Dubai – a city in the middle of the desert, a city of superlatives, the Arabian Singapore, so to speak. After two days of sightseeing in extraterrestrial heat, it was clear to us: Dubai is not our favorite travel destination.
However: A stopover in Dubai is definitely worth it. If you (like us) stop over in Dubai, then go for it! Here are our personal highlights and tips for a stay in the desert city of Dubai.
1. Stopover in Dubai: What to expect Skyscrapers, desert sand and the tallest building in the world. No ordinary city trip awaits you in Dubai. You’ll probably notice that as soon as you land. A raised island in the shape of a palm tree? Yes, this is Dubai!
Let’s be honest – we’re not the biggest fans of Dubai personally. We like charming old towns and authentic flair. Dubai is different. Dubai is ultramodern, immaculately clean and most of the time you will feel less Arabic lifestyle than you might wish.
Nevertheless, Dubai is one It’s worth the trip. And we are of the opinion: If you stop here, you should definitely see Dubai with your own eyes.
How many days should I have for a Planning a stopover in Dubai? Of course you could spend your entire holiday in Dubai – but that’s not what this blog article is about. So if you are planning a stopover, we advise you to stay at least two nights . That’s how long we were in Dubai and were able to get a good insight into the city.
However, if you prefer to take it easy, then we would tend to three nights to stay. Anyway, that way you can see more sights and maybe even take a trip to the desert if you want.
How do I book a longer layover in Dubai? If you landed on this article of our travel blog, then you are probably planning to fly eastbound with Emirates, for example to Thailand, right? Since you have to stop over in Dubai anyway, it is of course very worthwhile to spend a few days in Dubai. And quite apart from that, it is also a better way to overcome jet lag.
We recommend you to book the flight directly on Emirates website – you simply book three flight segments. For example: once from Vienna to Dubai, once (a few days later) from Dubai to (eg) Bangkok and once from Bangkok to Vienna. Voilà!
The practical: The Flight does not become more expensive per se due to the longer stay. (Nevertheless, there are of course flights with different prices and it is worth comparing a little.)
2. Sights & Highlights for a Dubai Stopover Burj Khalifa How does it feel to look down from the tallest building in the world? Honestly: Pretty crazy! In our opinion, a visit to the Burj Khalifa is one of the absolute highlights during a stopover in Dubai.
The Burj Khalifa towers say and write 824 meters in height. However, the viewing platform is at “just about” 456 meters in height. But don’t worry: the view is definitely more spectacular than expected.
Buying tickets for Burj Khalifa First of all, important to know: Usually you visit the standard viewing platform in the 95. and 125. Floor. If you want, you can go even higher for an extra charge, more precisely to the viewing platform on the second floor 125.
Our tip: A visit before sunset is particularly nice, when the setting sun bathes the whole of Dubai in a beautiful light. However: You have to pay a surcharge for the tickets to see the sunset.
We recommend that you book your ticket in advance to avoid waiting times:
Ticket Burj Khalifa Observation DeckTicket Burj Khalifa Sunset Observation Deck Good to know: All tickets are time-bound. That means you have to state your visit time when purchasing the ticket. However, you can stay on the viewing platform for as long as you like.
Dubai Fountain Your visit to the Burj Khalifa you can ideally connect with the so-called Dubai Fountain. What awaits you here? A water play spectacle of a special kind.
Every evening, the artificial lake in front of the Burj Khalifa or in front of the Dubai Mall becomes the scene an impressive water, light and sound show. It wouldn’t be Dubai if the dimensions weren’t gigantic here too: The fountains reach up to 150 meters in height.
The shows are free accessible, start daily from 18 Clock every half hour and last only a few minutes. During the week you can find until 22 Watch instead, on the weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) until 24 Watch. (There is also a show at lunchtime, but we would definitely recommend visiting after dark.)
Deira: Souks of Dubai & Dubai Creek The so-called souks are the markets of Dubai, which are located in the historic district of Deira. The two best known are the Spice Souk (Spice Market) and the Gold Souk (Jewelry & Gold). We had hoped for an authentic market hustle and bustle, but were unfortunately quite disappointed.
Surrounded by countless tourists, you are chatted up by pushy market vendors. Unfortunately, there is no (anymore) trace of traditional market life here. However: If you are still looking for one or the other souvenir, then you can definitely find it here.
One of our favorite places during our stopover in However, Dubai was the Dubai Creek. This gigantic estuary flows through Dubai and divides the city in two. The Dubai Creek is probably the craziest contrast to the otherwise so modern Dubai. If you can immerse yourself in traditional life anywhere, it’s here!
Bur Dubai & Al Bastakiya District Once you have crossed the Dubai Creek – the ride with the water taxi costs 1 dirham (so only a few cents) – you get to the historic district of Bur Dubai. In addition to the Dubai Museum, it houses a district that we really liked from a purely visual point of view: Al Bastakiya.
Al Bastakiya is a protected district consisting of beautifully restored mud buildings. The whole thing looks pretty dressed up and fancy – so more like an open-air museum than an authentic district.
Nevertheless, we find Al Bastakiya (or Al Fahidi Historic Neighborhood as it’s actually called now) a very nice stopover during a Dubai stopover. With the nice cafes, shops and galleries the district definitely invites you to linger.
Shopping Malls in Dubai As now: shopping malls as sights? Believe us, we have a hard time with it ourselves, but in Dubai the malls are in a way a highlight in their own right. We will briefly introduce you to the two best known.
First of all, there is the gigantic Dubai Mall, which houses the famous aquarium . You can hardly avoid the Dubai Mall during a stopover in Dubai, because this is also where the entrance to visit the Burj Khalifa is located.
And then of course there is the Mall of the Emirates, that shopping center that, in a way, shoots the bird with the integrated ski hall. Yes, that’s right, a ski slope in a desert town. We only watched through the glass pane and could hardly believe our eyes.
You can think what you want of Dubai’s pompous shopping malls. But they are definitely a experience, we can promise that.
A little tip: both in the Dubai Mall and in the Mall of the Emirates is there a Shake Shack location. We are hopelessly addicted to the burgers of this American chain – and now there is also a vegetarian version, yay!
Dubai Marina Southwest of Dubai, around 25 Kilometre away from the center is one of the newer parts of Dubai. Here lies the Dubai Marina – an exclusive harbour district, in which in the last two decades around the 200 Skyscraper were built.
The canal is artificial (how could it be otherwise in Dubai): The island in front of it was heaped up. Along the promenade “The Walk” you will find luxury boutiques, restaurants and cafés. We felt very comfortable here and can definitely recommend a walk.
By the way, the legendary palm island of Palm Jumeirah is very close to the Dubai Marina. We weren’t there ourselves. If you are not staying in one of the hotels there, then the island is said to be more spectacular to look at from the air.
3. width re Travel tips for your Dubai stopover What is the best travel time for a Dubai stopover? Hot & dry – this is how Dubai’s climate can be summarized. In principle you can travel to Dubai all year round, but there are definitely months that are not so suitable.
Between May and September we would like to offer you a trip recommend only conditionally to Dubai, because then it gets unbearably hot. We speak from experience, because we were in Dubai in mid-May and the heat was sometimes very difficult to bear. During these months, temperatures often climb above 40 Centigrade.
Between November and March , on the other hand, the climate is much more pleasant. The temperature during the day is usually around 15 until 25 Degree. It is coolest between December and February.
Transportation: How to get from A to B in Dubai First First things first: Nothing works in Dubai without (public) transport. Dubai is primarily a car city and not very pedestrian friendly. We recommend a combination of metro and taxis.
Metro in Dubai Dubai has a modern metro, which currently consists of two lines (red and green). The prices for a metro journey vary depending on the duration of the journey and the ticket option. (For example, there are extra tickets for 1st class. Yes, that’s right, there is a 1st class in the Dubai Metro.) You can simply buy your ticket from the machine. A ride will usually cost you the equivalent of about one euro.
The Dubai Metro would be great if you didn’t have to walk endlessly from each station to the actual destination return. So we did what the locals do: we rode the metro as much as possible and took a taxi if necessary. (Either away from the station or, depending on your convenience, for the entire route.)
By the way, Dubai Airport is also connected to the metro . So if your hotel is near a metro station, you could use it to get into town. However, it is more comfortable to take a taxi.
Taxi driving in Dubai Taxis are relatively cheap in Dubai and very reliable. In contrast to taxis in Southeast Asian areas, everything works very correctly: the taximeter is always used, otherwise the ride is free for the passenger.
The price of course depends on how long you drive. But you will usually never get more than 63 Dirham (so good 15 euros). In any case, we can highly recommend taxis in Dubai – you get to your destination comfortably, quickly and comparatively cheaply.
A taxi is also definitely the most practical and convenient solution from the airport to the city. The airport is relatively close to the city area. Depending on where your hotel is located, the journey takes about until 25 minutes .
For a stopover or a short stay in Dubai you don’t necessarily need the most detailed travel guide. Therefore we can recommend the Lonely Planet Pocket Dubai. The travel guide is very small and light, but still contains all the important information. We used it ourselves and were very satisfied.
You can buy the guide here: Lonely Planet Pocket Dubai
4. Our hotel recommendations for Dubai Tip 1: St Regis Downtown Dubai Highly recommend the stylish St Regis Downtown Dubai, located in Downtown Dubai. There is a free shuttle to the Dubai Mall several times a day. You can also walk about Minutes from the mall.
The rooms are a good size, very comfortable and tastefully decorated. The view from most of the rooms is truly spectacular. The pool area is not the largest, but the view of the canal is lovely.
Our conclusion: This hotel is not exactly the cheapest, but you spend the night there here in a really stylish hotel in a great location.
You can book the hotel here: St Regis Downtown Dubai
A cheaper, but still highly recommended alternative is the Zabeel House by Jumeirah, which only opened in 2019 opened. You feel very comfortable in this quite hip design hotel.
The rooms are stylish -functionally furnished and really comfortable. The bathroom is visible, but if you’re traveling as a couple, that shouldn’t be a problem. The pool area is also great.
The hotel is near Palm Island (not on the water) and is a short walk
minutes away from the nearest metro station . You are not in the middle of the action here, but all sights are easily accessible.
You can book the hotel here: Zabeel House by Jumeirah
5583549Transparency: Affiliate Links This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!
Have you ever made a stopover in Dubai? We are curious: How did you like it? What were your experiences? We look forward to your additional tips in the comments!