Dubai: the best sights and tours
Whether holiday destination or stopover: the metropolis of Dubai has a lot to offer. Here you will find sights and highlights as well as the best tours.
Table of Contents
- Dubai tourist attractions
- Buildings and architecture
- Culture and museums
- Amusement parks and adventure worlds
- Tours excursions
Dubai is a place of superlatives. The largest city in the United Arab Emirates is located in the desert and is known for huge shopping malls and luxury hotels. Dubai also scores with nature, culture, entertainment and architecture.
When traveling to Asia or other destinations, Dubai, like Abu Dhabi or Doha , is often a stopover destination because the airline Emirates has its home airport and thus its hub here. We introduce you to the best sights and tours in Dubai.
Dubai tourist attractions
If you have the chance to spend a day or more in the city of luxury and skyscrapers, you should have one or more of the following sights and tours on the program.
Little time? Then a guided city tour might be the right thing to see as much as possible. On a Dubai city tour, you will visit some of the following sights, for example the Blue Mosque. A classic is the Hop On Hop Off bus tour , which is also offered in Dubai.
There is no way around Burj Khalifa, Dubai's iconic 829 meter skyscraper. The mega tower, inaugurated in 2010, has 163 floors and 57 elevators. The construction cost around one billion euros.
On the 124th floor there is an observation deck at a height of 456 meters with a panoramic view of the city and the Dubai Fountain in front of the building. Another more expensive viewing platform is on the 148th floor. Elevators take you to the viewpoint.
• Ticket for the 124th 125th floors
• Fast entry ticket for the 124th 125th floors
• Ticket 124th, 125th 148th floor including guided tour
• Ticket for floors 124 125 at sunset
Address: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd.
Tip: Dubai Fountain
Every day from 6 p.m. the water fountains of the Dubai Fountain start right in front of the Burj Khalifa. The fountains are relatively inconspicuous during the day, in the evening you witness an impressive spectacle when the pool and the fountains glow with music in various colors.
The water games take place until 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 11 p.m. on weekends. You have a great view from the Burj Khalifa.
Address: Fashion Parking - Dubai Mall - Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd
150 meters high, the city below you, just glass in between: the elevator takes you to the 360-degree viewing platform of the Dubai Frame.
The oversized picture frame was opened in early 2008 and is located in Zabeel Park. The outer facade of the building is decorated with gold, the glass floor of the observation deck offers you a great view down.
The building includes a museum that shows Dubai's rapid development from a fishing village to a megacity. The Dubai Frame can be easily combined with a city tour .
Address: Zabeel Park Jogging Track
The 321-meter-high five-star Hotel Burj al-Arab rises like a sail from the sea. If you can afford it, you can experience every conceivable luxury from 1,300 euros ( see here at Booking.com / Agoda ).
If you can't afford it, book a tea time , lunch in one of the restaurants or treat yourself to drinks in the Skyview Bar .
Address: Jumeirah St
Dubai Creek Tower / Lagoon Tower
The Dubai Creek Tower is currently under construction. The observation tower is said to be the tallest building in the world and thus to outshine the Burj Khalifa.
The foundation stone was laid in 2016 and the Creek Tower 2020 for the Expo in Dubai is scheduled to be completed.
After completion, the tower will have ten observation platforms and even emit a beacon at night.
Address: Dubai Creek Tower
Buildings and architecture
At night, the charm of the illuminated Jumeirah Mosque comes into its own. The mosque opened in 1979 is a copy of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo and an impressive building of Islamic architecture.
For many it is considered the most beautiful mosque in Dubai. Every day at 10 a.m. (with the exception of Friday) there is a 75-minute guided tour of the mosque with further information on Muslim customs and holidays.
Address: Jumeirah Mosque
Bastakia Quarter / Al-Bastakiyya
The old town stretches along the banks of Dubai Creek with numerous alleys that house reconstructed historic stone and clay houses, traditional wind towers, cafes, art galleries and restaurants.
The historic Bastakia Quarter is Dubai's oldest district with a history that stretches back to the 1890s. Today Bastakia is a center for art and culture.
Address: Bastakia Quarter
Dubai Creek / Khor Dubai
Not far from the Bastakia district is Dubai Creek, a natural 14 km long inlet that divides the city into the parts Deira and Bur Dubai. City life pulsates on the creek, there are traditional markets here and on the banks of the creek you can visit traditional Dhaw boats.
A special experience is a ride on the abras (water taxis) across the creek. A journey between Deira and Bur Dubai takes around ten minutes.
This means of transport is also used by many locals. You pay more for a boat tour, which takes longer and leads past traditional houses and buildings.
Dhaw rides are often offered in conjunction with a meal on board, so you can treat yourself to a 5-star dinner cruise, for example.
Address: Dubai Creek
A visit to the Dubai Marina district illustrates the overwhelming dimensions of the city. Here skyscrapers line up with skyscrapers.
The district is located on an artificial canal and has a large marina.
Be sure to take a walk on the beach promenade to take in the extreme architecture of around 200 high-rise buildings and skyscrapers. Or take a look at everything from the water as part of the popular speedboat tour .
A good address for shopping is the Dubai Marina Mall, which is however significantly smaller than the following shopping centers.
Address: Dubai Marina
Over 1,200 shops make the Dubai Mall the largest shopping center in Dubai and one of the largest shopping malls worldwide.
Here you can buy clothes, shoes, jewelry, beauty, electronics and toys, for example.
The Dubai Mall Gold Souk with a variety of gold jewelry is worth seeing. Other highlights of the mall are an ice rink, a waterfall and an aquarium that extends over three floors.
The access from the Dubai Mall to the Burj Khalifa is practical. A visit to both sights can be ideally combined.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, 31166
Deira and Souk
Modernity and tradition meet in the Deira district. The city's historic commercial center offers enough programs for a day and is an excellent shopping destination.
The area is known for the Deira Gold Souk with more than 300 retailers who sell their glittering jewelry here.
A visit to the spice souk is a sensual experience. Here you can buy classic and exotic spices. Those who prefer modern shops should pay a visit to the Deira City Center Mall.
Address: Deira Dubai
Mall of the Emirates
More than 400 shops await you in the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai's second largest mall. There are numerous luxury boutiques, restaurants and food courts as well as the largest Carrefour supermarket in Dubai.
The indoor ski hall Ski Dubai with its own lift and five runs of different levels of difficulty, which is located in the shopping center, is spectacular.
Borrowed equipment is already included in the ticket price.
Address: Sheikh Zayed Rd
Jumeirah Beach offers the ideal conditions for a beach and bathing day. At Dubai's largest and most popular beach you can swim, sunbathe, jet ski or paraglide. There are numerous cafés, restaurants and hotels on and around the beach.
A leisurely stroll along the beach promenade, which even offers a seven-kilometer running route for sports fans.
Address: Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Sports fans should definitely visit the extensive kite beach south of Jumeirah Beach. When you arrive you will see numerous kites and boards that are characteristic of kitesurfing.
You can also do stand up paddling here. Equipment is available on loan from one of the numerous providers.
Address: Kite Beach, Dubai
Culture and museums
Events such as operas, concerts, ballets, musicals and theater take place all year round in the Dubai Opera, which opened in 2016.
The opera house with many glass elements is an architectural masterpiece with a capacity for 2,000 visitors. The shape of the building is based on a dhaw, a traditional sailing ship.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd
Al Fahidi Fort / Dubai Museum
In the Bastakia district is Dubai's oldest building, the Fahidi Fortress, built in 1787. The former fort was converted into the Dubai Museum and now offers insights into the history of the Emirates.
The exhibition offers exhibits such as traditional boats, musical instruments, archaeological artifacts and weapons.
Address: Dubai Museum
Sheik Saeed Al-Maktoum house
Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum's house was built in 1896. The former ruler of Dubai and grandfather of the current ruler lived there until his death in 1958.
After being destroyed, the house was rebuilt true to the original and converted into a museum. This provides insights into the city's history before the great oil boom and the development of the Emirate.
Particularly noteworthy are the old photographs that show Dubai between 1948 and 1953 as well as the marine section, boat building and fishing.
Address: House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum
Amusement parks and adventure worlds
Atlantis Aquaventure water park
Rapid slides, a 500 meter private beach and huge aquariums: the Atlantis Aquaventure water park at Atlantis The Palm Resort is a paradise for action and bathing fans.
There are more than 30 attractions, including water roller coasters, numerous slides, and even one that leads through the shark pool.
Admission includes a visit to the Lost Chambers Aquarium, Dubai's largest aquarium.
Address: Atlantis The Palm - Crescent Rd
Dubai Aquarium Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium is part of the Dubai Mall. Here you can see sharks, rays and numerous other fish. It starts on the lowest floor of the shopping center with a 48-meter glass tunnel - habitat of around 33,000 marine animals, which you will get amazingly close to in a tunnel passage.
The attached underwater zoo with penguins, fish and even crocodiles is two stories higher. You visit the aquarium and zoo with your combination ticket.
Address: Dubai Aquarium Underwater Zoo
IMG Worlds of Adventure
The indoor amusement park IMG Worlds of Adventure is a paradise on 140,000 square meters, but not only for Marvel, cartoon, dinosaur and action fans.
The world's largest indoor theme park was opened in 2016 and can receive up to 20,000 visitors a day.
The park is divided into five adventure zones: Marvel, Lost Valley, Cartoon Network, ING Boulevard and Novo Cinemas. There are numerous roller coasters, live shows, 3D attractions and even a horror house.
Address: E311 - Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Rd
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Pink flamingos are the most famous residents of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. This bird protection park is located at Cap des Creeks and was built by the city administration to preserve regional biodiversity. The park does not cost admission and offers great photo opportunities.
Address: Ras Al Khor
Dubai Miracle Garden
Over 150 million flowers make the Dubai Miracle Garden the largest flower garden in the world. A colorful sea of plants with artistic arrangements awaits you.
Whether a 15-meter clock, swans, hearts or even a castle made of flowers: the Miracle Garden offers many masterpieces. Every year, the operators come up with new attractions.
Note: due to the hot temperatures, the garden is only open from mid-November to mid-May each year. It is also not in the city center. There are tickets with transfer .
Address: Al Barsha South 3
From the air, Palm Jumeirah looks like an oversized palm tree. There are numerous luxury hotels, noble residential areas and classy restaurants on the man-made island.
A stroll along the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk gives you a great view of Dubai's coast and the Burj al-Arab Hotel. There is the option to explore Palm Island on the water by speedboat . A helicopter flight from The Palm to Burj Khalifa is significantly more expensive, but definitely an experience.
Address: Palm Jumeirah
Abu Dhabi excursion
On a day trip to Abu Dhabi, around 150 kilometers away, you will see highlights of the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
For example, you can admire the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Emirates Palace and the Etihad Towers.
The cheapest way to get to the city is by bus, alternatively you can book a taxi or a guided tour with a lot of programs .
Dubai is surrounded by desert. A desert safari is therefore almost a must to explore the fascinating sandy landscape. There are numerous providers that offer tours for one or more days.
The desert tour with the off-road vehicle usually includes camel riding, sandboarding over the dunes and a visit. A belly dance performance, shisha, fire dance or henna tattoos are also often offered. Delicious BBQ grilling is also often included.
Sunset tours are popular. Action fans book a quad tour . During an overnight desert safari , an overnight stay in the desert camp is included. A hot air balloon ride over the desert is spectacular but expensive.
If you want to see a lot and maybe still shop, Dubai is an expensive city. When visiting certain sights, you can save up to 50 percent with a city pass.
However, you should calculate in advance whether such a ticket is really worthwhile for you. There is a large selection of city passes at Viator and GetYourGuide .