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Top 8 Places to Visit in Dubai

Picture of dubai downtown on sunset
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Picture of dubai downtown on sunset

Dubai is the most impressive and modern city in the Middle East. Here, a certain harmony has been struck between ancient mosques and contemporary architecture, sandy beaches and trendy shopping centres, and between Arab and European traditions. Here’s a list of the things we recommend first-time visitors to explore:

1. The Bastakiya Neighbourhood

Al Bastakiya, Dubai
Photo taken by Diego Delso - wikimedia.org.  Al Bastakiya, Dubai

This neighbourhood transports one a few hundred years back into the past. Dubai’s ultra-modern centre is also home to the ancient merchant and fishing village that flourished in the late 19th century. This neighbourhood, full of charming traditional architecture, has many cosy cafés and art galleries. Here you can also find a number of textile producers who will offer you the most beautiful and brightly-coloured Arab-quality fabrics. While out on a walk, make sure to pause and take a look at the city wall that’s been made from corals and plaster.

2. Man-made Islands

Jumeirah Palm Island in Dubai
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Jumeirah Palm Island in Dubai

These islands and archipelagos, located near Dubai, are the pride of the United Arab Emirates. The Palm Jumeirah is one of the most popular and tourist-frequented of these archipelagos. It consists of a number of islands arranged in an area of 5 square kilometres – from up high, it looks truly wonderful. It is one of two Palm archipelagos, situated along the coastline of the UAE, and is also home to many hotels. Sometimes called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Palm Jumeirah is more than worthy of your attention.

There are, however, a few less successful projects as well. From a bird’s eye view, the World Islands – another artificial archipelago – doesn't look like such a convincing map of the world, and it's still largely uninhabited.

3. A Trip on an Arab Boat

Abra - wooden ship designed to transport people across Dubai Creek
Photo taken by KlausF - wikimedia.org.  Abra - wooden ship designed to transport people across Dubai Creek

While in the Emirates, you’re bound to see at least a few of the ancient Arab fishing boats. Cruises on these little boats present tourists with an excellent afternoon’s – or even a whole day's – recreational opportunity. A quiet lagoon, the glimmering of the city at night, national Arab dishes and oriental music – forgetting reality is easy on trips like these.

4. The Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Downtown
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Burj Khalifa and Dubai Downtown

At 828 m, the Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world. Officially, this skyscraper was opened in 2010, together with a two-square-kilometre business centre. The building of this gigantic structure cost over $1.5 billion. Due to help from Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the president of the United Arab Emirates – the building was named after him. The Burj Khalifa has the world’s fastest lifts and the highest restaurant, located on the 122nd floor. Here guests can observe the city from a 442-metr-high overview.

The artificial Burj Dubai water basin has the world’s tallest dancing fountains, spurting water 150 m into the air.

5. The Deira Gold Market

Gold market in Dubai
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Gold market in Dubai

Every day, over 25 tonnes of gold are arranged in the windows of Deira market’s jewellery stores. Here you’ll find not only the most desired gold jewellery, but also experienced jewellers who will fit you with a chosen gold necklace or help choose something exclusive. The market is worth visiting even if you don’t plan on buying anything. That said, it is true that in Dubai, gold is cheaper than anywhere else in the world. The market, situated in the eastern part of the city, can also be reached by water taxi that make rounds in the city bay, so you can breathe some fresh air before diving into the hubbub, or take rest from all the impressions in one of the little boats.

6. Sharjah

Skyline of Sharja and Dubai at night
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Skyline of Sharja and Dubai at night

Experience the atmosphere of the Middle East in the country’s third-largest emirate. Since time immemorial, Sharjah was one of the wealthiest cities of the region and the most important harbour in the Persian Gulf until the 19th century. Now it’s a modern city, surrounded by an endless desert and boasting an intriguing historic past. It’s worth mentioning that the boundary between Sharjah and Dubai is no more – the two cities now form a single continuous unit.

One of the most charming sights of this emirate is the 100-metre-tall fountain, located at the heart of the Khalid Lagoon, which symbolises a stream of oil that brought the country its unprecedented wealth and well-being. In 1998, UNESCO declared Sharjah to be the Arab world’s capital of culture. This city also has the gulf’s most famous history museum and Sharjah emirate’s Faisal Mosque.

7. Al Ain – A True Desert Oasis

Palm Trees in the Al Ain Oasis
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Palm Trees in the Al Ain Oasis

No matter how fascinating you might find Dubai, we recommend you also visit the other lands of the UAE. If you want to spend a day outside Dubai, you can’t go wrong with Al Ain, located near the Oman border. Thanks to its many parks and avenues, the town is often called a desert oasis or a garden town. It was called Al Ain, which means “a spring” in Arabic, after it was found to contain many freshwater springs.

Al Ain’s palm plantations leave no visitor unmoved. The town also has the country’s oldest and richest museum, which tells its entire history. The impression is reinforced by the palace of the late president Sheikh Zayed, which is now open to the public. Those who wish to freshen up their body and mind can visit the nearby health centre with natural mineral water pools. Both children and adults also enjoy visiting the country’s largest zoo.

On the way to Al Ain you’ll also be able to enjoy the sights of the vast surrounding deserts.

8. Dubai’s Beaches

Young woman at the beach next to Burj Al Arab Hotel
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Young woman at the beach next to Burj Al Arab Hotel

As if it wasn’t enough that the entire city is glimmering in gold and luxury, its beaches are also excellent for recreation, especially power-kiting. Even though some of them are not for free and others are located outside the city or near major traffic arteries, they all offer the same warm, blue sea water.

Comments (3)

Aliha   3 years ago  Edited
I would like to say that Dubai is a nice destination for having fun. I have visited this destination before with my family and have a great experience there. It's all attractions are so nice.
Linda Peters   1 year ago  Edited
Dubai is the most impressive and modern city in the Middle East. There are most 8 place of famous for.This place visit to nice all 8 town. I'm good to travel here for visit. Thank you.
Amanda Chua   8 months ago  Edited
What an amazing and a fascinating place to visit. I really didn't know much about this but after reading this post I will surely visit one day. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post.