6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Things to Do in Dubai in 6 Days

When you think of Dubai, you think of a heady mix of skyscrapers, sand dunes, shopping and souks. It’s hard to imagine a time when this Emirati city was just a small fishing village, but you can still find snippets of culture in old and new Dubai, in its traditional markets and narrow alleys with local food haunts, and even the glamorous nightclubs and glittering malls. 

The evolution of Dubai has brought with it a barrage of tourism from all over the world. Ideally, about 5-6 days is perfect to explore this city, with a little bit of everything thrown in. Here’s a comprehensive itinerary of how to spend six days in Dubai and get the best out of this pulsating city.

DAY 1: Downtown Dubai

Burj Khalifa

burj-khalifa
Plan to Stay for:
1.5-2 hours

What better way to start your holiday in Dubai than with a ride up to the viewing deck of the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest structure. The glittering 160-floor tower has residences, restaurants and two observation decks offering the most phenomenal views of the city.

You can stay within the floor-to-ceiling glass walls on the deck or step onto an open terrace to see Dubai from amidst the clouds.

Pro-Tip: Sunset views from the observation deck are brilliant, so you can schedule your visit for the evening as well, just before you head out for dinner. The evening rush is heavier than the morning, so get there a little in advance for the ticketing line. Do keep in mind that ticket rates go up by almost 70 AED from 4pm-6pm.

Dubai Mall

dubai-mall

Plan to Stay for: 2-3 hours, depending on what you choose to do

At the base of the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall, which houses the entrance to the former. One of the largest malls in the world, this is Dubai’s retail jewell. It’s a world within itself, with over 1200 stores of the best brands money can buy, a movie theatre, theme parks, multiple dining options and a skating rink. It’s shopping, leisure, entertainment and food, all rolled into one sparkling package!

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Plan to Stay for: 2 hours

Housed within the Dubai Mall is one of its top attractions – the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with thousands of species of marine and animal life in a suspended structure filled with almost 10 million litres of water. The aquarium has been designed quite like the natural habitat of these animals, so you can watch fish, sharks and stingrays up close in a large tunnel, and in different underwater environments. 

Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain
Plan to Stay for:
30 minutes

The dancing, vibrant Dubai Fountain at the base of the Burj Khalifa, just outside the Dubai Mall, is where most people spend their evening after a day of retail therapy and before tucking into some dinner. The tallest performing spectacle of its kind, the Dubai Fountain plays every 30 minutes in the evening, lighting up the night sky with its colourful lights and powerful water spurts. 

Pro-Tip: Most people get a spot around the boardwalk to watch the show, but if you want a closer look, you can hire a boat for AED 65 and slowly drift around the base of the fountain in Burj Lake.

Souk al Bahar

Souk-al-Bahar

Plan to Stay for: 2 hours

From the futuristic Dubai to ancient Arabic Dubai takes just a short walk along a bridge over Burj Lake, to bring you to Souk al Bahar. A small shopping and dining area with great views of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, you can purchase some exquisite local finds like oriental carpets and scarves, spices, jewellery and fragrances. Popular restaurants like Karma Kafe, Serafina and Abd El Wahab have terrace seating and a heavy Arabic vibe, making this the perfect spot to wrap up your first day in Dubai.

DAY 2: Jumeirah Area

Palm Jumeirah

Palm-Jumeriah-Dubai

Visiting Palm Jumeirah is all about the experience, because while you’re on it, it’s clearly not easy to tell how it looks from above. Shaped like a palm, this isle of reclaimed land is one of the poshest locales in Dubai, with trendy boutiques, restaurants and residences of the some of UAE’s most elite. The best way to check out the island is either via a boat tour around it, or skydiving over it! If you simply want to look around, you can take the monorail from the base of the palm, which will take you to the top of the island. Another option is to hop into a taxi to get around the island, as walking isn’t feasible.

Atlantis The Palm

The Atlantis, Dubai

Plan to Stay for: 3-4 hours

The most prominent site on Palm Jumeirah is Atlantis The Palm, an uber-luxury hotel with the best amenities you can dream of. The palace-like structure is best viewed from afar, so you can simply stroll along the nearby beach and around the property and get some great pictures. Inside the hotel is another themed attraction, the Aquaventure Waterpark, which has some thrilling water rides.

Jumeirah Beach


Plan to Stay for:
1-2 hours

One of the most popular beaches in Dubai, Jumeirah Beach is a paradise of bronze sand and blue waters cutting into the horizon. You’ll spot large groups of locals and families here, since the tide is great for swimming. It can get hot and there aren’t many shaded areas, so carry an umbrella, a hat and sunglasses. Sunsets on this beach are quite popular, so you can hang around until dusk before heading out.

Pro-Tip(s):

  1. If you prefer a quieter option with lots of water sports, head to Kite Beach instead. It’s a little further down the road, and much closer to the Burj Al Arab, which is your next stop. There are great shoreline cafes for a quick bite too.
  2. The Jumeirah area has a tram, which loops around Jumeirah Beach and Dubai Marina and then runs up to Palm Jumeirah and finally, Al Sufouh. You can use it to cover the distances between the Palm and the beach, and then for your evening visit to Jumeirah Mosque.

Burj Al Arab

burj-al-arab

From both, Jumeirah and Kite Beach, you can take in the splendid views of the Burj Al Arab Hotel. Easily the most popular sight in the city after the Burj Khalifa, this boat-like structure is one of the tallest hotels in the world and boasts some punchy highlights like an underwater aquarium restaurant and a massive atrium. Did we mention it’s been built on an artificial island?

Entry: If you aren’t staying at the hotel, you cannot enter, especially not past the heavy security on the entry bridge. However, you can book lunch or afternoon tea at one of the restaurants or cafes in the hotel, or get a luxury spa appointment to enter.

Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque

Plan to Stay for: 1-2 hours

The Jumeirah Mosque is one of the city’s most splendid structures, owing to its delicate design, intricate architecture and soaring arches, domes and minarets. Situated on the shoreline, the mosque is a true representation of the Islamic culture in the otherwise future-forward city, and is the only mosque in the city that’s open to the public. If you’re new to the Islamic faith and culture, opt for a 75-minute guided tour, or simply walk around marveling at the build and clicking some photographs. Wind up your day with a walk on Jumeirah Beach Road upto Mercato Shopping Mall, and grab some dinner at any of the restaurants on this street.

Pro-Tip: Wear full clothing and cover you head when you enter the mosque. You can also rent abayas or robes from outside the mosque. 

Day 3: Old Dubai

The two main areas of Dubai, Bur Dubai (mainland Dubai) and Deira Dubai are divided by the Dubai creek. The former is more frequented by tourists since it’s home to popular hubs like Sheikh Zayed Road and the city’s modern malls. The latter is comparatively less modern, and has large communities of people from around Asia who are living and working in Dubai. Sitting on opposite sides, both have their own highlights. Start with spending half a day in Bur Dubai, and then take a boat ride to the other side to see the sights in Deira Dubai

Bastakiya 

Al-Bastakiya-dubai

Plan to Stay for: 1-2 hours

This day is about exploring old Dubai, and the first stop here has got to be the Bastakiya quarter in the Al Fahidi district. Wandering the narrow streets is the best way to explore one of the oldest residential settlements in the city, dating back to a time before the modernisation and oil discovery in Dubai. The area retains its old world charm, with its wooden doors, wind towers and homes of fishermen and date traders.You’ll also find restaurants, art galleries and cafes where you can grab a quick coffee and a bite to eat.

Pro-Tip: This area also has a heavy settlement of Indians, so you can find a good number of Indian restaurants here.

Al Fahidi Fort and Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

Plan to Stay for: 2 hours

A 5-minute walk from Bastakiya is the Al Fahidi Fort, which also houses the famous Dubai Museum. Understanding the history of Dubai is as much fun as experiencing it, and this structure is the perfect place to do so. History lovers will especially enjoy the museum exhibits, which chalk out the evolution of Dubai, and the ramparts of the oldest fort in the city. If it interests you, make a quick stop at the Textile Souk here for beautiful fabrics, and at the Heritage Village to learn about the making of traditional arts and crafts.

Pro-Tip: Bur Dubai is known for selling electronics at very reasonable prices, so whether you need a new phone or a television, this is the place to visit.

Abra Ride

abra-ride-dubai

Ride duration: 5-10 minutes

Although there is a vehicular bridge connecting Bur and Deira Dubai,
Abras or water taxis are a cheap and common transport mode to get from one to the other. Since the other half of the day is to be spent in Deira, this is the perfect opportunity to hop on a water taxi and take a fun ride to the other end.

Gold, perfume and spice souks

gold-souk-dubai

Plan to Stay for: 3-4 hours

A short walk away from the Abra station are three of the most popular souks, or old markets, in Dubai. Splurge on jewellery and gems at the awe-inspiring gold souk, purchase tiny decorative bottles of perfume for loved ones in the perfume souk, and take in the potent aromas of mounds of colourful spices in the traditional Arabic spice souk. Even if you’re not looking to buy anything, a visit to these markets is a treat for the senses.

Dhow Cruise

dhow-cruise

Plan to Stay for: 2-3 hours

Dhow Dinner Cruises along the creek are a great way to explore Dubai and catch sight of a handful of its popular landmarks at one go. From the dock at Deira, you can get on a dhow boat for a nighttime cruise that will give you an up-close look at some of its popular sights like Heritage Village, Gold and Spice Souks, Sheikh Saeed’s House, and the Grand Mosque As you slowly drift along the creek, enjoy local music and dance performances and a buffet dinner with Arab delicacies. It’s a relaxing way to end your day and one of the most popular after-hours activities in Dubai.

Day 4: Desert Adventures

Hot Air Ballooning

hot-air-baloon-dubai

Plan to Stay for: 4-6 hours

Dubai was once purely a desert land, and fortunately, it has retained a large part of that golden, sandy charm. A short distance away from the urban jumble is the Dubai desert, where you can spend your entire day indulging in fun adrenaline pumping activities. The best way to start this day is with a hot air balloon ride early in the morning, where you’ll slowly rise up with the sun, with the golden sands gleaming beneath you, and the modern city in the distance. The views are great, and the ride is smooth, since the desert winds and soft grounds are perfect for this activity. The ride is usually accompanied by falcon spotting, and is followed by a breakfast spread.

Desert Safari

desert-safari-dubai

Plan to Stay for: 6-7 hours


Once the peak noon heat dies down, it’s time for an enthralling desert safari, which is the most popular activity among visitors. A four-wheel drive takes you on a roller coaster ride on the undulating sand dunes, in an exciting concoction of thrill and fun. There are options of morning and night safaris, but most people prefer the evening ones since they wrap up with a belly dance show and dinner in a desert camp-like setup.

Pro-Tip: The safari tour also includes some desert activities like camel rides, dune bashing, dirt biking and sand boarding. The activities are fun and safe, and a must try!

Day 5: The Marina

Mall of the Emirates

Mall-of-the-Emirates

Plan to Stay for: 2-3 hours
Leave the crowds behind and do something you normally wouldn’t – visit a mall in the morning! Closely following the Dubai Mall in terms of splendour, dining, shopping and entertainment options, the Mall of the Emirates is the next most visited mall in the city. Besides shopping and food, the mall offers a host of leisure options like a 20-screen cinema, an art and community centre and Magic Planet, a fun family zone. 

Ski Dubai

Ski-Dubai

Plan to Stay for: 2 hours
Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the world’s largest indoor snow park complete with skiing, a ski lift, snowboarding and other fun activities, including penguin interactions. Families and kids have a great time playing in the snow here in sub-zero temperatures that are impossible to find anywhere in the city throughout the year.

Dubai Marina

dubai_marina_1

Plan to Stay for: 2-3 hours

The most upscale residential harbour in the city, the Dubai Marina is a settlement around an artificial canal created alongside the Persian Gulf. The most luxurious residences, Dubai Marina Mall, the beach and the JBR Walk across the marina call this place home. You can easily while away your time here, strolling along the dock, getting a tan on the beach, shopping at one of the upscale boutiques, or even ziplining over the area from the top of the mall. Dinner at one of its many eateries with a view of the marina is a good way to end your day.

Day 6: Abu Dhabi 

The emirate of Abu Dhabi is a two-hour drive away from Dubai. It’s growing to become another tourist hub, but you can easily cover some of its best sights on a day trip from Dubai.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Plan to Stay for: 1-2 hours
If there’s one thing you cannot miss in Abu Dhabi, it’s the pristine white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. A religious site that welcomes even non-Muslims into its prayer hall, this mosque is considered an architectural marvel for its large domes, minarets, gold-plated chandeliers, carved pillars and what is said to be the world’s largest carpet. 

Pro-Tip: As a sign of respect, it is a must to wear full clothing when entering the mosque. You can also borrow abayas from the counter near the entry spot.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

louvre-dubai

Plan to Stay for: 1-2 hours

From the mosque, take a short drive to Saadiyat Island, which is home to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by prominent architect Jean Nouvel. Just about two years old, this museum has already garnered acclaim for its unique seemingly floating dome structure and stunning curation of artworks and exhibitions. You may not be a history or an art buff, but this museum will definitely leave you in awe.

Pro-Tip: If you wrap up your museum visit with time to spare, you can take a quick 15-minute drive to Saadiyat Beach. The golden stretch is a little far from central Abu Dhabi so the crowds are limited, giving you the chance to enjoy the azure waters and soft sands. You can also try some dolphin or turtle watching at the conservatory nearby.

Emirates Palace

Emirates Palace

Plan to Stay for: 1 hour

Drive down to your next pitstop – the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel, which is the epitome of Arab luxury. The public areas and the lush gardens are free to stroll for visitors. The hotel has marble domes, expansive grounds, ballrooms and its very own private beach. While you’re here, you can also sip on some afternoon coffee sprinkled with flakes of gold!

The Corniche

The Corniche Abu Dhabi

Plan to Stay for: 2-3 hours

Situated just 5-minutes away from the Emirates Palace is The Corniche. A waterfront area packed with restaurants, walkways and cycle routes, parks and play areas, Corniche is lively throughout the day. You’ll find people grabbing meals, shopping, exercising or spending some quality time on Corniche Beach. Take a stroll or grab a bench to spend the evening watching the sun go down on Abu Dhabi as the skyscrapers start to light up, before eating at any of the eateries here on your last night in the UAE.

 

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