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Glamorous 2 Days In Dubai Itinerary For First Time Visitors

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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.

Following our trip to Dubai for our epic multi-destination honeymoon, we’re here to show you how to get a flavour of what this magical city is all about in a whirlwind 48 hours…

Justine and Scott at the top of Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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 about 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.

Scott and Justine in the Arabian Desert

2 Days In Dubai Itinerary For First Time Visitors

Day 1

Burj Khalifa

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.

Views from the top of Burj Khalifa, Dubai

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.

Dubai Mall

As the Burj Khalifa connects to 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. 

Justine and the large red heart at Dubai Mall

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…

Jewellery souk at Dubai Mall

Dubai Marina

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. 

This 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!

Dubai Ferry Cruise At Sunset

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

Atlantis Palm Resort, Dubai

Dubai Fountain

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 nighttime 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.

As for dinner, you could eat at the Dubai Marina after your ferry cruise. Top-rated restaurants in this area include The Talk Restaurant, Mazina and Zengo.

Alternatively, various restaurants at the Dubai Mall are well worth a visit. Top-rated restaurants at the mall include Cova, Somewhere and Tribes.

Day 2

Gold Souk

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!

Dubai Gold Souk

Desert Safari

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! 

Dubai Desert Safari

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.

Arabian Desert

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.

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!

Was this Dubai itinerary not quite what you were after? We also offer custom travel planning services!

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 sightsee.

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. 

Check prices for Taj Dubai on Booking.com >>

Other top-rated hotels in and around Downtown Dubai include:

Find more Dubai hotels on Booking.com >>

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 sightsee.

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…

Need more help planning your trip to Dubai? We also offer custom travel planning services!

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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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