Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

UAE 7-Day Itinerary: One Week in the United Arab Emirates

January 13, 2024

The United Arab Emirates has become an increasingly popular destination in recent years. For good reason, the country is investing heavily in attracting tourists. More and more attractions are appearing in the two largest cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is famous for its records, being home to the world’s tallest building, the largest Ferris wheel, the biggest flower garden, and much more. The city offers countless attractions for people of all ages and backgrounds. It gives visitors the feeling that every little detail has been carefully thought out to ensure a perfect vacation.

Abu Dhabi has one of the largest mosques in the world, which impresses most tourists with its beauty. But other buildings in Abu Dhabi, such as the Qasr Al Watan and the Louvre, are becoming increasingly famous.

When visiting the UAE, many people are surprised to discover that the country as a destination is not limited to the luxuries seen in the media. The UAE offers much more. The country has one of the best public safety and road networks in the world. Moreover, you have endless possibilities, almost anywhere you go, there is a huge choice of hotels, restaurants, activities, as they try to cater for everyone, and usually do so to a very high quality. There are few people who are not impressed by this when they experience it. So you can enjoy a safe, relaxing, and high quality holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

In this article, we’ll present a somewhat special itinerary – a one-week road trip in the UAE, not just in Dubai! We’ll provide details for each day, including useful information, travel tips, and recommendations.

First, we’ll address the most common questions that arise when planning a trip to the UAE. Then, we’ll share a day-by-day itinerary for a week, highlighting the best places and things to do in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the countryside. Finally, we’ll suggest other attractions to make your UAE trip even more exciting if you want to see more.

So, let’s start with the basic information you need to know when planning your trip to the United Arab Emirates.

What to know when planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates

Is the UAE worth a visit?

In our opinion, if you’re a true globetrotter, visiting the UAE is a must.

But, in reality, it’s a recommended destination for everyone: those who enjoy traveling to warm places in the winter, those who love exploring big cities, those who appreciate Arab culture, those who might be disillusioned with the Western world (sounds cynical, but many feel this way), those who love good food, or those seeking a little beachside getaway – the Emirates have it all.

Why is it not enough just to see Dubai?

We love Dubai, and it is without a doubt one of the most interesting places in the Middle East, but we think the countryside is worth a visit too. The country has other interesting cities (Abu Dhabi, for example, but there are many more), wonderful mountains, lakes and other natural formations.

How many days to spend in Abu Dhabi?

If you want to see only the essentials, one day is enough. However, we would recommend two days, allowing for more sights.

Our itinerary (due to the limited time available) includes two days in Abu Dhabi, of which one day is optional (no must-see attractions and we offer other activities elsewhere). Of course, you can modify it according to your personal preferences.

Best time to visit the UAE

The UAE has very good weather in the winter, so it’s a perfect place to travel in the winter months.

In contrast, however, in summer the heat is almost unbearable, so we do not recommend traveling in summer.

If you want to go swimming, then October, November or March, April will be the ideal time to travel.

How to get to the UAE

Unless you’re from a neighboring country, the best way to travel to the UAE is by plane. Our UAE itinerary starts in Dubai, as this is where most international flights land. Some flights land in Abu Dhabi, from where it’s also absolutely easy to travel with a bit of organization.

How to get around the UAE

We recommend traveling within the country mainly by car, because car rental is relatively affordable and fuel is cheap.

The driving style, like in southern European countries, takes some getting used to.

Parking is very easy all over the country, really impressive, we never had a problem with parking even in the city center.

If you’re afraid of driving there, you can also travel by public transport. There are several bus routes between Dubai and Abu Dhabi many times a day, and there are also bus connections to some of the rural destinations.

Within Dubai, the metro is the other option. Taxis are also popular in the country and are available and affordable almost everywhere.

Where to stay in the UAE

We recommend accommodations in the two major cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, from where your trips to the countryside are also easily manageable.

Best hotels in Abu Dhabi




Best 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


  • 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
  • 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


  • 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.

Other things to know before you plan your trip to the UAE

The UAE has three potential disadvantages from a tourism perspective.

  • One is the prices, because it is not a cheap country. If you want a low budget trip, the UAE is not the best choice. Apart from fuel, nearly everything is expensive: hotels, restaurants, entrance fees for programs…etc.
  • The other is the natural environment. Because most of the UAE is desert, there is a lot of dust. This can be hard on people with respiratory illnesses, in our case even steroid nasal sprays had minimal effect.
  • Moreover, the tap water is purified seawater, which is supposed to be drinkable, but in practice is not recommended.

But on the positive side:

  • There are many facilities for special dieters in cities.
  • In addition, hygiene is taken very seriously everywhere.

Overall, the UAE is a great destination, and we think it’s definitely worth a trip.

UAE itinerary: How to spend 7 days in the United Arab Emirates

After the overview, let’s check out the details of the one-week UAE itinerary.

Of course, the days can be swapped and personalized.

The location is flexible, there are no long distances, so you can plan your itinerary freely and easily.

Day 1: Dubai: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain

Dubai is the largest city in the UAE, and also the one with the most attractions. It is therefore worth planning more time for Dubai, as it takes many days to see the major sights.

Morning: Dubai Mall

Next to the Burj Khalifa is the huge Dubai Mall, where you can discover a diverse range of shops spanning various categories and price ranges, along with numerous attractions. For instance, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo are also worth a visit, and the Dubai Mall Waterfall is particularly popular on social media.

In the Dubai Mall, you will also find the Burj Khalifa tourist entrance, known as “At the top”.

Afternoon: Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, with a height of 828 meters and 163 floors. Visible from almost anywhere in Dubai, it is a prominent and impressive building.

We recommend the sunset period because you can see Dubai from the Burj Khalifa in both its daytime and nighttime beauty with one ticket.

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 should check online), 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, allowing you to get to the upper floors faster.

Evening: Dubai Fountain Show

Outside, the Burj Khalifa area, in addition to the Dubai Mall, has many restaurants, shops, hotels and a huge fountain that presents perhaps the best fountain show in the world.

At regular intervals, the fountain dances to music or the Burj Khalifa puts on a laser show. Live, it is more impressive than it can be described, a fantastic experience.

So it’s worth spending an evening or more at the Dubai Fountain, enjoying a delicious dinner, a pleasant walk and the spectacular shows.

Day 2: Museum of the Future, Dubai Frame, Dubai Creek Harbour

The second day continues with the highlights of Dubai.

Morning: Museum of the Future

The Museum of the Future is one of Dubai’s newest attractions. The building is a stunning and impressive sight even from the outside.

If you have the time and interest, take a look inside. The modern building showcases Dubai’s future plans as they imagine the future in a few decades. It shows new technologies, space, transport, healthcare and wildlife, among other things.

Tickets should be booked online weeks before arrival, because they often sell out in advance.

Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is a huge frame with a fantastic view at the top. You can see most of Dubai from the top. A special feature is that the floor of the upper level works in such a way that if you step on it, the floor becomes transparent, like there is nothing underneath.

Evening: Creek Harbour

Creek Harbour is not a time-consuming place to visit, we recommend it, especially at sunset. Next to the Creek Harbour are wonderful little sculptures and constructions that are great photo opportunities. These include the flamingo sculpture and the small white arches, which also create the perfect location for photography with the Dubai skyscrapers and the Creek.

Day 3: Day trip to Jebel Jais OR Hatta

On the third day of our 7-day itinerary, it’s time to visit the countryside. We offer two options, both destinations are 1.5-2 hours drive from Dubai.

Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah

Jebel Jais is in fact a mountain in the Hajar Mountains, near Ras Al Khaimah and the border of Oman. On the way, you can see the desert with camels and trees from the highway, which is a very interesting sight. However, the best part is the area around Jebel Jais and the panoramic road leading to it. For mountain lovers, this will be a real highlight. There is a very good road leading up to the mountain, with several places to take photos and admire the scenery.


If you are using public transport, Hatta is definitely recommended as there is a bus service.

Hatta is also located in the Hajar Mountains and near the border of Oman. The road to Hatta leads through a very beautiful mountain canyon. Hatta is home to the Hatta Dam, a brightly colored reservoir that offers many recreational and sport opportunities for visitors. You can go biking, kayaking, boating and much more.

Optionally, if you’re not interested in the countryside, the third day is ideal for a desert safari.

Desert safari

If you’d rather stay in Dubai, you can book a desert safari for the day. There are many different types of desert tours in Dubai, in short: there are group tours, which are cheaper, and private tours, which are personalized but more expensive. It is possible to hire a quad bike or a special car to drive yourself around the sand dunes. Picnics are held in the desert with local specialities, baklava, Arabic coffee…etc. There are also companies that organize Arabic dance shows or belly dancing shows. And you can also slide on the sand dunes, almost like on snow.

Day 4: Dubai: Miracle Garden, Global Village

Day four is worth spending the day in Dubai again. Let’s continue the list of highlights in Dubai.

Important attractions in Dubai are the Miracle Garden and the Global Village. Both destinations are on the outskirts of the city, so transport should be well organized. The best way to get there is by car (by rental car or taxi).

Morning: 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.

Evening: Global Village

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.

Day 5: Abu Dhabi: Grand Mosque, Qasr Al Watan, Emirates Palace

On day five, visit Abu Dhabi, another famous city in the UAE. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, is also a popular destination for tourists. Abu Dhabi has important attractions, but the city does not require as much time to visit as Dubai. We therefore planned to spend one or two days in Abu Dhabi. Of course, this can be modified, and because the two cities are relatively close to each other, the itinerary is quite flexible.

Abu Dhabi’s main attractions include the Grand Mosque (Sheikh Zayed Mosque) and the Qasr Al Watan. It actually takes a day. Other optional activities include Ferrari World, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Fossil Dunes in the countryside, and not far from there, Al Wathba Long Salt Lake. If you want to see these, you’ll need a second day in Abu Dhabi.

Morning: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque, also known as the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, is one of the largest mosques in the world. Its beauty also makes it exceptional, an elegant and impressive building. The mosque is free to visit, but entry is not easy. The entrance is through an underground shopping area, and after a security check, entry to the mosque area is only allowed for men and women in appropriate clothing. There are pre-assigned photo points in the mosque from which you can take photos. If you take photos anywhere other than the marked spots, security guards will warn you. This is quite frustrating. By the way, we think that the Grand Mosque is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UAE, so we highly recommend it.

Pro tip: Opposite the mosque, on the other side of the highway, you will find a square next to Wahat Al Karama. From the square, next to the fountain, you will get one of the best views of the Grand Mosque.

Afternoon: Qasr Al Watan

Qasr Al Watan is the Presidential Palace of the United Arab Emirates, located in Abu Dhabi.

It was built in 2017 and is open to visitors from 2019. It is considered by many people to be the most impressive building in the UAE and even in the Middle East.

To visit, you have to buy a ticket at the first entrance and then a bus takes tourists to the palace.

The Qasr Al Watan looks spectacular from the outside, but from the inside it is even more impressive in its glamour and elegance. Almost everything is decorated in a combination of white, gold and blue.

Moreover, Qasr Al Watan has a huge collection of art treasures, books and artifacts that are hundreds of years old.

Evening: Emirates Palace

Near Qasr Al Watan is a popular 5-star hotel, the Emirates Palace.

This hotel has a café where you can drink coffee sprinkled with gold flakes, eat golden macarons and have golden ice cream.

The hotel itself looks fantastic, and the entrance offers stunning views of Abu Dhabi’s skyscrapers.

If you can afford it (not as expensive as it sounds), spend the evening here. Enjoy the special golden food and drinks and the wonderful views.

Day 6: Abu Dhabi: Louvre, Ferrari World, OR Dubai: Desert Safari

If you’re curious to see the other sights of Abu Dhabi, this is a good day to do it. Optional activities in Abu Dhabi can include a visit to Ferrari World, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and for nature lovers, the Fossil Dunes and Al Wathba Long Salt Lake.

If you’re less interested in the sights of Abu Dhabi, head back to Dubai and see the other Dubai attractions, or even plan a desert safari for the day.

The things to do in Abu Dhabi on day 6:

Morning: Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is an art museum on Saadiyat Island surrounded by water, with ancient and modern art, kayaking area and café.

Lately, it has gained popularity not only for its exhibitions but also for its picturesque architecture, making it a favorite spot for Instagram enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi.

Afternoon: Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island

Ferrari World is a racing themed complex with exciting family games, driving simulators and a car show.

It is located on Yas Island, where you will find many other places of interest: SeaWorld Abu Dhabi, beaches, luxury hotels, the Yas Mall and much more.

Optional activities near Abu Dhabi

  • Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Reserve is located about 50 km south of Abu Dhabi. The Al Wathba Fossil Dunes Protected Area includes over 1,700 fossil dunes covering 7 square kilometers, making it one of the largest fossil dune areas in the Emirates. Access to the area is free of charge.
  • Al Wathba Long Salt Lake is located a little west of the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes. These two areas offer recreation away from the noise of the city. Neither is overcrowded, so there’s the opportunity to view the UAE’s natural treasures in quiet.
  • The nearby Al Wathba Bicycle Track is a great place for families to relax. There are cycling track, a pleasant little lake, picnic areas and a playground.

If you spent the day in Abu Dhabi, you can head back to Dubai in the evening for the last day to enjoy what you missed in Dubai.

Day 7: Dubai: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina

Very important parts of Dubai that have so far been left out of the week-long trip are Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. These are what we have planned for the last day of our UAE itinerary.

Morning: Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah is the main luxury spot in Dubai, with a range of luxury hotels and restaurants, all with fantastic views and beautiful beaches.

As a tourist, there are two attractions worth visiting. One is the spectacular Atlantis Hotel at the end of the island. The Atlantis is not just a hotel, it’s also a water park and a favorite place for families. It has great restaurants led by world-renowned chefs. The building is very striking from the outside and the surrounding area is a great photo spot.

The other is The View at the Palm, a glass observation deck on a skyscraper that offers a panoramic view of the city and the bay. A ticket is required to access The View at the Palm. Above, there is also a famous attraction, the Aura Skypool, which also offers a similar panorama of the city.

Afternoon: Dubai Marina

In the afternoon, head over to Dubai Marina, another stunning part of Dubai.

If you take a walk along the Marina, you can see breathtaking skyscrapers, take a boat trip from here, sit in one of the many amazing restaurants, and go down to the beach, where you can also spend a wonderful afternoon.

On nearby JBR Beach, you can enjoy free beach access and see Ain Dubai, the world’s largest Ferris wheel, located on nearby Bluewaters Island. Unfortunately, tickets for the Ferris wheel are currently not available as it has been out of service for some time, hopefully this will change in the future.

One of the best places to stay in the area is the Address Beach Resort, a luxury hotel with the world’s highest infinity pool on the 77th floor, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Pro tip: If you visit in December or January, check it out, because on JBR, there are regular spectacular drone shows and fireworks in the evenings.

The evening of Day 7 marks the end of the 7-day road trip around the UAE. We hope we have provided you with useful information and inspiration for your next trip to the United Arab Emirates.

If you’d like to spend more time in the UAE, or if you’d like to swap one of our planned activities for something else, we can recommend a few other activities to consider when you visit the UAE.

We’ve already made some recommendations above for Abu Dhabi, now let’s focus on the additional attractions of Dubai:

Other things to do in Dubai

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.

You can only see the Burj Al Arab from the outside for free, but it is well worth a short stay. Inside, if you are not a guest, group or individual tours are available to take you around the complex and show you the places that attract tourists.

Old Dubai

“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. Here you can see traditional Arabian buildings, with a variety of heritage sites, hotels, cafés and restaurants.

Dubai Museum, located here, showcases the city’s rich history and cultural heritage, providing an insight into its transformation from a small fishing village to a modern metropolis.

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.

Sky Views Observatory

Sky Views Observatory offers breathtaking panoramic views of Dubai’s skyline. In addition, here you have the opportunity to slide down a glass slide.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, offers an indoor skiing and snowboarding experience, allowing visitors to enjoy winter sports in a desert city.

So, this is about all you can fit into a one-week UAE trip.

We have shown you the real must-see places and given you information to help you organize your trip.

If you can spend more time than one week in the UAE, check out our other articles, where we show you other places to visit.

Most of all, Dubai is the city that is worth almost any time spent there, it is so diverse and interesting. So, we definitely recommend you plan as much time as possible for your trip to the UAE. It’s almost guaranteed that you will love it.

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