Guest Post by Neha Singh
Seven days in Dubai not only allows you to discover its big icons, contrast sights, and popular neighborhoods but also gives you sufficient time to explore its nearby emirates.
So if you’re here for some ideas and inspiration to create your perfect Dubai itinerary, here we’ve compiled a travel program with top things to do in one week.
Overview Of This Dubai Itinerary
This Dubai itinerary is just for your idea, so chart each day in Dubai by adding or skipping sights, experiences, etc, at your convenience. This also includes a few options (particularly in Day 5 and Day 6), so that you can easily pick one that goes with your preferences.
One of the most hassle-free ways to explore Dubai is to hire a private vehicle with a driver. This lets you take in the city’s top attractions at your own pace with an experienced guide/driver by your side. But if you’re not able to afford this, don’t worry; Dubai’s public transport system operated by RTA is one of the best in the world.
With a singlet NOL card, you can access all of its transport modes, from the swiftest of its kind metro and cab to spotless buses and water taxis. Dubai Metro is the most efficient and convenient of all. With its routes/stations laid across the red and green lines, this makes your commute from one point to another in Dubai quite a breeze.
Best Time To Visit
The peak season is during winter months (November to March). Come prepared to experience a sheer volume of prestigious events, shows, and seasonal sights, etc in these months, the significant being DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival), Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities, Dubai Miracle Garden and Global Village.
But, if you want to significantly cut down on your Dubai vacation cost, visit here in the summer months (May to September). While it’s true that summer heat becomes intense in July – August, it’s still a great time to visit, particularly if you’re not an outdoor enthusiast. You’ll be able to easily evade all heat and keep yourself super chill with its many expansive malls and indoor attractions such as Ski Dubai.
Dubai One Week Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive In Dubai (Dhow Cruise At Dubai Marina Or Dubai Creek)
Check into your pre-booked Dubai hotel or resort. Take rest to recover from jetlag or move out depending on the time of your arrival here. If you reach here early morning or mid-morning, you can step out after some time to explore the sights close to your hotel.
Now if you want to make your first day memorable with an authentic Dubai experience, a highly recommended activity is to go on an evening dinner cruise aboard a traditional wooden vessel, known as a dhow.
For those who don’t know, dhows were once used for pearl farming and fishing in the region, especially during the pre-oil era. Now, these refurbished vessels serve as floating restaurants, offering a glimpse into Dubai’s culture and traditional hospitality.
Subject to your hotel location, you can choose to take a dhow cruise at Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek. You can expect to take in the stunning city skyline views, finest foods, unlimited refreshments and awe-inspiring live entertainment such as Tanura show on this approximately two-hour cruise.
Important Tips for Day One
- If this is your first time trip to Dubai, it would be nice to arrange for an airport meet and greet through a reputable service provider. This should also include transfer to your Dubai hotel.
- Make sure that you’ve booked your hotel in advance.
- If you’re planning to take a dhow cruise, pre-book it via an experienced tours company. Don’t forget to add transfers at the time of booking; this will avoid any hassle as part of your transport from hotel to cruise point and vice versa.
Day 2: Tick Off All Dubai Icons
Today, you’ll officially begin your Dubai sightseeing. Start with Dubai’s striking contemporary sights across Downtown Dubai. And be sure to include the following in your travel program.
Whether you’re in Dubai for a day or a week, this sight is unmissable. The colossal, 828-meter-high structure is currently the world’s tallest man-made structure. Take a selfie or groupie against its stunning backdrop, and if possible, make an entry to its observation deck on 124th or 148th level (which is also the highest of its kind) with a swift elevator ride.
This gives you the unique chance to admire the region’s exquisite sights, desert, and ocean all from the city’s topmost vantage point. You’ll further get to watch a multimedia show on Dubai’s past.
The Dubai Mall
From shopping enthusiasts and leisure seekers to impulsive little ones and thrill-seekers, this attraction right next to Burj Khalifa is a destination ideal for all ages and abilities. Shoppers will be spoiled for choices with over 1200 outlets, while families and kids have some unforgettable moments at its attractions such as:
- Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
- Dubai Ice Rink
- VR Park
- Hysteria Haunted Attraction
Souk Al Bahar
This stunning shopping spot recreates the old world Arabian charm in the heart of modern Dubai. Translated as the Sailor’s Market, this atmospheric marketplace is definite to blow you away with its loads of shopping, dining and entertainment options.
The Dubai Fountain
After a whole day of shopping and entertainment, treat yourself to a breathtaking extravaganza of water, light, and music. This gives you the chance to see streams of water sprouting into the air (reaching up to 500 feet), in tune with classic Arabic, Bollywood or western songs.
Set in Burj Lake, this is a free attraction. But if you want to experience it from an exclusive viewpoint, choose to reserve a table at one of the region’s swanky restaurants or consider an abra ride along the lake.
Important Tips for Day Two
- Downtown Dubai is one of Dubai’s most stylish neighborhoods. However, its many dining venues, attractions etc ensure that it’s for every pocket and preference.
- If you’re arriving here by metro, get off at Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall Metro Station. Follow the directions for a covered walkway which leads you to the Dubai Mall.
- A vast food court within the Dubai Mall caters to all taste buds and budgets.
- You’ll also find a variety of other dining options both within and outside the Dubai Mall.
- All the above-mentioned attractions are within walkable distance.
- There are also many other glitzy sights and attractions such as Dubai Opera in the vicinity. Take a ride aboard a classic red double-deck tram to marvel at the region’s amazing sights.
Day 3: See Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab & Go For An Evening Desert Safari
No introduction is probably required to describe this palm-shaped man-made island with a crescent on its top. Take a helicopter ride or opt for a Sky Dive adventure to soak up the charm of this unrivaled sight in its all glory.
If you’re looking for an economical alternative, opt for a monorail ride (from Atlantis The Palm or Gateway Station) which covers almost all of the region’s top sights.
Atlantis, The Palm
This palatial style resort at the crescent part of Palm Jumeirah is more than a five-star accommodation. It’s an all-inclusive fun-and-thrill-packed destination, thanks to its attractions such as:
- Aquaventure Water Park
- Lost Chambers Aquarium which transports you to the mythical Lost City of Atlantis
- Dolphin Bay
- Sea Lion Point
- Aquaventure Beach
Related Article: 7 Exciting Things to do in Dubai in 2020
Burj Al Arab
A few minutes’ drive away from Atlantis, The Palm will take you to this sail-shaped structure. This is often dubbed as the world’s only seven-star hotel, with its super classy interiors and luxurious comforts.
Apart from capturing pictures from outside, you can make an entry to this hotel; just pre-book a table at one of its dining venues.
Be ready to be picked up at the pre-agreed spot to kick off your drive to Dubai’s desert, which is about 40 to 45 minutes’ drive away from the city centre. See the glamorous, full of life cityscape turning into a barren land as you head to the desert.
Despite completely isolated, its endless sands and compelling quietude are sure to take your breath away. Enjoy the electrifying ever dune bash, try camel ride/sandboarding/quad biking, and get a slice of the Bedouin culture with activities like henna tattooing, Shisha smoking, falconry, etc. You’ll also get to relish a scrumptious BBQ dinner plus traditions shows like belly dance and Tanura show.
Important Tips for Day Three
- If you are planning to take a helicopter ride or Sky diving, it’s advisable to book them in advance.
- As these attractions are not at a walkable distance, the most ideal option is to sign up for a guided city tour.
- You can also consider a combo package inclusive of both sightseeing and desert safari.
Day 4: Visit Old Dubai
Get ready to journey back in time as you visit Dubai’s quaint streets and old quarters across Bur Dubai and Deira. The following are the top attractions that you’ll cover today.
Also known as Al Fahidi Historical District, its past dates back to the 1800s when the merchants from Iran’s Bastak region came here for trading purposes. As you wander through its narrow alleys, you’ll realize that the place is still maintained in its original state, with all its heritage dwellings, wind towers (traditional air-conditioners), laid-back wooden courtyards, etc still intact.
This is probably the greatest of Dubai attractions that would give you an authentic glimpse into the region’s past. There is a vast repertoire of items on display here, which will enlighten you about the Emirati lifestyle before the discovery of oil. What makes this place extra special is that it’s located within the region’s oldest of its kind Al Fahidi Fort.
Steeped in history, Dubai Creek divides old Dubai into Bur Dubai and Deira. It’s bustling, vibrant and packed with a mix of charming old and incredible new attractions across its either side.
There is no better way to experience the historic Dubai Creek than with an abra ride. It will cost you just AED 1 to cross the creek and reach its other side in Deira (assuming that you’re in Bur Dubai side now).
These represent the authentic traditional Arabian bazaars. Even if you’re not a shopping enthusiast, these souks are worth checking out. There is Perfume Souk, Textile Souk, Spice Souk, and most importantly, the Gold Souk whose entire streets, shops, etc are dedicated to selling all types of gold jewelry imaginable.
Important Tips for Day Four
- Know that most of these attractions are not at a walkable distance. Take the metro or hire a cab to reach from one spot to another.
- You’ll find dining options serving almost all cuisines imaginable in this area. And the most exciting part is that they are super affordable too.
- There are food joints, cafes, etc, from where you can try popular Arabic street foods like shawarma and falafel.
- Dubai’s traditional bazaars are a treat for budget shoppers. From stunning Dubai souvenirs and reasonable apparels to knick-knacks, you can shop almost everything from these souks.
Day 5: Dedicate This Day For Fun, Thrill And Entertainment
Choose from one of the following options to spend this day!
Option 1: City Walk & Ski Dubai
City Walk is one of the ultimate leisure and entertainment spots in the heart of modern Dubai. There is something ideal to cater to every like and skill here. Visit the Green Planet which mimics the Amazon rainforest or let your little ones catch up with their favorite Mattel toys or characters at Mattel Play! Town.
Moreover, there is Hub Zero which is certain to excite adults and kids alike, with its unmatched gaming rides and attractions.
Don’t skip this attraction, especially if you’re traveling to Dubai during summer months. Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, it’s completely set indoors and filled with snow all through the year.
And just as you expected, you’ll be able to enjoy all your favorite snow activities (including skiing and snowboarding) even when the outside temperature is at its peak (up to 55 degrees Celsius).
Option 2: Dubai Parks and Resorts
This is a true haven for theme park lovers. It’s the region’s first integrated resort with three theme parks and a water park under its roof. You can easily spend a whole day in this resort, hopping from one park to another.
Motiongate Dubai is the region’s first Hollywood-inspired theme park, while the first of its kind Bollywood Parks Dubai has rides, attractions, and shows all based on the popular Hindi cinemas. And there are LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park, both created for families of little ones from 2 to 12 years.
Option 3: Miracle Garden & Global Village
These are the two of Dubai’s popular seasonal attractions, active or open only during winter months.
This is the world’s biggest natural garden, spanning over an area of about 72,000 square meters. Yes, you’ll be surrounded by over 150 million colorful flowers, set in a spectrum of designs, shapes, and patterns.
This vast multicultural theme park in Dubailand is a hub of leisure, shopping, entertainment, and dining. There are over 25 pavilions which host about countries. So come here expected to experience diverse cultures, relish exotic foods and immerse yourself in several traditional and mindblowing celebrity performances. It’s also one of the most visited attractions during DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival).
Day 6: Take A Day Trip From Dubai
Armed with seven days, it would be a loss to not include its charming neighboring emirates in your itinerary. So, consider one of the places for your mini getaway from Dubai.
Option 1: Abu Dhabi
Approximately two hours’ drive away, it’s one of the most favored destinations for a day trip from Dubai. It’s the UAE’s capital as well as the largest city and is as stunning as Dubai. See futuristic structures, visit the treasured Sheik Zayed Mosque, and relive the region’s traditional past at Heritage Village.
Next, make a visit to the city’s absolute leisure destination at Yas Island, which is home to the first Ferrari branded theme park (Ferrari World), Yas Waterworld, and CLYMB Dubai (with the world’s biggest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the tallest climbing wall), among others.
You can further choose to visit its mix of new and classic attractions such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, Qasr Al Watan, and Emirates Palace Hotel.
Option 2: Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah may be less than one hour’s drive away from Dubai, but it retreats you to a world of refreshingly distinct cultural, leisure and scenic attractions. Experience the region’s past at the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah or pay a visit to the RAK Pearl Museum to know about the region’s celebrated pearl farming heritage.
Continue to its historical attractions like Dhayah Fort and Falayah Fort which dates back to the 18th century. Also, be sure to include attractions like the exquisite Marjan Island, the isolated Jazirat Al Hamra, and Old Souk in your travel program.
Want to throw in some adventure and thrill to your Ras Al Khaimah visit?
Don’t miss Jebel Jais Zip Line which not only gives you the chance to take in the world’s longest zipline but also experience the UAE’s highest mountain from a phenomenal perspective.
Important Tips for Day Six
- While you can explore Abu Dhabi or Ras Al Khaimah on your own, it’s best to book a guided excursion.
- Besides the services of an expert guide, it includes roundtrip transfers to and from your Dubai hotel, plus all entry tickets (as per your choice).
Day 7: Departure
Depending on your flight timing, you can make the most of your last day in Dubai. You can do last minute shopping or choose to see Dubai attractions that you haven’t seen, such as the biggest of its kind Dubai Frame (offering the views of both Old and New Dubai).
Dubai is a wonderful holiday spot which you can visit any part of the year. So no matter when you plan to visit Dubai, use this sample itinerary to immaculately chart a week in Dubai itinerary.
Where to Stay in Dubai
If it’s your first time to visit Dubai, we’d suggest you stay in Jumeirah. This neighborhood stretches along the Persian Gulf’s shores! You can find here several activities and attractions that will make you want to keep coming back to Dubai. Here are some of the best accommodations in Jumeirah.
- Cheapest: Aloft Palm Jumeirah – Book here for discounted rates
- Top Rated: Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah – Book here for discounted rates
- Most Popular: Atlantis – Book here for discounted rates
There are no budget hotels in Jumeirah as it is where you will find the most luxurious hotels in the city.
For history and culture, you might want to book your accommodation in Deira. This neighborhood is one of the oldest in the city. You can find here tons of coffee shops, old buildings, souks, and spice markets! It’s also close to the airport.
- Cheapest: Al Jawhara Metro Hotel – Book here for discounted rates
- Budget: Lavender Hotel Deira – Book here for discounted rates
- Midrange: Rove City Centre – Book here for discounted rates
- Luxury: Al Bandar Rotana Dubai Creek – Book here for discounted rates
Just next to Palm and south of Jumeira, the Marina is a vibrant and lively neighborhood in the city. If you love stunning views, trendy restaurants, and upscale entertainment and shopping, then The Marina is just for you!
- Cheapest: Suba Star Apartments – Book here for discounted rates
- Budget: Wyndham Dubai Marina – Book here for discounted rates
- Midrange: Address Dubai Marina – Book here for discounted rates
- Luxury: Grosvenor House Hotel and Apartments – Book here for discounted rates
Wanna stay close to Dubai’s second best mall and ski resort? Al Barsha should be your top choice! Compared to Marina and Downtown, Al Barsha is cheaper.
- Cheapest: Tulip Al Barsha Hotel Apartment – Book here for discounted rates
- Budget: Al Khoory Atrium – Book here for discounted rates
- Midrange: Coral Dubai Al Barsha Hotel – Book here for discounted rates
- Luxury: Kempinski Hotel – Book here for discounted rates
Burj Khalifa and the huge Dubai Mall is found in Downtown Dubai. This is the perfect place to book a hotel in if you’re traveling as a family. There are fine-dining restaurants, glamorous clubs, and fancy boulevards.
- Cheapest: The Solo Traveler – Book here for discounted rates
- Budget: Movenpick Hotel Apartments – Book here for discounted rates
- Midrange: Rove Downtown – Book here for discounted rates
- Luxury: Armani – Book here for discounted rates
Aside from hotels and resorts, you can also opt to stay at an Airbnb.
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Johanes is a digital nomad and a web content writer who loves to go on spontaneous travels. She also likes to go camp under the stars and play with her dog and cats.