If you want to feel like royalty and head out on a city break that has all the glitz and glamour you could possibly want and more, then we can think of nothing more suited than spending 2 days in Dubai – the mother of all things decadent.
Built on a city of riches and wealth some of us can only dream of, Dubai is a place where pimped up supercars speed past, jewels aplenty glint and glimmer from shop windows and futuristic architecture surprises you at every twist and turn.
Here’s how to get a flavour for what this magical city is all about in a whirlwind 48 hours…
Is 2 Days In Dubai Enough?
If you’re wondering whether 2 days in Dubai is enough time to see everything you want to, then the answer is yes and no.
2 days in Dubai is enough time to give you a flavour of what the city is like, but you will need to make some tough decisions over what you most want to see and do.
Dubai is a surprisingly large city, so you’ll need to choose which part you most want to see during your trip rather than splitting your time across sights dotted all over Dubai.
This 2 days in Dubai itinerary is what we chose to do during our first trip to this UAE superstar as part of our epic Asia honeymoon. We hope it gives you a few ideas for top things to do and places to see in Dubai in 2 days.
2 Days In Dubai Itinerary For First Time Visitors
At over 830 metres tall, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and is easily Dubai’s most famous tourist attraction.
On the lower levels are exhibits and information boards about how and why it was built. And from the top, you can see across Dubai and the Persian Gulf, allowing you to see just how much Dubai really has sprung up in the middle of the desert.
We thought the views of the Burj Lake in particular from up here were sublime making a trip to the top well worth it.
We recommend booking a morning slot for the Burj Khalifa, so that you can avoid the heat of the midday sun. Even at 10am, the sun is already beating down and you can especially feel the heat from this high up.
As the Burj Khalifa connects onto Dubai Mall, it makes sense to head straight there afterwards.
If you’ve never visited Dubai before, you might find it strange that we’d be recommending a shopping trip in this 2 day Dubai itinerary.
But this is Dubai – where everything is glitzier and larger than life.
Inside this unique shopping mall, you can find everything from an aquarium and towering waterfall to an Olympic-size ice skating rink, as well as all the designer shops and pretty boutiques you could possibly want.
Perhaps what most surprised us though was the souk we found, which had jewellery shop after jewellery shop – and even a humongous dinosaur skeleton!
Only in Dubai…
If you’ve seen all there is to see at the Dubai Mall and grabbed a bite to eat then you probably would have spent a good two to four hours there.
Which means it’s now the perfect time to hop in a taxi and leave this part of Dubai to head south.
A stroll along the Dubai Marina is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the Dubai Mall. But it’s also the perfect place to do a spot of yacht watching; you’re bound to see lots of them!
Sunset Ferry Cruise
The Dubai Marina is also where you can join a sunset ferry cruise at around 5pm.
This gives you the chance to see a pretty sunset over the water, as well as unique views of the Dubai skyline and even the Disney-esque Atlantis Resort.
If you’ve chosen to stay near the Burj Khalifa (more on that later), then there’s no reason why you can’t finish your first day in Dubai with a free night time showing of the incredible Dubai Fountain.
Every 30 minutes, you’ll be treated to dancing fountain shows like you’ve never seen before. Water spurts over 500 feet in the air and they’ve even managed to make the water twist and turn like snakes.
It’s hard to describe how incredible it is but this video will show you what we mean:
Where To Eat In Dubai On Day 1
For breakfast, brunch or lunch, the Dubai Mall has lots of restaurants and eateries you can head to. Not all of them serve authentic Arabian food but you’ll find lots of places you’ve seen across the US and UK for some home comforts.
Hop in a taxi from your hotel after breakfast and you can spend the morning wandering around the Gold Souk.
Here, you’ll find jewels, gems and necklaces glittering at every twist and turn. Just remember that you’ll need to brush up on your haggling skills beforehand to score the best prices.
But even window shopping here is like nothing else!
One of the most popular tours in Dubai is a Desert Safari.
Because of the extreme heat, they usually pick you up from your hotel between 2-3pm in the afternoon – and it’s a great way to have some fun in the Arabian Desert.
You’ll race across sand dunes in a 4×4, which is exhilarating and so much fun!
You’ll also get the chance to try sandboarding, and once the sun goes down, you’ll be treated to a mesmerising display of tanoura dancing, belly dancing and fire breathing while tucking into a delicious buffet dinner.
It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to this enchanting place.
Where To Eat In Dubai On Day 2
There are a few eateries near the Gold Souk where you could have lunch. One of the best-rated restaurants in this area is Al Bait Al Qadeem, but there’s also a KFC and McDonald’s nearby too.
Or if you’ve thought ahead, you could take a picnic with you and enjoy it while sitting next to the glittering Dubai Creek.
As for dinner, you’ll be well and truly catered for after your desert safari so no need to source a restaurant later on!
Where To Stay In Dubai
Dubai is a surprisingly big city so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to where to stay.
When we were first booking our trip, we were told to stay on the Palm Jumeirah island, which would have been incredible – but would also have made it difficult and expensive to sight see.
Instead, we chose to stay in Downtown Dubai near the Burj Khalifa, which turned out to be the better option – especially for everything we did during our own 48 hours in Dubai.
We stayed at the impressive 4-star hotel: Taj Dubai. (It was our honeymoon after all!) It had an Indian theme, which was different and had floor-to-ceiling windows in every room with either city or Burj Khalifa views.
Other top-rated hotels in and around Downtown Dubai include:
- Sofitel Dubai Downtown: 5-star luxury hotel with full-service spa and outdoor pool near Emaar Square | Check Prices | Read Reviews
- DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai – Business Bay: Modern 4-star hotel within the Business Bay area | Check Prices | Read Reviews
- Manzil Downtown: 4-star hotel with health club and outdoor pool within ten minutes of the Dubai Fountain | Check Prices | Read Reviews
- Vida Residences Downtown by EMAAR: Spacious modern apartments with kitchens also within ten minutes of the Dubai Fountain | Check Prices | Read Reviews
- Ramada Downtown Dubai: Modern 4-star hotel with comfortable rooms; some overlooking the Dubai Fountain | Check Prices | Read Reviews
Dubai Travel Tips
Although Dubai is quite westernised as far as Middle Eastern cities go, it still pays to know these Dubai travel tips before you go:
- Visas: If you’re visiting from the UK, USA and most other European countries then you don’t need to sort out a visa before you go. Your passport will be automatically stamped with a 30 day visa. If you’re visiting for longer than 30 days or are from a different country, then check out the Visit Dubai website for visa information.
- Getting around Dubai: Dubai is not a walkable or pedestrian-friendly city. While Google Maps might show a landmark as being a ten minute walk away, there are unlikely to be paths to walk on and large flyover roads will often be in the way. Instead, taxis and private transfers are – by far – the easiest and best way to get around Dubai. But…
- Beware of taxi scams! From main tourist attractions like the Dubai Mall, you need to be aware of taxi scams. Regulated city-wide taxis are cream coloured with different coloured roofs and the word ‘Taxi’ written on the top. They’re metered so you’ll always know you’re paying the right price. However, when you’re waiting in the taxi queue, some people may try to usher you into different taxis. These won’t be metered and are more like private transfers – and come with the price tag to match at more than double what a metered taxi would charge you.
- Dubai weather: Dubai’s average temperature is 30°C but it often feels more like 40°C to be honest. This might come as a surprise if you’re not used to temperatures as high as this. Although you can cling to the air-conditioning indoors, it’s wise to take a handheld fan and plenty of water with you as you explore and sight see.
Over to you now – what do you think of this 2 days in Dubai itinerary? And what are you most excited to see and do first? Let us know in the comments below…
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