Click on the guide below to discover Dubai!
Find out some ideas of various itineraries.
Dubai is one of the world’s most exhilarating destinations: a glittering city that offers swathes of golden beaches; world-class shopping, dining and nightlife; hosts electrifying events and sporting championships; and, for all the family, is one big adventurous playground. Where tradition meets ambition and renowned for its futuristic, iconic architecture, this visionary city is also proud to display its rich heritage and culture. Welcome to Arabia and welcome to the destination that has made it its mission to become “the world’s most visited city”.
This is a city that must be experienced to be believed. Where else can you spend the morning on the beach, the afternoon snow skiing and the evening camel riding in the desert? Where else can you dive with sharks in a shopping mall and watch dancing fountains at the base of the world’s tallest tower? Whatever your passion, whatever your age – Dubai will never disappoint. And with many more hotels and attractions in the pipeline, no-one can ever truly say they’ve truly ‘ticked off’ Dubai. With changes constantly afoot, Dubai is a city that can be visited year after year, after year
Keeping all the generations happy is what a great family holiday is all about – and Dubai promises to do just that. With two of the world’s best waterparks (Aquaventure and Wild Wadi); swathes of golden beaches to play on; sprawling green parks to run in; an ocean of desert dunes to roll down; and a host of thrilling theme parks to entertain, Dubai offers families no end of options. Where else can you spend the morning on the beach, the afternoon skiing down a snowy mountain (inside a shopping mall) and the evening riding a camel in the desert as the sun sets? It’s in Dubai that families can swim with dolphins in a lagoon or with sharks in aquarium; where they can run from the ice-skating rinks to the bowling alleys; from the multi-screen cinemas to the climbing walls and from the ice-cream parlours to the all-you-can-eat buffets (catering to even the fussiest of eaters). And if this all sounds too energetic, the spas and golf courses provide that much-needed ‘me time’ for mum and dad – happy in the knowledge that the kids are safe and secure in the hotels’ amazing kids’ clubs or entertainment arenas.
Where else in the world can you swim with sharks just a few metres away from the world’s leading retail brands? Where else can you break off from your shopping spree to have a quick ski down a snowy mountain? In what other city can you spend the morning bartering for spices in an historical Arabian souq where traders have peddled their wares for hundreds of years – and then spend the afternoon sauntering down Fashion Avenue browsing for the latest designer handbag or luxury watch?
Shopping in Dubai is so much more than retail therapy – it’s a remarkable sightseeing, cultural, gastronomic and entertaining experience with a surprise at every turn.
With over 95 shopping malls (including the world’s largest - The Dubai Mall at over 12 million square foot) Dubai is the A to Z of retail. In fact, Dubai ranks in second place – just behind London – as being the city with the highest number of retailers represented. It’s no surprise that shopping is one of the primary reasons that visitors flock to the emirate every year and forms the theme of two month-long shopping festivals – one of which, the Dubai Shopping Festival, celebrated its 20th anniversary in January 2015.
Come early evening, after another remarkable day in Dubai, it’s just the sun that settles down for the night. Closing time doesn’t exist in this city. After dark, when the skyscrapers are all lit up with a myriad of colours, Dubai goes into full-on party mode and the night owls emerge fully intent on socialising, dining and dancing. With hundreds of world-class restaurants and stylish nightspots to choose from, Dubai is a city where gastronomy and nightlife thrive. And the great thing is: everyone’s invited to join the party.
Set out on a culinary journey and taste the food of the 200 nationalities that reside here. Indeed, this city serves up cuisine from India and Peru to France and Vietnam and every flavour in between. And, with new restaurants adding to the menu every month – joining the spread of more than 5,400 eateries in the city – Dubai is constantly proving why it is the region’s culinary capital and of growing importance on the global gastronomy scene.
It’s a scene that particularly comes to the fore during the Dubai Food Festival – a city-wide month-long culinary extravaganza that takes place each February and celebrates the city’s rich culinary diversity. It’s a diversity that includes international and celebrity chef restaurants; homegrown eateries each of which have had to devise their own distinct character in order to stand out from the crowd; a community of street food vendors where the homemade food is the star of the show; and, not forgetting, the rich and flavoursome delights of the local Emirati cuisine.
Whether you’re an art aficionado, a lover of literature, a theatre goer, a film buff or a music fan you’ll find your forte catered to in Dubai. With a strong visual arts movement having swept the city, Dubai is home to a host of young, thriving art galleries showcasing virtually every genre of art imaginable. Each March, the city becomes a veritable art exhibition when the Dubai Arts Season highlights the Emirate's growing creative landscape internationally with a number of events including Art Week, SIKKA Art Fair, Design Days Dubai and Art Dubai. With the focus firmly on the written word, book worms should head to the annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to meet their favourite author or perfect their writing skills at the Dubai International Writers’ Centre. On the big screen the city showcases international and world premieres at the Dubai International Film Festival, while for those who appreciate orchestral music, tickets to the World Classical Music Series sell out fast. And throughout the year, the stages of Dubai’s theatres are alive with musicals, ballets, operas, classical concerts, pantomimes, Shakespearean performances and even shows direct from the West End. So if it’s the arts you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right city. The schedule may be packed but the experience is remarkable.
Despite being multi-cultured society in which more than 200 nationalities live harmoniously, Dubai prides itself on its Arabian – and more specifically, it’s Emirati - roots. At its core, Dubai will always be a city where the mystique of Arabia ultimately prevails; where the sound of the Iman’s call to pray floats throughout the air; where the skyline of twisting and billowing towers intermingles with the domes and minarets of majestic mosques; and where the air is filled with the aroma of exotic spices. Emiratis are justifiably proud of their heritage – it wasn’t too long ago that this city was little more than a village beside The Creek and where much of its population lived in its glorious desert.
Today that heritage is seen is a host of fascinating museums and historic sites. Wander around the restored Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to admire the majestic wind-towers; barter for goods in the ancient souks beside the Creek that have been trading for hundreds of years; visit the first home of the ruling family and enjoy a number of heritage sports – such as camel racing, falconry and dhow racing - that proudly pay tribute to a bygone era.
To fully appreciate the intricacies of the local culture, visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU). As the name suggests, this organisation’s remit is to promote a greater awareness of the local culture through its programme of talks, meals and tours, including tours of the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque.
Hurling oneself out of a plane at 13,000ft is par of the course in Dubai, as is skiing down a snowy mountain; boarding from the peak of a 300ft-high sand dune; speeding around a racetrack in an Audi’s R8 V10; galloping across the desert on a thoroughbred Arabian stallion; playing polo (on horseback or camel hump); and teeing off on a floodlit golf course at midnight. Whether an audacious, daring adrenaline junkie, an adventure seeker or simply someone looking to enjoy the great outdoors – Dubai is the perfect playground.
It’s a playground that incorporates a cloudless sky, an endless desert, rugged mountains, the glorious waters of the Arabian Gulf and remarkable championship sporting facilities.
Some might say that the whole of Dubai is a veritable playground (and they’d be true) – but it’s along its coast that a huge amount of the fun and games occur. Dubai’s glorious sandy beaches, the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and the year-round sunshine are the perfect ingredients for all watersport lovers and beach babes.
It’s on Dubai’s beaches that the world meets; where the beach games are won; the sand castles are built; the bodies are tanned; the picnics are eaten and the watersports are played.
There are numerous swathes of beach – both public and private - stretching along the Dubai coast from Jebel Ali to the outskirts of neighbouring Sharjah.
Enjoy the buzzing atmosphere at JBR The Walk where beachgoers can enjoy a string of cafes, boutiques, an outdoor cinema and even an inflatable waterpark; head to Kite Beach for no end of watersport action; or enjoy the coves and beachside park at Al Mamzar.
If you really want to get out on the water, then chartering a yacht is an easy option; join a catamaran cruise around the islands of The World; or why not try your hand at some deep sea fishing. The warm and shallow waters off Dubai are teeming with life – big life.
But of course there is some sea life that can only be caught on camera and that happens to be the adorable dolphins that live in Atlantis The Palm’s Dolphin Bay. Meet them nose to nose in the shallow waters of the bay.
And of course, don’t forget the wet and wild action from within Dubai’s awesome waterparks. Attached to Atlantis The Palm is Aquaventure where you’ll face the Leap of Faith and the tangle of slides around the Tower of Poseidon pyramid. Or head to Jumeirah’s Wild Wadi - are you brave enough to face the 120m fall of Jumeirah Sceirah or the Tunnel of Doom?
Be prepared for some mega drops and gravity-defying twists in these parks, all within a city that really knows how to make a splash.
Dance under the stars as you watch chart-topping acts perform on the stage at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre; join the party at the Dubai Rugby Sevens for a weekend-long rugby fest; don your best hat for the lavish Dubai World Cup horse race; meet your favourite author at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature; and cheer on the camels as they thunder down the track through the desert. This is just a snapshot of the many varied, world-class events that make up Dubai’s annual events calendar.
For much of the year, almost every weekend Dubai hosts at least one remarkable event, with a calendar encompassing arts and sport, food and books, music and lights, heritage and fashion.
For anyone looking to meet their idol they’ve come to the right place. Dubai’s events are of such a calibre that they attract the world’s best.
Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy regularly appear on the first tee at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic each year at the Emirates Golf Club; Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray and the Williams sisters are no strangers on the courts at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships; Hollywood’s Emily Blunt was among the stars at the latest Dubai International Film Festival and increasingly, Dubai is seen as a necessary stop on the tour schedule for many an A-list chart-topper - One Direction, Eric Clapton, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga are just a handful of acts to have played on Dubai’s stages, not to mention the dozens of Bollywood and Arabic superstars for whom the emirate is a second home.
And, as a city that attracts, nurtures and encourages talent, Dubai has become the regional hub for art, gastronomy, literature and film. Each of these genres is honoured with festivals to which the whole world is invited.
For the full line-up of events, log on to www.dubaicalendar.com
One look at a world map and it soon becomes apparent why this city is the perfect spot for a meeting of global delegates and why it is known as a ‘Land of Opportunity’. Its location between East and West, North and South makes it the perfect gateway to emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As it stands, one-third of the world’s population is within a four-hour flight and two-thirds are within an eight-hour flight.
What makes this more significant to business travellers is that this strategic location is backed up with first-class accessibility thanks to the state-of-the-art Dubai International Airport (DXB) - the world’s number one airport for international passengers- plus the city’s second airport, Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC), said to eventually become the world’s largest airport.
Once on the ground, Dubai’s infrastructure is such that doing business here is easy – whether you need a meeting room for 10 people or a convention for thousands. There are (as of February 2015) more than 659 hotel establishments in the emirate alongside the vast facilities offered at the mega venue that is the Dubai World Trade Centre.
Backed up by a professional service and a ‘can do’ attitude, business travellers will appreciate the business opportunities on offer in this city. This goes some way to explaining why Dubai is named among the top 20 most vibrant cities in the world in the 2015 City Momentum Index released by the realtor, Jones Lang LaSalle in January 2015 – the only city in the Middle East to make it onto the Index. Describing the yardsticks for the index, LaSalle said highly dynamic cities are characterised by their speed of innovation and creation of cutting-edge businesses.
As a global trading post since the early days that spices and gold were sold beside the historic Creek, Dubai has evolved into a world-class business metropolis that is always open for business.