One of the most exciting cities on earth, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is sure to take your breath away. This is a city where nothing is done by halves, and its futuristic skyline is dotted with some of the highest skyscrapers on earth. Its dazzling beaches and year-round sunshine are perhaps the biggest draw, but there's also world-class shopping and dining, enticing historic souks and mosques, and a truly spectacular choice of entertainment which runs the gamut from Jeep tours of the desert dunes to indoor-skiing. And, thanks to our fantastic range of all inclusive hotels, late deals and low deposit holidays, you'll find your holiday in Dubai is surprisingly affordable!
Top hotels in Dubai
Nassima Royal Hotel Ex Radisson Royal
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Jannah Marina Bay Suites
Dubai Marina, Dubai
Moevenpick Hotel Jumeirah Lakes Towers
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Park Regis Kris Kin Hotel
Bur Dubai, Dubai
Rixos The Palm Hotel
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
Atlantis The Palm
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
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At a glance
- Language: English
- Time Zone: GMT +4
- Average flight time: 7h 0m
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When to go
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Dubai is most famous for its glittering skyline, shopping malls and beaches, but there's plenty more to this dynamic city. Stroll around the Al Bastakyia district to get a flavour of the historic city, often overlooked, or take a cruise in a traditional dhow along the Dubai Creek. You can get out into the desert to stargaze, watch wildlife or take Jeep tours across the dunes. And of course, the beaches - paradisiacal stretches of blazing white sand lapped by the turquoise sea - are year-round draw.
The Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world, is also home to the world's highest nightclub and restaurant, and you can get amazing views from the observation deck on the 124th floor. It's part of the Dubai Mall, which, as well as its endless shops, bars and restaurants, is also home to a vast aquarium and an ice-skating rink. At the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, there is even an indoor ski centre. There are so many world records in Dubai that the Guinness Book of World Records has set up an office there. Another of them belongs to the Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island, which is shaped like an enormous palm tree. Then there's the Dubai Fountain (the second-largest in the world), with a 150-metre water jet that dances to music in a fabulous sound and light show.
Seek out the historic heart of Dubai to browse through the souks and markets in Deira, or admire the lovely old dhows bobbing in the bay at the Dhow Wharfage to get some insight into the Dubai that existed before it was transformed by the oil boom. And escape the city by heading into the desert, where you can learn about the remarkable Bedouin culture or go in search of the wildlife in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve among scores of other adventurous activities.
Wine and Dine
Eating out is one of Dubai's greatest pleasures: you'll find food from every corner of the globe at prices to suit all budgets. There is a vast array of eating options, ranging from shawarma bought from a street merchant right through to opulent restaurants awash with Michelin stars. Note that locals eat late, beginning dinner around 9 or 10pm, but most restaurants open earlier to cater for the hordes of international visitors. You can cool off with a mint tea in a typical Arabian tea house, tuck into brunch at one of the trendy loft-style eateries, and eat your way around the world at dinner, whether you want Japanese sushi, Italian pasta, Thai curry or Lebanese mezze. After supper, head to one of the beach clubs or a hotel bar to enjoy spectacular views with your cocktails.
If you’ve got the kids with you, you’ll find plenty of things to do to keep them occupied. Where else can you spend your morning on the beach, go snowboarding at lunchtime, explore the desert in the afternoon and spend your evening scaling the world’s tallest tower? There are numerous experiences to be had on holidays to Dubai, whether you’ve got adrenaline-seeking teenagers or inquisitive little ones. The beaches are great for the whole family, with lots of watersports and adrenaline-fuelled activities like kite surfing for older kids, while little ones will be happy building sandcastles and jumping waves. There's a fantastic aquarium and underwater zoo, a plethora of nature parks and theme parks - including the world's largest theme park, the IMG Worlds of Adventure. You could also take the kids on a cruise on a traditional dhow, go for a browse through the atmospheric souks, or visit one of the fascinating museums - you'll find everything from beautifully restored historic houses dedicated to the city's long history as well as exciting galleries featuring contemporary art and design.
Action and Adventure
Dubai attractions are as exciting as they are varied but you should definitely partake in some water sports while you’re there, with water skiing, wind surfing, banana boats, parasailing and good old fashioned swimming all available. Other things to do in Dubai during your adventurous break include scuba diving, a 4X4 desert safari and a hot air balloon trip. Dubai also boasts the fairly rare attraction of a ski slope in a shopping mall, the Mall of the Emirates, complete with real snow! Those in search of more sedate sports in the heat can indulge in some golf at any one of the impressive courses in the area.
Life's a Beach
You’ll find myriad glorious sand-swept areas to laze upon in its year-round sunshine. Make your way to the beach at Jumeirah for a much-needed dose of rest and relaxation. Just south of it is Kite Beach, a hot spot for kite surfers and paddleboarders. While many beaches belong to hotels and are private (although you can often enter for a fee), there are still plenty of public options to visit, including Mazer Beach Park, which has Blue Flag status, is a perennial favourite and boasts lots of great facilities.
For spectacular views, head down to the waterfront. This vibrant Dubai Marina is the setting of many restaurants, bars and entertainment developments as well as featuring some of the most beautiful yachts and luxury apartments. By day, it serves as the ideal place for some shopping while by night you might find yourself sipping on drinks at one of its luxurious bars. If you’re looking to dial things up a notch, Dubai holidays offer a plethora of high-octane watersports for those with a sense of adventure.
There are plenty of things to do in Dubai when the sun goes down, with a huge selection of bars and clubs that cater for every conceivable taste. You could relax by the beach at one of the many beach clubs featuring DJs or live music. Or take in one of the swanky hotel bars that boast panoramic views. There are US-style sports bars, Irish-style pubs, and outposts of a host of internationally famous clubs and bars, many offering happy hours, theme nights and special entertainment. Remember that the weekend here is considered to be Thursday and Friday, so plan your visit accordingly!
Dubai has much to offer its visitors, whether you decide to approach it as a city break or a romantic holiday for two. Certainly, as a city break, Dubai ticks all the boxes with its superb range of beautifully appointed hotels, world-famous shopping facilities and dazzling array of eateries to suit every budget and palate. With its superb beaches and range of watersports facilities, Dubai works perfectly for couples looking for a bit of adventure during their holiday in Dubai. And what could be more romantic than sipping cocktails with the glittering city spread out at your feet at one of the glamorous bars, or lazing under a coconut-palm parasol and gazing out at the sea?
Dubai's most famous attractions are its glittering skyscrapers, shopping malls and beaches, but there's plenty more to this fascinating city. Explore the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood, also known as Bastakiya, where the narrow lanes and souks have changed little in more than a century. You can also visit the outstanding Dubai Museum, set in an 18th-century fort, to discover more about the city's Bedouin heritage and pearl-diving trade. The beautifully restored home of Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum was built in the 1890s and allowed the Sheikh to watch the ships from his balconies. Down by the wharf, traditional dhows bob in the harbour, and some have been restored to take tourists on cruises along the coast.
The city also has a wealth of contemporary art galleries, as well as world-class performing arts venues, which attract the best opera, ballet, and contemporary dance companies from around the globe.
Bed history in the have been built in the last decade, but the city's history is much, much older. Many of the things to do in Dubai are centred on the new developments and incredible malls, but it’s worth visiting the old sections of the city too, namely the Bastakia Quarter. This area was built around 200 years ago by merchants from Persia and for a while was under threat of demolition. Thankfully, it has been restored to its former glory. There are narrow alleyways that run between the buildings, museums and tea houses, along with examples of early air conditioning known as wind towers. There’s also a textile market that is very popular and full of bargains, as well as the opportunity to take a scenic boat tour of the waterway. If you’re an art lover, the Ostra gallery in this area will provide you with some lovely examples of Arabic paintings and calligraphy.
Tour centuries-old structures and learn of Dubai’s Bedouin and pearl-trading past in a visit to Heritage Village and Dubai Museum in the historic Al Fahidi Fort.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) is a renowned place to gain a better understanding of Emirati culture and heritage, while Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum’s House served as residence of the ruling family and Dubai’s visionary founder.