In December 2020, we decided to go to Dubai to escape the cold European winter and to enjoy the beauty of Dubai. With its futuristic buildings emerging from the desert, its artificial islands under construction, its huge malls, its latest luxury hotels and its crazy projects, Dubai has become the destination by excellence.
We stayed 10 days and could have stayed even more if it was possible as there is so much to do. In Dubai, one thing is sure, you will never get bored, as there is something to do for all tastes and all wallets! Dubai is also a nice destination for family holidays.
Discover here my city guide of Dubai and 10 things to do.
Transport & accommodation 🚖
We took the company Emirates from Brussels, which I highly recommend. The flight lasts about 7 hours, and the service on board is great!
| How did we move in Dubai? 🚖
To go to one place to another you can either rent a car, or use a taxi. During our trip, we didn’t rent a car but used taxi’s.
When using a taxi, there are several companies like Uber, Careem, classic taxi’s and private taxi’s. After trying a lot of those different taxi’s, the cheapest one were the classic taxi’s you take alongside the road with the yellow taxi sign on the roof. When taking a taxi available in the streets, you only pay 5AED as a standard fee.
If you call a taxi or book one with uber or careem they’ll charge you with a fee of 12AED. If there is no taxi available, I advise you to book one with Careem, which during our trip was always cheaper than booking Uber.
Be careful for the taxi’s without a yellow taxi sign on the roof, not that they are not taxi’s, but their rate is a lot more expensive than the classic taxi, uber, or Careem. We took one by inadvertence and payed 150AED for a trip which could have been only 50AED with a classic taxi or Careem.
To sum up the cheapest is the classic taxi followed by Careem and Uber.
| Where did we stay in Dubai? 🏠
We stayed at the Rove La Mer hotel, which is a brand-new complex that opened 2 days before we arrived. Therefore, we were one of the hotel’s first guests. It was a very good surprise!
Everything was perfect, especially the location of the hotel which is located by the sea and at the La Mer district.
The breakfast is also excellent and the hotel has many facilities to offer. All in all, the hotel has everything to please the customer!
Rove is actually a recent hotel channel in Dubai with super affordable prices and top services quality! They have several hotels located in different areas of Dubai.
I would highly recommend one of their hotel if you are going to Dubai and don’t want to spend too much money on accommodation. You will not be disappointed! that hotel in Dubai is also a family friendly hotel to spent your holidays.
As for the La mer district, it is an atypical district, open since October 2017 which is located in Jumeirah. It has three areas: north, south and center, all inspired by contemporary designs.
Between the beach, restaurants, bars and the many entertainments, you will find everything you need to spend a pleasant day. That district looks a bit like Venice Beach in California, and is very chill! it is the perfect place to spent your family holidays in Dubai !
10 things to do in Dubai
Here is a list of the things to do during your family holidays in Dubai.
1 | The Marina and the JBR district
Dubai Marina is located southwest of Dubai on the waterfront. There are restaurants and bars throughout. The length of this Marina is around 6 km. You can rent bicycles to go around if you want.
Along the Marina there is a building named Pier 7 with seven floors, and on each floor, there is an exclusive restaurant.
Not far from there is situated the JBR district which is a relaxing area offering several restaurants, hotels, lounges and a multitude of entertainment for young and old.
2 | Downtown Dubai
In downtown Dubai, you can admire the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall and the Dubai fountains. These three things are all at the same place and therefore easily to do in the same day or evening.
| Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is the tallest tower in the world with 829 meters. You can get there either on the 124th floor and 125th floor and / or on the 148th floor. Prices vary, depending on the height as well as the time of the day. For example, prices are higher during the sunset.
I took my tickets online via the site of the Burj Khalifa. You can also book your tickets either via Getyourguide or via Groupon. This way you will save money, given that on the spot itself, the prices are much higher, by almost the double! We paid around 30 euros for the 124th and 125th floors.
| Dubai Fountains
Once the visit was over, we watched the fountains shows. The Dubai Fountain is quite simply the largest fountain in the world! It has a truly impressive spectacle of sound, water and light!
The Dubai Fountain show takes place several times a day. Here are the hours of the fountain show:
- Afternoon show (every day except Friday): 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
- Afternoon show, Friday: 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
- In the evening, whatever the day of the week, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., show every 30 minutes.
The show is never the same and the music changes every time. We watched the show in the evening as it is in my opinion much more impressive than during the day with all the lights overlooking the buildings as well as the lights of the fountain. You can also dine in one of the restaurants overlooking the fountain. The view is even more impressive.
| Dubai Mall
Next to the fountains, there is the Dubai Mall, which is the biggest shopping mall in the world! It is so big that it is very easy to reach the 10,000 daily steps and where you can easily get lost! LOL
Moreover, from fashion stores, you will also find shops of all types such as: books, watches, accessories, electronics, household items and even a souk!
The Dubai Mall also has a large aquarium, an Olympic ice skating rink, the largest cinema in Dubai, … To conclude, you will quickly understand why it is the largest in the world.
3 | Global Village
It combines the cultures of 90 countries around the world in one place. It claims to be the largest tourism, leisure, shopping and entertainment project in the world!
The global village opens every year between November and April and takes visitors on a virtual world tour with a replica of international architecture, cultural areas, food pavilions, shows, rides and markets.
It was a very good experience! We were blown away by everything that was going on around us, and had the impression of doing a world tour in one evening.
We were also able to taste various specialties as well as discover different cultures. There is even an amusement park inside. I highly recommend that activity.
The entrance fee is around 3 euros. Inside you will need to pay for food, drinks and some activities, but the prices are fair.
4 | Miracle garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a flower garden. The garden was inaugurated on Valentine’s Day in 2013. That garden is open from mid-November to mid-May. It is very pleasant to walk there; the sculptures are all equally impressive!
We visited the site for about 1 hour and a half. That park is super photogenic, you can see many posts on Instagram. The entrance fee is around 15 euros.
5 | Old Dubai
Old Dubai is divided into two parts, that of Deira and that of Bur Dubai. In the district of Deira as in that of Bur Dubai there are several souks to explore. The first one we did in Deira was the Gold Souk. As the name itself said, you will find here all types of jewelries, especially in gold. Not far from there, you can also discover the spice souk.
You can cross the Dubai creek to go to the other side by the traditional boat, called ‘Abra’.
That creek is the arm of the sea that separates both district of Bur Dubai and Deira. To cross the creek, it will cost you barely 1 dirham.
We took the boat to go to the Bur Dubai district, where there are other souks to discover, especially in the historic district of Al Fahid and Al Souq Al Kabeer. A little further away there is also the Al Seef souk, which I particularly liked.
The Al Seef area honors and showcases the region’s proud heritage and natural beauty through state-of-the-art facilities. Dotted with wind towers and sandstone buildings, sikkas and small paths, a stroll through the old-world district will give you a glimpse into Dubai’s past life.
6 | Day trip into the Arabian desert
I particularly liked that day since I am a fan of strong feelings. We booked the activity with the company Oceanair. We had a really nice guide, and had a great time that day.
The program for that day included:
- The transfer
- 1 hour of quad driving
- A Camel ride
- A Small safari in the dunes in a 4×4
- Barbecue in a Bedouin camp with shows
I highly recommend that kind of excursion to see a different side of Dubai.
7 | Discovery of the Souk of Madinat
Also called Little Venice, this popular modern oriental market in Madinat Jumeirah delights visitors who stroll along its quaint alleys.
Whether you are looking for fragrances, lanterns, spices or typical souvenirs, this is the place to be. In addition, that souk is located very close to the Burj Al Arab, and therefore you can contemplate it up close from the Madinat.
8 | Boat excursions – Cruise Dubai Bay
During our stay, we decided to have a little afternoon at sea. It is also another way to discover Dubai and its skyscrapers from the sea.
We booked that excursion via getyourguide.
During 3 hours, we went through the Dubai Marina, The Palm, the Atlantis hotel and the Burj Al Arab. All this accompanied by a barbecue and drinks on board. It was a pleasant afternoon.
9 | Stroll through the La Mer district
As our hotel was located in that area, we spent several evenings here. That district is my favorite one in Dubai. There is something for every taste, and as I already said it is the perfect place to spent your family holidays in Dubai.
It is clearly the ideal place for a relaxing afternoon, between shopping, restaurants, bars, there is everything you need. There are also activities for all members of the family.
10 | Afternoon in a beach club
We have been to the Zero Gravity beach club located in JBR. We liked the vibes as well as the food, and the swimming pool is also very large. A recommender in my opinion.
Drift Beach Club in Dubai is a private beach with a stunning infinity pool, overlooking one kilometer of beach. Summersalt is a beach club at Jumeirah Al Naseem in Dubai serving experimental fusion cuisine, expert mixology to the sounds of live DJs.
Other activities in Dubai
Below is a list of things we haven’t done, but which could be nice for your Dubai family holidays.
| An afternoon at the Atlantis water park
Aquaventure is a water park located within the Atlantis hotel complex in Palm Jumeirah. It is Dubai’s most famous park and the largest. In my opinion the perfect activity for your family holidays in Dubai.
| A day in Abu Dhabi
Due to the Covid, we were unable to make it to Abu Dhabi, but if you can, quite a few tour desks offer days in Abu Dhabi. On the program, the visit of Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the Ferrari World and so on.
| The Walk of Frame
Dubai Frame is a huge photo frame. That building, which resembles a photo frame, offers the possibility of going to the top to enjoy a panoramic view of the immense city.
Looking for good food and hookah addresses?
Find all the necessary information about food, drinks & hookah places in my next article.
My Tips in Dubai
- It is better to exchange your money in advance as the rates can be very different depending on the location. Therefore, it is important to compare exchange rates well.
- If you pay with the bank card, always ask the waiter to pay in the local currency. Prices are higher if it’s in your currency.
- Take the right taxis and not the limousine taxis as they call it over there. (See explanations above)
- I recommend a hotel from the Rove chain as they are excellent.
- Always check the prices of activities online, since it is cheaper online that on the site itself.
I hope I have you enjoyed this article about the things to do in Dubai. Check also my food guide in Dubai. Looking for another hot destination during the European winter? Check my articles about Costa Rica, Mexico and Cuba.