Named by Lonely Planet as one of their 'Top 10 cities to visit in 2020" this ever-changing Emirate is like nowhere else on the planet and features eye-catching architecture, scintillating tax-free shopping, incredible attractions, beautiful beaches, glamorous bars and restaurants as well as ancient traditions and the silently shifting sands of the dramatic desert interior.
Over the last few decades Dubai has undergone huge growth and has evolved from a small Gulf trading centre to one of the world's most spectacular and futuristic urban destinations. While for many the beaches are the main attraction, there are so many other places of interest and activities to occupy you as well as a wide variety of places to stay. Whatever you choose to see or do and wherever you opt to lay your head, it's cheap and easy to get around, either by taxi or metro, ensuring you can see as much as possible, should you wish to do so.
For a glimpse of times past, head to Dubai Creek. Here, ancient dhows ply the busy waters which flow past ochre coloured houses and souks humming with activity and bargaining banter. In Downtown Dubai crane your neck for a view of the Burj Khalifa before whizzing to its observation decks on the 124th, 125th and 148th floors for staggering skyline views. Here also, you can watch water dance at the Dubai Fountains; shop, dine and play at the vast Dubai Mall or head to the Dubai Opera for a diverse range of world-class concerts and musicals.
If you’re looking for a beach base, then Jumeirah will definitely do with its nine miles of coastline, iconic hotels, shops, private beach clubs and Wild Wadi Waterpark. Set back from the sand is The Walk, a pedestrianised area of shops, bars and restaurants at Jumeirah Beach Residence (or JBR as it’s known). Close by is man-made Dubai Marina, a buzzing enclave with lots of trendy and upscale eateries. Take time also to explore the Palm Jumeirah, the famed man-made island resembling a palm tree. If you’re not staying at one of the many resorts on The Palm, public transport gives easy access to the fantastic dining options and amazing leisure attractions. Jebel Ali, which sits in an outlying district, is another great spot for lazy days beside the sea, while also close to the thrilling rides and family fun of Dubai Parks™ and Resorts.
In a city that boasts the world's largest shopping mall and an annual Shopping Festival, it's no surprise that Dubai is paradise for shopaholics! As well as the vast modern malls that dot the city, there's plenty of old-fashioned Arabian shopping to be found in the souks of Deira and Bur Dubai.
For those who like to be active there's plenty of outdoor, or indoor, sporting pursuits on offer, including all manner of watersports, a spectacular selection of golf courses, an indoor ski slope, ice rink, several water parks with fun for all the family and don't miss the opportunity to get out into the desert, even if for just a few hours. Dubai also boasts a top calendar of annual sporting events including leading tennis and golf tournaments, the world's richest horse race - the Dubai World Cup along with international cricket matches.
Visitors to Dubai will also discover a superb spread of top-quality restaurants and celebrity chefs with cuisine from all around the globe as well as contemporary bars, many with superlative views. Some of the best establishments are found within the numerous luxury hotels with most offering several options. The Madinat Jumeirah complex and souk has an array of restaurants and shops while the big malls also have lots of eateries, including fast food options.
GMT +4 hours
Dubai is approximately 7 hours from the UK.
Dubai enjoys virtually guaranteed year-round sunshine. Between December to February temperatures average in the mid-20sºC, rising up into the 30s from March to April and again from October to November. While the scorching temperatures between May-September may be too much for some (usually in excess of 40ºC), it’s one of the few destinations when it’s cheaper to visit during our school summer holidays, whether travelling with children or not.
A Tourism charge is payable locally at all hotels and apartments in Dubai. Details will be advised at the time of booking.
During Ramadan, it is forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in public places (including hotels and those offering all inclusive) between sunrise and sunset; and no live entertainment is permitted. Hotels usually provide a private area where non-Muslims can eat during the day. Alcoholic drinks are not served in hotels (including those offering all inclusive) on dry days and other days stipulated by the government. Alcohol is available in Dubai hotels after sunset. Please ask for more details at time of booking.
At the first integrated theme park resort in the Middle East choose from motiongate™ Dubai, with rides and attractions for all ages; Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, dedicated to all things Bollywood; LEGOLAND® Dubai, ideal for families with children aged 2-12; and LEGOLAND® Water Park, which has fun for all. A variety of passes are available.
Discover the city at your own pace in a convenient, flexible way as you take in panoramic views from the open-top double decker bus that stops at all the major attractions including Burj Khalifa, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai Mall and Burj Al Arab. Choose from four routes with over 40 stops and 1, 3 or 7 day passes. Available daily from Dubai.
Begin with a scenic drive of the iconic Palm, Jumeirah before continuing to Dubai Marina for a 20 minute boat ride. Stop at the Burj Al Arab for a photo en route to the Dubai Mall. Finally, visit the Dubai Frame. Available daily from Dubai & Fujairah.
Head to the mysterious desert for a memorable afternoon and evening which begins with a thrilling 4WD jeep tour across the sand dunes. Dine at a Bedouin camp as the sun sets, see belly dancing, try sandboarding, stargaze and enjoy a camel ride. Available daily from Dubai. Overnight excursions also available.
Explore the waterways of Dubai Creek while enjoying freshly prepared gourmet cuisine and live music in the comfort of a glass-enclosed air-conditioned luxury vessel. Available daily from Dubai. Transfers not included and available at a supplement. Children under 5 years not permitted.
Soak up the incredible views from your window seat and enjoy an exquisite afternoon tea at the At.mosphere Lounge on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa, which also includes a free flow of all non-alcoholic beverages and a glass of sparkling wine. Smart dress is required. Available daily from Dubai.