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24 Hours in Dubai

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A first timers guide

The ultimate first-timers guide to spending 24 hours in Dubai.

Dubai’s attractions are diverse, but if you only have a limited time to spend in the Emirate you’ll need our guide to making the most of your 24 hours in Dubai.


Experience Dubai’s incredible skyline close up by beginning your day with breakfast at the Burj Khalifa.  If you’re an early riser you can arrive shortly after the Skydeck opens and watch the sunrise over the desert.

If you prefer a more leisurely start to your day and your pockets run deep, why not begin the day with breakfast at Burj Khalifa’s one-hundred-and-twenty-second floor restaurant: At.mosphere.  With incredible views over the city, this is a once-in-a-lifetime treat you shouldn’t miss.

View from the Burj Khalifa, Dubai

View from the Burj Khalifa, Dubai

A morning of culture and history

Once you’ve had your fill of jaw-dropping views, it’s time to get your head out of the clouds and come back down to earth.

At the base of the Burj Khalifa you may well be tempted to linger and explore the malls.  Instead, make your way to the Creek for a more traditional shopping experience.  But first, take a taxi to the Dubai Museum housed in the historic Al Fahidi Fort.  

More than two-hundred years old, the fort served as both palace and military stronghold and artillery.  It’s easy to forget in this shining citadel of skyscrapers and giant, glossy malls that it has all been built on a land steeped in history.  

At the Dubai Museum, you can learn a little about this ancient civilisation and its local traditions, including pearl diving in the Gulf.

Allow your senses to be overwhelmed in one of Dubais traditional Souks

Light lunch in Al Fahadi

After your high-life breakfast, chances are you’re ready for a lunchtime change of pace.

Close to the museum, in the historical Al Fahidi neighbourhood, you’ll find it at the Arabian Tea House.  It serves up mint teas – and fast food if you fancy a light lunch.  Sitting in the leafy courtyard is a cool, laid-back alternative to Dubai’s usually high-end tastes.

Souk up Old Dubai

Once you’re suitably refreshed take an abra ride across the creek.  These traditional wooden boats serve as taxis across the water.  Once you’re on the Deira side, you’re ideally placed to explore the fragrant spice souk and the spectacular gold souk.  Wandering between the stalls is a history lesson of a sensory kind.

From Deira, head back to the Burj Khalifa and you should arrive back just in time to catch the first fountain display of the evening.  This famous show of lights and music featuring the fountains beside Dubai Mall is another must-see Dubai spectacular to tick off your bucket list. 

Abra boat on Dubai Creek

End with a Skyview

Round off your day with a trip to the beach.  It’s here you can cap your 24 hours in Dubai with the obligatory Dubai photo: you on the shoreline of the Arabian Gulf with the curvaceous, sail-like architecture of the Burj Al Arab towering behind you.

Head inside to the Skyview bar high up at the very tip of the sail to admire Dubai’s impressive skyline once more through vast floor-to-ceiling windows.  Plan ahead – you’ll need to book in advance and be dressed to impress. 

Up here on the 27th floor, 200 metres above sea level, you can sip elegant cocktails in exclusive surroundings, and admire the islands of The Palm development fanning out below you.  There are wonderful views back across the city to the towering Burj Khalifa, where you started your day.  On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Creek.  

As the sun drops lower in the sky, head downstairs to hotel’s Al Iwan restaurant which serves up a sensational Arabic fine dining experience in exotic, luxurious surroundings.  Revel in the panoramic Gulf views as night falls.  Then, as the candles are lit, you can enjoy tasty delicacies from the diverse mezze menu.

Watch the sun go down over Jumierah Beach

If this has inspired you to discover Dubai or one of the other Emirates, please drop us a line and we will be happy to discuss all of the amazing things that can be discovered!

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