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What to do in Dubai

Renowned for its uniquely affluent culture, immerse yourself to discover the incredible amount of things to do in Dubai. Relax on beautiful beaches facing the Persian Gulf, be pampered in world-class spas or visit some unexpected attractions.

From traditional markets to extravagant 'supermalls', shopping is high on the agenda in Dubai. With so many signature shops in the malls and hotel lobbies, you could easily be on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. You can indulge in spa days – with both traditional and modern treatments available at stylish hotels. A burgeoning art scene and a fantastic food culture are a welcome surprise, and additionally, Dubai is a golfer's dream. Boats, waterparks and even an indoor ski slope, will ensure your entertainment.

Dubai spas

Sumptuous spas

The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel's Talise Ottoman spa and hammam is a palatial retreat away from the bustle of the city. For a more intimate yet luxury experience, head to the private treatment suites of One&Only The Palm. The spa at the Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf-Madinat has 26 treatment rooms offering both traditional eastern therapies and modern bespoke remedies.

Beaches in Dubai

Beautiful beaches

The year-round sunshine and glorious Persian Gulf in Dubai offer great beach opportunities. Atlantis The Palm’s white sand welcomes visitors to its purpose-built shores, where diving and snorkelling are a must. Relax on glorious private beaches along the coast, sipping ice-cold drinks from the hotel bars. Or go sailing or kitesurfing on the Jumeirah Beach ‘golden mile’.

Eating out in Dubai

Eating out in Dubai

Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, and this is reflected in the cuisine. You’re just as likely to find gourmet French bistros as home-made Indian dhal and chapatti stalls. Food is its own culture here, and the diversity on offer is staggering. A must – try a ‘shawarma’ kebab served in the many street cafés across the city.

Dubai shopping

Limitless shopping

The Dubai Mall is the biggest in the world, with over 1200 shops to browse, and lots of attractions throughout. The Mall of the Emirates is smaller – but not much – and houses high-end boutiques and designer stores. The more traditional Gold and Spice souqs are fun to visit, especially the Spice Souq, but be warned you will be sneezing the whole way around.

Dubai attractions

Dubai’s amazing attractions

Take the lift up to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, where a viewing platform awaits the adventurous traveller. The awe-inspiring Dubai Fountain ‘dances’ to music each night outside the Dubai Mall. For those looking for more traditional culture, the stunning Jumeirah Mosque is a sight not to be missed. Or travel out to the desert for a safari.

Traditional life.

Traditional life

Dubai may be a glittering, modern metropolis but it is surrounded by a spectacular, ancient desert. For the adventurous traveller, there is plenty to do in this forbidding landscape. Go on a Bedouin-style safari, race camels and eat traditional Arabic food in a tent. Don’t miss out on a trip across Al Khor (The Creek) on an abra water taxi, or a sunset cruise on a dhow.

Arts and culture.

Arts and culture

Naysayers would argue that art and culture doesn’t exist in Dubai. But like any major city, there is a vibrant art scene underneath the glitz and glamour. Galleries are in high demand by the international crowd, and displaced artists from nearby countries are happy to oblige. The enclosed art and cultural district of Alserkal Avenue houses more than twenty galleries, all with differing genres of contemporary art.

Dubai experiences

See the highlights of Dubai with these exciting experiences

Dubai city half-day sightseeing tour.

Visit both the modern and historic Dubai on this comprehensive sightseeing tour. Spectacular architecture and landmarks, such as the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab hotel, the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – and the wonderful Jumeirah Mosque. A local guide will take you through the city’s most pictruresque areas, including the historical Al Bastakiya, an inspiring place. Cross Dubai Creek by an abra water taxi to visit the aromatic spice souq and spend some time in the shimmering Deira Gold Souq.

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Burj Khalifa 'At  the Top', including afternoon tea at Burj Al-Arab.

Take in the spectacular bird’s-eye views of Dubai from the ‘At the Top’ observation deck on the 124th floor of the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa. Down below, watch the world’s biggest fountain’s dazzling light show. Take some pictures at Dubai Marina, where superyachts bob in the bay, and the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab creates a beautiful backdrop. Follow this up with an indulgent afternoon tea at the world-famous hotel’s Sahn Eddar restaurant. Dubai is a sight to behold.

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Dubai RIB boat cruise: Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina.

This fantastic cruise sees you speeding off around Dubai’s coastline in an RIB (rigid-inflatable boat). You will visit the man-made archipelago of Palm Jumeirah and the wonderful Dubai Marina – where the rich and famous dock their yachts. The boat is designed to manoeuvre at speed, so expect thrills and spills whatever you age. Enjoy close-up views of top attractions from the water, like the enormous Atlantis The Palm hotel and the Burj Al Arab’s sail-like architecture. Take in the picturesque royal palaces and Dubai Lagoon.

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Bateaux Dubai dinner cruise.

Romantics will love this night time dinner cruise, creating a memorable night for all. The glass-enclosed Bateaux Dubai welcomes guests with drinks and canapés as you cruise along the glittering Dubai Creek. Sail past the wonderful sights and sounds of Dubai, like the Al Maktoum Bridge, the Twin Towers and stunning Grand Mosque, illuminated against the darkened sky. Then, savour a delicious four-course meal served to your table as a pianist plays in the background. This is a trip not to be missed.

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Dubai desert.

Take an unforgettable trip into the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert on this fantastic off-road tour. Travel to the desert where you will be dropped off at a Bedouin-style campsite, but instead of the traditional camel rides, you will be picked up by H2 Hummer. Cruise across the dunes in a high-octane tour of the desert, before stopping for photo opportunities in this sprawling landscape. After the tour, head back to camp for a BBQ and an optional sheesha session (flavoured tobacco smoked in a hookah pipe).

Find out more about the Hummer tour

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