One of the most-visited cities in the world, Dubai is home to over 200 nationalities and features everything from the world’s tallest buildings to man-made paradises on the sea. Dedicated to living up to its own hype, Dubai doesn’t disappoint: between gold-plated Lamborghinis and glittering fountains, it’s a desert gem worth visiting.

Day 1

10:00 AM

Wake up, get dressed (in your best Emirati glam): it’s time to eat! If breakfast is your thing, you’re about to be amazed — Dubai is known for its mouthwatering brunch options. Get a taste of traditional hospitality by savoring the local flavors. Try shakshuka, a scrambled egg dish originally from Tunisia. For sweet tooths, balaleet, native to the UAE, is the way to go. Round it all off with hot black tea or Arabian coffee for an authentic Saudi experience and get caffeinated for the busy day ahead.

12:00 PM

Get ready to walk off your unforgettable breakfast — it’s time to see the sights. Start with the world’s tallest building: head to the observation deck of the iconic Burj Khalifa. Panoramic to say the least, this 360-degree view is located 2,717 feet (828 meters) in the air. Not only does the world below look miniature from the top of the Burj Khalifa, but you can also see it up to 59 miles (95 kilometers) away. Now that’s big.

2:00 PM

Once you’re ready to get your head out of the clouds and return to planet earth, an oasis of retail therapy awaits. Located next to the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall is of equally epic proportions. This sprawling development houses over 1,200 shops and 150 restaurants. Needless to say, we think you’ll be able to find some lunch while you’re there. Once you’ve had your fill, be sure to check out the indoor theme park, ice rink, and massive indoor waterfall. And if the Dubai Mall impresses you, the Mall of the Emirates is sure to astound. Head there to experience the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort.

5:00 PM

After a long day of sightseeing and shopping, you might be craving a change of scenery. Not to worry — you won’t have to withstand the heat to enjoy it. In Dubai, the scenery comes to you. Instead of heading to the sea to scope out local wildlife, you can visit an indoor underwater oasis. The Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is home to some of the world’s largest reptiles and rare species such a Sand Tiger sharks and King crocodiles.

Day 2

6:30 AM

We know, it’s early. But hey — you’re in Dubai, and dune bashing isn’t something you do every day. Just 45 minutes from the city, the Red Dune desert is a gorgeous setting to start the day and get your adrenaline pumping. Discover the hidden delights of desert life and enjoy the thrills of a 4×4 safari on a three-hour adventure. From dune bashing to sandboarding, you’ll finish out your morning exhilarated and dusty.

12:00 PM

There’s nothing like streetfood to hanker the cravings of a midday snack. Drop by one of Dubai’s many shish tawook vendors for some local flavors that come conveniently wrapped in a pita and garnished with pickled turnips, olives, and mint. Looking for something heartier? Try margoogat, a meaty, tomato-based stew full of spice, or machboos, a traditional rice dish often served with locally-caught shrimp.

2:00 PM

With lunch out of the way, it’s time to set sail and experience Dubai from the water. Enjoy a unique perspective of the metropolis on a 1.5-hour cruise around Palm Jumeirah. Soak in the wonders of the Palm Islands: a man-made archipelago in the shape of a palm tree. And make sure to take pictures! You won’t see this kind of luxury anywhere else in the world.

7:00 PM

Your 48 hours are almost up. You’ve stood at the top of the tallest building in the world and walked through one of the largest malls in the world. You’ve seen beauty and grandeur on a scale only found in Dubai. Now, it’s time to head back to the water and relax. Step aboard a dhow and let this traditional Arabian sailboat take you along the Dubai Marina while you enjoy an international buffet. And there you have it: 48 hours in Dubai!

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