Dubai will take your breath away.This glitzy, vertical city is in constant metamorphosis - even if you visited ten years ago, you would probably fail to recognize the city nowadays, as more and more high-rises, mega malls and super luxury hotels are built every year. Dubai is a place where bigger is always better - a place to experience luxury like nowhere else in the world. Yet, there are a lot more places to visit in Dubai besides malls and luxury hotels. Dubai has a historic soul, with many points of interest where you can discover the Emirate's history and past as a pearl fishing village. Dubai is also a place to enjoy fun for the whole family, with some of the best amusement parks in the world, and adventures that will make the craziest adrenaline junkies tremble with excitement.  However, regardless of what places you decide to visit in Dubai, make sure you include some time sailing or cruising. There's nothing more relaxing than sailing past the Dubai Marina, or visit weird and wonderful places like the Palm from the water. And if you like having fun, what about arranging your own Dubai party boat? Here are our 20 favorite places to visit in Dubai - however, the list is anything but exhaustive. There's so much to discover, and no doubt more and more places will be added to this list in the future!

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Historic Places to Visit in Dubai

1) Bastakia

The Bastakia Quarter, also known as Al-Fahidi, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai, built in the late 19th century by Persian textile and pearl traders. Bastakia is located along the Dubai creek, and some of the best things to see include stunning coral and limestone buildings here, many with wind-towers on the roof - wind towers are the oldest form of air conditioning, channeling wind into the houses. Strolling around Bastakia is a great way to get away from the traffic of downtown Dubai - don't miss XVA Gallery, a contemporary art gallery housed in one of the historic buildings!

2) Jumeirah Mosque

Most mosques are not open to non-Muslims in Dubai - one of the few exceptions is the Jumeirah Mosque, which also happens to be one of the most beautiful! It's an almost exact copy of a Cairo mosque and a great example of Islamic architecture. If you can, don't miss it - guided tours are organized every day at 10 am except Friday, and there are also a series of cultural initiatives including lectures, Arabic classes, and traditional meals.

3) Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum is located in the Al-Fahidi Fort, erected in the late 18th century to protect Dubai Creek. Before being turned into a museum, the fort was used as a royal residence, as a seat of government, garrison, and prison. It's the ideal place to visit for anyone interested in discovering more about Dubai's history and how the city grew into what it is today. You can also see traditional boats, learn how a wind tower works, see exquisite artifacts and weapons and find out about Emirati life thanks to a series of dioramas. 

4) Deira 

Located on the northern bank of Dubai Creek, Deira is one of the few places to retain the atmosphere of the Dubai of yesteryear, with narrow streets winding into a maze, steaming cups of tea and hanging carpets. In fact, Deira is most famous for its souks (traditional markets), busy around the clock and also a great place to explore the mix of cultures that make Dubai what it is today, as many traders come from all over Asia. Deira is known for its Gold Souk, the largest in the world, and the Spice Soukthe ideal place to fill your luggage with freshly roasted and ground spices to take some Dubai flavours home with you. 

Glitzy Dubai

5) Burj Khalifa

Dubai's landmark building is so tall, you might not be able to see its tip! Standing 829.8 meters high, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and definitely one of the best-known places to visit in Dubai. Don't miss climbing up to the observation deck on the 124th floor, with spectacular views over the city and a presentation on the city and the building itself. Visiting the observation deck at twilight or at night is very popular, and will make you feel on top of the world - just remember to book tickets in advance! The gardens around the building and spectacular Dubai Fountain are also worth a visit, especially if you time it with the show every day at 6.30 pm!

6) Burj al-Arab

Looking like a sail billowing across the ocean, this hotel - the only seven-star hotel in the world - was probably Dubai's best-known landmark before the Burj Khalifa was completed. A room can cost up to $15,000 per night - if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far you can opt to visit Burj Al Arab for afternoon tea. There are two options to choose from - the 27th floor Skyview Bar, hosting High Tea every Friday with a delicious selection of cakes and finger food (and a view to die for), and Sahn Eddar located on the ground floor, ideal to do some people-watching and to see the hotel's expansive atrium.

7) Dubai Mall

Mall hopping is truly a thing in Dubai - make sure you don't miss Dubai Mall, the best-known in the city, right next to the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium, another must visit place in Dubai. Besides shopping and eating, the Mall includes an ice-skating rink, gaming arcade, and cinema, as well as special events like live music and fashion shows within the mall. There's so much to do, you may end up spending the whole day inside - not a bad idea if you're visiting Dubai in summer!

8) Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates is one of the best-known malls in the city, famous worldwide for Ski Dubai, the largest indoor ski resort in the world, complete with a working chairlift. There is also a penguin enclosure, a Santa's grotto during Christmas time, and a ski ramp. In the Mall of Emirates you can also go to the cinema, visit an amusement park with a variety of rides, or eat your way around the world thanks to a huge variety of restaurants from every corner of the globe.

Dubai's Best Theme Parks

9) Aquaventure Waterpark

If you're visiting in summer, when Dubai gets unbearably hot, make sure you keep one afternoon aside and head to Palm Jumeirah, Dubai's famous artificial island. You'll fine Aquaventure, one of the best water parks this side of the Persian Gulf, with hair-raising slides like Aquaconda, the world's longest water slide, and Leap of Faith, which is as high as a nine story building! You can also go helmet diving, have fun with the little ones on smaller water slides and relax on the beach.

10) Dubai Parks and Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is the ideal location if your group is quite diverse and everyone wants to do something different - the only issue is there's so much to choose, with three theme parks and one waterpark! Motiongate has movie-themed rides including a Smurfs village, Bollywood Parks brings the colors and bravado of the Indian movie industry to Dubai with lots of dancing and stunt shows happening around the clock, while Legoland Dubai and the recently-opened Legoland Waterpark are ideal for younger visitors, with lots of rides and slides for children aged 2-12.

11) IMG Worlds of Adventure

If you're a fan of superhero comic books and movies, make sure you visit this theme park! One section is dedicated to Marvel characters, with Avengers and Spiderman-themed rides. There's another section dedicated to dinosaurs, and lots of rides for young children based on the most popular characters from Cartoon Network.

12) Wild Wadi

Do you want to have fun while admiring Burj al-Arab? This water park located in Jumeirah has a variety of slides for everyone - some of the must-dos for adventure lovers include Riptide Flowriders, Wipeout and Tantrum Alley, or you can simply relax and float along Lazy River or swim on one of the many pools. Another wonderful place to escape the heat of Dubai in summer!

Best Adventures in Dubai

13) Desert Safari

This is another one of Dubai's must do activities! If you've had enough of Dubai's traffic and concrete, spending a day having fun in the desert is definitely a good idea. There are many desert safari tours on offer near Dubai, including activities like tours on a 4x4 or quad, sunset horse rides, falconry experiences, barbecue dinners and belly dance shows. Nature lovers shouldn't miss visiting the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, home to the Arabian Gazelle. If you're planning to get out of the city for a day, or simply want to explore the vastity of the desert, don't miss experiencing a desert safari during your time in Dubai!

14) Hot Air Balloon Flights

Photography lovers, look no further! A hot air balloon flight is definitely the best way to enjoy the vastity of the desert from above while floating gently in the sky. Balloon flights usually take place at sunrise, and you'll have to drive to the desert first, meaning you'll have to get out of bed very early! But fear not, as the scenery will make it worthwhile. However, please note can't fly over Dubai on a balloon - if you want to get a bird's eye view of the city, you'll have to climb to the top of Burj Khalifa or book a helicopter ride!

15) Underwater Restaurant

Where do adventurers have lunch in Dubai? At an underwater restaurant, of course! There are several underwater restaurants to choose from in Dubai, and two just happen to be located in two of the best places to visit in Dubai - the Palm and Burj al-Arab. Ossiano is in the Palm, and it's one of the best places in Dubai to experience true decadence, with a menu featuring oysters, lobster and caviar, and Al Mahara is more relaxed, but its mouthwatering cuisine is worth two Michelin stars. 

16) Indoor Skydiving

Have you always wanted to try skydiving, but couldn't quite muster the courage to jump off a plane? You can try indoor skydiving at iFly Dubai, where you'll find a 10-meter fitted glass tunnel with a double vertical wind tunnel, giving you the opportunity of 'flying' without having to head to the skies first!

Sailing and Cruising in Dubai

17) Sunrise Cruise

The best way to beat the heat and the crowds in Dubai is on a morning cruise, departing Dubai Marina as early as 6 am and taking in some of the best architectural marvels of the city, like Burj al Arab, the Sheikh Palace, and the extraordinary new developments of Atlantis and the World Island - which really look their best when explored from the water. If you want a real adventure, you can also add a snorkeling stop, before enjoying a nice lunch and making your way back to the city. 

18) Luxury Limo & Cruise

If you want to enjoy a luxurious experience from start to end, this luxury Dubai cruise also includes limousine transfer to and from Dubai Marina, before embarking on an extravagant three-hour exploration of the most iconic sights in Dubai. Food, drinks and music system are included, while adrenaline water sports can be arranged upon request. Just choose what you like, and our local operators will do their best to make your wishes come true!

19) Romantic Luxury Cruise

Are you planning to propose, celebrate an anniversary or honeymoon, or simply have an unforgettable time with your significant other? This romantic cruise takes place at sunset, and starts with an exclusive pickup in a Bentley, with roses, red carpets and romantic music throughout. Meanwhile, the sun will set in the Arabian Gulf, and the lights of Dubai will slowly start to twinkle, as you explore the city from the water in a luxury yacht. Simply magical!

20) Adventure Cruise and Watersports

Last but not least, I'm sure that by now you would have understood that Dubai doesn't just offer many places to see, but also lots of adventure activities to enjoy. This adventure cruise also offers the opportunity of adding a dash of adrenaline to your luxury day out, zipping across the Arabian Gulf by jet ski. Truly the best Dubai activity for adventure lovers!

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Get in direct contact with local operators!
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