Things to do in Dubai

The 10 must-see attractions in Dubai to get to know the modern face of this Arab metropolis and its ancient soul: grand, spectacular, unique.
Search Hotels, B&B and Apartments
Search

Drawing up a list of 10 things to see in Dubai is an arduous task because this dynamic city is constantly on the move, avowedly projected towards the future. At the time of writing, numerous construction sites are at work to complete colossal new works that will add to the astonishing attractions of this metropolis devoted to luxury, excess and the incredible.

In a constantly changing cityscape, however, one can recognise certain buildings that have become symbols of the city: they are masterpieces of contemporary architecture with stratospheric costs. And not far from the VIP hotels, the billionaire yacht marina, the world’s largest shopping centres and exclusive towers, one can discover corners where Dubai’s past resurfaces.

It is worth leaving the glossy neighbourhoods of the new Dubai for a while to dive into the atmospheric chaos of the souk, to be dazzled by the white walls of a mosque beautifully decorated with Arabic motifs, to feel the wind blowing into the houses expertly channelled by ingenious ventilation systems of the past or to photograph ancient fortresses.

Put it away, by the time you have decided what to see in Dubai there will be at least five more incredible new attractions worth a visit. The ones below, however, are the must-see attractions. The only way to add more to the list is to extend your holiday!

Burj Khalifa

1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Downtown Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

The symbol of Dubai is Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world: 163 floors with a total height of 829 metres and 57 lifts. In comparison, the Empire State Building in New York with its 443 metres looks like a small house!

Inside this futuristic skyscraper you can find everything: restaurants, clubs, swimming pools, luxury flats and a very expensive hotel owned by fashion designer Giorgio Armani. If you cannot afford the entertainment or a VIP stay, you can always go up to one of the panoramic observatories on floors 124, 125 or 128 and enjoy a spectacular view of Dubai from above.

The Burj Khalifa will soon have to surrender its supremacy to another grandiose construction destined to become a top attraction in Dubai: the Dubai Creek Tower designed by archistar Santiago Calatrava. The total height of this building currently under construction has not been declared, but it is certain to exceed 1,000 metres.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 44,85 €

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah - The Palm Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Another ingenious Dubai folly that has become a symbol of the city is Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island that, seen from above, is in the shape of a palm tree and on which rise billionaire residential complexes and the Hotel Atlantis, a luxury resort with a spectacular design.

The island is practically reserved for the inhabitants of its exclusive villas and resort guests; the only two experiences granted to ‘ordinary mortal’ visitors are visiting the island aboard the Dubai Monorail, a scenic monorail that runs along the trunk of the palm tree, and spending a day of family-friendly fun at the Aquaventure water park.

Read more

Dubai Frame

Zabeel Park Jogging Track - Za'abeel - Al Kifaf - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Opened in 2018, Dubai Frame has already become one of Dubai’s must-see attractions. It is an eccentric building shaped like a giant 150-metre high frame and entirely covered in gold.

Visitors can climb up the catwalk that joins the two vertical sides of the frame and from there admire a splendid panoramic view of Dubai: on one side the modern business and shopping districts, on the other the Old City with its romantic old-world atmosphere.

The building houses an interactive museum dedicated to Dubai’s past, present and future.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 13,78 €

Burj al-Arab

Dubai - Umm Suqeim 3 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Another building that embodies the grandeur of Dubai is the Burj Al Arab, one of the most expensive hotels in the world and an icon of luxury worldwide. The official classification says ‘5-star’ but the hotel boasts of being a 7-star and no one dares contradict this bold claim.

Those who can’t afford to sleep in one of its sheiks’ rooms (you have 1000+ euros to spend per night? Lucky you!) can photograph from afar this futuristic sail-shaped building of astonishing design, built on an artificial island alongside Palm Jumeirah.

If you are willing to spend a little, you can treat yourself to a drink at the SkyView Bar on the 27th floor. It’s not cheap, but it definitely costs less than €1,000.

Read moreBuy the ticket from 62,38 €

The Dubai Fountain

Downtown Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

The show with the most spectators in Dubai is the daily Dubai Fountain show, a stunning system of dancing fountains on the waters of Burj Khalifa Lake, the water basin adjacent to the Dubai Mall.

You have probably already seen other dancing fountains, with water sprays that move in time to music and are made even more impressive by spectacular light effects, but the one in Dubai is gigantic and boasts record-breaking numbers (just to name two: water jets up to 150 metres high, lights visible up to 30 km away). The show is repeated several times throughout the day, with different music and colours.

One more reason to put it on your travel schedule: Dubai Fountain is one of the very few free attractions in the United Arab Emirates.

Read more

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

One of the most popular areas of Dubai for tourists is Dubai Marina, the marina area overlooking the waters of the Persian Gulf.

Here, too, you will find the ultra-modern skyscrapers that have made Dubai’s skyline world-famous, but the special feature of this area is its pedestrian promenade adorned with palm trees: a true oasis for those who like to walk or run, considering that Dubai is a city built purely for cars and walking is rather difficult.

In this area are the best publicly accessible beaches in Dubai (not reserved for hotels or villas).

Read more

Bastakiya

Dubai - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

After indulging in modernity, spend some time in Dubai’s past, which is no less fascinating than its effervescent present. The ideal place to rediscover the atmosphere of the old Dubai of fishermen, traders and pearl hunters is the Persian quarter of Bastakiya located along the Creek, the waterway that laps the original core of Dubai.

The narrow streets of this district are lined with low houses of traditional architecture, famous for their so-called ‘wind towers‘: this is a unique ventilation system that allowed these houses to remain cool despite the torrid temperatures of the Emirates long before the invention of the air-conditioner.

Read more

Dubai Mall

Downtown Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Dubai is a shopping mecca: one could fill an entire holiday in Dubai just by visiting the shopping malls within the city. But if you only have time (or the desire) for one, head for the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall in terms of number of shops.

It is a true city within a city, with 1,200 shops ranging from high-fashion boutiques to small independent shops via franchises of international brands, plus 120 bars and restaurants and themed attractions.

Of the latter, the most spectacular is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, an aquarium housing more than 30,000 marine specimens, while the most popular with children and teenagers is the video game theme park.

Read more

Excursion to the desert

It is hard to imagine that the skyscrapers and futuristic buildings we admire today stand on an area that was once completely deserted. Yet the desert is still there, just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of modern Dubai.

Hop aboard a 4×4 for an unforgettable tour of the Dubai desert and enjoy dinner under the stars in a Bedouin-style camp after watching a breathtaking sunset from the dunes. To prolong the enchantment, choose a tour with an overnight stay in a tent, so you can experience the unique magic of a night in the desert.

You can fill your time in the desert with adrenaline-pumping activities such as quad biking or sand-boarding, or more relaxing ones such as taking a camel ride, taking a selfie in the dunes, smoking hookahs, watching belly dancing or dervish dancing.

Read more

Abu Dhabi

The capital of the United Arab Emirates can be reached in an hour and a half from Dubai and is the ideal destination for a day trip. As opulent and stunning as Dubai, famous for the world’s most technologically advanced Formula 1 circuit, Abu Dhabi is focusing on culture to build a new identity.

The first colossal work inaugurated with this in mind is the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a museum that investigates the connections between artistic currents from around the world; it will soon be joined by other museums and art galleries of equal ambition.

The must-see attractions to include in a tour of Abu Dhabi are: the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a marvel of traditional Arab architecture; the sumptuous Qasr Al Watan Palace; the Etihad Towers, an exclusive complex of five buildings with a 360° panoramic observatory.

Read more

Map

Look for accommodation in this area?
Click here to see all the facilities available in this area.
See all accommodations

Must-see attractions in Dubai

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is not only the tallest skyscraper in the world, it is also the most iconic building in Dubai with its elegant and majestic forms.
Burj al-Arab

Burj al-Arab

The Burj Al Arab is the most luxurious hotel in Dubai. With its iconic sail shape, it is built on an artificial island off Jumeirah Beach.
Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

Where can the world's tallest frame be found if not in Dubai? Dubai Frame is an extravagantly shaped building that unites the city's past and future.
The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain

One attraction that manages to amaze anyone travelling to Dubai is the Dubai Fountains, the world's largest dancing fountain system.
Museum of the Future

Museum of the Future

The Dubai Museum of the Future is a site opening in early 2022 suitable for adults and children. The museum aims to promote technological development and innovation.
Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Aquarium

The Dubai Aquarium is located inside the Dubai Mall and is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Here, visitors can admire more than 33,000 living creatures.
Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Garden Glow

Dubai Garden Glow

Legoland Dubai

Legoland Dubai

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts

Madame Tussauds in Dubai

Madame Tussauds in Dubai

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai

Sky Views Dubai

Sky Views Dubai

Wild Wadi Water Park

Wild Wadi Water Park

La Perle by Dragone

La Perle by Dragone

Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort

Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates

Dubai Safari Park

Dubai Safari Park

Ibn Battuta Mall

Ibn Battuta Mall

Neighbourhoods and areas of Dubai

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

Deira

Deira

Bur Dubai

Bur Dubai

Souks and markets in Dubai

Souks and markets in Dubai

Jumeirah

Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah

Al Bastakiya, the Persian Quarter

Al Bastakiya, the Persian Quarter

Jumeirah Beach Residence

Jumeirah Beach Residence

Dubai World Trade Centre

Dubai World Trade Centre

Unmissable activities

Excursions, tours and activities in Dubai

Excursions, tours and activities in Dubai

If you are looking for things to do in Dubai, you should know that the city offers plenty of outdoor activities, including sports and adventure.
Desert safari in Dubai

Desert safari in Dubai

A desert safari in Dubai is one of the most interesting ways to spend a different day in the city, between adrenaline rush and romantic moments.
Cruises and boat tours in Dubai

Cruises and boat tours in Dubai

Don't miss the chance to see Dubai on a beautiful boat tour. Whether it is a dinner cruise or a sunset tour, this is an experience not to be missed!
Dubai Creek Tower

How to save on transport and entrance fees

City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.

Dubai: Explorer Pass with Burj Khalifa and Desert Safari
Dubai: Explorer Pass with Burj Khalifa and Desert Safari
Save up to 50%* off compared to buying individual attraction tickets. Choose from many Dubai experiences like: Desert Safari, Burj Khalifa and much more.
From 182,83 €