A week in Dubai
Dubai is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In this city teeming with attractions, each more incredible than the next, if there is one thing that is certain, it is that you won’t be bored!
If you want a broad overview of what to expect during a 7-day stay in Dubai, then you’ve come to the right page! In this guide, I suggest you discover a complete program to visit Dubai in one week.
So what to do in Dubai in 1 week?
Tips for Your Trip to Dubai
The Dubai Pass is the best way to save money while visiting most of the city’s major must-see sights. This ticket can save you up to 35% depending on the tours you choose.
With it, you can choose 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions from a list of around 40, and visit them whenever you want over a 60-day period . This list includes in particular:
- One-day ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus
- The desert safari
- The dhow cruise at Dubai Creek
- Ticket to Legoland Park
- The ticket for the Aquaventure water park
- The ticket for Ain Dubai, the largest Ferris wheel in the world
- The ticket for Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi
- IMG Worlds of Adventure theme park ticket
- Admission to Ski Dubai
- Ticket to the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis The Palm
- And many other discoveries…
In addition to saving you money, Dubai Passes are going to save you valuable time, as you can access some of these attractions without having to wait in line. A digital guidebook with all necessary information on all tours and activities is also provided with the Dubai Pass.
- No visa is required to visit Dubai, you will simply need a valid passport.
- Make sure you have travel insurance with good coverage to travel with peace of mind.
- If you don’t know when to go to Dubai, weather-wise, the best time to go to Dubai is from November to April.
- Book your plane tickets 3 to 4 months before your departure to find more affordable flights.
- Don’t hesitate to book your activities in advance, you can often pay less by buying your tickets online, and skip-the-line tickets will save you a lot of time.
- Try to organize your visits according to the neighborhoods so as not to waste too much time in transport.
- Ask your bank about any charges when using your credit card, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Consumption of alcohol is permitted only in hotels and their restaurants, bars and clubs. Public drunkenness is strictly prohibited.
- In public places, clothing that covers the knees and shoulders is preferable, although Dubai is far more tolerant than other UAEs.
Day 1: Downtown Dubai
In the rest of this guide, I will offer you an example of a program to follow to discover many of the most interesting and famous sites in the city during a 7-day stay in Dubai. Of course, you are free to adapt this program to your wishes.
For this first day, I suggest you discover Downtown Dubai , a central district that is home to many skyscrapers and some of the attractions that you should not miss under any circumstances during your visit to the city.
The Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa has been the tallest building ever built since 2008. It is twice as tall as the Empire State Building in New York, and it is undoubtedly the building that symbolizes the excess of Dubai.
You’ll be able to see it from many places around town, but visiting it will allow you to access observation decks on the 124th, 125th, and 148th floors , where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the city and the Persian Gulf.
The Dubai Fountains Show
Just at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, you can watch another top attraction in the city: the Dubai Fountains show . In the huge pool here, several times a day (and every 30 minutes in the evening from 6 p.m.) you can see a magnificent aquatic ballet of water jets illuminated by thousands of lights, which s soar to the rhythm of the music nearly 150 meters high.
This show also takes place in the afternoon, but it is still good when the surrounding buildings are lit with a thousand lights. The show is free, but I really recommend arriving early if you want to be able to get a good seat. Otherwise, you can also sit on the terrace of a café or restaurant (reserving a table may be useful). If you want to make the most of the show, you can also watch it during a boat ride on Burj Lake .
The Sky View Observatory
The Address Sky View is one of Dubai’s most modern and impressive buildings. These two twin towers connected by the Sky Bridge culminate at 260 meters above sea level. They are connected by a footbridge whose shape is reminiscent of a luxury boat, where there is notably a huge infinity pool and a restaurant, a bar and a panoramic terrace.
This building is known to house the very famous restaurant CÉ LA VI, but if it quickly became such a popular tourist site, it is above all thanks to the presence of an observation platform located on the 52nd and 53rd floors: the Sky Views Observatory.
This observatory offers unique experiences in Dubai:
- The Sky Glass Floor, a 25 meter long glass floor connecting the two towers of the building on the 53rd floor. This platform is somewhat reminiscent of the Dubai Frame, but it is located 70 meters higher. Beneath your feet, passers-by and vehicles will seem as tiny as ants.
- The Sky Glass Slide, a glass column in which you can slide like on a toboggan, and which allows you to go from the 53rd to the 52nd floor while having the sensation of sliding into the void. An experience that only lasts a handful of seconds, but that you are definitely not about to forget!
- The Sky Views Edge Walk, a 30-meter-long outdoor platform that extends 220 meters above the void and allows you to admire the city and its surroundings without anything interfering with visibility. For complete safety, visitors are equipped with suits and securely harnessed.
The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
This huge aquarium is located in the very heart of the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the world. One of the pools can be seen from the walkways of this centre, but you will need a ticket to see the others.
The Dubai Aquarium is unsurprisingly one of the most visited attractions in the city. It is home to more than 30,000 fish and aquatic animals of around 150 different species, including bull sharks that live in one of the largest basins on the planet.
During your visit, you will pass through an underwater tunnel almost 50 meters long in which you can observe rays, sharks and other fish in full immersion. You can also meet King Croc, one of the largest crocodiles in the world.
By reaching the upper floor, you will have the opportunity to visit the Underwater Zoo and see many species such as otters, caimans, penguins and even piranhas.
To save time, you can buy your Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo ticket online now .
Day 2: Historic Dubai
Old Dubai is made up of two districts: Deira and Bur Dubai. They are both separated by Dubai Creek, an inlet that you can easily cross in 5 to 10 minutes on board an abra, a small traditional boat.
You can board an abra from many stations located along the creek, the trip costs only a few dirhams. If you want to take more time to discover Old Dubai from the water, you can also take a real little cruise.
The Deira district is home to many of Old Dubai’s most iconic spots. It is particularly known for its souks, the most famous of which is the gold souk, with many shops with dazzling windows (more than 300 in total), filled with jewelery and gold objects. You can find both traditional jewelry and much more modern pieces.
Deira is also home to the Perfume Souk and the Spice Souk, probably the most authentic of them all. The district is also home to a good number of shops and traditional restaurants, it is the ideal district to go and taste the local culinary specialties.
The Bur Dubai district is also full of historical sites to discover:
- The old souk, one of the oldest and most popular in the city, is the perfect place to find souvenirs to bring back from your trip.
- The textile souk, where you can find many fabrics, clothes and carpets, but also a large number of traditional objects made by local artisans.
- The Sheik Mohamed Cultural Center, which is definitely the place to go if you want to learn more about the life, culture and traditions of the people of the United Arab Emirates.
- The Dubai Museum, the other great cultural site in this district, where you can discover the rich history of the city and the region. It is located in the Al Fahidi fortress, an old defense building, and houses a rich collection of historical objects (weapons, boats, everyday objects…).
- The Grand Mosque of Dubai, a landmark of architecture and one of the most important traditional buildings in the city.
- Al Seef, a neighborhood that stretches along Dubai Creek and where the city’s past, present and future come together. It is home to many restaurants and you can take a very pleasant walk there.
- The historic Al Fahidi district, located right next to Al Seef, where you can discover stone wind towers, more than 50 historic houses and buildings, museums, art galleries and artisans’ workshops premises.
If you want to discover all the wonders of Old Dubai in the company of an experienced guide, I recommend this guided tour of the old city .
Day 3: Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah District
For this third day, head to the seaside to discover some of the most pleasant and popular areas of Dubai.
Dubai Marina is often referred to as the heart of “New Dubai” . It is a lively and dynamic district day and night and offers many activities.
The Dubai Marina Mall is one of the big attractions in this district, but the Dubai Marina attracts many visitors for its exceptional setting. Here, you can take a superb stroll by the sea at the foot of some of the most famous and beautiful buildings in the city, while contemplating yachts more luxurious than each other.
It is also from the Marina that you can leave for a small speedboat cruise to discover very famous tourist sites such as the Palm Jumeirah, the Atlantis hotel and the Burj al-Arab.
You can also take a dinner cruise in Dubai Marina , for a more relaxing experience during which you will enjoy drinks and a delicious buffet.
Close to Dubai Marina is the Palm, the iconic palm-shaped man-made island that is one of the great symbols of Dubai.
This unique place is home to some of the most luxurious resorts on the planet such as the Atlantis, the Five Palm Jumeirah and the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. It is also here that many of the city’s finest gourmet restaurants are located .
The hotel complexes located on the island are home to many attractions such as Aquaventure Park (the best water park in Dubai), the Lost Chambers Aquarium, Sea Lion Point or The View at The Palm, a unique observatory that offers a panoramic view of 360 degrees of Dubai’s iconic sights and landmarks from 240 meters high.
To get to the island, nothing could be simpler: if you have your own vehicle, you can go there by road thanks to the tunnels, and if not, just take public transport. The monorail will take you close to the most emblematic sites of the Palm Jumeirah .
THE JUMEIRAH DISTRICT
The Jumeirah district is one of the most pleasant districts of Dubai. It has long been very popular with expatriates and in recent years its tourist interest has become increasingly strong, in particular with the opening of a promenade on the seafront called very soberly… “ La Mer ”.
It is a family neighborhood, close to beaches and other sites of interest. Several of Dubai’s must-see sites can be found here:
- The Jumeirah Mosque, one of the most important in Dubai, a major architectural building and one of the few that can be visited by non-Muslims. It is on Jumeirah Beach Road near the beach.
- La Mer Dubaï, a small, recent and atypical district, perfect for taking a nice walk along the water’s edge, having a drink or a meal on the terrace, swimming and relaxing during the day or evening. It is possible to practice many water activities (paddle, kayak, jet-ski…) and you can also find the Laguna water park there.
- The Etihad Museum, Dubai’s history museum, where you can learn a lot about the region’s past and the founding of the United Arab Emirates.
- Zabeel Park, one of the largest green spaces in Dubai, but also probably the most modern. Among other things, it is home to children’s play areas, picnic and barbecue areas, running and cycling tracks, and it is also here that the Dubai Garden Glow is located .
- The Dubai Frame, one of the most famous monuments in the city, in the shape of a huge photo frame 150 meters high. It symbolizes the link between tradition and modernity in Dubai, and the large walkway at its top offers superb views of the city.
This district is also a very good place to do some shopping in Dubai, you can find there the souks of Al Satwa and several shopping centers such as the City Walk and the Mercato Mall.
Day 4: A Day in Abu Dhabi
The capital of the United Arab Emirates is located just 140 km from Dubai, and getting there by road only takes about 1 hour 20 minutes. This is why I really recommend that you dedicate a day of your stay in Dubai to exploring Abu Dhabi.
You will have time to discover some of the city’s most iconic sites:
- The famous Sheikh Zayed Mosque, also known as the Great Mosque or the White Mosque. It is the largest mosque in all of the United Arab Emirates, and a great symbol of the country’s power. This great architectural masterpiece is the must-see site of the city, it is open to visitors outside prayer times. Visitors will be required to cover their ankles and shoulders, and women will also be required to cover their heads.
- The Louvre Abu Dhabi is a unique modern museum. It is the first universal museum in the Arab world and therefore its cultural emblem. It is a place that celebrates all forms of art, in order to create a bridge between the different cultures of the world.
- The Qasr Al Watan Palace, or “Palace of the Nation”, a splendid building that can be visited since 2019 and which is today one of the most popular sites in Abu Dhabi. This simply incredible decorated palace showcases the beauty and sophistication of the architecture of the United Arab Emirates, and you can also enjoy a magnificent sound and light show every 30 minutes from sunset.
- The Emirates Palace, an incredible hotel in the heart of a superb park with verdant gardens, which one might think came straight out of a tale of the Arabian Nights. It is one of the most iconic buildings in the UAE, and even if you don’t have the time or the means to spend a night there, you can still admire its outstanding architecture.
- The Etihad Towers, the 5 large towers located on the Corniche and which symbolize luxury and modernity in this city. One of these towers houses the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, an exceptional 5-star hotel. In the second tower, you can also discover many luxury shops as well as Deck at 300, an observation platform located on the 74th floor at 300 meters above the ground.
Discover Abu Dhabi in one day from Dubai
The easiest and most convenient way to visit this city in one day during a trip to Dubai is to take a sightseeing excursion to Abu Dhabi.
You will be fully picked up from your hotel or from the city center, and you will leave with a group to discover the most important sites of the capital of the United Arab Emirates: the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Corniche, the Emirates Palace, Marina Mall, Qasr Al Watan Palace…
Yas Island is a man-made island like no other, which is all about entertainment. It is really a must-see site to discover during a visit to Abu Dhabi.
In particular, you can find:
- Ferrari World, a theme park dedicated to the famous Italian car brand and located on Yas Island near Yas Marina Circuit. It is the largest indoor theme park on the planet, it is home to around twenty attractions (roller coaster, model car driving, exhibitions of historic vehicles, etc.).
- Yas Waterworld, one of the largest water parks in the world, home to plenty of attractions for the whole family, including some of the most awe-inspiring water slides around.
- Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, a theme park devoted to heroes from Warner’s licenses such as Superman and Batman, but also Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo. Here you can discover reconstructions of Gotham City and Metropolis, and enjoy thrilling experiences at more than 30 different attractions.
- The Yas Marina Circuit, which annually hosts the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the end of the Formula One Championship. You can visit it all year round to discover its backstage, and it is even possible to drive a racing car there.
- Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, with nearly 400 stores and boutiques, over 60 cafes and restaurants, and numerous entertainment areas.
- Yas beach, a large golden sand beach located in the south of the island and which will be the ideal place to enjoy the sun and swim.
Day 5: Shopping in Dubai
During a stay in Dubai, you will inevitably want to go shopping at some point , and the least we can say is that there is no shortage of places for that!
In addition to the superb souks of Old Dubai, the city is home to several shopping centers (the famous malls) which are among the largest and most modern in the world. More than simple groupings of shops, they are real entertainment centers where you can do many other activities.
THE DUBAI MALLS
The iconic Dubai Mall is THE largest mall in the world. It’s very simple, it is useless to hope to discover it entirely in a single day! In all, it is home to more than 1,000 different shops, with brands from all the biggest brands, whether luxurious or more affordable like Dior, Louboutin, Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette.
But the Dubai Mall is also home to key attractions such as an ice rink (Dubai Ice Rink), the DBX Play, the Dubai Opera, cinemas and the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
THE MALL OF THE EMIRATES
Here is the other big mall in Dubai. Here too, you won’t know where to turn. The Mall of the Emirates is home to around 500 shops from the biggest international brands, as well as nearly a hundred cafes and restaurants. Women’s and men’s fashion, jewelry and watches, beauty products, electronics, gifts and souvenirs… you’ll find a bit of everything here.
This shopping center also has many surprises in store for you, including Dreamscape, an amazing indoor amusement park where you can visit an alien zoo, visit an ancient cursed city and dive to discover the seabed.
Young and old alike can have fun at Magic Planet, an ultra-modern arcade, and the Mall of the Emirates is also home to one of Dubai’s most unusual attractions: Ski Dubai, a real indoor ski resort in a city in the middle of the desert!
THE DUBAI MARINA MALLS
This shopping center located in the Dubai Marina houses a total of around 130 shops of major international brands (Levi’s, Nine West, H&M, Diesel, etc.) spread over 4 levels, as well as many cafes and restaurants on the waterfront. sea, and places of entertainment for the whole family (bowling, cinemas, playgrounds for children).
The Dubai Marina Mall is a center on a more human scale, which has the added advantage of being in the heart of one of the most pleasant areas of the city.
THE CITY WALK
The City Walk is an original shopping center in Dubai, since it is essentially open air and therefore takes the form of a shopping district. Located between Jumeirah and Downtown Dubai, it’s one of the best places in town to find designer clothes.
You can also find lots of restaurants with terraces, but also playgrounds, cinemas and other attractions like The Green Planet, a tropical jungle in the heart of the city, as well as the Coca-Cola Arena, a hall ultra modern concerts and shows, where many events are organized.
Day 6: Dubai Desert Tour
Going to discover the Dubai desert is really one of the key activities during a stay in the United Arab Emirates. This visit must be in your program if you visit Dubai for the first time, but even regulars of this destination will necessarily want to return.
The desert is only a few kilometers from Dubai, which makes it possible to visit it without necessarily having to devote a lot of time to it. In addition, the diversity of activities that can be done there is quite astonishing. Sleeping in the desert in an authentic camp, dining in the desert, dune bashing, 4×4 safari, hot air balloon rides, falconry, camel rides, quad biking, sandboarding, star gazing and wild animals…
As the desert is very close to the exit of the city, you can get there on your own if you have a vehicle available, but I do not recommend this option and I advise you to opt for an excursion in the desert from Dubai. Thus, you will be sure to leave in a vehicle adapted to driving on sand, and in the company of an experienced guide who will be able to take you to the right places and suggest the most emblematic activities.
Here are some examples of Dubai desert tours and activities you can book now:
- The 4×4 safari in the desert with camel ride. Picked up in Dubai itself, you will leave for a half-day discovery of the Lahbab desert during which you will do a small rally on the dunes, sandboarding, a camel ride and optional quad biking and the visit from the Al Khayma desert camp.
- The 4×4 safari with camel ride and buffet dinner, to enjoy in addition a barbecue [with vegetarian dishes on request] in an authentic camp. During this evening, in addition to enjoying the sunset, you can also attend a traditional show with belly dancers and fire dancers.
- The Dubai Desert Tour with Stargazing. After having a nice camel ride, you will visit Al Khayma camp where a delicious dinner awaits you. You will be able to attend a Tanoura and Khaliji dance performance and discover the traditional arts of henna tattooing and falconry. After sunset, you can also take advantage of the exceptional visibility to observe the stars through the telescope.
- The overnight excursion in the Dubai desert, to enjoy all these activities and stay overnight in an authentic Bedouin tent in the Al Khayma camp. You can also enjoy a superb sunrise and enjoy an Arabic breakfast before taking a nice camel ride in the morning.
Please note : several Dubai desert excursions are part of the activities offered in the Dubai Pass .
Admire the desert from a hot air balloon
The hot air balloon ride at sunrise is a unique experience, during which you will take off to reach a 40 to 70 minute ride during which you will reach an altitude of more than 1,000 meters above the desert landscapes. If you take a hot air balloon flight, you will be in the front row to witness an unforgettable sunrise, and you will also be able to admire this incredible scenery and the wild animals that live there such as oryx and sand gazelles. This activity is quite expensive, starting at €270 but it is definitely worth it!
Day 7: Dubai Amusement Parks
In Dubai itself or in the surrounding area, you can discover many amusement parks that often make it a point of honor to offer original and particularly impressive activities. During your stay in Dubai, you can easily devote a day to discovering one or two of these great entertainment sites that will delight young and old alike, which you will not soon forget!
IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE
IMG Worlds of Adventure is a huge indoor theme park that is divided into 4 large areas devoted to well-known films and series such as Jurassic Park, the Avengers and other Marvel heroes, or Cartoon Network series. It is home to many attractions including the largest roller coaster in Dubai.
The Atlantis Aquaventure Park is perhaps the most renowned water park in the world. Located in the Atlantis the Palm hotel complex , it is the largest park of its kind in Dubai. In particular, you can discover water slides that are among the largest and most sensational in the world, such as the terrifying “Leap of Faith” which seems to almost plunge into the water vertically.
Other amazing attractions also await you: surfing, buoys, climbing, zip lines… some are much quieter and suitable for the youngest.
MotionGate Dubai is an amusement park dedicated to some of the biggest licenses from Lionsgate, Sony Pictures and Dreamworks studios like Shrek, Ghostbusters and Hunger Games. Located in the Dubai Parks and Resorts, it brings together around thirty thrilling attractions (roller coasters, interactive 3D shows, etc.).
LEGOLAND DUBAI AND LEGOLAND WATER PARK
These two amusement parks located next to each other in Dubai Parks and Resorts are among the most popular in the city.
The attractions of Legoland Dubai will delight children from 2 to 12 years old. They highlight creativity and teamwork thanks to several thousand models designed with millions of bricks. In addition to building experiences and interactive attractions, the park is also home to great rides and roller coasters.
Legoland Water Park is a water park for the whole family, with around twenty attractions for young and old, including the famous “Build a Boat” which consists of building your own boat with huge Lego pieces.
Laguna Waterpark is one of the other great water parks in Dubai. With its many slides, infinity pool and original and fun attractions, this park located in Jumeirah is a perfect place to cool off and have fun on a hot day. You can also take a very pleasant family outing on the Lazy River .
THE DUBAI GARDEN GLOW
Dubai Garden Glow is both an exhibition and an edutainment space. This theme park is made up of 4 themed areas: Glow Park, Dinosaur Park, Ice Park and Magic Park. You can discover luminous creations made from recycled materials, more than 100 animatronic dinosaurs, dozens of ice sculptures and astonishing optical illusions.
This park which was previously called VR Park is none other than the largest virtual reality park in the world. It is located inside the Dubai Mall and you can live around thirty amazing experiences in virtual reality and augmented reality: skydiving, roller coaster, drone driving, virtual maze, dune bashing, zombie invasion, burglary of bank…
This theme park is the very first to be dedicated to Bollywood cinema , the biggest film production industry in the world. Here, you can discover reproductions of sets typical of Indian films, including the reconstruction of a street in Bombay and a village in the Indian countryside.
You will also have the opportunity to attend many shows where music and dance are in the spotlight, to learn much more about the process of creating and shooting Bollywood films, and to discover other unique attractions.
Are you going to Dubai? Read also:
- Dubai Itinerary: 1 Day in Dubai
- 2 Days in Dubai – Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary for a Weekend
- 3 Days in Dubai: Ultimate 3-Day Itinerary
- 5 Days in Dubai: Ultimate 5-Day Itinerary