Dubai is a city where anyone will find something to do. It is a city that really has it all, from shopping malls to entertainment, from luxury restaurants to water parks, from opportunities for unusual sports (such as desert skiing or falconry) to exciting safaris in the dunes.
Dubai is world-famous above all for luxury and shopping. Fans of frenzied shopping will have their work cut out for them with the sheer number of shopping malls in the city: the Dubai Mall, for instance, is the shopping centre with the most shops in the world, 1,200 spread over four floors and a total area that is practically unapproachable.
But we cannot fail to mention the Mall of the Emirates, inside which there is even a ski slope, the Ibn Battuta Mall, dedicated to the great Berber explorer and divided into thematic areas one for each civilisation, or the Marina Mall, built inside the world’s largest artificial marina.
In each of these malls there will certainly be no lack of shopping and entertainment opportunities; it will be almost impossible to leave without even a small bag in hand.
Dubai is home to numerous skyscrapers and modern buildings. In particular, the city boasts the Burj Khalifa, which at 828 metres is the tallest building in the world. The symbol of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is an absolute must-see on your journey of discovery. Inside you will find business offices, flats a hotel and several restaurants where you can eat while admiring fantastic views. With quick lifts, you can go up to the 124th floor where you will find the ‘At the Top’ viewing terrace and then up to the 148th floor where you will find ‘At the Top Sky’ for a 360-degree view of the city.
Another unmistakable symbol of the city is the Burj Al Arab, recognised by all for its sail-like shape. The building is located at Jumeirah Beach on an artificial island that is connected to the mainland by a bridge. At 328 metres high, the building currently houses one of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Those who still want to admire the view from the Burj Al Arab without staying here can try the hotel’s Skyview Bar.
Also recently opened is ‘Dubai Frame‘, a very special frame building. ‘Only’ 150 metres high, the frame nevertheless captivates all its visitors with its splendid views. Consisting of two tall towers connected by a glass bridge, The Frame provides an extraordinary view of the older side of the city as well as the newer one.
For those in search of the atmosphere of a thousand and one nights, there is nothing better than a desert safari. No animal sightings, though: usually such a tour includes a dune bashing session, a fun experience during which you will get on a 4WD in the middle of the desert, going up and down the high dunes.
To recover, you will watch the sun fall behind the horizon in the desert, giving you a sunset that you will remember for the rest of your life. Finally, you will be taken to a typical Bedouin camp, where you will experience magical atmospheres in front of a fire where you will be offered tea and then dinner, watch typical dance performances, and get henna tattoos.
Such a package is one of the most popular excursions in Dubai, is affordable and is an experience you will remember forever.
Another very impressive way to see Dubai is via a cruise. You can opt for a tour aboard the abra, the traditional local boat, on Lake Burj to admire the Dubai Mall Fountain Show that takes place every night at the Dubai Mall. The show features around 6,000 lights, 25 coloured projectors and boasts a stunning choreography of light and water synchronised with music.
Another type of cruise you can organise is to Dubai Marina. Here there are different possibilities depending on the type of experience you want to have. You can spend a different evening dining on board a cruise ship that allows you to see Dubai by night. The tour allows you to touch the city’s most iconic spots and observe its electric atmosphere.
Alternatively, you can charter a yacht and sail along the Dubai Marina to Blue Water Island; along the way you can see the famous Jumeirah Beach, The Palm, Dubai Eye and the Burj Al Arab. On board you can also enjoy brunch or a barbecue, sunbathe in peace or take photos in front of the main points of interest.
Dubai is certainly the most famous city in the Emirates, but the state capital is actually Abu Dhabi. This location is about an hour and a half’s drive from Dubai. A must-see in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a true masterpiece of architecture and one of the city’s most iconic sites. Afterwards, you can carve out some time to visit the Louvre Museum on Saadiyat Island, home to classical and modern works from all over the world, and the Qasr Al Watan, the ‘Palace of the Nation’. Shopping enthusiasts can go to the Marina Mall where there are also many typical restaurants, while to admire the city from above you can climb the Etihad Towers.
For families with children, there is nothing better than spending a day at a water park. There are no less than two in the city, both claiming to be among the best in the entire Middle East: they are Wild Wadi Park, built next to the Burj Al Arab, and Aquaventure, built next to Atlantis on the artificial island Palm Jumeirah.
Staying on the flying theme, if budget is no object, one of the best things to do in Dubai is to take a helicopter tour over the city. Seeing the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, the unmistakable silhouette of Palm Jumeirah and the artificial archipelago The World from above will be truly unforgettable.
A practical way to visit the city of Dubai is to do so on board one of the red Hop-on Hop-off buses that allow you to enjoy a 360° view of the city. With these bus tours, you can see some of the most iconic attractions and stop at iconic sites such as the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab, the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Frame and more. The open-top deck buses also allow you to discover the best of the city with the audio guide provided.
Dubai is a city built on water and as such, water sports are very popular. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are quite popular thanks to the year-round winds (although they don’t alleviate the summer heat), as well as water skiing, while the absolute novelty is the water jet: two jets of water that you tie around your feet and which, thanks to the buoyancy, allow you to literally fly over the water.
Thrill-seekers, on the other hand, can indulge in sports parachuting: tandem flights are performed even for beginners, flying in free fall over some of the city’s most iconic spots such as Dubai Marina, the artificial island of Palm Jumeirah or the Burj Al Arab. Guaranteed fun and adrenalin rush!
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.