What to do in Dubai: 12 day trips and activities for an unforgettable holiday
Dubai is a city of superlatives - a city that has shot out of nowhere in recent decades and has become a popular destination with a host of activities and attractions.
Many things in Dubai are the largest and best in the world – from gigantic shopping malls and glittering luxury hotels to more or less crazy leisure activities, there is everything a holidaymaker could wish for.
Dubai is a little different from many other destinations. In Dubai, you don’t let yourself drift through the different districts, as in many other cities.
No, in Dubai you visit the highest building in the world, fly over the city in a helicopter, surf on sand dunes or dive in an aquarium located in a mall.
Your time in Dubai will therefore be more determined by activities and excursions in the area than by strolling through the city or sightseeing.
We have selected the most interesting excursions and attractions in Dubai and wrote them down for you here.
#1 Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is of course an absolute must-see and is one of the ultimate Dubai activities par excellence.
The highest building in the world cannot be missed anyway and is well worth seeing from below as well as from above. We can recommend you the Burj Khalifa Sunset Ticket.
You can find more information about tickets and opening hours in our Burj Khalifa article.
#2 Burj Al Arab
It goes without saying that Dubai is also home to the most famous and luxurious hotel in the world. Who doesn’t know it at least from pictures, with its shape of a sail and the beach scenery? But you can’t just walk in, it’s too exclusive.
Nevertheless, there is a way to catch a glimpse from the inside. How about sipping cocktails with a spectacular view over Dubai?
#3 Desert Safari
A desert tour is well suited for a first impression of the sandy surroundings of the metropolis. You will be picked up from your hotel in a Jeep 4×4 and taken along a breakneck drive through the dunes to the desert camp.
There you will be greeted with Arabic coffee, tea and dates together with other visitors. In addition there are activities such as camel riding, traditional henna painting, photos in traditional robes and trying out water pipes under the starry sky.
At the end of the desert safari there will be a buffet with culinary delicacies of the region, belly dances and so-called Tanura dances. These are cancelled during religious holidays, so we recommend to have a look at the calendar before booking.
The trip to the dunes with the Jeep is also very bumpy and therefore not suitable for pregnant women or people with heart, back or neck problems.
The tour starts at 49 Euro per person and lasts 6 hours.
#4 Dubai Aquarium
A list of answers to the question of “What to do in Dubai?” should not lack this important activity.
Not only will you visit the aquarium itself, but you’ll also get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of marine researchers and animal keepers at work. The aquarium is rich in fish species, from jellyfish to sharks and stingrays.
Of course, there is also a typical aquarium tunnel from which you can see the colorful variety from below.
In the aquarium there is even a diving boat simulator and a glass bottom boat tour that you can do and if you dare, you can also go snorkelling.
#5 Helicopter sightseeing flight
Attention, people with a head for heights! On this 25-minute flight you can experience Dubai from its best perspective: from above. Here you can see the highlights of this vibrant city from a completely different perspective.
From Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab to Palm Island and the numerous luxury hotels in Dubai, you can see all the sights in Dubai from a very special perspective.
The trip costs almost 300 Euro per person.
#6 Dubai boat trip
If you want to see the most beautiful places in Dubai as well as find out some interesting facts about the city, then this boat tour is the ideal option for you. You will sail through the Dubai Marina for 75 minutes and get a great view of the skyline.
There will also be several breaks on the way so that you have time for photos. An experienced guide will tell you all you need to know about the city and its history.
The price includes drinking water and life jackets, which you hopefully won’t need.
Infants under 15 kg and pregnant women are unfortunately not allowed on board for safety reasons.
#7 Abu Dhabi Trip
Since Dubai and Abu Dhabi are only a stone’s throw from each other, it makes sense to also discover this city on a day trip.
This excursion is a one-day private tour to Abu Dhabi, during which you will be picked up from your hotel by your guide.
The tour includes a visit to Ferrari World on Yas Island, a short visit to the Emirates Palace, the Heritage Village and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi’s landmark.
The tour starts at 65 Euro per person, including Wifi in the tour bus, tour guide, drinking water during the trip and lunch at the 4-star hotel.
#8 Diving taster course
You always wanted to dive? This tour at Jumeirah Beach is great for beginners.
With an instructor and groups of maximum of 4 people you will get an insight into scuba diving, from an introduction to the use of scuba equipment to an exploration tour of the underwater world of Jumeirah Beach. Underwater photos and a Facebook post are included!
#9 Sandbuggy Tour
When it comes to Dubai excursions, the desert is of course the ultimate destination. If you want to experience the desert up close and full of action, we recommend a sandbuggy tour.
With this 3-hour tour you can not only experience this impressive landscape, but also have a lot of fun when you drive through the desert with these two-seaters with all-wheel drive. The guide will also tell you some interesting information about Dubai and its inhabitants.
Non-alcoholic drinks are included, as well as the pick-up and return trip to Dubai.
The excursion costs approx. 117 Euro per person and takes 3 hours with pick-up and drop-off.
Quad tour with BBQ
The quad tour described above is also available with a barbecue afterwards. The quad ride also includes stops for photos and a barbecue on a traditional Bedouin farm.
There is also a belly dance performance and the opportunity to smoke a shisha or try out a traditional henna painting.
This option costs about 127 Euro per person and takes about 6 hours.
#11 Amusement parks
Abu Dhabi and Dubai offer some world famous amusement parks that are great for a day trip and offer the ultimate fun. We have picked out the best for you.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
You will find the water park Wild Wadi more or less directly in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab. With its more than 30 water slides, it delights young and old.
Among the craziest attractions here are water roller coasters, 13 interconnected slides, as well as monster waves for surf fans. Especially for families this park is an absolute must.
Ferrari World is one of Dubai’s most popular day trip destinations, especially if you are a friend of fast luxury cars.
However, here everyone gets his money’s worth, because there are roller coasters, restaurants and various live shows. Or would a taster course in a racing car be something for you?
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Are you a total fan of Marvel movies? In the largest indoor theme park in the world you can experience the heroes Hulk, Captain America & others live.
Not only can you enjoy roller coasters (also based on action films, of course), but you can also meet lifelike dinosaurs and get a glimpse of ghosts and zombies in the “Haunted Hotel”.
There are a total of 20 different rides and attractions.
#12 Oman Fjords
Nature lovers watch out! In this imposing fjord, only accessible from the water and located on the Musandam peninsula, you can see the beauty of the rugged landscape between the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
This guided day trip to the Musandam Oman Fjords is not only a great way to experience pure nature, but also to see the old fishing villages on the other side of the Oman border.
For this tour you must have your passport with you, as the border to Oman will be crossed. We also recommend that you bring a sweater or jacket at least during the winter months.
The excursion takes one day and costs about 180 Euro per person, including visa costs, lunch buffet, snorkeling equipment and transfer to and from your hotel in Dubai.
These were our suggestions for excursions and activities in Dubai. Do you have any other ideas about what to do in Dubai? Leave a comment below.