How many days in Dubai do you need?
So you have decided to visit Dubai but you are not sure how many days is enough for your trip? It is completely understandable. Dubai has new attractions and activities rising like mushrooms after the rain. You see those stunning pictures of all the places and you wish to visit them.
I will be honest with you. Even if you come for a whole month or a year, you still have new activities on your list to do. However, as you are coming for a holiday you need to think whether 3 days, five days, or one week will be enough.
Also, Dubai is not a cheap city, therefore you need to consider your budget and prioritize what is the most important for you to see and do.
Don’t worry, I will help you to decide how many days you should stay by providing this itinerary with the top things to do and see in Dubai and with some other alternatives, so you can choose based on your interest.
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How To Move Around Dubai
First of all, let me tell you how to move around Dubai in order not to lose any of your precious time. Dubai is a busy city, so there are traffic jams very often and you have to count on it. However, Dubai also has an excellent and easy-to-use metro.
There is an option to rent a car if you want to be independent and drive around. You need to know that traffic here is heavy and people drive fast. To rent a car is not necessary. If you wish to rent a car, check out some options here.
The best thing is to use the metro for long distances and if you need to reach an attraction where the metro is not going, you can take a taxi from that station, or buses if there are available.
Taxis are very good and not that expensive. There is also Uber, but it is more expensive than city taxis. Buses and in some areas tram is also available.
It is always important to check where is each attraction located, so you try to cover the ones that are close to each other on the same day. For the first-timers, I recommend using the Big Bus for moving around the city which will give you an idea about the structure of the city and you can also visit some attractions on the way. We used it when I first time visited Dubai together with the Abu Dhabi Tour.
When you arrive at the airport, take a taxi or you can use a private transfer to save some time.
How Many Days In Dubai Is Enough
So How many days in Dubai is really needed? Well, if you want to do everything and do it fast, just to cross it off your list, then you can do it in 3 days. However, if you want to enjoy the city and the attractions, 5 days are needed. Moreover, if you want to spend some days on the beach or visit some other Emirates in the UAE, then go for 7 days.
I never went for less than 7 days as I’m that person who loves to lie down on the beach for at least half of my holiday.
Here is an example of the 7-day itinerary where you can just choose the attractions and things to do that you are interested in and skip the ones that are not important for you.
Day 1. Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa
I believe that the tallest building in the world Burj Khalifa is number one on the bucket list for all tourists. Do you remember when I wrote about saving time? Here it is. Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world and it is located right next to Burj Khalifa.
Even if you are not into shopping or not planning to buy anything, just go and spend some time there. You will find there 1,200 retail outlets, 200 dining experiences, an Aquarium and underwater zoo, an ice rink, a cinema, and a lot of fun things like a VR Park, Hysteria, Emirates A380 simulator, for children Kidzania, Dubai Dino, and many more. There is a human waterfall going through the all floors which is amazing to see.
You will need a few hours to walk around. To go to the top of Burj Khalifa, you must enter it from inside Dubai Mall. I do recommend to by tickets in advance online as the interest is high and you may be disappointed. Sunset is usually the most popular time.
The fun doesn’t end here. When you walk out from the Dubai Mall, you can see the Burj Khalifa in its whole beauty, take some pictures, and walk around. You will find Wings of Mexico, a great Instagramable spot, you can walk around Souk Al Bahar where are some shops, restaurants, and cafes.
Have your lunch or dinner either inside Dubai Mall or Souk al Bahar and wait for the night sky. Why? Because at 6 pm the Dubai Fountain show starts. It is happening every 30 minutes and it is free to watch. It is an amazing light show with music that you can’t miss.
Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall are located downtown and you can come here by metro. The metro stop is called Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.
To stay near Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, check out these best hotels near Dubai Mall.
Day 2. Old Town
On your first day, you saw the new, clean, and shiny part of Dubai. The second day is time to see the old Dubai. The old Dubai is Deira district where you can find many souks like the Gold Souk, Spice Souk, or Perfume Souk, and Bur Dubai where the oldest part of Dubai called Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is located.
You will walk through the historical streets, admiring the architecture, you can visit a museum, and galleries and have lunch or coffee there.
Between Deira and Bur Dubai is Dubai Creek which you can cross by traditional Abra boat. Ticket cost just 1 dirham. Make sure you have a small change with you.
To get to the Old Town, you can take a metro to the station Sharaf DG in Bur Dubai or the Al Ras metro station in Deira.
Alternatively, you can use the Big Bus Tour as I mentioned above, which has a stop here. You can look around and hop on another bus.
In the evening if you wish to relax, go for a nice dinner. However, if you still have enough energy, you can enjoy a buffet dinner on a Dhow Cruise with entertainment.
Day 3. Beach
So if you come to Dubai to also relax and enjoy the lovely beaches, then the third day after two busy days is a time to gain some more energy. There are several beaches where you can go.
There are private beaches that belong to the hotels however there are many free public beaches where you can go depending on the area you are staying in. Close to Marina and JBR are Marina Beach and JBR Beach with many amenities. A little bit farther is Barasti Beach.
Close to Burj Al Arab, you will find a popular Jumeirah Beach and Umm Sequem Beach. This is a great spot for pictures with Burj Al Arab.
There is also Kite Beach very popular with kitesurfers and La Mer Beach with some restaurants and shops.
In the evening you should take a lovely walk in one of the best areas in Dubai. My favorite is Marina and the other one is JBR. In Marina, you walk along the canal surrounded by shiny skyscrapers. There are many restaurants and cafes around where you can have dinner, drink or shisha. There is also Marina Mall.
JBR is close to Marina and it is a nice promenade with shops, restaurants, cafes, and food stalls. Both these areas are worth the evening walk, so you can keep the other one for another evening.
Day 4. Desert Safari
You can’t visit Dubai and not go to the desert. It is the best and the most authentic place in Dubai. I love it there. Such peace and escape from the noisy city. While you can go there by yourself with a 4×4 car, the best is to take a tour. And trust me, the choices are endless.
There are morning tours, evening tours, or overnight tours. You will be picked up from your hotel or apartment and will drive out of the city. Then you will change the vehicle and will experience some adrenaline during dune bashing. If you are not interested in that, you can skip it.
You will stop the car in a good spot and take some awesome pictures. After the pictures, you continue to the open-air camp. Each tour provides different activities like camel riding, quad bikes, and sandboarding, you can try shisha, get a henna tattoo, and dress in national clothes, and in the evening there is a buffet dinner and entertainment which is usually Tanoura Dance or belly dancer and fakir show.
If you go for the morning desert safari, then you will still have almost half a day free which you can use for exploring the area where you stay, going to the beach, or doing some shopping.
If you choose the evening one, you have some free time in the morning as you will be picked up in the afternoon.
Day 5. Waterpark
Whether you are old or young, if you love waterparks, you must visit one in Dubai. I guarantee you will have so much fun. The best Waterparks in Dubai are Wild Wadi and Aquaventure.
Aquaventure is one of the largest waterparks in the world with a record of most waterslides and it is located on the artificial island Palm Jumeirah in the Atlantis Hotel. Wild Wadi is next to Burj Al Arab. To see whether Wild Wadi or Aquaventure is better, read my comparison here.
In Aquaventure there is also a dolphin encounter. If you buy this experience, you have entrance to the waterpark for free. The dolphin encounter is an amazing experience and I highly recommend it.
To get to Atlantis Hotel you can either take a taxi or use public transportation. There is a monorail going From Nakheel Mall, but you will still need to get to the Nakheel Mall either by taxi or tram and walk.
To get to Wild Wadi, the easiest way is by taxi. There is also a bus service available.
It is also good to book the waterparks in advance.
Day 6. Global Village
Global Village is a magical place. Visiting Global Village means going around the world. There are different pavilions representing countries from all around the world. You can see it in the architecture, products, and food. There are different events and shows, rides, games, and attractions for old and young to experience.
Global Village is open from October to April from 4 p.m. For more information about Global Village, read my article here.
In the morning you can relax on the beach or if you are interested in the largest flower garden in the world, you can visit Dubai Miracle Garden in the morning. In case Global Village is not for you, you can also replace it with Miracle Garden. The choice is yours.
To get to Global Village you can either take a taxi or a metro and then a bus. There are buses number 102, 103, 104, 106, and 107 from different metro stations.
To get to Miracle Garden you can take a taxi or metro to the Mall of the Emirates metro station and from there bus number 105.
Day 7. Visiting other Emirates
If you are staying in Dubai for one week or longer and you are not interested in relaxing on the beach but rather exploring different places, then you can consider visiting other Emirates or places around Dubai.
There are six more Emirates where Abu Dhabi is the capital city and after Dubai, it is the most popular to visit. There is one of the most beautiful mosques, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, which is free to visit. When visiting the mosque, you should dress respectfully and women should cover their hair. They also lend clothes and abaya to women.
Other than the mosque, there is a Grand Palace that you can see from outside and Ferrari World, which is a famous amusement park, the Louvre Museum, Yas Waterworld aquapark, and the newly opened Seaworld.
To visit Abu Dhabi, you can take a tour, or go by bus, car, or taxi. For more information about how to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi click here.
Another interesting Emirate where people go is Fujeirah. It is a great place for diving and mountain walking as this Emirates is the most mountainous. There is also the oldest mosque, museum, and fort.
Another nice city to visit is Al Ain. It is about 140 km from Dubai. You can visit the Al Ain Museum, Al Ain Zoo, and Oasis where you will see the irrigation system that has been used for thousands of years. Moreover, you can drive to the highest point of Abu Dhabi called Jebel Hafeet from where you will have an incredible view.
How Many Days In Dubai: FAQs
Here I mentioned the most important things to do in Dubai and created this itinerary. There is still much more to see and do in Dubai. For more questions, check out these FAQs.
Is 3 days enough to visit Dubai?
I would say no. However, if you have only three days, then these three days are enough to see the most important landmarks of Dubai.
When is the best time to visit Dubai?
For me, the best time to visit Dubai is from mid-September until mid-May. I don’t really like the months of January and February as they are not so hot and there can be some rain or sandstorms. However many people prefer these months as they don’t like the heat.
I would avoid visiting during summer June-August as it is too hot and also during Ramadan. For more info when is the best time to visit Dubai, click here.
Are there other things to do in Dubai that are not suggested in this itinerary?
Definitely yes. There are many amusement parks like IMG World, Motiongate, and Legoland, and many museums like the Museum of the Future, the Museum of Illusions, the Dubai Museum, and the Etihad Museum.
You can visit Dubai Safari Park, the Green Planet, Sky Views Observatory, and Love Lakes, have a picnic in one of the parks, go skiing in the indoor ski center, go for a tour or dinner in Burj Al Arab, go clubbing at night, go to infinity pool like Aura Skypool, Dubai Frame, take a helicopter flight or hot air balloon flight.
For adrenaline junkies, there is skydiving or ziplining. And many, many more.
Conclusion: How Many Days In Dubai Is Enough
Based on this 7-day itinerary you can see that the longer you stay, the better. There are so many things to see and do that you should not worry about being bored. Of course, it all depends on your budget as well.
If you want to cross Dubai off your bucket list and see the most important attractions, then 3 to 5 days are enough. This itinerary is not fixed and you can change the dates and activities as they suit you. You can just pick the ones you would like to see. Just remember to organize your time and transportation well.