Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates and an increasingly popular destination. It is breaking new records in all aspects of life, including the number of visitors.
Our own opinion is that Dubai can never get boring, and we could spend any amount of time there. However, as tourists, time and budget are often limited.
When browsing social networking sites, we often see the question that although the person has only a short time in Dubai, they want to see as much of the city as possible.
This is where we got the idea to create a short, 2-day itinerary to visit Dubai.
First, let’s look at some of the issues that might come up when you plan your trip to Dubai.
Is two days enough to visit Dubai?
To be honest, two days are not enough to see all parts of Dubai, but there are tourists who have no other option. This article is for them, to help them make the best possible travel plan for a short trip to Dubai. So if you only have 48 hours in Dubai, this article is for you!
How many days is the recommended time to spend in Dubai?
You can see most of the attractions in Dubai in about 4–7 days. If you are also visiting the countryside, want to see the highlights of Abu Dhabi or want to relax, we recommend a minimum of a week or more.
But don’t let that put you off, if you have less time available in Dubai, you can still see the main sights.
Benefits of a 2-day trip to Dubai
Spending two days in Dubai has its advantages. One of them is the price. Since you don’t have to pay for a hotel for many days, you can travel to Dubai on a low budget. If you only have a few days, maybe you are in Dubai on a business trip, this might be just enough time to see the most important places in Dubai. And all this quickly and cheaply.
What to consider when planning a 2-day Dubai itinerary
Besides the short time available, the other most important factor is the budget you have.
You can choose between cheap and luxury hotels in Dubai, depending on your budget. Personally, we think the 5-star places in Dubai are well worth the money, as they offer excellent service. So if you can afford it, don’t miss out on the luxury Dubai experience.
Where to stay in Dubai
Dubai is full of great hotels in almost every price range, with a wide choice to suit everyone.
We can recommend several hotels in Dubai, from 3-star cheap hotels to 5-star luxury hotels, which we have selected ourselves.
So here is a selection of the hotels we recommend in Dubai.
3-star hotels in Dubai
- Rove Dubai Marina: a very well-priced three-star hotel on Dubai Marina, close to more other attractions like Ain Dubai or Palm Jumeirah
- Rove Expo 2020: we can also recommend other hotels in the Rove chain, such as the Rove Expo 2020 in Expo City, which is a very affordable and well rated hotel. It’s a bit far from the other attractions, but for the price it’s on our list
4-star hotels in Dubai
- Radisson Beach Resort Palm Jumeirah: a four-star hotel opened in 2022, located on the Palm Jumeirah, offering an almost five-star experience with breathtaking views, beautiful interiors and its own private beach
- Vida Creek Harbour: a good value hotel near Creek Harbour with fantastic views from its terrace and pool, two restaurants and free private garage
- Courtyard by Marriott Dubai, Al Barsha: a well-priced four-star hotel in the Barsha district, close to the Mall of the Emirates. If you want to stay in a central location at a good price, this hotel is a good choice
- The First Collection Business Bay: a four-star hotel relatively close to Downtown. It’s very budget-friendly, has an award-winning restaurant and a pool with fantastic views
Cheaper 5-star hotels in Dubai
- Al Bandar Rotana: a five-star hotel close to the DXB airport and the Creek, very good value for money, has a private parking garage, great views of Downtown and excellent breakfast
- Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, an IHG Hotel: a five-star hotel in Downtown, relatively close to the Burj Khalifa. A very good value hotel in its category and with excellent reviews
Top luxury hotels in Dubai
- One&Only Royal Mirage Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach: a top luxury hotel close to Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, with a private beach, breathtaking outdoor facilities and stylish interiors
- Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai: a real luxury hotel on Pearl Jumeirah, with excellent restaurants, a huge private beach and wonderful interiors
- Palace Downtown: The Palace Downtown is one of Dubai’s most famous luxury hotels. It has breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa, is built in a magnificent Arabian style and its palm-fringed pools are a big favorite among tourists
- Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai: a popular five-star luxury hotel on the Palm Jumeirah. It has fantastic restaurants, with by far the best breakfasts we have ever tried. The nightlife is quite active at this hotel, so we recommend it especially for young people. There are also frequent star DJ nights. It has a private beach and a fabulous pool
These are just a few of the many Dubai hotels we can recommend. If you are looking for something different, Booking.com has all the other best hotels in Dubai.
Best time to visit Dubai
Dubai’s hot desert climate makes winter the best time to visit, roughly from November to April.
In November and March, April, you can experience summery warmth and enjoy beach activities.
December, January, and February bring slightly cooler sea temperatures, and with air temperatures ranging from 18-25°C, it’s ideal for city exploration.
In summer, Dubai is only worth a trip if you can’t make it at other times. Prices are much lower, but the heat is so intense that you can’t spend much time outside, and many attractions are closed in summer.
How to get around Dubai
On the other hand, since you only have two days, avoid traveling long distances. It is not a good idea to spend a lot of time stuck in traffic on a short trip. So for a short Dubai trip, try to travel short distances. Dubai is much bigger than it looks on the map, and transport can take up a lot of time.
As for transport, we always prefer to rent a car, but for a short trip a taxi is a very practical option. We are sure that a taxi is the most time-saving way to get around Dubai.
For a longer trip, we recommend our 7-day Dubai itinerary or our one-week UAE itinerary, where the longer Dubai itinerary includes all the highlights of Dubai, while the UAE itinerary includes the countryside, a day trip to Abu Dhabi, the desert and the mountains.
The perfect 2-day Dubai itinerary: How to spend 2 days in Dubai
So, after the important questions, here’s our recommended Dubai itinerary for 2 days with the best things to do that Dubai has to offer.
Of course, programs and days are freely interchangeable.
Day 1: Museum of the Future, Dubai Frame, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Fountain, Dubai Mall
Here’s our picks for what to see on the first day in Dubai:
Morning: Museum of the Future
In the morning, visit the Museum of the Future, one of Dubai’s newest iconic buildings.
The Museum of the Future houses interesting displays, exhibitions and collections, so it is well worth a visit. Depending on the time available, you may decide to visit inside.
If you want to see inside the Museum of the Future, it is strongly recommended that you book your ticket online.
From the outside, we highly recommend a stop at the Museum of the Future, which in our opinion offers one of the most beautiful views of Dubai.
Time needed to visit the Museum of the Future: 1 hour outside only, 2–3 hours inside and outside
The Dubai Frame is another of Dubai’s iconic attractions. There is much argument among tourists about whether it is worth seeing inside. Since it doesn’t take much time to see the inside, we think it is worth it.
Pay particular attention to how the Frame connects old Dubai with modern Dubai. On one side of the Frame, you can see old buildings, and on the other side, you get a great view of the Dubai Downtown, including the Burj Khalifa.
Time needed to visit Dubai Frame: 1-1.5 hours
Afternoon: Burj Khalifa
For afternoons and evenings, the Burj Khalifa and its surroundings are the perfect place to visit.
The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, famous not only for its record-breaking height but also for its breathtaking views and its city-shaping appearance. The most important element of the magnificent Dubai skyline.
There are several tickets available for the Burj Khalifa, so it is up to you to decide which one to buy, depending on your budget.
We always recommend visiting the Burj Khalifa by booking online tickets in advance for the sunset hours.
For example, if the sunset is at 6 pm (you can check the sunset time here), buy tickets online in advance for 5 or 5:30 pm.
With an online ticket, you don’t have to queue at the ticket office, so you can get to the upper floors faster.
We recommend the sunset period because you can see Dubai from the Burj Khalifa in both its daytime and nighttime beauty with one ticket.
Time needed to visit the Burj Khalifa: 1.5-2 hours
Dubai Fountain Show
In the evening, after leaving the Burj Khalifa, you will have a few hours to visit The Dubai Fountain in front of the Burj Khalifa. It is well worth taking a walk around the Fountain, the views and the experience are amazing. In the evenings there are often fountain shows, music shows and laser shows at The Dubai Fountain. Furthermore, you can go boating on the fountain.
In addition, you can go out to dinner in the best restaurants. Just be aware that finding a seat is not always easy, so book a table in advance.
If you want to buy something for yourself or a souvenir, the Dubai Mall is the perfect place.
With more than a thousand shops and hundreds of restaurants, you are sure to find something in Dubai Mall.
Pro tip: don’t skip the camel milk chocolate. You can also get plain camel milk chocolate or camel milk chocolate filled with dates and/or pistachios, all delicious! By the way, the best is available in the Burj Khalifa shop.
Dubai Mall also has attractions such as the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the Dubai Mall Waterfalls. If you have enough time, they are worth a visit.
Day 2: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina
The schedule for the second day of the 2-day Dubai itinerary:
Morning: Palm Jumeirah
Spend the morning visiting Palm Jumeirah, Dubai’s most famous artificial island, which is shaped like a palm tree.
Palm Jumeirah is a real luxury part of Dubai, the island is full of luxury hotels, restaurants and rich tourists who drive around in luxury cars. On Palm Jumeirah, it is not uncommon to see cars worth several hundred thousand dollars, such as Lamborghinis and Bugattis.
The View at the Palm
The View at the Palm is an observation deck on the Palm Jumeirah island. From the 52nd floor, you can see the Palm Jumeirah, the Atlantis hotels and Dubai Marina in a panoramic view.
Time needed to visit the View at the Palm: 1-1.5 hours
If you want to spend more time here, you can shop in the Nakheel Mall downstairs, and there is also a stylish café on the View at the Palm floor.
Or if you prefer true luxury, choose the Aura Skypool, also in the same building as View at the Palm. The Aura Skypool is a pool with 360° panoramic views, offering true luxury in every aspect.
Time needed to visit the Aura Skypool: at least 3–4 hours
Atlantis, The Palm
Since you can’t fit much more into a two-day itinerary, we suggest you at least visit the older Atlantis Hotel and its surroundings from the outside. The Atlantis, The Palm hotel is one of Dubai’s iconic luxury hotels, and the Aquaventure Waterpark nearby is a great choice for families.
Time needed to visit Atlantis, The Palm from outside: 1 hour
In the evening, if you still have time, visit Dubai Marina close to Palm Jumeirah. The Dubai Marina is famous for its fantastic views, with spectacular skyscrapers on the waterfront.
In addition, Dubai Marina is home to some of the most popular public beaches, such as the JBR Beach. During public holidays, drone shows and fireworks displays can often be seen from near JBR Beach. And in the background you can see the world’s largest Ferris wheel, the Ain Dubai.
So we suggest you take a stroll along the Marina and enjoy the atmosphere of Dubai. You can also have a nice dinner at the Dubai Marina, where you will find a wide choice of the best restaurants, bars and hotels.
Optional places to visit in Dubai
If you want to do other things in Dubai in 2 days, you can of course substitute any of them.
There are many other things to do in Dubai, so here are some of the best to inspire you to explore the city in more depth.
Dubai Creek Harbour
Dubai Creek Harbour offers stunning views of the city and serves as a leisure destination with a variety of attractions. It’s worth taking a sunset stroll along the shore, as both the Flamingos Statue and the white arches offer wonderful photo opportunities, showcasing the Creek and the Downtown in the background.
Additionally, while walking, visit the Creek Harbour Public Viewing Deck, which is a new viewing platform in Dubai.
And f you’re looking for something extra, not far away is the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see, among other things, flamingos.
“Old Dubai” refers to the historic areas of Deira and Bur Dubai along the Dubai Creek. These parts of the city still have older-style buildings, traditional markets (souks), and cultural landmarks. Exploring Old Dubai provides a glimpse into the city’s past before modernization.
One of the best places to learn about Dubai’s history is Dubai Old City on Al Seef Street. There you can see traditional buildings, with a variety of heritage sites, hotels, cafés and restaurants.
Plus, there is one of Dubai’s famous Starbucks cafés in an old building that you may have seen on social media.
Not far from there, you can also find the Dubai Museum, an optional attraction.
In addition, on the other side of Dubai Creek, there are some interesting markets that tourists love, such as the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. If you like shopping, you’ll love these places.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden is the world’s biggest flower garden, showcasing flower arrangements in different shapes.
One highlight is a life-size Emirates Airbus A380 covered in flowers, drawing many visitors. Our other favorite spot was the heart-shaped arches adorned with flowers in a row, making it a perfect Instagram spot.
The garden introduces a new theme each year, often inspired by fairytales.
Situated on Dubai’s outskirts, it’s recommended to use a car or taxi.
Despite a slightly higher entrance fee, spending a few hours here is worth it for the stunning floral compositions.
Global Village is a unique blend of an amusement park and an extensive market, making it challenging to define precisely. It’s an ideal destination for families in Dubai, offering abundant entertainment for both kids and adults.
Vendors from various countries and regions showcase goods ranging from the USA to Asia.
Admission requires a ticket, and additional charges apply for various attractions inside.
Located on the outskirts of the city, the most convenient way to reach Global Village is by car or taxi.
Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab is one of Dubai’s iconic buildings and one of the world’s best-known luxury hotels. Burj Al Arab is built on an artificial island. Its elegant design and ‘sail-shaped’ appearance make the building unique.
The Burj Al Arab is often referred to as a 7-star hotel, although this is not reflected in the official rating system. However, it is the hotel’s services, level of luxury and exclusive atmosphere that have led to the use of this designation.
You can only see the Burj Al Arab from the outside for free. Inside, if you are not a guest, guided tours are available to take you around the complex and show you the places that attract tourists.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah
The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a lively market space in Dubai, blending traditional Middle Eastern architecture with modern comforts. It’s designed to resemble a traditional souk.
Located near the stunning Burj Al Arab, it’s connected by picturesque waterways, and provides a scenic environment for both shopping and dining. Visitors can explore narrow pathways, enjoy the view of water canals, and experience the charm of an authentic Arabian market.
Besides shopping, Souk Madinat Jumeirah offers various dining options, ranging from casual cafés to upscale restaurants. Additionally, it provides one of the most picturesque views of the Burj Al Arab, with the best photo spots around The Meat Co. Souk Madinat Jumeirah restaurant.
A very popular activity in Dubai is the desert safari, with plenty of options. However, as desert safaris take quite a long time, we suggest you plan a half or full day. Therefore, it is not included in our 2-day itinerary.
If you want to go on a desert safari in Dubai, GetYourGuide offers a wide range of desert safari packages.
On most safaris, a driver will take you around a specific desert area where you can experience sliding down sand dunes. Additionally, camel rides and quad biking are often available. Many tours also offer opportunities to taste traditional Arabian food, and on longer trips, you might even enjoy belly dance performances.
There are fantastic beaches in Dubai, so if you definitely want to go to the beach during the two days, you can spend a few hours there.
We also offer free beach options for the second day. The best free beaches are JBR beach, Kite Beach and Jumeirah Beach.
Dubai is a very family-friendly place with many facilities for families. However, two days is not enough, so we did not plan any special family activities. If you are visiting with young children, you will probably need more than two days to explore Dubai. Then you can plan family activities such as Aquaventure Waterpark, Global Village or IMG Worlds of Adventure.
For this, we recommend our 7-day Dubai itinerary, which includes several family activities.
All in all, Dubai is an amazing place to explore, even if you only have two days. From futuristic sites like the Museum of the Future to the iconic Burj Khalifa, our itinerary covers the must-see spots. Whether you’re into luxury or on a budget, we’ve suggested places to stay for everyone.
In this short visit, we’ve highlighted the best of Dubai, including the lively Dubai Fountain and the diverse Dubai Mall. Whether you’re drawn to the luxurious Palm Jumeirah or the stunning views of Dubai Marina, each moment promises something special.
Our goal is to make your short stay memorable, leaving room for your own discoveries in this vibrant city. Dubai’s unique atmosphere ensures an unforgettable experience for everyone.