Is Dubai really a land of opportunity?

The 10 most beautiful sights and our tips for Dubai

Dubai is a city of superlatives. Everything is bigger, higher and more modern here and hardly any other city is changing as quickly as Dubai. Whether for a city trip or as a stopover on the way to Asia - Dubai is definitely the most popular travel destination in the United Arab Emirates.

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Dubai is the most popular travel destination in the United Arab Emirates and is visited by millions of tourists every year.

Some travel to Dubai to see the most important sights in 1-2 days and then fly on.

Others spend their entire vacation here and combine sights and excursions with the beach and more.

No matter which group you belong to, you will find all the important tips for your Dubai vacation in our article.

We'll show you the modern and historical sights in Dubai, tell you our highlights, which excursions are worthwhile and give you practical tips for your vacation in Dubai.

Also read our other articles about Dubai

# 1 Burj Khalifa

The absolute highlight in Dubai is of course the Burj Khalifa - the tallest building in the world. In Dubai everything is always bigger and better and so it is no wonder that the tallest building in the world is in this city.

The Burj Khalifa is a proud 828 meters high. For comparison: The Berlin TV tower, after all the tallest building in Germany, is not even half as high at 368 meters. Madness!

A visit to the Burj Khalifa is definitely part of a trip to Dubai. It is best to buy tickets for the Burj Khalifa in advance to avoid the long queues at the ticket counter.

 price per person 
Morning or evening ticket35 eurosBook here
Sunset ticket Our recommendation!from 40 eurosBook here
Ticket + pick up from the hotelfrom 78 eurosBook here
Ticket for the 148th floor + hotel depositfrom 85 eurosBook here
Ticket + city tour (German)from 150 eurosBook here
Ticket + afternoon snack in the Burj al Arab280 eurosBook here

We show you the most important ticket options in the following table. We have written a detailed article about the various tickets for you here: Buy Burj Khalifa tickets.

# 2 Dubai Mall

A shopping center as a sight? Please what? Sounds strange, but it really fits here. The Dubai Mall at the foot of the Burj Khalifa is not just a shopping mall, it is a world of its own.

We actually got lost in there and still haven't seen everything by a long way. To make the dimensions clearer, let's just list what the Dubai Mall has to offer on its total area of ​​over 1.1 million square meters:

  • Over 1,200 stores
  • The largest gold souk in the world with 220 shops alone
  • A huge aquarium with 33,000 marine animals, including sharks and rays
  • An artificial ice rink with Olympic dimensions
  • 120 restaurants
  • A multiplex cinema with 22 halls
  • A 24 meter high water cascade

Sounds crazy? It is. Even if, like us, you are not a big fan of shopping malls, you should still take a look here.

In the end, you can't get past the Dubai Mall either, because the mall is also the entrance to the observation decks of the Burj Khalifa.

opening hours

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Directions

Red line. Station: Burj Dubai / Dubai Mall

# 3 Dubai Fountain

The famous water games take place every evening in front of the Dubai Mall against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa.

The Dubai Fountain on Burj Khalifa Lake is the largest fountain in the world and the water dances to the beat of the music every evening.

The show lasts a few minutes and starts at 6:00 p.m. The show then starts from the beginning every half hour until 11 p.m.

There are also two afternoon shows at 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. (Fridays 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.). In the evening, the Dubai Fountain is definitely more impressive with the lighting.

There is always a lot of crowds around the water features and if you want a good photo spot, you should be patient.

A nice alternative is a boat trip on Burj Khalifa Lake during the show. The fun costs around 20 euros and you can book the tickets online.

To the Burj Lake boat trip with fountain show

Times of the show

Sa-Thu: 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Fri: 1:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

Directions

Red line. Station: Burj Dubai / Dubai Mall

# 4 Mall of the Emirates

Compared to the Dubai Mall, the Mall of the Emirates, with 600 shops, is really tiny. Nevertheless, it used to be the largest shopping mall in the world.

The highlight of the Mall of Emirates, however, is the integrated ski slope, on which you can throw yourself into the snow while it is 40 degrees outside. You probably don't need to say much about the sense and nonsense of such a system. We prefer to go skiing in the real mountains.

Opening times for the Mall of the Emirates

Sun-Wed: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Opening times for Ski Dubai

Sun-Wed: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Directions

Red line. Station 19: Mall of the Emirates

# 5 Burj al Arab

In a city where a shopping mall is a tourist attraction, it is not surprising that a hotel is also one of the top tourist attractions.

The Burj Al Arab is one of the most luxurious and famous hotels in the world and, next to the Burj Khalifa, the symbol of Dubai.

It is located on an artificial island in front of Dubai and is a real eye-catcher. Unfortunately, you can't just walk into the hotel, because even if it's one of the top Dubai attractions, guests want a bit of privacy too.

So you have several options. Here are 3:

  1. You just admire the Burj Al Arab from the outside.
  2. You take almost 2,000 euros in your hand and book an overnight stay in the Burj Al Arab.
  3. You go for cocktails in the Skybar. That also costs around 80 euros, but compared to an overnight stay it is a real bargain. You can book your visit to the Skybar of the Burj Al Arab here: Cocktails in the Burj Al Arab.

Since there are several options, we have written a detailed article about visiting the Burj Al Arab:

All possibilities to visit the Burj Al Arab

Directions

Red line. Station: Mall of the Emirates

# 6 The Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Islands are artificially raised islands off the coast of Dubai in the shape of palm leaves. Another crazy project that is so typical of Dubai.

Only the island of Palm Jumeirah has been completed so far; two other islands are still under construction. The best way to see the islands is of course from above. If you are lucky, you can discover the islands from the plane.

There are several well-known luxury hotels in Dubai on the island. The room prices are not as high as in the Burj Al Arab, but not exactly cheap either.

A special guest favorite on the island is the Waldorf Astoria resort.

Of course, you can also visit the islands just like that. The Dubai Monorail, a single-track train, travels across the island once and stops at a total of four stations. The train runs every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A single ticket costs 20 UAE (1.80 euros) and a return ticket costs 30 UAE (2.70). You can buy the tickets at the start and end stations with cash or credit card.

Palm Jumeirah is also well worth seeing from the water. As part of a boat tour, you will see the island and the great hotels from a completely different perspective.

Book a boat tour in Dubai online

# 7 Dubai Creek

The Dubai Creek is an inlet with a length of 14 kilometers and something like the lifeline of old Dubai. The creek divides the old districts of Deira in the east and Bur Dubai in the west.

A trip with one of the water taxis from one part of the city to the next is an absolute must for every visit to Dubai.

The boats, called Abras, leave when all seats are occupied, which is usually very fast. The trip costs only 1 dirham, which is the equivalent of around 25 cents. The ride with the water taxis is probably the most affordable Dubai highlight.

# 8 Gold & Spice Souk

Deira is the second oldest district in Dubai. It's east of the creek very close to the airport.

The highlights and most exciting sights in this district are definitely the markets, Arabic souks. We liked the gold market and the spice market best.

In the Gold Souk jewelry is traded in huge quantities and in the Spice Souk there are spices over spices.

The markets come to life, especially in the evening, when it's not quite as hot outside.

As beautiful as the souks are, strolling through the market can also be a bit tiring, because the traders are not known for their reluctance.

However they do it, the dealers have an eye on which country you come from and then speak to you with funny sentences in your local language. Our favorite was: “Aldi prices! Look in here."

opening hours

Sa-Thu: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Fri: 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Directions

Green line. Station: Palm Deira.

# 9 Al-Bastakiya

West of Dubai Creek is the city's oldest district: Bur Dubai. The oldest buildings in Dubai are also located here.

The Bastakiya district with its old adobe buildings is particularly worth seeing in Bur Dubai. The historical buildings with their characteristic wind towers, which serve as natural air conditioning, have been beautifully restored and invite you to take a leisurely stroll through the alleys.

Directions

Green Line, Metro Station: Al Fahidi Metro Station.

# 10 Dubai Museum

Right next to it is the 200 year old Fort Al-Fahidi, the oldest still existing building in Dubai. Today the fort houses the Dubai Museum.

A visit is worthwhile, because the museum is nicely done and you learn a lot about the history of Dubai from an 18th century Bedouin settlement to the city of superlatives. We definitely enjoyed it a lot.

opening hours

8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

entry

Adults: 70 cents
Children under 6 years: 20 cents

Directions

Green line. Metro station: Al Fahidi Metro Station

# 11 Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is the largest picture frame in the world and at the same time a walk-in building. This further superlative building was opened in Dubai in 2018 and has since been one of the city's TOP attractions.

The Dubai Frame is 150 meters high and is intended to frame the skyscrapers around the Burj Khalifa on one side and the old town of Dubai on the other. In other words, a connection between the old Dubai and the new Dubai.

At the top, the two towers are connected by a bridge, from which you have a 360-degree view over the whole of Dubai. The highlight here, however, is the glass floor: sensors that react to pressure make the panes transparent when you walk over them, so that you can see 150 meters below.

In the basement there is an interactive museum that shows the past and the future of Dubai.

Queues Queues preprogrammed. So it's best to get your ticket online with a fixed time slot.

Tickets for the Dubai Frame

opening hours

Daily 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

entry

15 euro
Free entry from 60 years

Directions

Bus F09, Bus Stop: Dubai Frame

Beaches in Dubai

Dubai has a total of 170 kilometers of beach. The coast along the city alone is almost 70 kilometers long, and there are also numerous beaches along the man-made islands.

Jumeirah Beach, which is located directly in the city at the inlet of Dubai Creek, is very popular. If you want to combine your city trip in Dubai with a little beach feeling, then Jumeirah Beach is exactly the right place for you.

Many beaches in Dubai are part of hotel complexes and are usually reserved for guests. Some beaches can also be used by external visitors for a fee.

If you really want to visit Dubai for a beach vacation, we definitely recommend booking a hotel right on one of the beaches. One of the most popular is the Jumeirah Beach Hotel with its huge private beach.

Excursions and activities

In addition to the many attractions in the city, Dubai also has some outdoor activities to offer. In this section we will show you which excursions from Dubai are worthwhile and what else you can experience here.

If you want an even more detailed overview of excursions and activities in Dubai, take a look at our article:

12 excursions and activities in Dubai.

Desert Tour: Discover the other side of Dubai

A highlight in Dubai is definitely a desert safari. When you stand in the middle of the modern skyscrapers, you quickly forget that all these buildings were erected in the middle of the desert.

Outside the city there is of course still desert and a desert tour is definitely great fun for young and old. On a desert safari, you drive over the dunes in jeeps. Anyone who tends to feel nauseous while driving should definitely sit in the front, because such a desert tour is also a bit like a rollercoaster ride.

Of course, you are not allowed to drive yourself, because that requires a lot of skill and practice. On a desert safari you will be picked up from the hotel and then you will leave the city. When you arrive at the desert, a large part of the air is let out of the tires and then it starts.

In between there is always a stop so that you can romp around in the sand yourself. You can also ride a board down the sand dunes and ride a camel.

A typical tour lasts around 6 hours and costs between 50 and 60 euros per person. The price includes pick-up from the hotel, a barbeque or Arabic buffet, camel riding and sandboarding.

Here is our selection of tours that you can book directly online:

Desert safari with barbeque including pick-up from the hotel
Hot air balloon ride, desert safari & breakfast
All offers and options

Excursion from Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Did you know that Dubai is not the capital of the United Arab Emirates at all? That’s Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is about 140 kilometers south of Dubai and can be reached by car in about 90 minutes.

Anyone who has already seen everything in Dubai or has been there long enough should not miss a trip to Abu Dhabi. The most important sights there can be explored very well as part of a day tour.

Guided bus tours to Abu Dhabi and the main attractions cost between 60 and 70 euros per person.

But we would recommend a private tour. It's more expensive, but it's always nice not to be in a large tour group and to be able to design your program a little more individually.

You can book tours to Abu Dhabi here:

Group tour to Abu Dhabi
Private tour to Abu Dhabi

If you want to travel to Abu Dhabi on your own or maybe even spend a few days there, take a look at our articles about Abu Dhabi:

The most beautiful sights in Abu Dhabi
Our hotel tips for Abu Dhabi
The best getaways in Abu Dhabi

Amusement parks in Dubai: out and about with children

There are also a number of theme parks and amusement parks in Dubai and the surrounding area. Day trips to one of the parks are a great change, especially for travelers with children (but not only).

Ferrari World

Ferrari World is located in Abu Dhabi, but can be reached quickly from Dubai. Ferrari World is a classic theme park with roller coasters and other rides. For adrenaline junkies, there is the fastest roller coaster in the world, which accelerates from 0 to 240 km / h in 4.9 seconds.

There is also a lot to see here for motorsport fans, e.g. B. an exhibition of numerous Ferrari models and various race tracks to drive yourself.

You can book a day tour including transfer from Dubai and back here: Ferrari World including transfer.

Aquaventure Water Park & ​​Lost Chambers Aquarium

The Aquaventure water park is located on the premises of the hotel "The Palm Atlantis" and is great fun for all water lovers.

There are tons of water slides, rapids, a shark lagoon and much more. It is best to come to the opening early in the morning, because then it is the most empty and you don't have to wait so long at the slides.

Book a ticket for the Aquaventure water park

More amusement parks in Dubai

In addition to these two parks, there are a few more in Dubai. There is a Bollywood theme park, a Hollywood theme park, a Legoland, a superhero park and much more.

To an overview of all amusement parks in Dubai

Practical travel tips

Finally, we have a few very practical tips for your Dubai vacation.

Transport on site

If you have decided on a stopover in Dubai, we now have a few practical Dubai tips for your stay. It starts with the locomotion. We'll show you the options.

Dubai is definitely not a city for pedestrians. Unfortunately that is the case and is not least due to the often unbearable temperatures. It is most pleasant in the period from November to April. So you are definitely dependent on different modes of transport.

Public transport in Dubai

The metro is a great means of transport to get around Dubai. But here is also a lot different than in the rest of the world.

For example, there is a 1st class that is always in the last car and there is a compartment for women only that is between 1st and 2nd class.

Single tickets cost between 1 and 3 euros, depending on the distance. A day ticket costs 22 DH (5.50 euros) and pays off very quickly.

The tickets must be held up to the card reader when entering and exiting the subway station.

Driving a taxi in Dubai

Taxis in Dubai are cheap and reliable. You drive with a taximeter and a trip usually only costs a few euros. Even for longer journeys you rarely pay more than 10-15 euros.

Taxis are ubiquitous in the cityscape and you will find one anywhere.

Hop-on / Hop-off bus

We are not really big fans of hop-on / hop-off buses, but they are quite practical in Dubai. It is often quite a long way from the subway stations to the actual destination. From the Burj Khalifa station it is z. B. about 1 kilometer until you are really there.

The hop-on / hop-off buses take you right to the door of the most important sights, which is of course very convenient.

Hop-on / hop-off ticket for 24, 48 or 72 hours

How to get to the city from Dubai Airport

The easiest way to get from the airport to the city is by metro. The red metro line runs daily between 6:00 a.m. and midnight at short intervals via Deira and Bur Dubai to the Burj Khalifa and beyond.

The journey is quick, comfortable and only costs a few euros, depending on the distance. A good alternative is a taxi, especially if you arrive after midnight.

Taxis are available in front of the airport and are also inexpensive. We paid about 8 euros for our hotel, the Somewhere Hotel Apartment in Deira, but it wasn't very far from the airport either.

Dubai city tours and tours

A city tour in Dubai is not a bad idea, especially if you are short on time. As a rule, your guide is also your driver, so you don't have to worry about a means of transport.

So you don't have to worry about how to get from A to B beforehand and you will of course see more sights in less time. Since Dubai is now also not a city in which you can drift through the streets, a city tour here really makes sense.

Depending on what you want to see, you can choose the best option for you from various tours:

Private city tour: Dubai highlights including Burj Khalifa ticket
Exclusive excursion package Dubai: city and desert
Dubai by night including Burj Khalifa
Helicopter sightseeing flights over Dubai: a very special experience

Dubai stopover: Dubai in 1-2 days

We visited Dubai ourselves as part of a stopover on our way to Myanmar and can definitely recommend it. To see the most important sights in Dubai, 1-2 days are enough.

A stopover in Dubai is easily possible when flying to another destination with Emirates.

You always have to change trains in Dubai anyway, so why not stay for a day or two?

Conveniently, Emirates flights don't get any more expensive if you plan a longer stopover.

And something else is practical: Emirates flights are always the cheapest on the Emirates website.

There are no external sites where Emirates flights are cheaper. Here you can go directly to the flight search.

To book a flight with a stopover in Dubai, select "Advanced search options" on the Emirates page and then enter the individual flights, e.g. Frankfurt-Dubai, Dubai-Bangkok, Bangkok-Frankfurt.

Whether you stop in Dubai on the way there or back is up to you. On the way there it is very practical because the stopover in Dubai alleviates the jet lag and you get more from your vacation.

Our hotel tip for Dubai

We stayed at the Somewhere Hotel Apartment in the Deira area. The hotel is perfectly located for a stopover in Dubai: right next to the subway station. In 10 minutes you can get to the airport by metro and of course quickly to all the sights.

The rooms are very large, neatly furnished and not that expensive by Dubai standards. We would definitely stay there again if we stop over in Dubai.

In addition, we have also written a separate article on finding a hotel in Dubai, in which we explain in which part of the city it is best to book your hotel. Including our hotel tips, of course!

To our article: Hotel tips in Dubai

The best time to travel to Dubai

The best time to travel to Dubai is between November and April. During this time, the temperatures in Dubai are pleasant, which of course does not mean that it is cold. You can walk around outside in your T-shirt at any time and this time is also great for bathing.

From May to October it is extremely hot in Dubai and extremely hot is meant here literally. Temperatures of 40 degrees and more are not uncommon and you really can't stand it outside at this time.

We were in Dubai at the beginning of October and the heat was already marginal at that time. The summer is definitely too hot for a beach holiday.

For a stopover to the most important sights, you can also go to Dubai in summer. You can only stay in air-conditioned rooms here and still see almost everything.

Dubai: Money & Currency

In Dubai you pay in Dirham (AED). The conversion rate is around 1: 4, which means that for 1 euro you get 4 dirhams. There are numerous ATMs, so withdrawing money is not a problem at all.

Our tip: We always use the free credit card from the DKB Bank and can only warmly recommend it. You can use the card to pay and withdraw cash free of charge anywhere in the world.

You can find out more about this in our article on the best travel credit card.

Overall, Dubai is not a cheap place, but if you are satisfied with a simple hotel and local food (very tasty!) You don't have to leave tons of money there.

If you really want to let it rip, you have the best opportunity in Dubai and can leave a small fortune here in a very short time.

The best travel guide for Dubai

We bought a Marco Polo travel guide for Dubai at the airport in Germany. It's small, compact and easily enough for a stopover in Dubai.

It is a bit annoying that they throw the word insider tip around inflationarily in the travel guide and that there is no subway map in it.

In any case, there are no real insider tips for Dubai, even if they claim it on almost every page, but the travel guide is useful for a short stay.

A better choice is probably the Dubai Travel Guide - The City Travel Guide from Miramar Verlag. However, we didn't have it with us ourselves.

Our conclusion on Dubai

Dubai is definitely impressive and we can recommend stopping by for a few days and checking out the highlights.

We would not recommend Dubai for a longer vacation. Even if some buildings are very impressive, the city lacks something very important: flair.

The city has no heart and no soul, just like a shopping mall has no soul.

Have you ever been to Dubai? How did you like Dubai? Do you have another exciting tip or can you perhaps convince us that we should come back again after all? We look forward to your comment!