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What to see and do in Dubai – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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As the Arab world’s most popular, and the world’s 31st most popular tourism destination, there is no shortage of what you can see and do in Dubai.  From the tranquillity of the deserts to the hubbub of the souks, there is a huge range of attractions and activities for visitors from around the world. In one day, you can see cragged mountains, vast sand dunes, pearly white beaches, traditional villages and luxurious shopping malls. This is Dubai.

Andy Harbuk

My Destination local expert on


Since becoming a global city and a thriving business and cultural hub within the Middle East, visitors have flocked in their masses to see the unique attractions that have sprung up lavishly across a city building on the success of the UAE’s oil industry. These include ambitious development projects such as man-made islands, extravagant hotels and enormous shopping malls.

Top of the world


Enjoy the exhilarating feeling of being top of the world in the Burj Khalifa Observation Deck. Located on level 124 of the world’s tallest tower, this is guaranteed to be a highlight of your stay in the Middle East. Take in the dazzling lights of Dubai that lie below you at dusk or bask in the sun during the day on their funky outdoor terrace. After soaking up the views, have a delicious drink from Sky Café’s range of signature beverages, a sure fire way to end your visit on a high.


Guided desert safaris


A popular excursion for many people who come to Dubai is a trip into the Arabian Desert. There are a whole host of tour groups that can take you out to either tear up the sand in a 4x4 or explore the dunes at a more leisurely pace atop an obliging camel. There is also the possibility of spending a night in the desert at a private desert camp where you’ll be treated to a barbeque feast, music and belly dancing.


Atlantis water parks


Three thrilling water-themed parks are based in the Atlantis resort for visitors to experience. Aquaventure Waterpark is the number one water park in the Middle East and Europe with 42 acres of stimulating water activities to explore. The Lost Chambers Aquarium has an astonishing 65,000 marine animals to look at alone. Not to be missed is the sensational Dolphin Bay where visitors can interact with these beautiful creatures one on one.


Yachting around Palm Jumeirah


Take a tour by yacht around the iconic Palm Jumeirah, an artificial archipelago on the stunning coastal area of Dubai created using reclaimed land. Palm Jumeriah is in the shape of a palm tree that’s as large as 800 football pitches. Relax on a chartered yacht in the sunshine and watch people go by their daily business along its coastline. Once you step onto dry land head out to explore the luxurious hotels or go diving around the exotic artificial reef which was created by purposely sinking two F-100 Super Sabre fighter jets.