The 12 top Places to Visit in Dubai

The 12 top Places to Visit in Dubai

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28 December

Dubai is where everything is possible and every dream can come true. Between unbridled luxury, world records of all kinds, incredible modernity and rigorous traditions, this city is full of unrepeatable opportunities. So what would be the best places to visit in Dubai then?

Some might say, “It depends on how much money you have in the piggy bank!”. But we are not that naughty and we know what we should recommend. Even to those who are not millionaire sheikhs.

Despite the amazing wealth of this emirate, a trip here is less expensive than you might think.
Staying clear of a thousand euros per night hotels will help keep costs down. What is certain, is that even a small taste of Dubai’s luxurious life is worth the flight. The word Dubai in Arabic means “lizard or “little locust”. Basically, nothing to do with the grandeur that characterises this city today. With almost 3.5 million inhabitants, Dubai, the capital of the homonymous emirate, is a place of excellence for world tourism. A truly unique destination for your trip, right in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, south of the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, consider too that Dubai is the stopover for many intercontinental flights. Given that it is the main hub of Emirates Airlines. This makes Dubai perfect for turning a long stopover into a vacation within a vacation! A holiday matryoshka.

From the shopping malls that would make Pretty Woman’s Rodeo Drive blush, to the ski slopes even when it’s 40 degrees outside. Dubai is excess and madness. The nightlife is decidedly eccentric and there are endless activities to do during the day. Gardens packed with flowers, dancing fountains and bays where you can swim with dolphins. Whether you want to spend time in this land, or are just passing through, here’s a list of 12 places to visit in Dubai!

Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain

Everyone loves records. We are quite sure that for this destination no presentations are needed. The Burj Khalifa with its dizzying height (but really dizzying) is known by almost everyone.

After 5 years of construction and the employment of 12,000 workers, Dubai has snatched up a massive, still unbeaten record. It is still unbeaten at 829.80 metres high! Shall we discuss the Burj Khalifa’s interior? 344,000 square metres for commercial and residential use, dizzying numbers for ordinary mortals. Apartments, offices, gyms, swimming pools and museums, in short, this skyscraper offers all the services imaginable.

You can’t get to the 163rd floor unless you want to do a climb with the spire maintenance team. There are three panoramic terraces. However, there are three panoramic terraces: on the 124th, 125th and 148th floors. The prices for going up to the terraces vary depending on the stay, from €60 to €130. But one thing is certain: the view from here is magical.

Another of the best places to visit in the capital is the Dubai Fountain. It is a system of dancing fountains built on Burj Khalifa Lake. 275 metres long with water jets that reach 150 metres in height, the fountain is illuminated by more than 6,600 lights and 25 coloured projectors. Of course, everything is synchronised to the rhythm of the music!

Burj Khalifa on a sunny day
Burj Khalifa

Dubai Mall: Shopping and Aquarium Tour

Guess what? Yes, this is the largest shopping mall in the world, by the number of shops: 1,200. Of course, Dubai Mall records do not end there. We go from the highest number of entrances to the largest candy store in the world inside a shopping mall. Definitely one of the places to visit in Dubai!

To go shopping here you have to be trained. You also need to have comfortable shoes. You could walk through about 150,000 square metres (and this is only the area for commercial use). Inside the Dubai Mall, you will also find the Dubai Aquarium and the underwater zoo. When you get tired of shopping. Here, the world’s largest acrylic glass panel holds the pressure of as much as 10,000,000 litres of water. Houses up to 33,000 different marine species.

The interior of the Dubai Mall, one of the places to visit in Dubai
The interior of the Dubai Mall

Burj Al Arab

So what do you do if there isn’t an island where you can build one of the most luxurious hotels in the world? No problem, you can create such a place in Dubai. Incredible.

Burj Al Arab is undoubtedly one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks. The famous sailing form, suggested by the Italian entrepreneur Martinez, stands out on the artificial island. It seems that the hotel is sailing the impetuous waters south of Dubai. The hotel is connected to the mainland by a 280-metre bridge that leads to Jumeirah public beach, where you can take the most iconic photo of Dubai, as well as enjoy one of the most beautiful free beaches.

The interiors of the hotel are pure splendour. Marble columns, blue walls and decorations with gold leaf, as per Arab tradition. Here you will find rooms, or rather suites ranging from 170 to 780 square metres and it is worth mentioning that the rates start from €1,300 per night.

The 'sail' of the Burj al Arab in Dubai
The ‘sail’ of the Burj al Arab

Dubai Marina

Staying in a context of luxury and skyscrapers of all shapes and styles, but in an area of Dubai that we can define more as “human-sized”.

Built around 2000, Dubai Marina is the world’s largest artificial marina and overlooks the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. It seems to be in a city within the city because the rows of hotels and skyscrapers are interspersed with the watercourse that splits the landscape in two. For this reason, the neighbourhood is not as busy. You can take beautiful walks along the Promenade, preferred by residents for exercise and tourists to enjoy a dinner at the restaurant. Then there is the waterfront The Walk: a 7 km walkway flanked by palm trees and countless cafes.

Dubai Marina is also famous for its beautiful and super-equipped beaches and its huge shopping centre. Yes, yet another shopping centre! Whether it’s because of the intense outdoor heat or simply to spend money, they have a weakness for shops in Dubai!

Dubai Marina in the evening
Dubai Marina in the evening

Dubai Frame

Instagrammer, your time has come! Forget about filters and go to Zabeel Park to take a photo from the Dubai Frame. This gigantic structure is the largest photo frame in the world. The idea comes from the designer Fernando Donis as part of the competition to promote the new face of Dubai, due to Expo 2020.

Given the city’s opulent wealth, to avoid adding other buildings, Doris’ project envisaged the creation of a structure that could “frame” all the symbols of Dubai. On one side of the frame, the eye falls on the modern part of the city, on the other you can see the oldest Dubai; a real stroke of genius.

This huge frame creates a void of 150 square metres, in short, a giant photo. The structure is walkable inside. There is a museum in the lower part, dedicated to the history of the city, while on the top of the frame there is a marvellous observation bridge!

The huge Dubai Frame
The huge Dubai Frame

Jumeirah: Dubai’s Palm Island

Here you find yourself in one of Dubai’s most iconic locations, Palm Jumeirah, also known as Palm Island. It is the first of three artificial palm-shaped islands that branch out into the waters of the Persian Gulf. This island is home to luxury hotels, villas, water parks, shopping malls and restaurants, as well as all that is part of Dubai’s eccentric entertainment.

Jumeirah was built without using cement, recovering the sand taken from the bottom of the Gulf of Dubai and the characteristic crescent-shaped outer edge, which protects the palm from the force of the sea, was obtained using over 7 million tons of rock. In addition to being obviously the largest artificial island on the planet, Jumeirah boasts another record thanks to the monorail that connects it to the mainland. This was the first one built in the Middle East.

Palm Island is undoubtedly one of the places to visit in Dubai, but if you’re an adrenaline junkie, we recommend the view of Palm Island from above, parachuting out of the Dubai Skydive!

Jumeirah, Dubai's Palm Island
Jumeirah, Dubai’s Palm Island

Ski Dubai

The temperatures remain quite high all year round in Dubai, roughly between 30 and 40 degrees; so what if we told you that you could rent equipment and go skiing? That’s right! Anything is possible in Dubai!

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort in the heart of the city, within the Mall of the Emirates. And you would say, “the umpteenth shopping mall”? Yes, but as with everything else in Dubai, we are not talking about normal shopping centres! You can enjoy five different slopes with a height difference of 60 metres, constantly snow-covered thanks to snow cannons and even an alpine-style shelter, a toboggan run, a snowboard and a ski school.

In Ski Dubai, you can also meet penguins up close, a truly magical experience for the little ones (and not just them). Inside you can also experience the thrill of flying, thanks to a 150-metre-long zip line placed at a height of 16 metres, unique in that it is the first indoor one in the world.

The temperature of Ski Dubai remains constant between -1 and -6 degrees, a real journey inside a journey, considering that outside the shopping centre people are sunbathing in swimwear!

The slopes of Ski Dubai
The slopes of Ski Dubai

Atlantis

Surely Dubai does not bore you easily and there is another place to do some truly unique activities and escape the city’s atrocious heat: Atlantis village.

We’re in Palm Island Jumeirah, right on the outer edge. Here you can spend a fantastic day diving and surfing at Aquaventure Waterpark, one of the highest water slides in the world.

You can’t say you love danger if you haven’t tried the slides of Atlantis: very long tunnels and descents with a slope that would make even an Olympic dive champion think twice. You can also enjoy the exciting experience of swimming with dolphins and discovering all their secrets at Dolphin bay and getting really close to sea lions at Sea Lion Point.

We are talking about a huge area of water parks and games, which perhaps would deserve at least two days to be properly explored. In short, all the fun possible in an exaggerated village, which makes even the Little Mermaid jealous!

An aerial view of the Atlantis Village, one of the places to visit in Dubai
An aerial view of the Atlantis Village in Dubai

Bur and the Dubai Garden Glow

Dubai is not just about modernity and luxury. This city is also closely linked to its history and traditions. An example of this is Bur Dubai, the neighbourhood overlooking the west side of the Creek River. It divides it from the other historic district Deira. This river was called “Zara” by the Greeks and actually in Arabic, it would be Khur, but as you know, Dubai is a global city.

Coming back to the point, Bur is the very centre of Dubai. The expansion of the capital that we know today began from here. Undoubtedly a walk in Bur Dubai is like an immersion in the past. You can visit the Great Mosque, which has the highest minaret in the city, and the Iranian Mosque, decorated with charming blue tiles.

Another key stop is the Souk of Bur Dubai, a place packed with charm where you can buy beautiful fabrics. You can’t leave this neighbourhood though, without seeing the Dubai Garden Glow – one of Dubai’s must-sees. An infinity of light installations entirely handmade with respect for the environment. Huge dinosaurs and giant jellyfish shine in the sky, reflecting on the waters of the lake. Then, there are shows and events with assorted themes every day. The Dubai Garden Glow is yet another demonstration of the UAE’s firm intention to make this strip of desert overlooking the sea a showcase of everything it can offer.

The souk of Bur Dubai
The souk of Bur Dubai

Miracle Garden and Global Village

A garden of 72,000 square metres of beautiful flowers could only be inaugurated on Valentine’s Day. But don’t fret, even singles are allowed in the Miracle Garden. Jokes aside, a visit to this paradise is a must if you’re visiting Dubai. Definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in Dubai!

This garden opens in winter, only for a few months, when the temperatures allow the most beautiful flowering. You can stroll among flowering arches and real sculptures of colourful flowers. You can also visit the Dubai Butterfly Garden and see countless specimens of butterflies.

Another unique experience in Dubai is undoubtedly the tour of the Global Village, which is considered the largest tourist, recreational and commercial project in the world. Initially, it was a simple site along the Creek River where you could find small kiosks representing different countries. It has now become an area of more than 1,000,000 square metres that welcomes 500,000 visitors every year, between October and April. Between shopping, dining and shows, here you can discover up to 90 different cultures. Discover the virtual tour around the world, which will allow you to “visit” the various countries and their monuments and famous buildings thanks to remarkable reproductions. Sounds, smells, colours and cultures: take a sensory trip to Dubai.

The beautiful Miracle Garden
The beautiful Miracle Garden

Deira

If Bur Dubai is the oldest neighbourhood, the second to be built was Deira. Right on the other side of the Creek River, the settlers gave life to this beautiful district, which soon became Dubai’s commercial and cultural landmark. Here, in fact, over the years an enviable mix of cultures has been created: numerous came here from other Emirates, Iran, India and Pakistan.

What makes Deira unique is its souk, the best place to understand and learn new cultures and experiment with shopping and alternative cuisines. Deira is also famous for its many museums, such as the Dubai Women’s Museum, which tells and celebrates the women who made history in the Arab world, and the massive Burj Nahar watchtower, built in 1870 and restored in 1992. One of the best places to visit in Dubai!

In short, this district is the perfect place to get away from the chaos of modern Dubai and wander through the historic streets and a thousand cultures.

The historic district of DeiraThe historic district of Deira
The historic district of DeiraThe historic district of Deira

Dubai Museum

Before it became the seat of the Dubai Museum, the Al Fahidi Fortress, built in 1787, was a defensive fort. It then a royal mansion, an arsenal and even witnessed a period as a prison. Today it is one of the places to visit in Dubai, as it tells the history and ancient heritage of the city.

You will see reconstructions of historic houses and mosques and understand how the cultivation of dates and the collection of pearls took place. Here you will also find well-preserved objects dating back to 3,000 BC. You can try to imagine what Dubai must have been like hundreds of years ago.

The entire district of Al Fahidi, from the 2000s, has been recovered to safeguard the city’s history. Today it is no longer inhabited. All buildings have been maintained and converted into public spaces such as museums, bars or cultural centres. The houses retain characteristic ochre bricks composed of coral. Even the same “air conditioning” of the past, thanks to the wind towers a simple system that exploits the drafts, conveying them inside the houses.

One of the towers in the Al Fahidi district
One of the towers in the Al Fahidi district

By now you will have grasped that Dubai is a truly unique place, full of contrasts, excesses and wealth. The modernity and majesty of the skyscrapers that await you, even just outside the airport, will make you feel like a tiny dot. The history of the old quarters will catapult you into a parallel world that seems very far away. But it is the starting point of such an incredible city.

Skiing in the summer, swimming with dolphins and seeing the world’s tallest buildings and the most outrageous shopping malls are just some places to visit in Dubai. What are you waiting for? Treat yourself to an experience of ordinary madness!

If you want to explore the Arabian Peninsula, also read our article on what not to miss in Oman or explore our tour Oman 360°.

WeRoad Team
Written by WeRoad Team
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