Dubai in 2 days: all you have to see

Make the most of your two-day trip to Dubai and discover some of the city's most famous and interesting sites.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

6 min read

Dubai in 2 days: all you have to see

View of Dubai | ©Michell Zappa

Here is my recommendation for two days in Dubai. It is not necessary to follow it to the letter, but I would recommend you to take it as a starting point and adjust it to what you are most interested in seeing in Dubai and the time you have.

The idea is to get to know a bit of the Deira area and the center of Dubai during the first day, and on the second, enjoy the most interesting places of the Jumeirah coast. Let's start!

Day 1 in Dubai: Deira and Downtown Dubai

Deira, Dubai| ©Susanne Nilsson
Deira, Dubai| ©Susanne Nilsson

I recommend starting your 2-day trip by visiting Dubai' s gold and spice souks in Deira. From this point you will board an abra (a kind of boat) to get directly to the Bur Dubai.

At this point you just need to get to the center and visit the three most famous areas of Dubai: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain.

Gold and Spice Souk in Deira

The Gold and Spice Souk is located in Deira, the old part of Dubai. Most of the stores in Deira are open between 9am and 10am, except on Fridays, when they open a little later.

You can buy clothes (including Arabic clothing), gold, spices, small carpets and all kinds of other items. The prices are much lower than in the malls, so if you plan to buy a lot of souvenirs, it might be worthwhile to do it in Deira.

Remember that you can bargain, as it is part of the culture of the area. Deira is also the ideal place for a cheap lunch. I suggest having lunch there or a little further south, in the La Mer area.

Bur Dubai in Abra

Take advantage of the proximity for a short and intense abra ride, the traditional, popular and super cheap water cabs.

The most authentic abra ride is usually taken from the gold and spice souk, specifically at the Deira Gold Souk abra station, to get to Bur Dubai. It will only cost you a few cents and is a nice and cheap way to get to the other side of the creek to continue your journey.

For centuries it has remained one of the most used means of transportation in Dubai, becoming a symbol of Dubai's history and a full-fledged heritage.

Bur Dubai

Once you get to Bur Dubai you will see some museums and another smaller souk where you will 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 spending between 2 and 5 hours to see these two interesting areas of Dubai.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa View at Night| ©Sreeni Menon
Burj Khalifa View at Night| ©Sreeni Menon

From Bur Dubai you can take the metro, bus or cab to get directly to the Burj Khalifa, with the bus option being the cheapest. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, with 828 meters. You can enjoy incredible views from the observatory of the Burj Khalifa.

It will surely take you between 2 to 4 hours to enjoy the views and areas of this building. Of course, the queues to get to the top can be very long.

You can get tickets for the Burj Khalifa for levels 124 and 125 or buy a ticket for levels 124, 125 and 148. Of course, level 148 is the most expensive, the funny thing is that with the 148 you can skip the queues.

Buy tickets for the Burj Khalifa

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is located right next to Burj Khalifa. Visiting the Dubai Mall is definitely worth it, even if you don't consider yourself a shopping fanatic, as it's not the only place to go.

I recommend buying tickets for the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which is inside, as well as Dubai Dino, VR Park Dubai and other interesting attractions to spend hours and hours.

Dubai Mall also has a food court offering a huge variety of dishes. Of course, there are also upscale restaurants in case you feel like indulging on your first dinner in Dubai.

Buy tickets to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountains at Night| ©Tanya Hart
Dubai Fountains at Night| ©Tanya Hart

Next to the Dubai Mall is the Dubai Fountain. Here you can see amazing water and light shows. I recommend ending your first day in Dubai here, as it is a great way and enjoy a Dubai night to remember.

The fountain's nightly shows take place from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM, and occur every 30 minutes. Watching the show is free, but the area fills up quickly, so be sure to arrive at a good time.

If you have time you can also book a boat ride and watch the fountain show from there. Oh, and Dubai at night is just as safe as it is in the morning.

Book a boat tour with fountain show

Day 2 in Dubai: Discovering the Dubai Coast

Beach in Dubai| ©Eddy Lohse
Beach in Dubai| ©Eddy Lohse

On this second day I recommend you to tour the coast of Dubai and its most interesting areas. I suggest you start the day in the famous port of Dubai ( Dubai Marina) and then, taking advantage of the proximity, spend some time at the famous JBR-The Walk beach.

Then you could take a walk in Madinat Jumeirah and stroll through its famous alleys. Finally, I recommend you to take a look at the Dubai Canal (bridge), one of the most attractive and new places in the city, and then finish the day in the center of Dubai.

Dubai Marina

Start the second day with a pleasant stroll through Dubai Marina, one of the most pleasant places to be in Dubai and one of the largest artificial marinas in the world. Also, there are several things to do in Dubai Marina.

The marina will amaze you with its massive canal and the yachts that can be seen giving the marina a luxurious feel. You can spend a few hours walking around aimlessly and having some refreshments in one of the bars along the way.

If you have enough time you can book a yacht tour of the Dubai Marina or, if not, go straight ahead to end up at the famous JBR-The Walk beach.

Book a yacht tour of the Dubai Marina

JBR-The Walk Beach

There is no entrance fee for JBR-The Walk and it is the ideal place for swimming. You can also rent water sports equipment and enjoy a great afternoon at the beach. Leaving the beach you will find lots of street art, live music and a very lively atmosphere.

I also recommend going up the Flying Cup, a new attraction that will give you amazing 360-degree views. Best of all, food services are also offered, so if you want lunch with panoramic views 40 meters above the ground, you know where to go.

In addition, although it may not seem like it, both tickets and lunches have affordable prices. Also in the area there are several restaurants for a quieter lunch with less adrenaline.

Get lost in Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah by Night| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]
Madinat Jumeirah by Night| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]

Madinat Jumeirah is a city full of distractions, accommodations, restaurants and many places for different leisure activities. However, for this occasion, I recommend you to head precisely to the souk of this mini paradise city.

This souk is not as overwhelming as the Dubai Mall and you can find gift items, clothes and much more. You can also take a stroll around the area while breathing fresh air, as its alleys are very traditional and the atmosphere is very pleasant.

Zoco Madinat also has many good licensed food out lets in case you feel like staying for lunch. For a dinner in Madinat Jumeirah there are everything from humble traditional food stalls (near the souk), to high-end restaurants.

Dubai Canal

The water canal is one of Dubai's most recent constructions. It cost about 660 million euros and has a length of about 5 kilometers.

The disadvantage of the canal is that during the day the sun hits it hard as it is completely uncovered, so it can be a bit uncomfortable. However, nowhere is more romantic for a quiet evening than the Dubai Canal.

The Dubai Water Canal is perfect for bidding farewell to the city, enjoying the incredible lights that are projected on and from it and listening to the pleasant sound of the water moving underneath.