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One Day In Dubai Itinerary For An Epic Stopover

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Spending one day in Dubai is your golden ticket to a world of pimped-up Lamborghinis, glittering jewels aplenty and the most incredible stopover.

Following our trip to Dubai as part of our epic multi-destination honeymoon, we’re here to show you how to make the most of your Dubai stopover when you’ve only got 24 hours to spare…

One Day In Dubai Itinerary For Your Dubai Stopover


Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is Dubai’s most popular tourist attraction. At over 830 metres high, it’s the tallest building in the world and offers some of the most incredible views of Dubai from the 125th level.

You’ll be able to see across the Persian Gulf and surrounding desert, while the views of the turquoise blue Burj Lake are beautiful too.

If you head there in the morning, you’ll avoid the heat of the midday sun. Even at 10am, the heat is sweltering at this kind of height!

Views from the top of Burj Khalifa, Dubai


Dubai Mall

The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall connect, so it makes sense to head there afterwards. 

Now, you might be wondering why a one day Dubai itinerary would recommend a visit to a shopping mall.

But this is Dubai – where everything is glitzier and larger than life.

Justine and the large red heart at Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is home to an aquarium, an Olympic-size ice skating rink, a huge man-made waterfall and all the designer shops and pretty boutiques you could possibly want.

What surprised us most during our own visit though was the souk we found, which had row upon row of jewellery shops and even a 24-metre-long dinosaur skeleton. Only in Dubai…

Jewellery souk at Dubai Mall

Dubai Marina

Once you’ve seen all there is to see at the Dubai Mall and grabbed a bite to eat, it’ll be the perfect time to hop in a taxi and leave this part of Dubai to head south.

The Dubai Marina is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the Dubai Mall and do a spot of yacht-watching. Trust us, you’ll see plenty!

Dubai Ferry Cruise At Sunset


Sunset Ferry Cruise

The Dubai Marina is also the place to be if you want to hop on board a sunset ferry cruise from around 5pm.

You’ll not only see a pretty sunset over the water, but you’ll also see the Dubai skyline and Disney-esque Atlantis Resort bathed in the stunning golden hour sunshine.

Atlantis Palm Resort, Dubai

Dubai Fountain

If you’re staying near the Burj Khalifa during your Dubai stopover (more on that later on), then we can think of no better way to end your 24 hours in Dubai than 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. Jets of water reach a whopping 500 feet and they’ve even managed to make the water twist and turn like snakes.

It’s a little hard to describe, so you’ll just have to take our word for it – or check out this video to see what we mean:


Where To Eat

The Dubai Mall has plenty of restaurants and eateries to choose from. Although they don’t all serve traditional Arabian food, you’ll likely find a myriad of companies you recognise from back home. This should be more than ideal for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

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

Or you could eat at the Dubai Mall before or after the fountain show. Top-rated restaurants here include Cova, Somewhere and Tribes.

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

Where To Stay In Dubai

Dubai is so large that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice on where to stay.

When we were booking our 2 days in Dubai layover, we were told to stay on the Palm Jumeirah island. Although this would certainly have been an interesting experience, it would have made it difficult and very expensive to sightsee.

Instead, we stayed in Downtown Dubai near the Burj Khalifa, which was perfect for us and everything was included in this Dubai stopover itinerary. 

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 >>

Otherwise, here are some more top-rated hotels in and around Downtown Dubai:

Find more Dubai hotels on Booking.com >>

Dubai Travel Tips

Dubai is fairly westernised when it comes to Middle Eastern cities. However, 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 automatically be stamped with a 30 day visa. If you’re visiting from a different country, then check out the Visit Dubai website for visa information.
  • Getting around Dubai: Dubai is far from being pedestrian-friendly. Google Maps might show a landmark as being a ten minute walk away, but in reality, there will be few paths to walk on while large flyover roads are likely to 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! When at popular tourist hubs 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, while waiting in the taxi queue, you may find that people try to usher you into different taxis. These won’t be metered and are basically private transfers. And they certainly come with the price tag to match as trips in these cars are often more than double what a metered taxi would charge you. Sadly we know that one from experience!
  • Dubai weather: Because Dubai is in the middle of the desert, its temperatures regularly hit a whopping 40°C, which might come as a surprise if you’re not used to this kind of heat. Although you can cling to the air-conditioning indoors, it’s best to take a handheld fan and plenty of water with you when you explore and sight see.

Over to you now – what do you think of this one day in Dubai itinerary? What are you most excited to see during your Dubai stopover? Let us know in the comments below…

Would you prefer to extend your trip to Dubai? Check out our 2 day Dubai itinerary for ideas and inspiration.

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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