Things not to miss

written by Andy Turner
updated 7/29/2021
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#01 Madinat Jumeirah

Astounding mock-Arabian city, home to a string of lavish hotels and leisure facilities – the quintessential Dubaian example of opulent kitsch on an epic scale.

© Haider Y. Abdulla/Shutterstock

#02 Deira souks

At the heart of old Dubai, the district of Deira comprises an atmospheric tangle of bazaars, ranging from the Gold Souk’s glittering shop windows to the aromatic alleyways of the Spice Souk.

Gold market in Dubai, Deira Gold Souq © Laborant/Shutterstock

#03 Dubai Museum

Unbeatable introduction to the city’s history and traditional culture, housed in the quaint old Al Fahidi Fort.

© S-F/Shutterstock

#04 Desert safaris

Go dune-bashing, try your hand at sand-skiing or quad-biking, then settle down over a shisha for a spot of traditional belly dancing.

Dubai safari © phoelixDE/Shutterstock

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#05 Dhow Wharfage

Home to hundreds of superb Arabian dhows moored up along the Deira creekside – one of central Dubai’s most incongruous but magical sights

Traditional arabic Dhow at Dubai Creek © Philip Lange/Shutterstock

#06 Arabian food and shisha

Explore the Middle East’s wonderful cuisine, from tempting mezze to succulent grills and kebabs, rounded off with an aromatic puff on a traditional shisha.

© food.kiro/Shutterstock

#07 Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s most spectacular landmark, this monumental mosque is one of the world’s largest, with huge courtyards, domes, and minarets enclosing a marvellously opulent prayer hall within.

© Boule/Shutterstock

#08 Burj Khalifa

The world’s tallest building, rising like an enormous space rocket above the streets of Downtown Dubai.

© Shutterstock

#09 Al Ain Oasis

An idyllic retreat from the heat and dust of contemporary Al Ain, with peaceful little pedestrianized lanes running through shady plantations of luxuriant date palms.

Photo of two girls walking in Al Ain Oasis © rahulraju/Shutterstock

#10 Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai’s most futuristic road, lined with a sequence of neck-cricking skyscrapers ranging from the unquestionably wonderful to the irrefutably weird.

Sheikh Zayed Road in sunset time, Dubai, UAE © Iakov Kalinin/Shutterstock

#11 Abra ride on the Creek

Hop aboard one of the city’s old abras for a breezy ride across the Creek, with marvellous views of the city-centre waterfront en route – the most fun you can have in Dubai for just one dirham.

© Oleg_P/Shutterstock

#12 Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House

Former home of the ruling Maktoum sheikhs, now housing an absorbing collection of atmospheric old city photographs.

Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House © Parkerspics/Shutterstock

#13 Jumeirah Mosque

Dubai’s most beautiful mosque – and also (uniquely) open to visitors during informative guided tours.

© Maxwell.Sun/Shutterstock

#14 Booze with views

Sup a cocktail in one of the city’s chic high-rise bars, such as Neos, with sweeping views of the modern city outside.

© Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

#15 Burj al Arab

One of the world’s most instantly recognizable contemporary buildings, this superb, sail-shaped hotel towers gracefully above the coast of southern Dubai.

© Tiko Aramyan/Shutterstock

#16 Ski Dubai

A surreal slope of Alpine mountainside attached to the vast Mall of the Emirates.

© goodluz/Shutterstock

#17 Bastakiya

One of the city’s best-preserved heritage areas, with a fascinating little labyrinth of old houses topped by innumerable wind towers.

© Iryna Rasko/Shutterstock

#18 Khan Murjan Souk

Check out the quirky Egyptian-themed Wafi and the atmospheric Khan Murjan Souk next door, a sumptuous re-creation of a traditional Arabian bazaar.

© Shutterstock

#19 Ibn Battuta Mall

Kitsch and eye-poppingly extravagant, this mile-long mall takes its inspiration from the journeys of Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta.

© Sami Moda/Shutterstock

#20 Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization

State-of-the-art museum, showcasing the rich history of Islamic science, arts and culture.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. United Arab Emirates © Philip Lange/Shutterstock

Travel advice for United Arab Emirates

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written by Andy Turner
updated 7/29/2021
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