Glamourous and awe inspiring, Dubai is a heady mix of breathtaking architecture and engineering, world-class shopping malls and characterful historic areas, making it one of the most exciting places for a city break.
Dubai is definitely a place unlike any other. Springing up from almost nothing just a few decades ago, this stunning destination is a true feat of mankind.
A major trade and shopping hub, the city is filled with high-end hotels, shops and restaurants. But that doesn’t make it an exclusive destination for the rich and famous. There’s much more of a broad appeal to Dubai today, with lots of affordable places to stay and visit. And scratch just beneath the surface of the contemporary city and you’ll find an area rich in history and intrigue, whether that’s at the souks where you can haggle for goods, or out on camel back in the desert.
With that said, many people visit for two main reasons, shopping and beaches. With countless malls across the city like the spectacular Ibn Battuta Mall and beautiful hangouts like Jumeirah beach, city breaks in Dubai are sure to be great ones.
For anyone interested in art, history and culture, Dubai has plenty to offer.
Dubai Museum is one top pick, set in an 18th-century fort and charting Arabian life. You can also visit Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House, a former palace and now a museum. And Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde houses some beautiful displays of Middle Eastern art.
For a sight to remember, head down to see the Jumeirah Mosque after nightfall. It’s lit by thousands of lights making it a really romantic spot. Go and check out the world’s tallest building at 828 meters, The Burj Khalifa. Here you can take in the view from the observation deck, or even have afternoon tea in the clouds. Or for something a little different, pop to Wild Wadi Waterpark for a fun day out.
There’s much more to Dubai than its brand new, shiny trading centre. If you’d like to get to know the different corners of the city, start with the Bastakia Quarter. This restored heritage area has meandering little streets, art shops and galleries and al fresco cafés to discover.
Or, pop to Hindi Lane to experience its colourful streets lined with vendors selling knickknacks and home to the city’s Hindu community. And to bring yourself right back up to date, visit Madinat Jumeirah, a modern village based on traditional Arab design with a souk and picturesque waterways.
The city’s hotel and restaurant scene is vibrant and varied, so great food and drink are sure to be a big part of your city break in Dubai.
Just a few tips to get you going. Why not try Kasbar if you like the idea of a quirky Moroccan-themed bar? Carter’s is a popular bar and restaurant, Scots American Grill is a great steakhouse, Zengo is a favourite for Asian fusion cuisine, and for Middle Eastern food, go to QD's.