Big, bigger, biggest - Dubai
Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates. In city in rapid development, where one wants to be the biggest and best at it all. "In Dubai we have everything - and if we do not have it, then we build it", it sounds, and therefore the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa is of course also here.
You probably know the city best for the tall skyscrapers, large shopping malls and the warm desert climate. And despite the city's reputation for being the number one charter holiday destination for jet setters, it's so much more than that.
Dubai is ideal for all three types of holiday - either individually or in an easy combination:
- City break with top hotels, shopping, museums and cool restaurants all in one place
- Beach holiday with fantastic sandy beaches and wild pools
- Local holiday with delicious Arabic food, local culture and desert experiences
Dubai can be an expensive city, but if you plan your trip carefully and travel at the right time, it does not necessarily require the whole big wallet.
Here is a guide to 15 of the most exciting places, attractions and sights that can be experienced on an extended weekend, plus tips for hotels and restaurants in Dubai.
Burj Khalifa and Dubai Frame: Best Views of the Year
In Dubai, everything is great and the Burj Khalifa is no exception. With a height of 828 meters, it is the tallest building in the world. The Burj Khalifa has 163 floors, and here it is possible for visitors to get either 125 or 148 floors up.
It's clearly one must see on a trip to Dubai, because here is the ultimate opportunity to see the whole city from above. It feels almost unreal to stand there and look down over the other skyscrapers, which look like ordinary, small buildings from above.
Tip: It is best to visit the Burj Khalifa before 10am in the morning or in the evening after 18.30pm. This avoids an excessively long queue and a huge crowd.
It costs about 300 kroner to get up in Burj Khalifa and it costs extra to visit the tower around sunset.
Dubai Frame is a really good alternative to Burj Khalifa. It costs 100 kroner to get up in the beautiful building, and then you get both exhibitions, views and for the brave: A glass floor experience at a height of 150 meters!
Dubai Frame is located between the old town and the new center, so here you get a really good overview.
Tickets to both locations can be purchased online and on site.
Downtown Dubai: Dubai Mall, Time Out Food Market and Restaurants
After the Burj Khalifa, it is obvious to take a walk in the Dubai Mall, which is right next door. Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping mall, but it is much more than just a shopping mall.
In addition to the 1200 shops and a large number of well-known and lesser-known restaurants, the center contains several major tourist attractions. For example, take a ride on the ice rink, in the cinema or try the fearsome haunted house Haunted House.
Dubai Mall is - in addition to shopping - best known for housing the beautiful Dubai Aquarium. The more than 300 sea creatures and the opportunity to jump in a diving suit and get really close make it a completely unique experience. However, you can also just admire the animals on the shopping trip, because the aquarium itself is located in the middle of the center.
In the evening, there are light shows on and around the Burj Khalifa, and it is a large tributary. It costs nothing to attend and you can see it best from the square in the middle of the Dubai Mall.
Opposite is Time Out Food Market Dubai, which is a must for foodies and other food lovers. Here they have taken the best from the 'food hall' concept, where you buy food from small stands and eat it at communal tables, and then some of the city's best restaurants.
Where the level in food halls often varies and with very fast food, it is the opposite: Here the best restaurants from Dubai are invited to cook fantastic, fast and tasty food, where everyone can choose what style they are for, and one can eat it together. You can get everything from Wagyu steak sandwiches and crispy sushi to Mexican corn snacks and Portuguese seafood.
It is not without reason that here is often filled in the evenings with groups of friends, groups of colleagues and families; so come for lunch if you want better space. Can definitely be recommended.
If you are into “lunch with a view”, it is pretentious This is the restaurant a really good choice, because here you are sitting on the 54th floor with a direct view of the Burj Khalifa tower, and there is an outdoor terrace, which is perfect for pictures.
Cé la vi runs Asian-European fusion style with super service, and their regular lunch menu on weekdays is really delicious and could well be one of the best deals in town in the luxury lunch category. The restaurant is located right next to the metro station “Dubai Mall”.
Museums and Architecture: Museum Of The Future and Alserkal Avenue
Museum Of The Future is a new spectacular museum in the heart of Dubai.
As with much other architecture in Dubai, one is generous in showing the architectural to everyone, and it is as great an experience to see it from the outside as from the inside.
In all modesty, the locals call it "The World's Most Beautiful Building", and whether it fits now, it really is an exceptionally beautiful building. The theme is technology and future dreams, and tickets must be purchased well in advance before online.
Alserkal Avenue is a completely different category: It is small art exhibitions and workshops in a residential area south of the center - and just as beautiful Museum Of The Future is just as cozy and creative Alserkal Avenue.
Think “Kødbyen meets Nørrebro” in relation to creativity and colors.
Drive 45 minutes out of the big city until you hit the desert, and then the day is on a desert safari. Desert safari is a great experience that is available in different variations.
In a four-wheel drive vehicle, you can really feel the rush as you drive up and down the golden brown dunes. Dune bashing, as they call it, is a wild experience if you want an adrenaline rush.
In addition to driving in the sand dunes, it is possible sand boarding, dinner with the locals and camel riding, where you get closer to nature.
We can recommend Platinum Heritage, who specialize in what they themselves very aptly call eco-luxury desert tours.
The concept is simple: you drive with a competent guide in classic land rovers out on the desert roads of the desert and meet the beautiful oryx antelopes, experience local falcons, learn about the desert and end up in a Bedouin camp. Here is delicious food, music and all the camel riding you feel like under the stars. They are not the cheapest, but the ones with the best recommendations.
Dubai Old Town: Souk, Al-Fahidi and food in Deira
Travel back in time and visit Dubai Old Town. Here you will find real Arab cultural heritage, historic buildings and not least the iconic markets 'Dubai Souks'.
In the Gold Souk, it glitters with gold, diamonds and jewelry in long lanes. And there is a guarantee that it is genuine goods.
Spicy Souk offers all kinds of spices. The scents here are a sumptuous experience for the sense of smell, and if you want a fantastic souvenir to take home, you can have the spice shop make a spice mixture for you on freshly ground spices - ask if they have a 'spice grinder'.
Textile Souk trades in everything from raw silk to cotton in all sorts of colors.
The markets are reasonably priced and the locals expect you to haggle over the price, as in any good market, so if it's too expensive, just ask for a lower price.
If you visit the Dubai Souks, you can both find good goods and make a good bargain.
The souk is located in the Deira district, which is also the entrance to a colorful local district with great local food and cheap shopping. Here live people from all over the world and you can find local specialties like our mother made them in Syria, Yemen and Iran.
We can definitely recommend diving into the many food cultures by taking one food tour with Frying Pan Adventures. Their Middle Eastern Food Pilgrimage is a hike in Deira with local guides who share their unique knowledge and enthusiasm with you, and where you eat delicious specialties at selected places in the area. Both the trip and the food are in a class of their own.
On the other side of the Dubai Creek River in the old part of the city you will find the historic quarter of Al-Fahidi, which is cozy - albeit a bit touristy - and a great place to get an impression of ancient Arabia.
If you want a small boat trip on the river, then a trip by water taxi, called Abra, costs only 1 dirham, 2 kroner, and for that you can sail between the souk and Al-Fahidi, on the other hand.
There is metro station quite close to the markets and otherwise there is always a free and cheap taxi nearby so we can definitely recommend taking a trip to Dubai Old Town which is located just north of the new center of Downtown Dubai.
Dubai Marina functions as a cozy canal city - where everything is man-made to feel. It is about five kilometers long and offers both restaurants, shopping and a great view of tall skyscrapers and expensive yachts.
Take a boat trip along the canals; this is how you experience the area best. The surroundings are beautiful both during the day and in the evening. If you would rather see Dubai Marina from the land side, a walk along the Marina Walk is also a great way to get around. Here there is also ample opportunity to quench your thirst in one of the city's many bars and cafés.
Dubai Marina is located right next to Jumeirah Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Dubai.
Beach and beach holiday
There is practically a sun guarantee all year round in Dubai, and therefore it is obvious to go on a beach holiday here in the months from October to May. The summer months are too hot for a pure beach holiday, but you can swim here all year round even in the evening when the sun has gone down.
Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful and usable beaches in and around Dubai, and many of them are public, so if you want to immerse yourself in the warm salt water, just find your swimwear,
Jbr beach is a city beach of the finest kind with skyscrapers in the background, and otherwise La Mer Beach at Jumeirah is really cozy and perfect for real beach holidays, because here are small restaurants, promenade, the finest beach and even a small water park on the edge of the beach area. It is located in a villa area 5 kilometers from the center of Dubai.
There are also many cool pools in hotels, and if you do not live there, you can often buy yourself access, although it can be expensive at the big resorts, for example at Dubai Palm. If you are a fan of infinity pools, Dubai is the place for you.
Abu Dhabi round trip
Also take a trip to the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi from Dubai.
Many people consider the trip to the capital when they are in Dubai, but do not get it done due to lack of time. But it's a shame, because the trip does not take very long. It can be kind of done as a half-day trip.
In Abu Dhabi is the famous mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is the country's largest of its kind and a cultural hub. It is free to visit the mosque and it is a very special experience. If you are more into adrenaline rush, you can visit Ferrari World - the world's largest indoor amusement park - and also the art museum Louvre has a department here.
The trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi takes an hour and a half by car or just over two hours by bus.
Dubai is also an obvious entrance to neighboring Oman.
Where to stay: Hotels in Dubai
There are few places in the world that have a larger selection of hotels than Dubai, and all self-respecting hotel chains are represented here. Therefore is the committee also huge, but here are at least four ideas for hotels that individually can do something good:
The St. Regis Downtown Dubai is a new hotel overlooking the Dubai Creek River in the heart of Downtown Dubai. There are beautiful cozy rooms, a great pool and a pleasant atmosphere. Here it is easy to feel at home. The hotel is part of the Marriott chain.
Media One Hotel is a boutique hotel at Dubai Marina. It is a lively and modern hotel with bar, pool and occasional music, and it attracts travelers from all over the world.
Rove Hotel La Mer Beach is beautifully situated right on La Mer Beach. It is an affordable, modern and vibrant hotel overlooking the city's beaches and skyline and is popular with families, couples and groups of friends traveling. The hotel is part of the Rove chain, which also has other hotels in Dubai.
Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is located on the artificial and fabled palm-shaped island The Palm. Anantara is a Thai-inspired luxury resort with a full focus on water, beach and relaxation. There are large pool areas, a delicious beach and a huge breakfast buffet.
Tips for the trip to Dubai
- It is best to go in the winter, as the sun in the summer months is too hot to be comfortable outdoors
- Get acquainted (gain, obtain) with present-day techniques that came from Arab Culture. The culture in Dubai is different from ours with other values and norms, but in general the atmosphere is relaxed and open
- It is easier to take a taxi than a public transport in Dubai. And it is also cheap compared to in Denmark. Although Dubai Mall is open until midnight, the metro stops running at 23pm and then taxi is the only option. However, the metro is obvious if you live on the line, and it runs for example to the airport and Dubai Mall and is very well-functioning
- In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, they each have their own 'travel card' for public transport that you can put money on. In Dubai it is called 'Nol' and in Abu Dhabi it is called 'Hafilat'. Please note that unfortunately you can not use the same card in both places
- Groceries in supermarkets are expensive and many locals often eat out as it can pay off better. The prices of the restaurants vary greatly depending on whether you eat international dishes in Downtown Dubai or falafels in Deira. The difference is often greater than one expects, so sometimes it's like Southern Europe on a cheap day, and other times like Norway on an expensive day.
- The GetYourGuide app is really good to have when you need to book excursions and tours in the United Arab Emirates
Really good trip to the world city of Dubai!
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