When it comes to the Best Things to do in Dubai, visitors aren’t short of possibilities. Rising out of the desert sands like a mirage, Dubai’s development has been nothing but miraculous. From an economy largely centered on gold and pearl diving, it has become one of the world’s leading business centers. With this change came massive investment in the Emirate’s historical and cultural attractions, meaning there is a massive range of tours in Dubai to consider. Short of being a stuffy city where deals are done, it has become one of the world’s leading stopover destinations.
Explore Dubai’s Cityscape
It may be the modern tower blocks that grab the attention at first, but among them, visitors to Dubai will find several survivors from former ages too. The old souks have become a little overrun with trinket sellers in recent years. But they are still a great way to get into the spirit of the city. Located around Dubai Creek, the low-slung coral stone buildings on the waterfront provide a fascinating contrast to the downtown area. Often lined with stumpy dhows, which have crossed the Arabian Sea for centuries, there’s nowhere better to get a sense of the region’s history. Avoid missing these hidden gems with a Classic Dubai Half Day Tour. Then jump onto the efficient metro system and heading for the modern face of the city.
Step Back in Time at Dubai Museum
Take in the cityscape and it can be easy to forget that the region has been inhabited for centuries. The Dubai Museum will help to counter that. The Emirate’s most important museum space, and also its oldest building, occupies the Al Fahidi Fort. This was built in 1787 when it was used for the defense of the city. A captivating mix of crumbling stonework and modern gallery spaces, English information boards blend with dioramas and stunning historic objects to make the museum a feast for the eyes.
Scale the World’s Tallest Building
Still astonishing the world more than ten years after it opened to the public, the Burj Khalifa has won armfuls of awards. A literal high for any trip to Dubai, there are two observation towers to choose between, on the 124th and 148th floors. From this altitude, Dubai unravels before you, and on the clearest of days, it’s even possible to see the coast of Iran. Offering 360° views, it’s a trip worth taking at any time of day, though the sunsets are particularly special. While you’re in the area, don’t miss the jets of the Dubai Fountain, which move to music every 15 minutes throughout the day, or the Dubai Aquarium inside the mall complex.
Head Out into the Desert
The desert dunes on the outskirts of the city have become one of the hottest playgrounds around, and that’s not just because of the average daily temperature. Choosing a Dubai-based tour is probably the best way of getting out into the sands, with sandboarding, camel rides and off-road quad biking all readily available. Some make it an extra special experience by including a Bedouin barbeque, just be sure you don’t get sand in your meal!
Go on Safari
It may not be the safari experience of East Africa, but it is worthy of the name. From the center of Dubai tours of Hatta Mountain include stops at traditional Bedouin marketplaces and a heritage village. They are one of the best ways of learning all there is to do know about this desert tribe. But these tours have the added advantage of guiding you through some of the Emirate’s finest landscapes. They are ideal for hiking, as well as kayaking on the lakes here, a feature few expect of Dubai.
Take the Opportunity to Discover Abu Dhabi
Brother city and sometimes a rival too, Abu Dhabi lies just an hour and a half south of Dubai by road. More conservative than Dubai in outlook, Abu Dhabi is a place where glorious heritage sites meet some of the world’s top hotels. Pop across the border without visa worries and you can visit the city’s famed date market, before heading to the cool galleries of the Louvre. This is home to the world’s most expensive paintings. That said, da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi is just one of plenty of other world treasures that await.
The Best of Dubai
Dubai’s sights reach far beyond its image as a city of the future. On even the shortest stay in the city, it’s possible to take in the area’s history and culture. Our guide to UAE culture is a useful starter. We’ll leave you decide for yourself what the best things to do in Dubai are, and wish you a fantastic vacation! Wondering where to stay in Dubai? We’ve got a great range of hotels in the United Arab Emirates to decide between!