj Khalifa during daylight. Explore the area around the skyscraper – it looks nice especially from outside Dubai Mall, next to Dubai Fountain.
Get your tickets in advance. If you buy tickets online, you still have to queue but it will save you some time. The lines get crazy there, and you need to plan for the time spent waiting in line. If you do not buy tickets in advance, you might still be lucky and buy some at the ticket center.
If you want to get tickets for level 148 (which come with access to levels 124 and 125, too), you can skip the lines.
The ticket prices depend on the time of your visit and the level of access you buy.
For a more romantic time, you can also book a ticket to see the sunset, or just head there around 4 pm and then stay a little longer.
Visiting Burj Khalifa might take several hours (2-4 hours).
Click here to find out about the ticket prices for Burj Khalifa:
HOW TO GET TO BURJ KHALIFA: While you while seeing Burj Khalifa from everywhere, getting at the top is a bit more tricky. At least, that is how I felt. You have to go to Dubai Mall, and then you will see signs that leave you to “At the top of Burj Khalifa.” The ticket center/entrance is located in the Lower Ground Level of Dubai Mall. You cannot enter it from outside the mall as a regular guest.
OPENING HOURS/ TICKETS: “At the Top of Burj Khalifa” – opens around 10 am, and the last admission is at 9 or 10 pm (depending on the day).
After your time at “The Top” and a lot of time indoors, it is time to get out of Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and spend time in the fresh air. By the way, the Dubai Fountain spot is also the perfect place to end your day.
From 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on. Each show takes a few minutes, and it happens every half hour.
It gets crazy there. Unless you visit in the summer, this place will be one of the busiest in Dubai.
If your second day is on a Friday, I recommend avoiding this place! Dubai Mall is nuts on a Friday, and it gets so crowded that it can be hard to walk – even after 9 pm.
There are some nice restaurants with a view of the fountain, like the Mediterraneo of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand.
WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW SCHEDULE / PRICES: Evening shows 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes
HOW TO GET TO DUBAI FOUNTAIN:There is a metro station (Dubai Mall station), and many buses go there. You could reach the fountain even without entering Dubai Mall (e.g., coming from Dubai Opera), but if you are at Dubai Mall, you will see signs that lead you to the fountain as well.
DAY 3 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – OLD DUBAI
The third day is all about “traditional” Dubai and some more amazing views. Today it is about:
Gold and Spice Souk
You could start your day with a visit to one of the newer attractions: Dubai Frame. It is located in Zabeel Park, one of the biggest and lushest parks in Dubai.
There are some cool views of Burj Khalifa, and you can walk on see-through glass 100 meters from the ground.
If you get up there and take a walk, you will probably need one hour.
I recommend starting here around 9:30 or 10 am when the crowds are not there yet.
HOW TO GET TO THE FRAME: By metro: get out at the Al Jafiliya metro stop and then take a bus or walk for the last 2-3 km.
OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Open every day from 9:00 am to 09:00 pm. Tickets are around 12€ for adults.
If you need to rest, you could chill at Zabeel Park. The park is very neat, clean, and lush! If you visit with kids, they will love this break, as there are some playgrounds. It is also not crowded and thus a perfect place after the craziness of Dubai Downtown.
HOW TO GET TO ZABEEL PARK: There are several entrances. If you come from Dubai Frame, you will see an entrance close by.
OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: From Sunday to Wednesday from 8 am to 10 pm, from Thursdays to Saturdays and on public holidays from 8 am to 11 pm, and during Ramadan from noon to 11 pm. Ticket prices are about 1,20€ (payment via RTA-issued Nol Card), kids under the age of 2 do not have to pay.
Dubai Gold and Spice Souks
Afterward, jump into a taxi/bus and get to the Gold Souk of Dubai. The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit. If you are looking for places with a more authentic touch, you will especially love it here (though the shop owners are mostly from other Asian countries).
Souvenirs and Arabian clothes (and gold and spices) are much cheaper than in any other part of Dubai, so if you are hunting for souvenirs, make sure you do not buy them in one of the expensive malls.
From there, you can take a ride on a dhow, which is a traditional wooden boat. For less than 15€, you can go on a 1-hour cruise.
You can also hop on abras – water taxis that cost only about 0,25€ for a short cruise.
The Gold and Spice Souks are quite intense places – especially for female solo travelers. Staring and cat-calling are common. I suggest dressing moderately.
However, even after all, I always felt safe and did not worry. It is just loud and hectic at times but not a place I would love strolling after sunset on my own.
HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD/SPICE SOUK: From Zabeel Park – ADCB Metro Station 1- you have to catch a metro and get to Burjuman, then change metro lines and get to Al Ras, and then you just have to walk for a few minutes.
You can also take a taxi/Uber or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses, which drop you off at the souks.
OPENING HOURS / TICKETS: It is free to visit the souks and you could visit at any time. However, most shops are open every day from around 9:30-10 am to 9:30 pm. On Fridays, the shops open after 4 pm and are open until around 9:30 pm.
EXTRA TIP: DUBAI MUSEUM – If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting Dubai Museum.
It is an interesting but often crowded museum in Deira that illustrates Dubai’s history in an engaging way.
Entrance fees are just about 1€, and it is probably the best museum in Dubai.
From the souks, it is just an abra ride away.
Dubai Al Seef
To end the day, I recommend visiting Al Seef. Al Seef is a lovely new area with many restaurants. Some are in a new modern style and others in the traditional Arabic style (though the buildings are all new).
You will have plenty of options for dining, with nice views of Dubai Creek.
Also, there are all kinds of restaurants – from Arabic cuisine to Mediterranean or Asian food. Also, there are some quite fancy restaurants as well as more budget-friendly places to eat.
Also, there is a Museum of Illusions, some street art, you can do some boat cruises and more.
HOW TO GET TO AL SEEF: From the Gold/Spice Souk, take the abra (water taxi) to get to the other side of Dubai Creek. Then you can walk for 10-15 minutes, and you are in Al Seef.
OPENING HOURS / TICKETS: There is no entrance fee for Al Seef itself. It is open from Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:00 midnight.
DAY 4 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI – JUMEIRAH
Day 3 was all about traditional Dubai, so day 4 will focus on Dubai’s new, modern side.
Spend Your Day and Evening in the Jumeirah Area.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Jumeirah Beach / Kite Beach
Wild Wadi Water Park
If you are into waterparks, you can/should head to Wild Wadi Waterpark, where you will find some cool slides and fun water activities.
The water park belongs to the Jumeirah Group. As a guest of any Jumeirah hotel in Dubai, you will have free access (which actually was a reason for me to book a night at a Jumeirah hotel once).
Ticket prices start from around 25€ for adults.
It would be easy to spend a full day there.
You will have great views of the Burj al-Arab from the waterpark, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai.
The food there is overpriced and not that great – so bring your own snacks.
HOW TO GET TO WILD WADI WATERPARK: It is just right next to Burj al-Arab’s entrance (which is not open to the public, though). There is no metro station close by. The closest metro station is the “Mall of Emirates” – from there, take a taxi or bus to get there. Some buses stop close by (e.g., bus line 81).
OPENING HOURS: Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays.
If you are looking for a cheaper option to spend time in the water, go to Kite Beach – a beach with nice views of Burj al Arab, where you can cool off there.
The beaches in Dubai are, in general, not very crowded (not to our European standard).
The beaches are clean and safe.
Always keep an eye on your valuables, but in general, I did not feel I have to watch my belongings like a paranoid (that I am sometimes).
I am not a person who spends endless hours at the beach, but water rats can have a fun day here without breaking the bank.
You can do all kinds of watersports – and rent equipment at the beach.
Bring your own food and towels with you.
OPENING HOURS:The beach is open from Sunday to Wednesday, from 10 am to 12 midnight, and on Thursday to Saturday: 10 am to 1 am. Shops and entertainment are normally open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (restaurants might be open longer).
TICKETS: There is no entrance fee for the beach.
Dubai Madinat Jumeirah
In the afternoon/evening, I recommend visiting Madinat Jumeirah.
Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque – you should plan for a few hours (if you dine there) to check out the area.
It has its own souk and many restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab.
You could also do an abra ride here (though they are way more expensive than in Dubai Deira, the Gold and Spice Souk area) and just get lost for a few hours.
It is not far from the public part of Jumeirah Beach (and just a stone’s throw from Wild Wadi), and though the area is not huge, it is the perfect place to end your day.
It is free to visit the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
HOW TO GET TO MADINAT JUMEIRAH: From Kite Beach to Madinat Jumeirah, you can take a bus. From Wild Wadi, it is shorter, and you could walk (about 2km) or take a bus. Sightseeing buses also stop here.
OPENING HOURS/TICKETS: Shops are open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm, and restaurants are open from 08:00 am to 02:00 am. There is no entrance fee to visit Madinat Jumeirah.
DAY 5 OF 7 DAYS IN DUBAI
Now, it is time to leave Dubai for a day and plan a day trip to Abu Dhabi (you can also stay overnight in Abu Dhabi).
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is definitely a beautiful place and worth more than a one-day trip. Still, since Dubai also has a lot to offer, one day should be enough to see the most important places in Abu Dhabi.
It takes about 1-2 hours to get to Abu Dhabi from Dubai.
You can do guided tours, rent a car and drive yourself, get there by taxi, or – quite complicated – by public transportation.
The beautiful Grand Zayed Mosque is reason enough to visit Abu Dhabi, but there is more to see.
If you stay one week in Dubai, you have to do a desert tour.
Dubai Desert Safari
A desert safari is a must! Spending half a day in the desert, going on an adventurous 4×4 wheel drive, dining under the stars, and stargazing is like a dream come true in the desert. Every time I did a desert adventure (and I did a few), it became a highlight of my Dubai trip. These memories will last a lifetime.
There are several tours available – all fun and a bit different.
I recommend doing one with a BBQ (btw: as a vegetarian, I was pleased to find out that there were enough vegetarian options).
Normally, the tours – whether you do them in the morning or afternoon – take about 6-10 hours.
Most of the tours will include pick-up service from your hotel.
If you have one week in Dubai, this will be one great option to spend your day.
JBR Walk (The Beach)
JBR Walk – The Beach
If you would like to have a beach day, head to JBR Walk and “The Beach.” But there is more than just a beach – it is an experience! This area is popular during the day (and in the evenings, too), with many activities you can do. It is a fun place for kids and adults alike, so it’s probably a nice way to soak in some Vitamin D before heading back home.
There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
You have free beach access here.
Ride the “Flying Cup,” where you have a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk. With your Citysightseeing bus tour ticket, you also have a ticket included for Flying Cups – to enjoy great views of the beach and skyline. If you buy tickets separately, they cost about 15 € (adults).
You can rent equipment for all kinds of water sports.
It is also great to have good food – there are so many restaurants and cafes that you will be happy to have a wonderful lunch in a lovely place.
HOW TO GET TO JBR: Take the metro – JLT Metro Station or Dubai Marina Metro Station are the closest metro stations. From there, either walk or take the tram to get to JBR.
OPENING HOURS / PRICES: It is open 24/7, but shops and restaurants normally open around 10 am and are open until 10 pm. Restaurants usually close later.
I actually recommend heading to Dubai Marina for the afternoon/evening. It is one of the best places to visit in Dubai and should be on any Dubai itinerary. This area is full of skyscrapers and is one of the best places to take in the awe-inspiring progress Dubai has made in the last few decades.Most of the crazy skyscrapers are along the few kilometers stretch of Dubai Marina, and this is one of the best places to end your Dubai trip. Stroll along Dubai Marina and keep looking up to enjoy the grandiose views. The truth is, I love this area and think it is a great place to end a Dubai trip!
There is no entrance fee for Dubai Marina.
Let your kids rent go-kart bicycles.
You can eat in one of the numerous restaurants there.Pier 7 has a handful of good restaurants that offer some of the best views of Dubai Marina.
For cheaper options, look for restaurants on the side streets or buy something from one of the supermarkets and sit on the bench, enjoying the illuminated buildings.
For a special dinner location, you can book a dhow dinner. You can do a few boat tours that you can check out:
Afterward, you could head to Global Village. You have a theme park with roller coasters and displays from many different countries in the world.
The tickets are about 5€.
Riding the roller coasters cost extra, but depending on how many rides you take, it is still a cheaper option than a theme park.
It is a fun place to visit for a day – especially in combination with Miracle Garden, as they are close to each other.
Dubai City Walk
Though I have not specifically mentioned it on your 7-day Dubai itinerary, I also strongly suggest visiting City Walk. This newly created area is perfect for strolls and shopping, but you will also find some murals and interesting details here.
City Walk is also a great place for families because of its many child-friendly activities.
It is also good for adults to visit the shops, restaurants, and murals.
I enjoy it in the evening more (but that goes for almost all places in Dubai).
In general, City Walks is a bit less crowded than other places.
Sharjah is the smallest emirate and is located right next to Dubai. And while Sharjah is so close to Dubai, it is totally different. Yes, you have a few skyscrapers, but Sharjah is much quieter, more relaxed, and very green and it is just a short drive from the old town of Dubai (about 15 minutes).
Sharjah is way more conservative than Dubai in terms of dress codes.
You are not allowed to drink alcohol.
I still loved it and recommend it as a day trip from Dubai.
The Musandam Governorate is an Omani peninsula projecting into the Strait of Hormuz, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. Its jagged coastline features fjordlike inlets and its waters are home to dolphins and other marine life.
So far, I have only made it to Oman for one day – visiting the Musandam Peninsula as a day trip from Dubai. And to be very honest, I have mixed feelings about it.
Somehow I totally enjoyed it – getting my very first glimpse of Oman was great. However, the water was not really clean. It was full of oil. Maybe there was an accident, or maybe the water is just dirty all the time. You do a boat cruise, have a lovely Arabic lunch on board, and can do some water sports.
So, if you are in Dubai for one week or a bit longer, you should book a day trip to Musandam. However, keep in mind that everything can get delayed, and you might arrive at the hotel quite late. So plan some relaxing activities for the day after, and do NOT book this activity on the day of your departure.
It can take quite some time to arrive in Oman (it will take about 2 or 3 hours – one way)
I think this Dubai one-week itinerary is very diverse, and you´ll get to see so many different sides of Dubai that you will not have time to get bored. On the other hand, you also get some rest and have some time to chill and enjoy Dubai more slowly.
How to Get to Dubai
Dubai has two airports: Al Maktoum International and Dubai International Airport. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. Don’t be surprised to be stuck in traffic even at night – Dubai is always busy.
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates. It is about an hour’s drive to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare).
How to Get Around in 7 Days in Dubai
Rent a Car: If you are in Dubai for one week, you could actually rent a car. But you should know that driving there, from my perspective, is a bit crazy. You should have nerves of steel if you decide to drive, particularly around Downtown Dubai.
Public Transportation:I recommend getting a NOL card for public transportation. There is a one-time fee for it, but you can then recharge it; public transpiration fees are cheaper this way than if you buy single tickets each time. Plus, it is valid for several years so that you can use it for your next Dubai trip. A ticket costs a bit more than 1€ with the NOL card (about 1.6€ without).
However, when it comes to public transportation, I am a bit skeptical because a) the metro stations do not have enough stops, so each stop is rather far from the last, and b) the buses are not always well connected for us travelers, so it is not easy to get from one popular station to another.
I mostly take the metro for long distances (especially downtown, where there is a lot of traffic and getting around by cab can mean that you are stuck in a taxi forever) and then jump into a taxi for the shorter rides, if there is no direct connection.
Sightseeing Buses:Hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get from one popular tourist attraction to another – at least for some places (the ones I tested). They will not stop at each stop, but at most attractions, and so I only used them as a means of transportation once in a while, as I had a 7-day pass.The pass also includes a few cool attractions, so it saves money in addition to getting you from Point A to Point B – e.g., the Flying Cup, which I will talk about later (and I even did two boat cruises that were included).
Uber is available in Dubai. Prices are similar (it is not cheaper), and since we can trust taxi drivers in Dubai, I do not see a real reason to use Uber.
Using a taxi in Dubai is great. There is no haggling. The taximeter shows the price, driven kilometers, and more. It is absolutely safe. There are also a few pinkish taxis – for female passengers, but the regular ones are just fine. Drivers know famous attractions and main streets, but not necessarily smaller hotels or streets – so, if you stay at a place less known, have an app to show him the address/way or take screenshots of Google maps, etc. There are the regular taxis (which a yellowish color and taxi is written on them), but there are also the black Lexus taxis, which are more expensive.
Money and Credit Cards
The local currency is the United Arab Emirates dirham. Though I always mentioned € in my post, you actually pay in dirham. You can also pay in $ – but normally, it gets more expensive. I recommend exchanging some money and having dirhams with you.
Most places also accept credit cards – I would not rely on it though. Smaller shops might refuse credit card payments. If you pay with your credit card, you might get asked, whether you want to pay in dirham or your currency. I always choose the local currency (dirham in this case), because I get the better exchange rates if “my bank at home” does it.
The official language is Arabic but people speak English throughout Dubai and the UAE. Most people living in Dubai are actually expats from all around the world and do not even speak Arabic themselves.
In restaurants and shops, you can definitely get around by speaking English only. With taxi drivers, I had some really long conversations in English while some only spoke a few words.
If you speak English, you will be fine. Two of the most important words in Arabic are probably:
Salam OR marḥaba – hallo
Shukran – thank you
Accommodations for 7 Days in Dubai
Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap, but the standard is quite high. Many 5-star hotels are mind-blowing, but 4- or 3-star hotels in Dubai are fine.
I have visited Dubai numerous times. I have spent many weeks in Dubai – I have not gotten bored yet. One week in Dubai will pass quickly. I wish you a wonderful time in the city, and I hope that your 7 days in Dubai will be amazing!
Are you planning to visit Dubai but are unsure what to do in Dubai in 2 days or how much to fit into your 2-day Dubai itinerary? Then this post is for you – here is how to create a perfect 2-day itinerary for first-time visitors plus many travel tips.
In this post, you will find out where to go and what to see, plus many travel tips for a smooth trip.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I will earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my links (no extra cost to you). More about it here.
ARE 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ENOUGH?
2 days is a good amount to get an idea of the city. You can visit some of the main sights and attractions, but it is not enough to see some hidden gems or really see all of the main sights.
DUBAI ITINERARY FOR 2 DAYS – THINGS TO DO AND SEE
Here are places I suggest visiting in Dubai in 2 days. I also give a time frame, but of course, it really is up to each person how much you can actually do and see.
HERE ARE THE PLACES TO VISIT ON DAY 1 IN DUBAI:
GOLD AND SPICE SOUK
LA MER OR JUMEIRAH BEACH
DUBAI WATER FOUNTAIN
HERE ARE THINGS TO DO ON DAY 2 IN DUBAI:
IN WINTER ONLY: MIRACLE GARDEN
DAY 1 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
So, let´s start your 2-day trip by visiting the souks (markets).
Stop 1: Gold and Spice Souk in Deira
The Gold and Spice Souk is located in Deira, the old part of Dubai which is north of the city and quite close to the airport. Discover the hectic and crazy part of Dubai. Retailers can be pretty persistent, which can be quite stressful. Many people say it is a very intense place, and some did not like it at all. I understand the criticism, but for first-time Dubai visitors, the souks are a must. I truly enjoy strolling along this part, and it is one of the places you have to visit in Dubai in 2 days.
Most stores open around 9 am to 10 pm, and it gets busy quickly. On Fridays, the shops might open later.
I recommend starting early in the morning before all the other tourists come and it gets even more hectic.
You can buy souvenirs, clothes (including Arabian clothes), gold, spices, rugs and all kind of things. The prices are much better than in the malls (especially for souvenirs) and if you are about to buy something, then do it here.
TIP: If you buy something, you must haggle. It is part of shopping in this area, and actually, it can be fun if you do it in a nice way.
TIP FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS: I love this area, but as a solo traveler, it is not easy. There are stares. There will be shop owners who approach you, and so on. Overall, it is safe, no need to worry, but it can be tiring. I recommend wearing less revealing clothes if you want to avoid them.
Stop 2: Abra Ride / Bur Dubai
Abras are traditional water taxis that are popular and super cheap – and I consider riding an abra a must-do.
The most authentic abra ride is near the gold and spice souk. You can walk towards the abra station of Deira Gold Souk and get to the other side (Bur Dubai) by taking an abra.
The ride just takes a few minutes and costs a few cents and is a nice and cheap way to get to the other side of the creek where you can continue your travel.
You can also have the whole abra to yourself for 5€. This allows great photo opportunities with no one else in the picture. However, if you make it to the front of the abra, you can take good pictures even with other people on the boat.
In Bur Dubai are some museums and another souk where you find more spices, gold, and other things.
Of course, you can spend a whole day exploring this part of Dubai, but if you only have 2 days in Dubai, I recommend planning 2-5 hours for seeing these two areas of Dubai. If you want to budget your time more wisely, you can plan in one hour.
Stop 3: La Mer
La Mer is a new beachfront area with tons of cool and hip restaurants/cafes, street art, cool graffiti, and fun details. It is a great place to chill though it can be quite busy (for Dubai standards when it comes to beaches). However, it is a place you should not miss out on – especially as the beach at La Mer comes with a Burj Khalifa view.
Take a dip in the ocean, or do some water sports.
Have some lunch, enjoy the graffiti (there is quite a lot) and then head to the next place.
Okay, honestly, you won’t probably be able to visit both, Jumeirah Beach and La Mer. This would be too busy. So you have to decide on one of the beaches. La Mer comes with Burj Khalifa’s view, while Jumeirah Beach comes with Burj al-Arab’s view.
Many beaches in Dubai are private and reserved for relevant hotel guests – Jumeirah Beach is open to the public and free of charge. And though it can get busy, it does not get as busy as we know from European beaches.
Jumeirah Beach is not too far from Dubai Deira and the souks. You can get there by bus or taxi.
The open Jumeirah Beach also offers nice views of the only 7* hotel in the world, Burj Al-Arab. Luckily, the Burj Al-Arab is huge, so the pictures do not really show Burj Al-Arab’s distance to Jumeirah Beach because it is quite far from here.
Here you can rest or take a dip and cool off.
From there, get a bus or taxi to Downtown Dubai.
PERSONAL OPINION: If I had time for one beach, I would choose La Mer over Jumeirah/Kite Beach.
After some time at the beach, slowly head to Dubai Downtown. Dubai Downtown is stuffed with many interesting attractions. You will find, among others, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa in this area.
There is no train connection (neither from Jumeirah Beach nor from La Mer), but you can get there by bus or taxi.
Stop 4: Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world – standing at 828 meters. You can enjoy some amazing views “At the Top of Burj Khalifa.”
You should plan at least 2-4 hours for visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa (depending on how busy it is).
To get to the top, you have to use the entrance inside Dubai Mall.
The waiting lines to get on top can be very long.
You can either get tickets for levels 124 & 125 or get a ticket for levels 124 & 125 & 148. Of course, level 148 is much more expensive. With a ticket to level 148, you can skip the lines – vital if you have little time. I have been on levels 124 & 125 three or four times already but never bought a ticket for level 148. After reading reviews, I found out that the views are not much better – it is mostly about the service and skipping lines.
Dubai Mall is definitely worth a visit, even if you are not a big shopper. It is not only about shopping. You’ll also find the Dubai Aquarium and more attractions here. You could spend several days at the Dubai Mall, so it really depends on how much you are into malls and shopping.
Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa, so there is no travel time. You can start your window shopping straight away.
You can spend anything between 30 minutes to many, many hours here.
Dubai Mall also has a food court that offers affordable food from all around the world. Of course, there are also all kinds of restaurants in and near Dubai Mall, including many luxury hotels.
Stop 6: Dubai Fountain
Next to Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain. Here you can watch nice water fountain shows in the evening.
I suggest ending your first day in Dubai here. Sitting there and watching tourists while Burj Khalifa is beautifully illuminated at night is a fun day to end your day. Evening shows take place from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – every 30 minutes. Check out more information here.
It gets busy, so secure yourself a good spot to watch it, and get there way before a show takes place, and it just takes a few minutes, so be on time.
Free to watch.
Dubai is safe, and this area is safe at night, and you can also sit there by yourself in the evening.
Deira is great for cheaper food – you´ll find many different cuisines at the Gold and Spice Souks. I suggest having lunch there or at La Mer.
For dinner, I recommend having it in Downtown. Restaurants with a fountain view tend to be more expensive, but there are also good restaurants in the medium-price segment. For the cheapest dinner options, check out the Food Court of Dubai Mall.
DAY 2 OF 2 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY
Day 2 in Dubai starts in Dubai Marina.
Stop 1: Marina
Start with a nice stroll through Dubai Marina, which is probably one of my favorite parts of Dubai.
This man-made marina is one of the largest in the world. I really liked the Marina with the canal and all the yachts. I could spend hours walking aimlessly around and having a drink once in a while. Besides skyscrapers, you will also find many bars and restaurants.
Dubai Marina is a beautiful place to visit at any time of the day. It might be even more fun to visit in the evening when it gets busier, livelier, and prettier with all the lights.
However, for the evening, I recommend another place (more on that later).
I suggest spending a few hours here (and having lunch) and then adding one or two more stops for the day.
Stop 2: JBR Walk
You can, alternatively or additionally, add JBR – The Walk to your 2-day Dubai itinerary.
Since it is within walking distance (20-30 minutes) to Dubai Marina, you could also combine it with a trip to Dubai Marina. If you prefer some beach time rather than strolling in Marina, I suggest visiting JBR-The Walk only.
There is no entrance fee for JBR – The Walk.
It is the perfect place to swim – there are many options to rent water sports equipment.
You can find some street art, so also get away from the beach and walk around.
Hop on the “Flying Cup”, which is a ride that takes you up 40 meters, to get a great bird’s-eye view of the beach and JBR Walk. You can buy tickets just at the Flying Cup.
It is also great to have good food – there are so many restaurants and cafes that you will be happy to have a wonderful lunch in a lovely place.
Stop 3: Desert Safari
A desert safari tour incl. BBQ normally starts around 3 or 4 pm, so reserve half a day for a trip to the desert.
You can do the desert tours either in the morning or afternoon.
A morning desert safari is great as it often includes activities like sandboarding or dune bashing. It surely is a great experience if you do not have so much time to do shorter tours. The Morning Dune Drive takes about 4 hours instead of 7-8 hours.
If you have a meal included and are vegetarian/vegan, you can request this in advance. I was so pleased to see the many vegetarian options.
Often, you will be picked up at your hotel.
If your tour starts around 3 pm, make sure to be back at the hotel in time. Plan in possible traffic on your way back from Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. It would be a pity if you missed out on the safari because of being late at the pick-up location.
Alternative: Miracle Garden
If you visit in the winter months, you could also add Dubai Miracle Garden to your 2-day itinerary. Miracle Garden is a very Instafamous flower park, located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions.
You will see flowers – a lot of flowers. They are designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes. It is Dubai, so of course, it is the biggest flower park in the world.
The tickets are about 15€.
Seeing all pieces should take about two hours.
However, it is only open in the winter months (normally, it is open from November to May)
For lunch, I suggest having it at Dubai Marina or JBR – The Walk. If you book a desert safari with a BBQ, you have already found a perfect dinner spot.
TRAVEL TIPS FOR A 2-DAY DUBAI TRIP
Here you´ll find essential travel tips for your trip to Dubai.
Safety Tips for (Solo Female) Travelers
Dubai is a super safe city to travel to, and I think it is even great to visit as a solo female traveler.
However, Deira – the area where you have the souks – is NOT the best place to spend the late evenings alone. I would not say, it was scary but it is uncomfortable as a – female – traveler. So, I avoid this neighborhood in the evening.
Accommodation in Dubai is top – even a 3* hotel is often better than other 3* hotels worldwide. I stayed at all of the ones I mention below.
You can also find budget hotels but you cannot expect super bargains. The best prices are often in Deira, and though I recommend visiting this fun area, it is not an area I recommend staying at – especially not as a female traveler.
I recommend staying in a central area, so you don’t waste too much time driving around. With a weekend in Dubai only, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic from your hotel to the attraction.
Dubai Marina is the best place to stay if you prefer to be in a lively part of Dubai. With the Marina close by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions. Check out this 5* Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai.
JBR Walk is a lovely area with many restaurants and shops. Most hotels have beach access. It is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out this 4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
Extra tip: 3* A decent budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha. It is not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.
Was this 2-day Dubai itinerary helpful? Then save it on Pinterest.
I hope you have found some inspiration. Honestly, this is a good itinerary for Dubai in 2 days – in my eyes, at least. You will see the main sights, which do not include any hidden gems but rather great places for a first-time visitor to Dubai.
There are many more things to do in Dubai, but this 2-day Dubai itinerary will allow you to see the most important attractions in Dubai if you have minimal time.
If you have decided to extend your stay and stay longer than 2 days in Dubai – a good idea, by the way – check out my other itineraries.
Are you planning your 5 days in Dubai itinerary and wondering about what to do? Planning a trip to this fun city can seem overwhelming at first but this post helps you plan your trip to Dubai.
From deserts to beaches, from skyscrapers to gardens, from adventurous activities to a relaxing day at the pool with a view – you could spend weeks there and do all the top things, but with just 5 days, you need to prioritize what to see. And here you will find a useful 5-day Dubai itinerary to help you plan your trip.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
In this post you will find out:
How to get to Dubai
How to get around
Where to stay
Best time to visit Dubai
More travel tips for your 5-day trip
Day 1 in Dubai: Wild Wadi Waterpark or Jumeirah Beach/Kite Beach and Madinat Jumeirah
Day 2 in Dubai: Dubai Frame, Zabeel Park, Jumeirah Palm, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain
Day 3 in Dubai: Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai Deira, La Mer Dubai, Desert Safari
Day 4 in Dubai: Day trips: Abu Dhabi, Miracle Garden, and Global Village or Theme Parks
Day 5 in Dubai: JBR – The Walk and Dubai Marina
Travel Tips For 5 Days In Dubai
Before talking about your perfect 5 days in Dubai, here is some info for your trip, so you have a great experience.
How to Get to Dubai
Dubai has two airports. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes drive (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. However, Dubai is always busy and there is a lot of traffic, thus it might take (much) longer.
Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates.
If you fly with Etihad Airways, you will most likely arrive in Abu Dhabi. It takes about 60-90 minutes to get to Dubai (about 50-70€ taxi fare).
How to Get Around Dubai in 5 Days
There are a couple of options on how to get around.
RENT A CAR
If you are in Dubai for five days, you could actually rent a car. But you should know that driving there, from my perspective, is a bit crazy.
There is traffic almost all the time (the streets are busy even at night), and the people drive fast, like to honk their horns, and are a bit impatient. You should have nerves of steel if you decide to drive, particularly around Downtown Dubai.
I donot recommend renting a car in Dubai. The only exception would be for day trips.
Public transportation in Dubai is not perfect. You can avoid the crazy traffic by taking the metro, which is great, but a) the metro stations do not have enough stops, so each stop is rather far from the last, b) the buses are not always well-connected for us travelers, so it is not easy to get from one popular station to another, and c) the metros can be stuffed with people.
I mostly take the metro for long distances (especially downtown, where there is a lot of traffic, and getting around by cab can mean being stuck in it forever) and then jump into a bus (rarely) or a taxi for the shorter rides if there is no direct connection.
If you stay in Dubai for a few days, I recommend getting an NOL card for public transportation. There is a one-time fee for it, but you can then recharge it; public transpiration fees are cheaper this way than if you buy single tickets each time. A ticket costs a bit more than 1€ with the NOL card (about 1.60€ without).
Hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get from one popular tourist attraction to another – at least for some places (the ones I tested).
There are two main sightseeing companies. They offer similar services, but one has a 5-day ticket, and the other offers 7-day tickets. The pass also includes a few cool attractions, so it saves money in addition to getting you from Point A to Point B.
Where to Stay in Dubai For 5 Days
Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap, but the standards are quite high. I suggest staying close to Dubai Downtown or Marina. If you are a beach person, pick a hotel close to JBR – Walk. However, these areas are also some of the most expensive ones.
The Palm: only luxury hotels, best beaches in Dubai, very quiet and a bit remote if you stay at the end of the Palm. Check out this 5* Hotel and Resort: Atlantis Hotel – The Palm Dubai
Dubai Marina: best place to stay if you prefer to be in a lively part of Dubai, with the Marina close by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions. My favorite hotel in Marina. 5* Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai
JBR Walk: a lovely area with many restaurants and shops, most hotels have beach access, it is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out 4* Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
Okay, let´s talk about places to visit in Dubai in 5 days.
Day 1 of 5 Days in Dubai
Of course, it depends on what time you arrive in Dubai, but I recommend starting your Dubai trip slowly.
Wild Wadi Waterpark or Jumeirah Beach/Kite Beach
Wild Wadi Waterpark belongs to the Jumeirah Group and has some cool slides and fun water activities. As a guest of any Jumeirah hotel, you will have free access. Kids, in particular, will love them. You will have great views of the Burj al-Arab from the waterpark, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai.
You could spend all day here, or less. I assume staying 4-5 hours is a minimum.
You can buy tickets online (and skip the lines) but the tickets are not cheap.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, go to Jumeirah Beach and enjoy some time at the beach.
Both, Kite Beach and some of Jumeirah Beach are free public beaches in Dubai.
Jumeirah Beach is lovely, with great views of the world´s most famous hotel – Burj al Arab. It is a public beach in Dubai and it is not overly crowded. Beaches in Dubai are spotlessly clean, safe, and fun. Normally, you can leave your stuff at the beach when you hop into the water. I felt safe enough to do so, but still, keep an eye on your things.
Both hop-on and hop-off sightseeing companies stop here, but there are also regular bus stops (there is no metro stop nearby).
There is no entrance fee for these beaches
I recommend the beaches as a great alternative to Wild Wadi Waterpark.
A couple of hours should be enough before visiting a place close by.
Wondering what else to do in Dubai in 5 days? Just head to pretty Madinat Jumeirah afterward.
Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque and is a must-see to include on your 5-day Dubai itinerary. You should plan for a few hours (if you dine here) to check out the area. I recommend getting here while there is still daylight outside to see it during the day and night. If you are a hotel guest at one of the Jumeirah hotels, you can take an abra (water taxi) for free. If you are not a hotel guest, you can buy a ticket for the abra and relax while seeing the area from the water.
Madinat Jumeirah has its own souk and many restaurants and cafes come with a view of Burj al Arab. They are quite pricey though, but I do believe it is worth it, as the view is not something that you can get just anywhere. It is not far from the public part of Jumeirah Beach (and just a stone’s throw from Wild Wadi), and though the area is not huge, it is the perfect place to end your first day here.
I think, 2-4 hours for the area is enough + dinner time
Day 2 of 5 Days in Dubai
Here is what you can do on day 2 in Dubai.
Dubai Frame & Zabeel Park
One of the newer attractions in Dubai, located at Zabeel Park, is the huge, golden Dubai Frame near Downtown Dubai (near = meaning 10 kilometers).
You will have great views of Burj Khalifa (where you will be heading later that day), and it gives a good overview of the city.Walking on the glass floor is a bit weird and can be scary (after all, it is 100 meters above the ground), but it is so different from the rest of our 5-day Dubai itinerary. Though it probably isn’t the best place for people who are scared of heights, it is fun and quite lovely.
Tickets are around 12€ and you can buy them at the ticket center.
At 9 or 10 am, when it opens, it is not crowded, so you can enjoy the views and have the glass pathways almost to yourself.
It will probably take 1-2 hours in total to see the Golden Frame and walk through it.
If you don’t believe that Dubai has meadows and greenery, then you have not been to Zabeel Park. The Dubai Frame is located within Zabeel Park. This lovely little park is a perfect place to recharge your batteries (literally, because you can charge your mobile with the chargers you will find there for free) and prepare yourself for the craziest part of the day.
Entry is about 1€, and it is just next to Dubai Frame so that you can do both attractions in the morning.
An hour or two should be enough to spend in Zabeel Park.
Alternatively, you can spend the morning on Jumeirah Palm.
If you are interested in visiting an aquarium, you could visit the Lost Chambers at the Atlantis Hotel.
You could also do a boat tour or just stroll the area.
There are not many attractions on the island but if you walk along the promenade, you have great views of Dubai and also get to see some of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai.
I think a few hours on the Palm is definitely enough.
Whether you decide on the Palm or Zabeel Park and the Frame, I suggest getting to Dubai Downtown after lunch at the latest. Here you will find some of the main attractions in Dubai.
Even if you aren’t into shopping, you should visit Dubai Mall at least once. Dubai Mall is located directly next to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, and it is out of this world. I have never bought a lot at Dubai Mall, but I like strolling it at least once or twice every time I am in Dubai. Fashion Avenue within Dubai Mall is extremely picturesque, and there are plenty of places to eat cheaply in the food court. Check out my Dubai Mall guide for more info.
TIP: Do not visit Dubai Mall on a Friday as it is the Muslim world’s Sunday. However, shops are open, but it is more crowded than usual because many people have a day off. Busy Dubai Mall gets even busier on Fridays.
Afterward, it is time to head to Burj Khalifa, next to the Dubai Mall. If you are not scared of heights, there is an option to get to the “top of Burj Khalifa.”
Get your tickets in advance. If you want to buy your tickets at the ticket counter, you will be waiting for an eternity (which isn’t so much fun). Even with an online ticket, you have to stand in line for a bit but not that much.
The prices depend on the time of your visit and the level of access you buy.
From up there, you also have great aerial views of the Dubai Fountain and Dubai.
If you actually visit the Top of Burj Khalifa but want to see Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa from outside during daylight, you should probably check out the area before you get on the top.
I would plan in between 3-5 hours for visiting Burj Khalifa. It takes some time to find the entrance (located within Dubai Mall) and lines can be long.
Dubai Fountain is located just in front of the Dubai Mall and is a perfect place to end the evening.
The water show takes place several times a day, and at night, it is an absolutely amazing place to visit. With the illuminated Burj Khalifa, it is just beyond beautiful.
If you are on a budget, you can dine in the mall, which has cheaper dining options. Or, if you don’t have to watch your budget closely, you can enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants with a terrace and a view of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain.
It takes place daily from 6 PM to 11 PM – every 30 minutes
Dubai Downtown is also a nice place to stroll around at night, so after you are “done” with Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall, and Burj Khalifa, don’t go straight back to your hotel.
Instead, plan in a few minutes or an hour to discover the area after sunset because it is one of my favorite places in Dubai by night. It is quite beautiful and interesting to walk around – and absolutely safe, even as a solo female traveler in Dubai.
Day 3 of 5 Days in Dubai
For day 3, I recommend waking up early because this will be a busy day because some incredible Dubai highlights are waiting for you.
Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai Deira
The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit and, in my opinion, must-see spots. It is a perfect place to see another side of Dubai. Souvenirs, rugs, and Arabian clothes (and gold and spices) are much cheaper than in any other part of Dubai, which makes it also a perfect place to shop if you’re on a budget.
The amount of gold you will see here is astonishing. But so are the spices. It surely takes half a day to discover the area.
Extra tip: If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting the Dubai Museum. It is an interesting – even (or especially) for kids – museum in the area that engagingly illustrates Dubai’s history. The entrance fee is just around 1€.
The souks are free to visit.
Food, drinks, and souvenirs are normally cheaper than in Dubai Downtown. So, this is the place to shop.
To get from the Gold and Spice Souk to the other side of Dubai, jump on one of the abras that only cost about 0.25€.
From there, you can take a bus/taxi to the next attraction.
La Mer Dubai
La Mer is located in the Jumeirah area, but further away from Burj al-Arab than Kite or Jumeirah Beach. It is a fun beach section with many retail stores, stylish restaurants and cafes, the coolest bathhouses, and friendly and fun street art.Burj Khalifa is omnipresent, and from La Mer, you will have a lovely view – a beach with a view of the tallest building in the world! There are free – and very stylish – showers, and clean toilets, and you can either bring your own towels or book some sunbeds and umbrellas.
There are a lot of restaurants, so you will definitely find something to your taste. To see some amazing street art, walk along the rail stores and bring your camera.
There will be many locals and expats here, as it is not a hot spot for tourists yet. Watching the sunset from here is a beautiful way to end your day (and as always, with Burj Khalifa in the background), and thus, it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.
How to get here: I admit, I am not the biggest fan of public transportation in Dubai. The bus connection is not great, though there is a bus stop close by, so taking a taxi will probably be the best way to get here.
The beach is free to visit. Quite some facilities are free, too.
You could spend all day here, especially because it gets even better in the evening! So, you could end your day at La Mer with a nice dinner, or you can stay here for 2-3 hours and then consider this alternative – for your afternoon and evening – below.
A desert safari is so much fun and perfect for people of (almost) all ages. So, make sure to add a desert safari to your Dubai itinerary. There are different tours available, but I recommend the 4×4 dune bashing adventure, including a BBQ in the desert. You dine under the stars, often with Arabian music in an Arabic-style “village.” Book a tour. You will not regret spending a few hours in the desert as it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai in 5 days.
These evening tours often start around 3 pm (you will get picked up from the hotel and be dropped off there again around 10 or 11 pm).
There are some morning tours available, too. Find out about the best tours here:
For the fourth day in Dubai, I have several ideas, and you – of course – pick the one you like the most.
Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
A day trip to Abu Dhabi is a great idea.
Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and getting there takes about 60-120 minutes from Dubai. Though I recommend visiting Abu Dhabi for longer, one day is actually good enough to get an overview and see the main sights. You can rent a car and drive yourself – driving TO Abu Dhabi is quite easy most of the time. Though I have never driven myself, the streets and roads are not that busy, mostly just a straight shot.
You have much more flexibility if you drive yourself, but driving in Abu Dhabi is a bit more stressful, and parking at popular sights is not always easy.
If you go there for one day, I recommend booking a tour instead. Tours are not that expensive, and you can enjoy the window views more.
Of course, you are stuck with the tour itinerary and don’t have much freedom. However, it is great for those who like to have a fixed itinerary and learn about the sights and places from a tour guide.
Alternatively, stay in Dubai and visit some more places there.
Miracle Garden is a flower park located a bit further from the other popular tourist attractions. And it is only open in the winter months! You will see flowers – a lot of flowers, designed and decorated in a lot of interesting shapes. It is the biggest flower park around, and strolling the area should take about two hours.
Afterward, you could head to Global Village. It is close to the above-mentioned garden, and for about 5€, you have entry to a theme park with roller coasters and displays from many different countries in the world. Hence the name.
Though the roller coasters cost extra, it is a fun place to visit for a day – especially in combination with Miracle Garden as they are close to each other.
Miracle Garden is only open in the winter months (normally from the beginning of November until May)
Entry is about 12€
I suggest planning 2-5 hours for Miracle Garden
Dubai is also home to several theme parks that probably would take a whole day. I have not visited any of them, but if you prefer a theme park over the above-mentioned ideas, you could check them out.
Okay, JBR – The Walk and Dubai Marina are both fun places to visit during the day or night, so you can decide which one you prefer to visit and when. Both should be on your list for the last day. Their proximity to each other makes them super convenient to visit in one day.
JBR – The Walk
JBR is trendy during the day (and also in the evenings). For me, it wasn’t love at first sight, but when I visited again, I finally got what the fuss was about. You have free beach access here. You have street art. You have restaurants and cafes. You have stores. You have water sports activities and playgrounds.You have attractions like the Flying Cup (which offers beautiful views of the area from above).
JBR is definitely fun and a perfect place for your last day in Dubai.
Okay, if I had the money (I am working on that, but it might take a while), I would buy an apartment in Dubai Marina. Maybe.
Personally, my favorite city in the world is New York. I was blown away by the skyline. You see, I have a thing for skyscrapers, so it’s no surprise that this is one of my favorite neighborhoods.The density of skyscrapers is high here, and so are the prices for accommodations and dining. But it is still worth a visit.
Seeing the yacht club and strolling the area (beautifully illuminated by night) is now “typical“ Dubai to me, and if you have more than five days in Dubai, this is the must-see place.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON WHAT TO DO IN DUBAI IN 5 DAYS
If you spend 5 days in Dubai, you get the chance to see a lot – of course not all, but I guess you get a good idea of the city. I hope this itinerary is helpful and you have the answers to your questions about how to spend your time in the city.
From a neutral perspective (and if I hadn’t visited Dubai before), I would have loved this itinerary. I truly believe it is a fun, busy, but not exhausting itinerary. Enjoy your time!
One of the questions I get asked a lot is whether I recommend Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai?! Which is the better city to visit? Which city (emirate) wins? I am happy to share a list with you, which I have created based on my experiences, hoping that it helps you make the perfect decision.
Both cities are incredibly safe regarding female solo travelers or concerning any crime. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are also both “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, and helicopter rides, and you can shop in both cities pretty well. Both are quite westernized, so there isn’t a cultural shock for western tourists – but in the end, it really depends on your interests which city the better one is.
Why is Abu Dhabi better than Dubai?
Okay, let´s start with what makes Abu Dhabi better than Dubai.
Here is an itinerary for Abu Dhabi here if you want to find out what to do in Abu Dhabi.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates
Largest emirate (in size of geography)
About 1 million inhabitants
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is home to the stunning Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
It is home to the most beautiful building in the world: the Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Dubai has more interesting and more famous buildings, but it does not have Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
The mosque is just beyond amazing and one of my favorite reasons to always revisit Abu Dhabi. To find out more about the mosque and tips when visiting click here.
More Beautiful Beaches
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it has nicer and more tranquil beaches.
Abu Dhabi has more beautiful beaches: the public beaches at Corniche or Saadiyat Island are wonderful. Overall, the beaches in Abu Dhabi were more appealing to me than the ones in Dubai.
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 them crowded.
Luxury Accommodation is Cheaper
Compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you get more luxury for less money.
Accommodation in Abu Dhabi, especially luxury accommodation, is cheaper. As a test, I did some further research to be sure it was not only when I visited.
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 ones in Dubai – while the standard is the same!
Abu Dhabi is Quieter
Abu Dhabi is, in comparison to Dubai, the better place to visit because it is more tranquil and much quieter.
Abu Dhabi is quieter. This can either be a pro or a contra argument, but if you do not like too much “bling-bling” and too much of the hustle and bustle, you´ll probably enjoy Abu Dhabi more than Dubai. Though you will also find authentic areas in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is still a bit more “Arabian-like.”
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you can visit Emirates Palace.
The Emirates Palace, the top hotel in Abu Dhabi, is also open to “ordinary” people who want to have a look, while Dubai´s “top” hotel (Burj Al-Arab) is much more difficult to access.
Zaya Nurai Island
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because you will find there the Maldives of the Emirates.
Abu Dhabi has Zaya Nurai Island, which is one of the most beautiful islands in the region. Zaya Nurai Island is a private island and you can get thereafter a 12-minute boat ride. To be allowed on the island, you have to get either a day pass or stay there as an overnight guest.
Better Place to Relax
Abu Dhabi is the better place to visit because it is more like a vacation.
Where can you relax better? In Dubai or Abu Dhabi? Well, I would say Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax. There are fewer crowds and less traffic in Abu Dhabi. So, Abu Dhabi is the better place to relax and chill.
Here are the reasons why I like Dubai better than Abu Dhabi.
The biggest city in terms of inhabitants and the most famous city in the UAE
About 2,5 million inhabitants
The City of Superlatives
Dubai is the better place to visit because it constantly breaks new records.
Dubai is the city of superlatives. There are many unique buildings: It is home to the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa (pictures from the top of Burj Khalifa here), the 7* hotel Burj Al-Arab, and many more interesting buildings. If you are into superlatives, visit Dubai.
More Attractions in Dubai
Dubai is the better place to visit because there is so much to do and see.
There are more attractions, more to see & more to do. You will never feel bored in Dubai. Whether you head to the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), Miracle Garden, Dubai Mall, or Madinat Jumeirah – there is so much to do that it was hard for me to pick only 50 top activities in Dubai.
There are more bars, clubs, and parties than in Abu Dhabi – if you are into good nightlife, you will love Dubai more. Also, you might feel less restricted in your clothing than in Abu Dhabi.
More Luxury Hotels
Dubai is the better place to visit because there are so many luxury hotels to choose from.
There are more luxury hotels. If you are on a budget, you can just do hotel sightseeing for free. You´ll not get disappointed – like the “Atlantis – The Palm.” The amount of luxury hotels in Dubai is seriously crazy.
TIP: If you want to splurge but have to save money, visit during Ramadan (it might be less fun but the hotel prices drop like crazy).
Dubai is the better place to visit because it has unique islands, like Palm Island.
Dubai has Palm Island. Though the beaches are private (you can get a day pass at many hotels), it is a perfect place to ride a bike and enjoy great views.
Dubai is the better place to visit because you will find the recreation of ancient Arabia in a modern dress.
Dubai has Madinat Jumeirah, which is, without any doubt, one of my favorite areas in Dubai. It is just a great place to spend the day, get lost, and top the day off.
Bigger Shopping Malls
Dubai is the better place to visit because you will find the biggest and most interesting shopping malls there.
Dubai has more (and bigger) shopping malls (find a quick guide for Dubai Mall here) and is the place to shop.
Dubai is the better place to visit because there are also many local markets to shop.
I have a love-hate relationship with Dubai Deira. The old part of Dubai often means being 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 of that intensity in Abu Dhabi.
Better Day Trips Options
Dubai is the better place to visit because you can do some very fun day tours.
Location: Dubai has, in my opinion, a better location. It is closer to Oman (and a day trip to Oman is fun) and to other emirates like Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah, so day trips to other places are easier and more fun from Dubai.
As you can see, it really depends on what you are interested in and what you like to answer the question of whether Abu Dhabi or Dubai is better for a vacation. Are you more of a person who likes to go out and enjoy those “wow” moments, or do you enjoy the “natural” beauty and more quiet?
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 2-3 nights in Abu Dhabi.
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 and 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. Here are a few more tips for your trip – whether you visit Dubai or Abu Dhabi – or both!