Dubai is the most popular travel destination in the United Arab Emirates and magically attracts visitors with its great beaches, impressive buildings and numerous sights. Without a doubt, Dubai is a city of superlatives that can offer countless highlights and attractions.
The range of luxury hotels is also gigantic. Hardly any other city in the world has as many high-class resorts as the metropolis on the Persian Gulf. Many holidaymakers decide to stop over on their way to Asia, but the emirate is also becoming increasingly popular as an independent holiday destination.
In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Dubai.
1. Burj Khalifa – At the Top
At 828 meters, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and the absolute landmark of Dubai. Once in the city of superlatives, you should definitely enjoy the view from the Burj Khalifa. The impressive structure is one of the most famous sights in Dubai and is visited by thousands of holidaymakers every day. Tickets for the Burj Khalifa are available in different categories and price ranges.
We strongly recommend booking online in advance, as there can be long queues at the ticket counters on many days and there are often no driveways available at all. Even if the “At the Top / Sky” ticket grants access to the 148th floor and includes some extras, we feel that the normal “At the Top” tickets for the viewing platform on the 124th and 125th floors are sufficient. The whole city is at your feet here!
2. Desert tour in Dubai
Of course, a desert safari should not be missing from the most important sights in Dubai. There are also different options and price ranges here, but the processes are essentially very similar. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to a Bedouin camp in the desert, where there is initially the option of camel rides or a small quad tour. Meanwhile, the tire pressure in the off-road vehicle is let out and shortly afterwards the rapid journey through the dunes begins.
A desert safari at the gates of the metropolis Dubai is an unforgettable experience, but not for the faint of heart. After the adrenaline rush, head back to the Bedouin camp, where a delicious barbecue buffet as well as a fire and belly dance show are usually waiting for you. VIP tours usually include service at the seat, particularly comfortable seats and drinks. Recently, self-drive safaris have also been offered, in which you sit behind the wheel of an off-road vehicle.
3. Dubai Fountain
Below the world-famous Burj Khalifa, one of the many free sights in Dubai will enchant you every evening with the “Dubai Fountain”. The impressive play of colors and water is coordinated with various romantic and traditional Arabic songs and the choreography of the fountains shooting up high in front of the gigantic building is unique in the world. The model was based on the famous Las Vegas fountains, which of course were surpassed in Dubai.
The show already takes place twice every lunchtime, but the special romantic atmosphere in the evening is particularly recommended. Secure a spot right on the water about 15 minutes before you start for the best view. The fountains of Dubai take place every evening between 6 and 11 p.m. every half hour. If you want to get closer, book a boat trip on the lake or a spot on the new floating boardwalk for an additional charge.
4. Burj al Arab
Along with the Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab is one of the most famous buildings in Dubai. It is a 321 meter high luxury hotel and one of the city’s main attractions. The Burj al Arab was built in the shape of a sail and houses one of the most luxurious 6-star hotels in the world. It is located on an artificially created island and is actually only open to hotel guests. A good photo spot can be found on the public beach in front of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Ask your taxi driver about Umm Suqeim Beach (Sunset Beach), there you will find a popular bathing beach with the imposing Burj Al Arab in the background. Or you can book an official visit to the luxury hotel by booking yourself for a sumptuous tea time or a cocktail in the bar of the Burj Al Arab. Since a reservation in advance is absolutely necessary, we recommend booking an official tour, which usually also includes the hotel transfer.
5. Dubai helicopter flight
The view from a helicopter high above the roofs of the city gives you a very special perspective of the sights in Dubai. The mostly 10 to 25-minute tours reveal exclusive views of the palm island The Palm Jumeirah, the unique skyline of Dubai and the aforementioned luxury hotel Burj Al Arab. Of course, Burj Khalifa, the tallest building, cannot be overlooked and is almost omnipresent.
The helicopter tours, during which you experience Dubai like a rock star from a bird’s eye view, usually start near the famous Atlantis The Palm Resort or a helipad near Jumeirah Beach. From here you have interesting views of the beaches on the Persian Gulf and the many spectacular buildings from the very first second. The longer tours also include a flight over the old Dubai Creek and other highlights such as the World Islands.
6. Atlantis The Palm with Water Park & Aquarium
The great Atlantis The Palm Resort is another of the many landmarks of Dubai, after all there is no commercial that does not show the impressive luxury resort on the famous Palm Island. Families with children in particular love the hotel and book directly there for their vacation if the budget allows. Because the Atlantis The Palm is not just a hotel resort, but is also home to several important sights in Dubai.
In addition to several pools and a great sandy beach, the hotel also has its own shopping street. This is where the Lost Chambers Aquarium is located, where the recreated ruins of Atlantis and up to 70,000 marine animals including large sharks can be admired. On hot days, the Aquaventure Water Park is the top address for young and old on the Palm Island. The countless slides, lagoons and adventure pools make boredom a foreign word.
7. Dubai Marina and Speedboat Tour
The Dubai Marina is not only one of the most expensive residential areas, but also an extremely exciting nightlife area for tourists. There are great restaurants and cafés here during the day and stylish bars and clubs with good music in the evening. Couples love a long walk through the marina, which can also be ideally combined with the neighboring “The Walk” on Jumeirah Beach, where there are other restaurants and numerous boutiques.
A special recommendation is a boat trip to the sights of Dubai. Because exploring from the water is a particularly exciting way to experience the fascinating backdrop of the city. Directly in the heart of the Dubai Marina, boat tours are offered by several providers, one of our absolute favorites is The Yellow Boats Dubai. First it goes relaxed through the high skyscraper of the marina, shortly afterwards at full throttle out to sea with many photo stops!
8. Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates
Shopping is actually a matter of course in Dubai, even if many products are not cheaper than in Germany. But the seemingly endless selection of luxury shops and stores from the lower price ranges make a shopping spree in the Emirates extremely exciting for many visitors. In addition, there are often very good sales offers and numerous brands that have still not found their way to Germany.
The best place to go for shopping is of course the gigantic shopping center of the Dubai Mall directly below the Burj Khalifa. Here you will find more than 1200 shops on several floors, one of the largest cinemas in the world, a real ice rink, a huge aquarium and much more. But the Mall of the Emirates, which is home to the quirky attraction Ski Dubai with a ski slope, has a great range of shops and is well worth a visit.
9. Gold and Spice Souks
Even if Dubai, with its glittering facades and world record buildings, stands for modernity and technical progress like no other city, Deira, Dubai’s second oldest district, still has the old flair of 1001 Nights to marvel at. The spice and gold market in Deira is one of the most visited attractions in the metropolis, although we have to admit that the visit is now not unreservedly recommended.
Many traders have meanwhile started to throw around German phrases (“cheaper cheaper,“ Aldi Aldi ”) and thereby destroy a bit the actual charm of the souks. The Gold Souk is also not a classic marketplace, but rather a shopping street with various gold shops. So it lacks a bit of the oriental magic of a real market, but the best thing is to get your own personal picture of it during a visit.
10. Excursion to Abu Dhabi
We discussed for a long time in the editorial office whether we should include a day tour to Abu Dhabi. Because Dubai itself is so rich in sights that it would easily be enough for a TOP20 list. Nevertheless, we ultimately decided on Abu Dhabi, as the capital presents a completely different impression of the Emirates. And the list of attractions in Abu Dhabi is long, so don’t miss a tour:
From Ferrari World to the Formula 1 track on Yas Island to the legendary Emirates Palace. From the view of the elegant Etihad Towers over the paradisiacal Saadiyat Beach to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. From the Corniche to the Falcon Hospital to the impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque. If you have enough time and are in the mood for more great experiences, take the chance and explore the neighboring emirate as well. You will not regret it!