Visiting Dubai in one day is quite common. Many tourists who travel on intercontinental flights with the Emirates company take advantage of the long layovers to get to know Dubai in a few hours. It is a huge, modern, luxurious city, where we could spend weeks and weeks enjoying its contrasts. However, it can also be visited in a few hours and get to know some of its attractions quickly. Next We propose an itinerary to visit Dubai in one day and on a budget.
How to get around Dubai in one day on this itinerary
If you prefer not to worry about transportation and go more relaxed, you can book a 4-hour tour of Dubai. They will pick you up at the point you indicate to go to the most traditional area of the city. After you will be taken to Jumeirah Beach to see the most luxurious hotel in the world. You won’t miss the palm-shaped islands and the Atlantis The Palm hotel. Finally, you will be dropped off at the Burj Khalifa area so you can go up to the observation deck on your own and explore the gigantic Dubai Mall.
However, if you do it on your own as we mentioned below, You can move by taxi and / or public transport. Unlike European cities, it is very difficult to walk in Dubai. Firstly, because of the heat and secondly, because it is a very large city and it is not designed for pedestrians, but for cars.
For that we recommend you buy the one-day metro pass. It costs 20AED (5€) and it will allow you unlimited travel on the metro throughout the city until midnight on the same day you buy it. In this way, you will not have to worry about recharging the transport card.
🚶♀️ Total walking distance: 6.5 kilometers
🚖 Total distance by taxi: 5 kilometers (1 route)
🚇 Total distance in meter: 3 or 4 resorts
Where to stay to visit Dubai in one day
Perhaps you will take advantage of a stopover and you will not need to spend the night in the city. However, To visit Dubai in one day, we recommend that you spend at least one night in the city. In our case we stayed in the Paramount Hotel Dubai. In the Downtown, but well connected and super cheap.
We believe that it is convenient for you to either sleep in Dubai Marina or at the Airport, one of the two ends of this route. In just 50 minutes you will connect both areas by metro. However, for convenience we believe that it is more convenient to sleep near the airport to be able to leave your bags as soon as you arrive (in case you need it).
Where to stay in Dubai: best areas and hotels
Contents of this article
WHAT TO SEE IN DUBAI IN ONE DAY: VISIT ITINERARY
1. Start the day at Dubai Creek and its souks
🚇 Subway to Union from the Airport: 14 minutes
🚶♂️ Distance from Union to the souks: 20 minutes | 2 kilometers
There is no better way to start this tour of Dubai in one day than knowing the traditional part of the city. The capital of the United Arab Emirates It has not always been linked to eccentricity, luxury and modernity. Quite the contrary. Since the first oil field was found in 1966, the city has changed completely. Especially over the last decade, when it’s become a quirky site.
But until then, Dubai was a humble city and a small commercial enclave on the Persian Gulf. If you want to see that traditional atmosphere, we advise you to visit the Dubai Creek area. The first settlers of the area began to settle around this river to do business with pearls and fish. It was the nerve center of commerce in Dubai at the time. Now it seems unimaginable, right?
Stroll along the banks of the river and feel the authentic atmosphere of Dubai. We recommend you visit the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk, two of the most interesting places in the traditional part. It’s only a 20-minute walk from Union Station.
2. Cross Dubai Creek in abra
💰 1AED (0.30€) | 5 minutes
After visiting the souks, we recommend you to cross the Dubai Creek in abra, traditional boats. There is a lot of frequency and it will hardly take you 5 minutes to go from one shore to the other.
3. Stroll through Al Fahidi
🚶♂️ Distance from the jetty to Al Fahidi: 7 minutes | 550 meters
Before going to the modern area of Dubai, Al Fahidi is worth a walk. Take a look at the people, the architecture, the atmosphere… and then compare it with the financial area of the city. It is impressive to see how black gold has transformed the city! Undoubtedly, an essential stop on this tour of the city in a few hours.
The neighborhood was built at the end of the 19th century to house Persian merchants, who made their living trading textiles and pearls. They were next to Dubai Creek, which was the main point of commerce in the area. Stroll through the neighborhood, fall in love with the architecture and enter the buildings. There are several quite interesting galleries and museums to learn about the history of the place.
4. Hallucinate with the Dubai Frame
🚖 Taxi from Al Fahidi to Dubai Frame: 5 minutes | AED20 (€5)
And before making the final transition from the old part to the new, you have to visit the Dubai Frame. It is the best place to observe the contrasts of Dubai. At this point your visit to the traditional part will end and you will begin to discover the modernity of Dubai. This is the largest photo frame on the planet!
And precisely, what it does is frame, on one side, the past of Dubai and on the other, the present and the future. Is incredible! At the top there is a viewpoint that will allow you to have incredible views of the two parts of Dubai. Definitely, an essential stop on your route through Dubai in one day.
After visiting the Dubai Frame, walk to Al Jafiliya metro station from where you will depart to the next destination of this itinerary.
Buy a ticket for the Dubai Frame
5. Browse the Dubai Mall
🚇 Metro from Al Jafiliya to Dubai Mall: 20 minutes
Next, once you have enjoyed the Dubai Frame, take the red metro line from Al Jafiliya to the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall stop. It only takes about 20 minutes!
Once Dubai’s past is known, it’s time to enjoy its modernity. Going on vacation to a shopping center does not seem like the best plan. But believe us, the Dubai Mall is an absolute blast.
It has become one of the icons of the city. It has more than 1,200 shops and restaurants.. And that only has 3 floors! But you can’t imagine how big they are… there you will find a huge ice skating rink, a beautiful indoor waterfall and even a medical center. And if you like sweets, don’t miss Candylicious, the world’s largest candy store with 930 square meters. Almost nothing!
20 curiosities of Dubai
6. Comer an Operation Falafel
🚶♂️ Distance from Dubai Mall to restaurant: 13 minutes | 1 kilometer
In the same Dubai Mall you will find a lot of restaurants. However, We recommend you walk a little bit to try this Lebanese restaurant. Is incredible!
They have a lot of variety on their menu: from soups and salads to shawarma dishes. Everything is great! Regarding the prices, you can eat very complete dishes from 32AED (€8). Without a doubt, one of the best restaurants to eat cheap in Dubai.
7 restaurants where you can eat cheap in Dubai
7. Climb the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world
🚶♂️ Distance to Burj Khalifa: 14 minutes | 1 kilometer
An essential activity is to climb the Burj Khalifa, The tallest building in the world. It measures nothing more and nothing less than 828 meters high. Almost nothing!
Although You will not be able to enjoy the views from its top, you will be able to do it from the highest viewpoint in the world, located on the 148th floor at 555 meters high. An activity not suitable for those who suffer from vertigo.
The views are very impressive because you can see that Dubai is built in the middle of nowhere. The only negative is the price. It is expensive, but it is a unique experience. We advise you to buy tickets online to avoid queues at the ticket offices.
Buy tickets up to the 125th floor Buy tickets up to the 148th floor
8. See the fountain show at the Dubai Fountains
🚶♂️ Walking distance: 5 minutes | 500 meters
Shortly before 6:00 p.m. we advise you to take a seat outside the Dubai Mall because it is time to see one of the most beautiful dancing fountain shows in the world. It is celebrated under the feet of the impressive Burj Khalifa. In fact, these dancing fountains are the largest in the world. They were designed by the same company that created the ones right in front of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
They operate every day from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.. The water jets reach up to 275 meters high! Although if we compare it with the height of the Burj Khalifa they seem small. Watching the fountains dance to the rhythm of contemporary Arabic music is a unique experience.
15 tallest buildings in the world
9. Go out for a drink in Dubai Marina
🚇 Metro from Burj Khalifa to Dubai Marina: approximately 1 hour
If you still have energy left, we believe that there is no better way to finish this Dubai itinerary in one day than having a drink and walking around the Dubai Marina. It is the largest marina in the world after the one in Marina del Rey, California. It is surrounded by more than 200 skyscrapers, many of them luxury apartments that will make you dream.
Walk along the Dubai Marina Walk and breathe in the sea breeze while looking at the spectacular yachts that are docked in the port. In the area there are many restaurants and bars to say goodbye to the day and enjoy the atmosphere. We hope you enjoy this suggested itinerary!
10. Dine at Shake Shack
🚶♂️ Walking distance: 20 minutes | 1.5 kilometers
And if you want to eat something in Dubai Marina before going to sleep, we recommend you dine at Shake Shack. This American chain serves some of our favorite burgers. So it’s always a good excuse to go to this restaurant! If you fancy another type of food, In Dubai Marina you will find restaurants of all the cuisines of the world, but it is hard to resist the burgers at Shake Shack.
If you sleep at the airport in the suggested hotel, we recommend taking the metro from Dubai Marina to the airport to sleep there. It’s barely 50 minutes on the red line. Of course, it is important that you take it before midnight so that the one-day metro pass remains valid.
BUDGET FOR THIS ROUTE THROUGH DUBAI IN ONE DAY
Below we will tell you in detail the necessary budget to carry out this tour of dubai in one daywithout taking into account the price of the hotel.
💰 Total budget per person: 439AED (112€)
🎟 Attractions 294AED (75€) – Dubai Frame – 50AED (€13) and Burj Khalifa up to floor 125 – 244 AED (€62)
🍽 Meals 104AED – (27€) – Lunch at Operation Falafel – 40AED (€10) and dinner at Shake Shack – 64AED (€17)
Transportation 41AED (€10.30) – Daily metro card 20AED (5€) – Abra 1AED (0.30€) – Taxi from Al Fahidi to Dubai Frame 20AED (5€)
DETAILED MAP OF THIS ITINERARY THROUGH DUBAI IN ONE DAY
On this map you will find all the marked points of this route through the most important city of the United Arab Emirates in a few hours.