As day breaks on your first day in Dubai, get set for an action-packed day of underwater fun and sky-high delight. After a long flight, get your body moving again with a visit to Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark where you can splash and slide to your heart’s content. After playing in the water, marvel at the underwater world at the Lost Chambers Aquarium, home to 65,000 marine animals. A combo ticket is just the thing to make your first day hassle-free.
In the afternoon, head to the Mall of Dubai for some serious shopping. It’s the world’s second-largest mall with plenty of things to see and do. Take a peek at the Dubai Aquarium too while you’re there.
Take a night-time sightseeing tour of Dubai to see the Marina, Jumeirah and illuminated Atlantis, before heading up to the observation decks of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building with 160 stories. Visit the 2,722 foot (829.6 meter) engineering marvel’s observation decks on the 124th and 125th floors. End your perfect first day with drinks and dinner at Atmosphere, an ultra-stylish restaurant and lounge on the 122nd floor.
Day 2: Step back in time
Today you’ll see old Dubai as you visit the traditional souks and market places. The Al Fahidi district is the perfect area to start your sightseeing. Visit the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House to learn about Dubai’s history. Choose an old Dubai tour or a historical spice tour to learn more about the traditional souks and see the impressive gold souk.
In the afternoon, take a traditional abra boat up the river to the design district of Bastakiya. Here you’ll find art galleries as well as the textile market. Shop for some traditional textiles and take a break at one of the many cafés or tea houses in the area.
Once you’ve finished exploring (and shopping), get ready to go out on the town. One of the coolest spots is Play Restaurant & Lounge. Here the cocktails are as wonderful as the views from its 36th-floor location.
Once you’ve reached land again, it’s time to head to the magical Arabian desert. Book a desert safari tour and get ready for fun on the sand dunes. First up, enjoy some thrilling dune bashing in a 4×4 vehicle. You can choose to have fun on a quad bike or even try sandboarding. Once your pulse is racing, it’s time to slow down with a magical camel ride and local BBQ dinner. Enjoy traditional Arabian delicacies, see a belly-dancing show, and gaze at the stars.
Day 4: Head to Abu Dhabi
Today is all about a change of pace. A day trip to the largest emirate, Abu Dhabi, will show you a different side of the UAE. After a 90-minute journey, start your tour with a visit to one of the largest mosques in the world, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It can hold 40,000 worshippers and its pools, chandeliers, and columns are works of art. Other highlights include a drive along the Abu Dhabi Corniche to see the Arabian Gulf, and a visit to the Qasr Al Watan Palace to learn about Arabian history.
Day 5: Snap selfies along the sea
Start your last day in Dubai with a leisurely bicycle ride around the Palm or take a walk (or a helicopter ride) along the Jumeirah beaches. This will work up a good appetite, so stop for a seafood lunch at the fisherman’s village overlooking the ocean, and remember to take a selfie with the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah hotel in the background with its iconic sail architecture.
After lunch, stay on this stretch of the city, but head to the seas on an exciting speed boat tour. You’ll see the incredible Palm, Jumeirah Beach and Burj Al Arab from a different angle. Remember to take some selfies with the wind in your hair on the glamorous speed boat.
For a stellar end to an unforgettable vacation, dress in your best for a night on the town. Enjoy dinner at Mediterranean-inspired La Petite Maison. Then finish with drinks in the grand lounge at Buddha Bar before sayingbye (for now) to Dubai.
Don’t have five days to visit Dubai? No problem. Our 48-hour itinerary will tell you how to enjoy the best of the city in just two days. Want to learn more about Dubai? Check out our tips for first-time travelers to the UAE’s biggest city.Plan your trip to Dubai