Dubai is a very cosmopolitan city that surprises everyone who sees it. It is one of the most essential cities to visit in the United Arab Emirates .
The city is very new, keep in mind that 40 years ago there was hardly anything where now you will find luxury skyscrapers, shopping malls, impressive mosques… You will not be short of things to see and do in Dubai.
1. Visit the Burj Khalifa, the most impressive building to see in Dubai
The usual landscape of the big cities of the United Arab Emirates is one of skyscrapers and luxury on every corner. So many of its buildings impress with their magnitude.
This building is the tallest in the world at 828 meters high. You can go up to the 148th floor in an ultra-fast elevator to reach the highest observatory in the world, located 555 meters high.
In addition to the observatory, the Burj Khalifa has the Armani hotel on the first 39 floors, luxury apartments up to the 123rd floor, and offices to its top on the 163rd floor.
2. Dubai Fountains, an essential thing to see in Dubai
They are recognized as the largest fountains in the world . They were designed by the same company that designed the fountains for the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Every day you can see the show of lights, water and music from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
The water jets reach 275 meters high following the rhythm of contemporary Arab music.
3. Take a guided tour of Dubai
An interesting way to get to know the city is with a guided tour in Spanish. This visit lasts about 5 hours and on the tour you will get to know some of the most popular places in the city such as; Dubai Creek, Jumeirah Beach Residence, the Blue Mosque, the Burj Ak Arab, Palm Tree Jumeirah…
4. Visit the Al Fahidi Historical Quarter
Although Dubai has become one of the most modern and luxurious cities in the world, it also has traditional places to explore.
This neighborhood was built at the end of the 19th century and Persian merchants who traded in pearls and fabrics lived there. As in Dubai there was no need to pay taxes, having money, they moved there and had access to Dubai Creek, the nerve center of commerce in the area.
The buildings are very typical of the Arab style, made of plaster in a cinnamon and coral tone. Getting lost in the alleys of the historic quarter is wonderful. In addition, you will be able to enter most of the houses, since at present they are galleries of furniture, art, ceramics… There are also usually small flea market-style stalls in the alleys, in case you want to buy a Dubai souvenir.
5. Visit Dubai Creek, an essential place to see in Dubai
This river was key in the growth of the city, since the first settlers of the city settled in this area to trade pearls and fish.
The Dubai Creek separates the city into two parts: Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. You also have the option of doing it with the traditional Arab boats called dhows.
One of the best things to do in Dubai is to take a ride in a dhow before dark.
6. Get lost in the Deira neighborhood, the Gold and Spice Souk
Another of the traditional places to visit in Dubai is the Deira neighborhood. In it is the souk of gold and spices.
Here you can buy both traditional and modern jewelry . Stroll through its alleys with the aroma of the species present at all times and, of course, take the opportunity to buy a gift.
You can also buy a traditional costume of the country . There are fabric stores that sell some already made in standard sizes for about 20 euros. If you want it made to measure, they take your measurements, you choose the fabric and in less than 24 hours they have it ready for you. These types of tailored suits are between 150 and 250 euros.
You will also find the local fish market. First thing in the morning, the hustle and bustle in the market is insane, and it’s a joy to stroll between stops and see Dubai’s daily life at its best.
7. Burj al Arab , The most luxurious hotel in the world that has 7 stars is located in Dubai
The Burj Al-Arab is the tallest hotel in the world, measuring 321 meters high .In addition, it is considered the most luxurious hotel in the world and the only one with 7 stars.
8. The Dubai Mall
Although I never usually recommend shopping centers in any of my articles, in Dubai there are some that are amazing. This one in particular has 1,200 shops and restaurants, a theme park for the little ones, galleries decorated as if it were a souk, an ice skating rink… and although it is not an essential place to visit in Dubai (especially if you have little time) if you have several days you can take the opportunity to go for a walk or eat in one of its restaurants.
9. Mall of the Emirates, in case you want more see more stores
Another shopping center option is the Mall of The Emirates. This shopping center is somewhat more traditional. It has the peculiarity that it has a ski area. (What has been Xanadú for the people of Madrid, although much bigger). It has a capacity of 1,500 skiers and you can do 5 different routes. In addition, for those who do not want to ski they have other activities such as sledding or sliding down an ice slide. In addition, in the enclosure they even have penguins that they use in some of their shows.
10. Take a trip to the desert
Visiting the Desert when you travel to Dubai is practically an essential stop. It is located just outside of the city. And you can make a journey in a quad or 4×4 car. You have several options:
11. Visit the Bastakiya Mosque
The Bastakiya Mosque has a special charm. You will find it in the Al Fahidi neighborhood. It draws attention for its decorative engravings and latticework with geometric shapes. It is a beautiful building that you cannot miss in Dubai.
12. Dubai Museum, an interesting visit to learn more about Dubai
The fort was built in 1787 to defend the Dubai Creek.
The construction is made of plaster, mud, coral and wood and, although it was restored in 1971, it retains its original essence.
As soon as you enter the museum you will find a spectacular display of maps to see the evolution of Dubai and the Emirates after oil was discovered in the region.
Throughout the exhibition halls you can see weapons, tombs from more than 4,000 years ago found in the archaeological excavations of Al Qusais, musical instruments, cooking instruments… In the central courtyard there is an exhibition of traditional boats.
You can visit the museum from Saturday to Thursday (8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and on Fridays (2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.).
13. Visit the Dubai Butterfly Garden and Miracle Garden
In the middle of the desert and in a city with such high temperatures as Dubai, it is incredible to find a place like this.
In the Miracle Garden there are thousands of flowers of all colors. Along the walk you will see floats, cars, castles, a peacock, a mini Burj Khalifa… and everything covered in flowers.
Dubai ‘s Butterfly Garden is home to more than 10,000 species. In this place you can learn about the different specimens.
14. Visit Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was the emir of Dubai until 1958 and grandfather of the current emir. His original house was on the banks of the Dubai Creek so that he could see the commercial activity from his balcony.
The building has been rebuilt as a museum to show the Arab architecture, you will be able to appreciate the traditional doors carved with floral shapes and wooden lattices are the stars. The house has a total of 30 rooms around a central courtyard and in them you will find photographs and historical documents from the Dubai Museum.
You can visit the museum from Saturday to Thursday (8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.) and on Fridays (3:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.).
15. Jumeirah Beach
Jumeirah Beach is the most central and popular beach, the vast majority of bathers are tourists. It has 7 kilometers of sand, calm and crystal clear waters. It is the perfect place to enjoy, relax and calm down a bit from the heat. It is a beach that has all kinds of facilities, it could not be less being in Dubai. You will find restaurants, rental of sunbeds and umbrellas, you can do water sports, hire massages…
Keep in mind that on Wednesdays and Thursdays the beach is exclusively for women and children. Even all the workers, that day, are women.
I don’t think I have to remind you, but Dubai is an Islamic/Muslim destination, so nudism or going topless is totally prohibited.
16. Visit the Jumeirah Mosque
Right next to the beach you will find the Jumeirah Mosque. It is an exact copy of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, although the original is eight times larger. Many say that it is the most beautiful mosque in Dubai. At night it is completely illuminated, so I recommend that you visit it again at that time if you can. If you are interested in visiting it inside, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding organizes guided tours every day at 10am, except Fridays. The cost is 2 euros and little. Worth it!
17. Dubai Artificial Islands
Something very impressive to see are the artificial islands of Dubai. There are two sets of islands: The Palm Island and The World.
The first is a couple of date palms formed by small islands with hotels, restaurants, luxury residences, entertainment venues…
The second, The World is a world map made up of various islands that are sold to individuals. You can already imagine that the prices are astronomical. The islands are worth between 7 and 50 million dollars, depending on their size and whether there is anything built on them.
And if you are wondering how these artificial islands have been built, you should bear in mind that millions of cubic meters of sand and stones from the bottom of the sea have been used.
18. Take a helicopter ride, an amazing thing to do in Dubai
If you have the opportunity, a great activity to do in Dubai is a helicopter ride. You will be able to see the city from above and fly over the area of the floating islands. We could not do the activity, despite having it already reserved, due to a sand storm, so we were left with the desire.