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Dubai Holiday Guide

Dubai highlights

Whether you go luxury or cheap, holidays to Dubai benefit from an endless amount of activities and unique experiences, from opulent spa days, unique Dubai honeymoon experiences and family fun to the chance to swim with dolphins.

Thrill-seekers will want to head directly to one of Dubai's many water sports centres or to the desert for an afternoon of sand boarding!

Elsewhere, holidaymakers can enjoy visits to the Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and world-renowned Wild Wadi Water Park.

A visit to the Dubai Mall of the Emirates is also a must for any trip to Dubai. The large-scale shopping complex is home to an extensive selection of exclusive boutiques and designer stores. Alternatively, there's the city's labyrinth of souks and backstreet markets - just be sure to practice the art of haggling beforehand.

No trip to Dubai is complete without a visit to the Burj Khalifa, which offers incredible views of the city's man made archipelagos; the Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. The world's tallest building stands at over 2,700 feet and looks over Dubai’s astonishing skyline. The city's bustling town centre is also home to an array of world-class restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Elsewhere, visitors can enjoy several world-famous golf courses - including the Emirates Golf Club, pristine beaches, historic museums, grandiose mosques, zoos and guided tours of the city.

Dubai's local language is Arabic, but English is also widely spoken. Attitudes towards dress wear are fairly liberal in Dubai, but in respect of local customs, it’s advised that holidaymakers avoid wearing short or tight clothing when shopping or sightseeing.

For more information on the United Arab Emirates and the cheapest deals on luxury holidays to Dubai, call Destination2 on and speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable travel experts.

You’ll love Dubai if…

You’re looking for luxury, splendid weather and perfect combination of city and beach options.


When it comes to Dubai's climate, the city enjoys glorious weather throughout the year. The best time to visit will depend on your preference for the Middle East's warm winter months or searing summers.

January is the coldest month in UAE, but even then the expected average is a pleasant 19 degrees Celsius. The hottest weather can be experienced in July and August when the average temperature reaches the mid-thirties. Many Western visitors choose to visit Dubai during the Christmas and Easter periods with the climate more temperate at these times of year.

Getting around Dubai

With so many must-see attractions, being able to get around Dubai easily is a necessity.

Thankfully, this is not a problem with a range of transport options ensuring that just about everywhere is accessible.

By rail

The Dubai Metro is a fully-automated, driverless railway system that is simple to use and easy on the wallet. All you need to do is head to your nearest station, buy you ticket – a Nol Card - and enjoy the sights.

With off-peak waiting times averaging under 8 minutes, if you do have to wait for the next train, it won’t be for very long.

Services run from 6am to 11pm, Saturday to Thursday, and 2pm to 12am on Fridays. Times may vary during Ramadan.

Nol cards can also be used to pay for bus, tram and taxi fares.

Dubai’s tram service runs from Al Sufouh to Jumeirah Beach Residences in approximately 42 minutes. The service stops at destinations including the Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Maina among others.

The trams also connect to the Palm’s monorail service, which transports visitors all the way up the trunk to Atlantis The Palm.

By road

Another cheap and easy way to get around Dubai is by bus.

With around 1,500 air-conditioned buses travelling around the city and more than 2,000 stops, many of which are also air-conditioned, getting around Dubai couldn’t be easier.

Taxis are another option to get you to where you want to be. You can hail a taxi almost anywhere and at any time in Dubai. Booking is also an option if you know what time you want to travel.

Prices for taxis journeys can vary depending on factors including tolls and the time of day.

If you are hoping to hire a car while you’re staying in Dubai, you will need an international driving licence, a passport, credit card and third-party insurance.

By boat

If you’re seeking a more relaxed mode of transportation to get you around Dubai, why not hit the water and see the sights from the deck of a boat?

Take a traditional abra ride along Dubai Creek or through Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

You can also jump aboard a boat to see the sights of Dubai Marina or take a ferry along Dubai Water Canal, which flows from Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf, passing through the Business Bay along the way.

Activities for all in Dubai

If you’re seeking a holiday packed with an endless amount of activities, then Dubai is definitely the place for you. Whether you’re into sports, thrill-seeking or exploring, there’s something for absolutely everyone, with both beach and desert only around an hour’s drive apart and a spectacular city between.

Make waves

Boasting more than 50km of coastline, a host of superb beaches and fantastic year-round weather, Dubai is an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience a range of water sports. From surfing and jet skiing to scuba diving and water jet packing, you can enjoy all of this and much more in Dubai.

Those who prefer their time on the water to be a little more relaxing can enjoy a sightseeing boat trip or hit the surf on a stand-up paddleboard.

Young travellers can also join in the aquatic fun, with an inflatable obstacle course on offer at The Beach Waterpark at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, while small children are catered for with a Splash Pad featuring a tipper bucket and an array of fountains.

Desert adventures

If you prefer activities that don’t require you to get wet, Dubai’s stunning desert is the place to go, with a variety of options for exploring this mesmerising landscape and having fun along the way.

Hit the sand on a 4x4 safari or take the steering wheel of a dune buggy to zip around the desert terrain.

Anyone who prefers two wheels to four can enjoy a leisurely cycle through Al Qudra Lakes, taking in the magnificent desert sights and spotting a host of wildlife along the way. Hiking is also an option, with Hatta a popular spot, being surrounded by the Hajar Mountains and offering sublime views of the serene landscape.

A traditional Bedouin experience is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Arabic culture, as well as being able to enjoy a mouth-watering Middle Eastern meal.

For a fun-packed family day out, you could try sandboarding. Similar to snowboarding, you simply strap on your board and glide down the dunes.

Get sporty

For those who like to keep active during their holiday, Dubai has plenty of options to suit all fitness levels.

If golf is your game, you’ll be glad to know that this dazzling city is home some to some of the world’s top courses, including Emirates Golf Club and Jumeirah Golf Estates. You can also choose from the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Els Club and The Address Montgomerie Dubai.

Cyclists will also be riding high, with a choice of cycling tracks available across the city, as well as the opportunities to explore the desert terrain on two wheels.

Dubai also offers a number of jogging tracks. Get in step to take in the sights of Dubai Marina, or enjoy a sea view running the 14km track parallel to Jumeirah Beach Road, taking in the Burj Al Arab and The Dubai Canal as you go. You can also jog along the Palm Jumairah boardwalk, or enjoy the lush scenery as you work up a sweat running around Safa Park.

Reach for the sky

The best way to see the whole of Dubai is from above, and with Skydive Dubai you can do just that, as well as enjoy an awe-inspiring experience as you do so. Jumping from nearly 4,000 metres in the sky, you will enjoy stunning views of the city’s world-famous landmarks as your chute opens and you slowly drift to the ground.

If you don’t quite have the head for heights required for skydiving, you could instead try iFly Dubai. Daredevils of all ages can join in the fun and enjoy the sensation of soaring through the sky, despite being only 4 metres off the ground.

Stay cool on the slopes

Hit the slopes after a trip to the shops with a visit to ski Dubai, located inside the magnificent Mall of the Emirates. Here you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing in Dubai’s very own winter wonderland.

Where to eat in Dubai?

Dubai is the home of a plethora of great dining venues, with almost every worldwide cuisine available. You can mix and match, stick to your favourites, or sample a true flavour of this incredible emirate. Whether you’re seeking cheap eats for all the family to enjoy, or a romantic 5-star dining experience, Dubai has something on the menu for all tastes and budgets.

Toe-tapping Tapas

If you don’t fancy a full meal or just want to have a share of something? Then Dubai has your back with plenty of top-class tapas venues.

Nola Eatery & Social House, at the Armada BlueBay, serves up scrumptious South American tapas, with live acoustic and jazz performances a regular occurrence.

Meanwhile, if you want the best in music then Grammy award-winning Quincy Jones’ Q’s Bar & Lounge, at the Palazzo Versace, is worth a visit. There’s an appetising food menu too.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore

Take a break from sunbathing or sightseeing and head to the Fish Beach Taverna, at the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Spa, for postcard-perfect views and irresistible seafood.

Elsewhere, you can enjoy international cuisine in the laidback, yet luxurious, setting of the Jetty Lounge, or if you really want fine dining, then you have to try the Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s, Villa Beach, with the Burj Al Arab as a backdrop and a menu to die for.

A Daily Boost

Start your day the right way, or treat yourself to a caffeine boost or sweet treat any time you feel like it by paying a visit to one of Dubai’s great coffee shops or bakeries.

Situated on Jumeirah Beach Road is the laidback Surf Café, a place where traditional breakfasts meet Asian delights like dim sum, sushi and poke bowls. It’s quite possible to spend all day in here rather than the intended breakfast!

Head on over to the arts district and discover the hipster chic design of Tom and Serg, a café that uses only fresh ingredients.

Looking for something sweeter? If you find yourself in the Galleria Mall then no visit is complete without popping into Home Bakery – a home made cake and pastry shop with products that quite literally melt in your mouth.

Cheap Eats

Dubai doesn’t have to be about eye-watering prices and glitzy restaurants. There’s plenty of budget options, and you shouldn’t turn down the opportunity to try some great flavours from the Gulf and Levant regions.

Proving so popular that it is constantly opening up new branches across Dubai is Bait Al Mandi. The no-frills restaurant’s speciality is a cooked marinated half or quarter chicken, served on a bed on rice. It won’t empty your wallet, but it will fill your stomach.

If it’s vegetarian cuisine you’re after then make sure you drop by Zaroob, on Sheikh Zayed Road. Offering up Arabic street food with a twist, you’ll find falafel, hummus and a whole host of other tasty options. Sweet treats on the cheap? Head to Firas Sweets to enjoy one of the region’s most loved deserts – kunafa, a cheese-based desert… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Friday Brunch

You’ve heard about ladies that lunch, but on Friday’s it’s all about Dubai and brunch.

One of Dubai’s favourite pastimes is to celebrate the start of the weekend with a brunch.

It’s effectively a Friday feast, with many establishments offering unlimited alcohol options… not bad considering the price of drinks in the country.

If you want memorable, go for the Asian-inspired Zuma in the Burj Khalifa. Eat all the sushi and sashimi you want, while enjoying a glass of fizz. Being in such a prime location though, booking is advisable.

If you’re in a particularly party mood then Bubbalicious, at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, will be right up your street. Pizza, curry, steak, piles of fresh seafood and a host of cocktails are all included. Just watch out for the swinging acrobats above your head!

Celebrity Chefs

Come on, you didn’t think some of the world’s top chefs would give Dubai a miss?!

With more Michelin stars than you could imagine, it seems every major chef wants a piece of Dubai.

Whether it’s Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, at Atlantis - the Palm, Pots, Pans and Boards by Tom Aikens, at the Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence, or Gary Rhodes’ W1, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, there’s plenty of star appeal to dazzle Dubai diners.

Fancy something a bit quirkier? Head to Nusr-Et steakhouse, located in the Restaurant Village next to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach. Owned by Nusret Gokce, the man behind the famous ‘Salt Bae’ viral video from 2020, this impressive dining venue serves up a host of meaty treats, sure to please even the biggest of appetites.

Healthy, Hearty Food

Dubai, like many other destinations around the globe, is going through a healthy dining craze. Luckily, there is a host of great restaurants on offer in this sensational city to feed this demand.

Comptoir 102 café, just off Jumeirah Beach, is one such venue, serving up delightful organic, vegan and gluten-free meals.

For a more traditional dining experience, XVA Café, close to Dubai Museum, provides vegetarian dishes inspired by the Middle East, in a relaxed courtyard setting.

For anyone after a true detox, there’s only one winner…Life’n One. Effectively a wellness centre on the Jumeirah Beach Road, Life’n One is the ultimate haven of relaxation and restoration.

Its food and drink is just the start when it comes to revitalising yourself, so whether it’s keeping up with a healthy lifestyle or trying to shake off last night’s hangover, give this sanctuary a go!

Food for all the Family

When visiting Dubai with little ones, you can rest assured that there are plenty of child-friendly restaurants for you to choose from.

Beachcombers, located at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, is perfect for children, with family areas, ice cream machines and various activities to help keep children occupied.

Give the children a day they’ll never forget with a trip to Mattel Play! Town, the award-winning children’s entertainment park. Here you can eat at Play! Town café or try out Thomas & Friends’ tea room.

Adults get free entry and the children can enjoy all of their favourite characters from Barney, to Fireman Sam and even Bob the Builder.

Dubai Attractions

When it comes to dazzling sights and thrilling attractions, you can’t beat Dubai.

Everything is bigger, bolder and better than anywhere else in the world. The only problem you might find during a holiday to Dubai is managing to fit everything in.

Spectacular sights

Dubai is a city full of record-breaking landmarks and world-famous sights that are not to be missed.

The easiest to spot is the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at a phenomenal 828 metres tall. The Burj Khalifa is home to offices, homes and the Armani Hotel. You can enjoy sensational views across Dubai from the world’s highest observation deck, At The Top, which is 555 metres off the ground.

Sitting at the base of the Burj Khalifa, is the world’s largest performing fountain, the Dubai Fountain. When operational, this magnificent attraction has around 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment.

Another iconic Dubai structure is the Burj Al Arab. Built on a man-made triangular island, this luxurious sail-shaped hotel towers 321 metres above the sea and has welcomed many star guests.

One of the new additions to the Dubai skyline is the glittering Dubai Frame. At 150 metres high and 93 metres wide, this spectacular attraction is connected by a 100-square metre bridge, which has a 25-metre square glass panel in the middle offering spectacular views all around.

Another astonishing feat of engineering that you can experience during your time in Dubai is the iconic Palm Jumeirah Island. A man-made archipelago of islands in the Arabian Gulf, this artificial structure is shaped like a palm tree and is home to an array of luxury hotels and a host of popular beach clubs.

One of Dubai’s most beautiful landmarks is the Jumeirah Mosque. Built completely out of white stone in the medieval Fatimid tradition, this splendid structure is open to guests on all days except Fridays. Women are also asked to wear a scarf when visiting.

Theme park thrills

If sightseeing is not for you and you would rather spend your days enjoying theme park thrills and excitement, then you’re in luck as Dubai has this covered.

Indoors or out, cartoon-inspired fun or movie magic. Dubai has it all and much more.

If you’re looking to cover all bases, Dubai Parks and Resort is the ideal choice, offering three thrilling theme parks. Enjoy interactive rides, slides and building to your heart’s content at Legoland Dubai, or put yourself in the frame for fun at Motiongate Dubai, a real haven for movie lovers. You can also make a song and dance out of your passion for theme parks at Bollywood Parks, the world’s first attraction inspired by India’s glitzy film industry.

For those seeking super hero action, prehistoric fun and cartoon adventures, the IGM Worlds of Adventure is the place for you. Covering an area in excess of 1.5 million square feet, this ginormous indoor theme park features an array of roller coasters, thrill rides and colourful attractions based on Cartoon Network character, MARVEL Super Heroes and fearsome dinosaurs.

Splashing fun

When temperatures in Dubai soar, the best place to cool of is in the water and there are a number of fabulous waterparks where you can do exactly this.

Make waves at Atlantis The Palm’s amazing Aquaventure Waterpark, with a host of slides, rides and a beautiful golden beach to enjoy.

The Wild Wadi Waterpark is another option for a fun-filled day for the whole family, with adrenaline-fuelled rides and slides aplenty, and little ones provided for with water guns, climbing frames and huge dumping buckets.

Dubai Parks and Resorts also boasts a Legoland waterpark, where young and old alike can enjoy hours of smiles, even having the chance to build their own rafts out of floating Lego bricks to sail down the lazy river.

Go wild

In a dazzling urban jungle like Dubai, you might think that the chances of an animal encounter would be pretty low. Well think again, as this spectacular city serves up a number of opportunities to take a walk on the wild side and come face-to-face with a variety of magnificent creatures of all shapes and sizes.

Enter a unique tropical realm at the captivating Green Planet and enjoy a phenomenal indoor rainforest experience that allows you to learn more about this incredible ecosystem, as well as meet some of the wondrous animals who call it home.

For an enchanting underwater adventure, you can’t go wrong with Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Housing an array of colourful aquatic creatures, as well as the mammoth King Croc, which measures 5 metres in length, and more than 300 shark and rays; this is one wild experience not to be missed.

Sport for all in Dubai

Sport plays a huge part in Dubai life. From horse racing to football, tennis to rugby, whatever your game, you’ll find it Dubai.

Fancy a flutter?

If a day at the races sounds like your idea of fun during a holiday in Dubai, you should definitely plan your visit with the Dubai World Cup in mind. Taking place once a year at the city’s Meydan Racecourse, this sensational event features nine races, with the finale being the Dubai World Cup.

As well as horseracing, visitors to Dubai can also take in a camel race, with events taking place at Al Marmoom Racetrack or Jabel Ali Racecourse.

Join the scrum for rugby fun

Every winter rugby fans from around the globe flock to Dubai to watch some of the best players in the world compete in the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Taking place over three days, this spectacular event also features a host of competitions, activities and concerts for supporters to enjoy.

Anyone for tennis?

Having been graced by legends such as Roger Federer, Venus Williams, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is a key event on the city’s sporting calendar.

Running for more over 26 years, the tournament is a smash hit with spectators, who turn out in force to support their heroes.

As well as tennis, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium is also a concert venue, having hosted stars such as Sting, Bryan Adams and Shaggy.

If you prefer playing to watching tennis, you’re in luck as many Dubai hotels boast tennis facilities where you can practice your skills or enjoy a leisurely match.

Get ready for kick-off

Whether you prefer being at the heart of the action or simply spectating, the fact that football is Dubai’s most popular sport means that you have plenty of options when it comes to playing or watching the beautiful game.

For those who like to let their skills do the talking, there are a number of venues where you can enjoy a kickabout with your friends.

All Star Sport, on Umm Suqeim Road, is ideal for five or seven-a-side games and also hosts holiday camps and academy training for young players.

Sportsmania, the home of the Juventus Academy Dubai, in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, is another venue where you can play five-a-side matches.

You can also play football at Dubai Sports World, in the Dubai World Trade Centre and the Koora Dome, which is part of the Al Wasl Sports Club.

Those who prefer to enjoy their football from the comfort of a bar stool will find a number of spots where they can keep up with the latest action.

The Nezesaussi Grill, in downtown Dubai, is the perfect place to catch the match. You can also feast on a variety of food from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia while you enjoy the game.

Another venue that guarantees a feast of football alongside delicious cuisine is the Real Madrid Café. With two huge screens and a variety of irresistible international dishes on the menu, you’re sure to have a ball no matter whether your team wins, loses or draws.

Events and festivals in Dubai

Hit the sales

If you love sales shopping, fabulous competitions, child-friendly entertainment, performances, street food, fairs and fireworks, then be sure to attend the Dubai Shopping Festival or Dubai Summer Surprises.

If you’re heading to Dubai in December or January, then the Dubai Shopping Festival is a must for any keen shoppers. If you’re travelling in July or August, the Dubai Summer Surprises is not to be missed.

Dubai World Cup

The world’s richest day of horse racing, the Dubai World Cup, takes place yearly at Meydan Racecourse and boasts total purses of US $30m dollars. The event comprises of nine races, eight thoroughbred contests and one purebred Arabian contest, and features some of the biggest names in horse-racing from all over the world.

National Day

National Day is celebrated in Dubai on December 2 each year and marks the Emirates’ independence from Great Britain. Festivities include parades, cultural events and traditional Dubai cuisine.


Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and is the time when Muslims believe that God (Allah) first revealed the Koran (the Islamic holy book) to the Prophet Muhammed.

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to fast during daylight hours, abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset.

To mark the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid Al Fitr, which involves colourful celebrations and parades, as well as spectacular firework displays.

Due to Islam following a lunar calendar, Ramadan takes place at a different time each year.

Eid Al Adha

Translating as the festival of the sacrifice, Eid Al Adha celebrates the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Taking place over four days, Eid Al Adha is marked with friends and family, as well as by donating money and food to charity.

Eid Al Adha takes place on different dates each year, depending on the moon sighting as the holiday approaches, and is celebrated in Dubai with fireworks, concerts and a whole host of other special events.

Dubai after dark

When the sun sets in Dubai, the fun doesn’t have to stop. Whether you’re craving a chilled-out atmosphere, seeking the most vibrant party hotspots, or looking to explore the bright lights and spectacular city sights; there are still plenty of activities, experiences and attractions to enjoy after dark in this sensational destination.

Relax and unwind

Kick back in style in the elegant surroundings of the Jetty Lounge, overlooking the golden sands and glistening waters beside the One and Only Royal Mirage. Offering relaxing beachside vibes, this chic venue is a great place to wine and dine while gazing at the colourful sunsets.

Party time

If you’re travelling with friends, you may want to enjoy a livelier night-time experience. Dubai offers a number of superb nightclubs, including the likes of White Dubai and the Cavalli Club, where you can dance until dawn to some of the best DJs in the world.

Night-time sightseeing

For those who don’t have the appetite for partying, there are still plenty of other options for a quieter night out in this show-stopping city.

Indeed, if you thought Dubai was impressive in the day you should see this dazzling metropolis when the sun goes down.

Why not reach for the stars at the top of the Burj Khalifa and gaze at the illuminating world below, or see the glittering city in all its glory on a late-night sightseeing tour?

Tee off after dark

With summer temperatures in Dubai soaring, any plans you might have had for a round of golf during the day may have to be put on ice.

This, however, does not mean you have to miss out, as a number of golf clubs in the city offer golfers the chance to play under floodlights in the evening when the mercury has dropped.

The 18-hole Faldo, at the Emirates Golf Club, is a fully floodlit grass course with a selection of some of Dubai’s glittering skyscrapers as a backdrop. The last tee time for this course is usually around 9.55pm.

Another course offering floodlit golf is The Address Montgomerie Dubai. Here you will find a 9-hole course open until 10pm, as well as a putting green and driving range open until 9pm.

The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club also offers floodlit golf, with the last tee off time being 8.15pm.

Ladies’ Nights

If you’re female and looking to enjoy an evening out during your holiday in Dubai without breaking the bank, you should definitely take advantage of one of the fabulous ladies’ night events held across the city.

Hosted by many of the destination’s luxury hotels and resorts, you can enjoy incredible deals on drinks, meals and live entertainment in their restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

With ladies’ nights taking place on almost every evening of the week, you have the perfect opportunity to make the most of your holiday to Dubai.

Start planning your Dubai ladies' night here.