How to make the most of 48 hours in Dubai

Flying to Dubai for a whirlwind visit? The city offers so much to pack into a few days, with a blend of sea, sand, shops and sights. We’ve handpicked the best things to do in Dubai during a short stopover, creating a 2-day itinerary for you to follow that ticks all of the city’s boxes.

Day 1.

Kickstart your day with a hearty breakfast at Tom and Serj, one of Dubai’s best cafes. It’s built a fine reputation thanks to its urban interior, wholesome menu and artisan coffee, so make sure you go early to grab a seat.

After you’ve eaten, head to one of Dubai’s stunning beach resorts to soak up some early sunshine. There are dozens of public and private stretches of sand to choose from, where you can enjoy a quiet stroll along the beautiful shoreline or a variety of action-packed water sports.

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Following your morning of sun and sand, there’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from in Dubai. Peruvian outlet Coya is a must-try, due to its many accolades. It’s said to serve up the best food in the city, with a menu lending inspiration from Latin America.

Post-lunch, embark on a walking tour of the buildings and structures that put Dubai on the global map. You can watch a choreographed performance at Dubai fountain, admire the architectural beauty of Dubai Opera. Try to head to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, just as the sun is setting to get some truly memorable pictures.

Enjoy a dinner of authentic Middle Eastern fare, such as mezze, shawarma and an array of tempting desserts served at Lebanese restaurants Abd El-Wahab and Wafi Gourmet. What sets these restaurants apart, besides the stand-out food, is the awe-inspiring view of the Dubai fountain. Make sure you grab a table facing outside, to enjoy the spectacular display along with your meal.

What better way to finish off your day than with a late evening shopping spree at the Dubai mall. You won’t be stuck for places to get your fashion fix, with more than 1200 stores to choose from.

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Day 2.

For a glimpse of desert life, begin with an early morning tour. You can choose to take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise, go wildlife watching or venture through the sands on a camel.

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After a morning in the desert, dine alfresco on the terrace at Madinat Jumeirah. Known as one of the best brunch spots in Dubai, Jumeirah Al Qasr’s award-winning feast includes a spectrum of dishes from far-flung destinations.

You can’t visit Dubai without stepping into a bustling souk for an authentic taste of Emirati culture. They can be found all over the city, each with its own unique character. For exotic spices visit Diera Spice Souk or for jewellery and cosmetics, try Sharjah’s Central Souk.

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Make Dubai Creek the final place on your whistle-stop tour of the city. Go here to experience the history of Al Fahidi Fort (home to Dubai Museum) and Dubai Grand Mosque. Don’t miss an abra ride off your to-do list, the most traditional way to cross the creek.

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