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City Breaks Dubai

A city unlike any other, Dubai effortlessly combines traditional Middle Eastern charm with seven-star glamour. Home to the world’s biggest malls and the tallest building, you can be sure of world-class comforts and a dazzling array of activities for a fun-packed city break.

36 °C

Best time to visit: Between October and April, for moderate temperatures, sunshine and blue skies.

7 hours

Dubai International Airport  (DXB) is located about 6 kilometres from the city centre.

You really can do it all in Dubai - from skiing and desert rides, to haggling at souks or soaking up a spa day. It’s a historic trading port, steeped in tradition, but with a modern and futuristic look. From enjoying its opulent malls and hotels, to the finest food, art and sport, Dubai offers seven wonderful ways to enjoy the best of the Middle East.

Friday brunch is how the weekend begins in Dubai. There are over 5000 restaurants and cafes offering a world of cuisine from some of the world’s biggest culinary names - but the subtly spiced Emirati food is what truly beckons. Swap burgers for tasty meat shawarmas; enjoy intensely flavoured Arabic coffee with a doughnut-like ligamat dipped in date syrup. After dark, shake it all off at one of Dubai’s ultra-stylish bars and nightclubs, each with a different vibe. The quirky Music Hall on Palm Jumeirah is a theatre and club in one; Embassy boasts incredible 360-degree panoramic views. Cirque le Soir at Fairmont is a known A-list haunt.

With a rich heritage as a trading port, shopping is an important part of Dubai’s culture. There are 95 ultra-modern malls offering tempting tax-free prices, and labyrinthine lanes of historic souks. The Dubai Mall (also home to the Dubai Aquarium) is one of the largest malls in the world, boasting over 1000 shops and eateries. Venturing off the beaten track, the noisy and aromatic souks hum with activity; whether you’re at the Gold Souk (the world’s largest gold market) or the Spice Souk, you’ll be drawn into a haggler’s paradise.

Regarded as one of the world’s safest cities, Dubai caters to families on a grand scale. Start the day playing on the beach, then decide if you want to snowboard and meet some penguins at Ski Dubai, or explore the desert on a 4x4 in the afternoon. The city is home to Aquaventure and Wild Wadi, two of the world’s top ten water parks; or you can take to the air from the water on a luxury nine-seater seaplane for a tour over the sparkling Arabian Gulf.

Staying true to its Arabian heritage but a power player on the world stage, Dubai is a melting pot of culture, art and history. In the Al Quoz district there are at least 10 contemporary art galleries on Alserkal Street alone, with a growing number of art fairs in the spring such as Sikka and Art Dubai. On the more traditional side, tours are taken around the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque several times weekly. The Grand Hall features a jaw-dropping array of rich ornamental patterns and Arabic calligraphy to behold. In the historic Al Fahidi district is the Dubai Museum, which opens the door to into a past stretching back thousands of years. The district is home to the lovingly restored 19th-century rich merchants’ homes, once clad in coral and noted for their elegant architecture.

Rest and relaxation is a must when there is so much to see and do in Dubai. The city offers over 600 hotels for all budgets, from five-star and beyond beach resorts, to desert retreats and city-centre luxury apartments. The iconic Burj Al Arab is known as the Rolls-Royce of hotels, such is its ultra-premium luxury; while the striking Palm landmark is instantly recognisable by its man-made palm tree layout. As the city is right by the Arabian Gulf, you’ll see nods to its maritime heritage and marine life reflected everywhere. Hospitality is an art form here, with a concentration of world-class health resorts making Dubai the spa capital of the region.

Dubai’s history is steeped in the local waters of the glittering Arabian Gulf. It was known for its pearl-diving and trading route at Dubai Creek, the old and still-beating heart of the city. Here, you’ll be spoiled for beaches: including hotel beaches, beach parks, sports beaches; retail beaches and ladies-only beaches. Water parks give you the chance to cool off from the desert temperatures, but that glorious year-round sunshine, and a packed events calendar, means that you’re guaranteed a fabulous sea and sand getaway in Dubai at any time of year.

Dubai is the perfect outdoor playground. It really comes into its own during a desert drive - you simply can’t leave Dubai without experiencing the fun of hurtling over the sandy dunes on a 4x4. Thrill-seekers will find a myriad of ways to push their taste for adrenaline to its limits here, with everything from kayaking and scuba diving, to rock climbing and skydiving on offer. Families can enjoy a rather more serene hot air balloon ride at sunrise, enjoying the breath-taking views of the golden dunes and colour-drenched skies. Camel racing is another local must-see, with the season taking place over the winter and wrapping up in the spring with a big festival. Sports lovers take note: polo, tennis and horse racing events are firm fixtures here.

DUBAI IS BEST FOR...

Thrill seekers: Water parks, desert safaris and skydiving adventures are all must-dos in Dubai

Shoppers: From quaint markets to massive malls, Dubai is any shopper’s dream.

Night owls: The Dubai party scene is huge, with hundreds of hotels boasting exciting bars and clubs.


FAST FACTS

Language: The language spoken in Dubai is Arabic

Currency: The currency used in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED)

Local time: Dubai is 3 hours ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: Dubai International Airport  (DXB) is located about 6 kilometres from the city centre

Flight time from UK: 7 hours

Tourist Information: Further Dubai tourist information can be found at www.definitelydubai.com

Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/united-arab-emirates for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Dubai.


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: Average highs of 36°C in summer and 19°C in winter.

Best time to visit: Between October and April, for moderate temperatures, sunshine and blue skies.

Summer in Dubai is between June and September. August is the hottest month, with average temperatures of 36°C. Humidity is also very high in summer. The coldest month is January, with temperatures averaging 19°C.


GETTING AROUND

By car: Drive around the city at your own pace by renting a car. Rates can vary, but  are usually  cheaper when booked in advance. Remember that an international driver’s licence is required.

By taxi: There are taxis available all over the city, and they’re easy to find and relatively inexpensive.

By water taxi: Try a traditional way of seeing the city by hopping on a water taxi, which operates between 5am and midnight.


EVENTS

Dubai Summer Surprises: This bright and bold festival takes place from July to September, and combines a shopping bonanza - across over 6,000 stores - with a wide range of fun family events.

Middle East Film and Comic Con: The biggest pop culture festival in the Middle East rolls into the city each April, with plenty on offer for movie and comic fans.

Camel Racing Season: In April, the free-to-enter Al Marmoum Heritage Festival brings the traditional sport’s winter season to a close with a host of events and must-see camel races.


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