Dubai travel guide

An in-depth guide to make your Dubai trip magical

A modern Middle Eastern metropolis with Arabic flair - as indulgent as it is fascinating. An architectural dream with past and present attractions that are some of the planet’s tallest, biggest and most spectacular, Dubai is glamorous, heritage-focused, and full of fun. Packed with personality yet deeply connected to its cultural roots, this is an intriguing city with so many faces. Read on to find out just what makes Dubai tick.

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Table of contents

Must-see in Dubai

Things you can’t leave Dubai without witnessing


Burj Khalifa

An icon of the Dubai skyline, the world’s tallest building offers tourists two viewing platforms from which to take in the sprawling city below.


Dubai Fountain

One of the emirate’s greatest spectacles, this incredible dancing water display is the world’s tallest choreographed fountain.


Etihad Museum

This heritage museum in Dubai’s Historic District is a lesson in how the United Arab Emirates came to be and what it has become.


Kite Beach

Lapping the Arabian sea, Kite Beach is one of the best spots to take in a Middle Eastern sunset.


The Dubai Frame

Towering 150m above Zabeel Park, this Dubai landmark ‘frames the Old and the New’ and was designed to connect the past with the present.


Legoland Water Park

A must for visiting families, this is a Lego lover’s paradise.


Jumeirah Mosque

This religious site is a great place to learn about the Islamic culture thanks to its ‘Open Doors Open Minds’ policy.


Dubai Opera

This cultural haven is one of the jewels of Downtown Dubai’s Opera District.


Mohammed bin Rashid Library

Considered the largest cultural center in the Middle East North Africa region, this library overlooking Dubai Creek is home to 600,000 book titles.


Museum of the Future

This ‘living museum’ is a visual treat, all seven levels exploring everything from space travel to technological advancement to climate change.


Deep Dive Dubai

The world’s largest and deepest attraction, with 14 million litres of water and a depth of 60m.


Sky Views Dubai

Ascend 52 floors in an open-glass lift and take in some of the most incredible views from the cantilevered glass-bottom Observatory bridge.



With more than 100 slides, a beach and wave pool across the 17-hectare attraction, visitors are spoiled for choice.


Skydive Dubai

Skydiving over the world-famous Palm Jumeirah Islands is a rite of passage.


Al Shindagha Perfume Museum

With more than 60 archaeological and historic relics on show, you’re in for a real sensory journey.


Alserkal Avenue

The shining light of the Al Quoz district, this is the cultural heart of Dubai - a place where tourists can admire the breadth of the city’s developing talent.


Ski Dubai

Considered one of the world’s best indoor ski facilities, there are even resident penguins to get up close and personal with.


Desert safari

You can’t experience Dubai properly without getting some sand between your toes.

Seasonal events in Dubai

There’s always something happening in Dubai


Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature (early February)

Considered right up there with some of the world’s most prominent international events, the 10-day festival features a series of workshops and debates, panel discussions and performances.


Art Dubai (early March)

The three-day fair is held at Madinat Jumeirah and features curated works in the categories of Contemporary Modern, Bawwaba and Art Dubai Digital.


Dubai International Boat Show (early March)

This five-day extravaganza is touted as the ‘most exciting marine and lifestyle show’ in the region.


Dubai World Cup (late March)

The world’s richest horse race brings the world’s largest integrated racing facility to capacity every year.


Dubai Summer Surprises (Jul 1 - Sep 4)

For the past 25 years, Dubai Summer Surprises has seen retailers drop some of the biggest discounts and deals around.


Dubai Garden Glow (Sep-Jul)

Said to be the world’s first outdoor glow garden, every inch of the 40-acre park lights up the soul, and kids can be heard gasping at every turn.


Dubai Miracle Garden (Oct-Feb)

This ‘blooming’ great spectacle is in keeping with everything Dubai does - it’s world-class.


Global Village (Oct-Apr)

With 26 pavilions representing 80 countries, there are a host of rides, food for miles and cultural entertainment that the whole family can enjoy.


Rugby Sevens (early December)

The Dubai Rugby Sevens is considered the largest international sporting event in the Middle East and the three-day event is as much about the off-field action as it is the competition on it.


National Day Parade (Dec 2)

Widespread celebrations are held across the UAE, with street parades, fireworks, and concerts held during the two-day public holiday period.

Once you're in Dubai

Getting around Dubai

This highly-technological city has a plethora of transportation options available to efficiently whisk you around - from water taxi to monorail and more.

Diverse flavors from every corner of the world

Dubai tantalizes taste buds with mouth-watering street food, local treats and sweets, and it’s a destination that’s renowned for its world-class culinary connoisseurs who consistently dish up five-star fare.

Renting a car and driving in Dubai

Wheeling your way around Dubai provides you the freedom to explore the emirate on your own terms. You control your own schedule, whether that be from the comfort of a top-of-the-range four-wheel-drive or a red-hot Ferrari.

Things to do

The ultimate family travel destination

From theme parks to animal encounters, dedicated children’s menus, childminding services, and full-of-fun kids’ clubs, Dubai has something for all, no matter how small.

Dubai's nightlife: Nights out in the capital of cool are lit


Q’s Bar & Lounge

One of the best venues for live music, Q’s is music legend Quincy Jones’s contribution to the music scene in Dubai.


Dukes Bar

If you’re looking for a classy drink spot and don’t mind it being all about you, this is the spot. Dukes Bar impresses immediately, its swanky decor greeting you at the door.


SoBe, W The Palm

There are plenty of great spots across the city to soak up an Arabian sunset, but there are not too many that afford patrons the privilege of a 360-degree uninterrupted view.


Lock, Stock and Barrel JBR

A favorite with the party crowd and the Instagram set, this Jumeirah Beach establishment consistently serves up a cracking night out.


Zuma Dubai, DIFC

There’s a reason this bar has been a regular on the World’s 50 Best list. The Zuma bar is a signature element and provides a visual experience as much as a salubrious one.



If you’re looking for a good, old-fashioned Irish pub, this is a cracker. Renowned for its impressive drinks selection - everything from beer and ciders, to gin, rum, tequila, shooters and cocktails.


Americano Dubai

This speakeasy-style venue oozes a bygone era vibe. Dripping with mystical extravagance, it’s elegant and a little bit naughty.


Level 43 Sky Lounge

Unique handcrafted cocktails and views from what feels like the top of the world, that’s what is on offer here.


Cargo Pier 7

Wine and cocktail nights, happy hour, or everything in-between, Cargo has party power. This Dubai Marina hotspot brandishes a beverage menu that’s as broad as the views it affords its patrons.


Barasti Beach Bar

If you want to drink beside the seaside, this is a good place to enjoy the coastal breeze. Barastic is as much about the beats as it is the drinks.


Gilt, Burj Al Arab

Dazzling and dynamic are perhaps the best words to describe this modern cocktail bar that has recently taken up residence on the 27th floor of the world-class Burj Al Arab Hotel.



With a slogan like ‘No Saints Allowed’ it’s a surefire bet that this underground bar is for those who don’t take life too seriously.


Ole Dubai

Professional dancers doing their thing to the best beats in town - this is just part of what makes this Dubai cocktail lounge and nightclub party central.


White Club

With the title ‘Best Club in Dubai’ and rated 15th in the world by DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs, this is one experience you simply can’t miss when you visit Dubai.


Do’s and Don’ts - Dubai Bars and Clubs Tips

Remember that alcohol is only served to those over the age of 21. No matter how much older you are, you should always have your ID with you to prove it.


Dress code

What is acceptable in this regard differs from venue to venue, so check out the website of the places you’re looking to hit up and ensure that you are across what is acceptable and what isn’t.


Rules around alcohol

It is illegal to consume alcohol in public, but drinking in a licensed premises is fine so long as you don’t leave in a ridiculously drunken state - this may well find you in prison.

Shopping in Dubai: from bustling bazaars to mammoth malls, the city has it all

Fashionistas of the world take note, whether you’re all about seeking out the latest high-end fashion or more interested in adding some traditional Arabesque threads to your already established wardrobe, Dubai is the ultimate shopping destination.

There’s plenty to explore in the city’s periphery.

The UAE has many different faces, and within a couple of hours of Dubai, depending on which way you go, you’re in for a delight.

What to pack for Dubai

Precision packing is key to any overseas vacation and often begins weeks before your planned departure. To make things a little easier for you we have put together our best tips and tricks for what to take and what to leave at home.