Dubai is known as an oasis of modernity and luxury in the middle of the desert, with world-record architectural gems that combine luxury and technology while respecting the great Arabian tradition in the middle of the Arabian Gulf desert. Thanks to its incredible transformation in recent years, Dubai has positioned itself as the safest city in the United Arab Emirates.
Visiting Dubai for a week and don't know where to start? In the following 7-day guide to Dubai, you can organize your itinerary and enjoy magical desert adventures, see the city's most iconic sights and discover hidden gems, without missing out on anything there is to do in Dubai.
Day 1: Getting to know Downtown Dubai
Welcome to your first day in Dubai, with the following itinerary you will visit the world's tallest skyscraper, spend an afternoon shopping at the Dubai Mall and enjoy dinner with the world's best water and light show at the Dubai Fountain. Shall we start?
Stroll through the gardens and parks at Burj Park
Your first stop in the city of the future will be Downtown Dubai. Be dazzled by the incredible views of the futuristic skyline and enjoy a morning stroll through the parks of Burj Park.
Here, you can enjoy its incredible art installations such as: Wings of Mexico, a sculpture created by Mexican artist Jorge Marin, located in front of the Burj Khalifa where you can pose to get an amazing photo for your social networks.
Climb the Burj Khalifa: world's tallest observation deck
Recognized as the most important tourist attraction in Dubai, climbing the Burj Khalifa , the tallest building in the world, is a must if you go to Dubai; it rises to 828 meters allowing you to practically touch the sky with your hands from its viewpoints.
You can choose between the two viewpoints inside the Burj Khalifa and see unparalleled views of the city of Dubai. The 360º At the Top viewpoint is located on the 125th floor and costs from approximately 50€. A few floors up for about 110 € you can access the 148th floor, where is the highest viewpoint in the world perfect for observing Dubai above the clouds.
Walk through the Dubai Mall and ski at Ski Dubai.
The best way to spend the afternoon of your first day in Dubai is to visit the largest shopping mall in the world, the Dubai Mall. A commercial space located right next to the Burj Khalifa ideal for shopping lovers thanks to its 1,200 stores where you will find luxury brands, international fashion chains and home accessories, among many others.
If you are not a fan of shopping do not worry, as the Dubai Mall has endless recreational and entertainment spaces to spend hours without getting bored, among them are:
- The Dubai Aquarium with sharks and various marine species.
- Theme parks
- The Dubai Dino, a 155-million-year-old dinosaur fossil.
- The Ski Dubai where you can ski and also visit the penguins.
Enjoy dinner at the Time Out Market overlooking the Dubai Fountain
After an intense afternoon of shopping at the Dubai Mall, head to the Time Out Market Dubai and enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the 17 restaurants to choose from without reservation.
While you enjoy your dinner, end your first day with a bang with the best musical show with lights and water at the Dubai Fountain, highly recommended to enjoy if you go up to the Burj Khalifa at night. The largest dancing water fountain in the world thanks to the 150 meters high jets.
Day 2: Visit to the historic center of Dubai: the Deira district
On your second day I propose you to travel back in time by visiting the Heritage Village and live an authentic experience by walking through the souks and eating like a local, all this in the old neighborhood of Deira.
Visit Heritage Village and Heritage House
On your second day, I invite you to travel back in time and see what Dubai was like before it was modernized. The best way to do this is to visit the Heritage Village and Heritage House.
Both are open-air museums, where you can relive firsthand family life in Dubai's traditional houses during the 19th century and discover the traditional work of craftsmen and weavers who made textiles or fishing vessels. Before leaving, remember to visit the stores inside to take back an authentic souvenir.
Also at the Heritage Village, you have the chance to interact and pose for a souvenir photo with emblematic animals of Dubai, such as falcons, and ride a camel.
Tour of Dubai's traditional souks and marketplaces
Enjoy a tour of the Souks, historic Arab markets located in the traditional neighborhood of Deira where you can lose yourself among its different alleys full of locals with traders who will be happy to bargain at a good price the different items of Arab and Asian culture they have for sale.
While walking through the different souks, you can taste different typical dishes in the street food stalls present in the markets and eat like a true local of the city. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty, eating at these stalls ensures a unique and inexpensive experience in the traditional Deira neighborhood that you wouldn't get in a restaurant.
My favorite souks
- Golden Souk: if there is one word to describe this market, it is luxury. Visit it and discover the true meaning of the saying "worth your weight in gold".
- Spice Souk: located in Old Baladiya Road, is a dream market where you can find unimaginable spices.
- Souk of Bur (fabrics): do not be fooled by its small size, it is the ideal market for tourists looking for the perfect souvenir. Find textiles of all kinds with exquisite embroidery and all colors.
Dubai Creek Dinner Cruise
End your day touring the banks of Dubai Creek, a 10 km long estuary that served as a maritime trading point for transporting goods from Africa and India that were then sold in the souks.
The best way to enjoy this area is to take an evening cruise on Dubai Creek: and enjoy a traditional Arabian dinner inside a Dhow, a traditional Arabian sailing boat.
Day 3: Enjoy an adventurous day at Jumeirah
You can start your third day of Dubai sightseeing leisurely with a walk along Marina Walk but don't forget your swimsuit, because later it's time for some water fun at Atlantis Aquaventure The world's largest waterpark.
Sightseeing ferry ride or walking tour at Marina Walk
Start your third day in Dubai with a morning walk along the pedestrian Promenade around the 3.5-kilometer artificial water channel of the Marina Walk and be dazzled by the incredible views of Dubai's most modern and cosmopolitan area.
Enjoy the rest of the day at the Atlantis Aquaventure
Enjoy a full day full of thrills and adventure at the world's largest water park, Atlantis Aquaventure. Located within the facilities of the famous Atlantis hotel located in the emblematic artificial island Palma Jumeirah, which can be accessed by a monorail that runs every 23 minutes and whose cost of round trip is approximately 2.40€.
Take your swimsuit out of your suitcase and enjoy an unforgettable day in the different attractions of the park, among which you can:
- Slide down the 79 slides of the Aquaventure Waterpark.
- Surf on a wave simulator
- Swim with sharks and rays in Shark Lagoon or with 65,000 species of colorful fish while snorkeling in Lost Chambers.
- Sunbathe and swim at private beaches
Day 4: Desert Excursion
If you travel to Dubai you have to do a desert safari and let yourself be amazed by its magic to live a nomadic experience like the Bedouins riding a camel and of course practicing extreme sports in the sand like Dune Bashing or sandboarding.
Travel through the desert at full speed in a 4WD
On your fourth day in Dubai I propose an itinerary that will take you away from the modernity of the skyscrapers to take a trip to the past and discover the magic of the desert with the most popular and famous activity of this region, a tour of the desert of Dubai.
The best way to explore the desert and surf the dunes is through Dune bashing, an adrenaline-filled activity perfect for speed lovers, which consists of speeding up and down the dunes in a 4x4 Jeep.
Practice extreme sports on a quad or slide down the sand on a sandboard.
Another activity to do on your desert safari if you are a lover of adrenaline and extreme sports is sandboarding in the dunes; which, like snowboarding, consists of sliding on a board, but instead of snow it is the desert sand. You can also use the board as a sled if you have never snowboarded before.
If your thing is more about speed on wheels, live an extreme experience while driving through the sand dunes, making an all-terrain quad race through the desert of Dubai from about 50 €.
Camel ride like the desert nomads
If you travel to Dubai, you should definitely take a camel ride and what better place to do it than in the desert while taking some wonderful pictures at sunset, on the humps of your travel companion?
Camel riding is definitely the most popular and relaxing activity to do after a day full of adventures in the Lahbab desert tour, priced from approximately 50€ with pick up and drop off at your hotel in Dubai.
Dinner under the stars with the best buffet and live entertainment
End your desert safari day with an excursion to the Dubai desert with dinner and live show where you can relax and enjoy the best selection of typical Arabian food while enjoying a live show such as belly dancing or fire shows under the starry sky in the middle of the Dubai desert.
During dinner, the buffet menu features the star dishes of Arabian gastronomy, where you will start with chickpea hummus and baba ghanoush eggplant cream that you have to eat with khubos bread, followed by a choice of grilled fish, chicken or lamb and potato or couscous salad, better known as the tabbouleh.
To finish the dinner, you can taste the delicious Arabian sweets and drinks to go with them such as:
- Dates or fruits
- Baklava the famous pistachio and honey dessert
- Luqaimat (fried dough with cardamom and saffron)
- Mint tea for digestion
- Traditional Arabic coffee, prepared with saffron or cardamom spices.
Day 5: Discover the traditional neighborhood Al Fahidi
Enjoy a cultural day visiting the Dubai Museum in the traditional Al Fahidi neighborhood, visit the Jumeirah Mosque and end the day at the Dubai Frame observation deck to see the two faces of Dubai, the modern and the traditional.
Visit the Jumeirah Mosque
Start your fifth day in Dubai with a visit to one of the most important cultural and religious centers of the city, the Jumeirah Mosque. Located in the main residential area, Jumeirah is considered an architectural jewel near the sea that you can visit from Saturday to Thursday. It is the only temple in Dubai that allows entry to non-Muslims for 1-hour guided tours, only at 10 am.
If you are visiting the mosque you should follow the following dress codes, which apply to all mosques in general:
- Men should wear long pants to cover their legs, in addition to covering their shoulders.
- Women must cover their hair with a headscarf and cover their arms and legs completely.
Cultural stop at Dubai Museum and traditional Arabian food
Following the cultural itinerary of the fifth day, I recommend you to visit the Dubai Museum located just inside the Dubai Fort in Al Fahidi, the second traditional neighborhood of old Dubai.
You will learn, from another perspective, the history, origin and cultural essence of Dubai thanks to its incredible exhibition of historical pieces organized chronologically, among which you will find Dhows over 1000 years old, antiques and architectural pieces.
After touring the history of Dubai, head to the Arabian Tea House a few meters from the museum and try the Tahta Laham, the restaurant's signature dish based on meat, rice and spices, a delicious traditional Arabian meal whose average price per person ranges between 10€ and 30€ approximately.
End your day at Zabeel Park and climb the Dubai Frame
After a day of cultural sightseeing in the old Al Fahadi neighborhood, head to Zabeel Park and enjoy the sunset inside Dubai's largest green space where you can picnic in the winter months while enjoying live music and exhibitions such as the Dubai Garden Glow.
To end the day, head to the Dubai Frame, two 150-meter high towers that are connected by a 93-meter glass observation deck that will allow you to enjoy an incredible panoramic view of the city where, on one side, you can see the modern and technological Dubai and on the other the old and traditional Dubai, from approximately 13 euros.
Day 6: Take an excursion near Dubai, Abu Dhabi
Before you leave Dubai, make the most of your visit and take a day trip to Abu Dhabi to visit the most beautiful mosque in the world and enjoy a day of adventure at Ferrari World.
Take your day trip to Abu Dhabi and climb the Etihad Towers observation deck.
Before leaving Dubai take advantage of its proximity to the capital of the United Arab Emirates and take an organized tour to Abu Dhabi from Dubai from about 50 euros. The trip takes about an hour and you can visit the most emblematic places of the city, such as the Etihad Towers.
In the most emblematic area of Abu Dhabi are the Etihad Towers where you can enjoy unique views of the city from approximately 20€ at the Observation Deck at 300.
After being above the clouds, walk to the Qasr Al Watan Palace and visit, for approximately 15€, its incredible library whose collection of historical pieces houses the famous Birmingham Koran.
Visit the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World.
If you are a lover of adrenaline and high-end cars, you have to go to the artificial island of Yas and visit the Ferrari World where you can enjoy an afternoon of adventure inside the world's largest indoor amusement park.
It has 19 attractions, including the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world. You can also visit the Ferrari car museum and eat at its themed restaurants.
Visit the world's most beautiful mosque: Sheikh Zayed Mosque
After a day of sightseeing in Abu Dhabi, end the day with an unmissable stop and visit the third largest mosque in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
In order to visit the interior of the mosque, it is important to follow the dress code out of respect for its inhabitants and worshippers.
Women should cover their shoulders and arms, wear loose clothing with long pants and cover their hair completely, with a tunic or pashmina over it. Men should cover their shoulders and legs, for this I recommend wearing long pants.
I recommend that, before the sun goes down, you walk about 15 minutes to the Oasis of Dignity viewpoint. From there you can witness a real spectacle; the white color of the mosque will contrast with the beautiful sunset and you can see it reflected in its pools, I assure you that it will leave you speechless.
If you don't have any clothes to cover yourself, the mosque will lend them to you free of charge.
Day 7: Last day in Dubai: book an excursion on a dhow cruise on Mussandam Dibba
What better way to end your week in Dubai than with a full day cruise excursion aboard a Dhow, a traditional Arabian wooden boat and sail along the beautiful Arabian Sea shores of Mussandam Dibba in the Gulf of Oman.
Enjoy maritime activities perfect to do with friends and family such as snorkeling, swimming in crystal clear waters or simply relax while sunbathing on board the cruise ship. The excursion includes a delicious buffet with traditional food and drinks such as Arabic tea and coffee.
Itinerary by days
Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall
Time Out Market Dubai
Dubai Creek Cruise
Swim with sharks
Sandboarding in the desert
Quad bike race
Dinner with live show
Arabian Tea House
Qasr Al Watan Palace
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Buffet with beverage
Views of the Gulf of Oman