2-day Dubai itinerary: how to fit it all in!

Dubai is a holiday destination with loads of attractions and experiences on offer. And with just two days in Dubai, you may not be able to cover all of the city’s delights but you will definitely have enough time to take in the very best of Dubai. So, are you ready to make the most of your precious time in Dubai? Take a look at my suggested 2 day itinerary, along with some pro tips and important information for your trip.

Guest Author: Neha Singh

Two Days In Dubai Itinerary Overview

This 48 hours Dubai itinerary is activity-and-experience packed. From historical and cultural attractions to record-breaking sights, we have managed to cover all of the city’s iconic, hidden and newest attractions. 

Important Things To Consider For Your Dubai Trip

Dubai public transport
  • With so much to cover in a limited time, make sure that you organize and book all the details of your short Dubai holiday in advance. You’ll need to make hotel, airline and transfer bookings all at least three to four months before your travel date.
  • Consider choosing an all-inclusive package with accommodation, transport, etc. It’s also worth considering a combo pass that bundles two or more of your favorite attractions or experiences like Ain Dubai, Desert Safari, a Dhow Cruise, or a visit to Ras Al Khaimah.
  • Likewise, pre-book entry tickets to the attractions covered in your travel programs, such as Dubai Expo 2020 Site, Infinity Des Lumières, and The View at the Palm.
  • Dubai boasts of one of the world’s most efficient public transport systems including the longest of its kind – the autonomous Dubai Metro. That said, the most relaxed way to spend 48 hours in Dubai is to opt for a private transfer with access to a driver for your Dubai exploration. This allows you to save time, stay out of the heat (especially in the summer months), and visit more attractions.
  • Last but most importantly, make sure that your chosen hotel or accommodation in Dubai is centrally located and provides convenient access to the top attractions included in your travel program. 

9 of the Best Places to Stay in Dubai

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

On its own island, with two-story guest rooms, 9 restaurants, spa, helipad, suspended sky bar, two pools, and in an excellent location.

Atlantis, The Palm

Yes, that’s right – one wall of your 5-star bathroom is indeed a shark tank. Underwater aquarium, water park, private beach, swimming pools, Arabian and oceanic decor.

Armani Hotel Dubai

Occupying 11 floors of the glass Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the hotel has a subtle, minimalist design, spa, 8 restaurants, and indoor and outdoor pools.

Shangri-La Dubai

Beautiful new rooms in soft, modern colors are a feature of this recently renovated hotel. The pool area on the fourth floor is very instagrammable!

St. Regis, The Palm

In the Palm Tower, connected to a shopping mall and with butler service, this premium hotel has an art deco theme, two infinity pools, and a full-service spa.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel

This 5-star luxury Dubai hotel has a private beach and features over 10 restaurants and bars, 5 swimming pools, and a climbing wall.

Hotel Indigo Dubai, Downtown

1.6 km from Dubai Mall, 4-star Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, an IHG Hotel features accommodation with a restaurant, free private parking, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.

Rove La Mer Beach

3-star hotel with a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and bar. Featuring a shared lounge, this hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom.

W Dubai, The Palm

The Palm has a private beach area, an outdoor swimming pool, and rooms with free WiFi access. Featuring a 24-hour front desk, this property also provides guests with a terrace.

Day 1: Dedicate This Day To Dubai’s Timeless And All-Time Favorite Attractions

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Desert Safari

Early Morning: Dubai Desert Safari

Let your first day in Dubai begin with a quintessential Middle Eastern activity! Kicking off with a pre-dawn pick up from your hotel, your desert safari Dubai introduces you to a side of the city that is supremely scenic and screams “Middle East!”

Experience some heart-racing 4X4 dune bashing and snap images of the rising sun against the pristine desert sands along the way. You also get to ride a camel, enjoy quad biking, and even be part of traditional experiences like henna tattooing. You can even have pictures taken while you’re wearing a traditional Emirati dress.

Morning: Dubai City Tour

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Souk Madinat Jumeirah

With a half-day Dubai city tour, you will get to see all of Dubai’s major, unmissable sights in a few hours. This includes:

  • the historical 19th century Al Bastakiya Quarter, Dubai Creek, and Bur Dubai
  • traditional souks (including the Gold Souk,  Spice Souk, Textile Souk, and Perfume Souk),
  • Jumeirah Beach,
  • Jumeirah Mosque,
  • Atlantis,
  • The Palm (at Palm Jumeirah Island),
  • the stunning Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk, and
  • the luxurious Burj Al Arab (the celebrated sail-shaped hotel), and
  • a drive along the region’s famous boulevards including Sheikh Zayed Road.

Afternoon till Evening: Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is Dubai’s most stylish neighborhood containing the enormous Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall precinct. It packs in some of the city’s most prestigious attractions which you shouldn’t miss during your Dubai trip. Make sure you get to experience:

Burj Khalifa

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Burj Khalifa

Opened in 2009, it continues to hold the title of the world’s tallest building. Most people restrict their Burj Khalifa visit experience by taking a couple of selfies against it.

If your budget permits, however, make an entry to its observation decks on the 124th floor and the 148th floor.

They are worth every penny as they treat you with the most amazing views over Dubai’s cityscape, ocean, desert, and beyond.

From a dining session at At.mosphere to some relaxed moments at Burj Club, there are more options to enliven your Burj Khalifa visit.

the dubai mall

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Ski Dubai in the Dubai Mall

Situated close to or literally attached to Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall is the world’s biggest shopping mall.

Whether you are an avid shopper, connoisseur of taste, a leisure or a thrill-seeker, you can be assured that you won’t leave this enormous shopping mall disappointed.

Browse through its over 1200 shops, dine at its more than 200 food outlets, and immerse yourself in its endless amusement and entertainment attractions.

Discover Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, try ice skating at Dubai Ice Rink, and drive the latest go-karts at Ekart Zabeel.

But there are lots more, including hitting the slopes at Ski Dubai, visiting the world’s largest Virtual Reality Park (VR Park Dubai), and be sure to step into the world’s biggest mall’s newest attraction – Infinity Des Lumières (which is also the Middle East’s first digital art gallery.)

dubai fountain show

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Dubai Fountain Show

Before you leave Downtown Dubai and wrap your first day in this amazing city, watch the Dubai Fountain Show! Set at Burj Lake outside of the Dubai Mall and next to Burj Khalifa, its water show, fondly called the dancing show, is a sight of par excellence.

See its brilliantly choreographed water jets swaying and twirling in perfect tune to Arabic, Asian or Western music and light during this performance.

While it is a free attraction that you can watch from almost any convenient spot in the Downtown area, there are exclusive vantage points to catch this view for a nominal charge, such as Dubai Fountain Boardwalk and Abra Ride at Burj Lake.

You can also admire this sight up-close by sampling some Emirati Food at one of the dining spots that overlook the fountain.

Day 2: Have Fun with Brand-New Experiences & Wind Up with a Dhow Cruise

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View from “The View at the Palm”

Morning: Start at the View at the Palm

You may have already got a glimpse of the stunning man-made island of Palm Jumeirah on your Dubai city tour (on the first day.)

But if you wish to take in this sight in its real splendor, a visit to this observation deck on the 52nd level of Palm Tower is a must.

You’ll find 360-degree breathtaking views of almost the entire length of Palm Jumeirah as well as the dazzling water surrounding it.

So what better way to start a perfect day in Dubai?

Mid-Morning: Visit the EXPO 2020 Site

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Dubai Expo 2020

The much-awaited Dubai Expo 2020 has started on 1st October 2021! So be sure to add it to your checklist if you plan for a Dubai trip anytime soon. It is the MENASA region’s first, and is also the grandest ever World Expo.

It will run for six months till 31st March 2022. It has the pavilions of more than 190 countries, showcasing the finest in history, culture, and groundbreaking innovations.

In fact, its dedicated site in Dubai South is so huge that you will need at least a day or two to explore them all. That said, you will definitely be able to speed through the main wonders of this event in a few hours.

Evening: Revolution on Ain Dubai

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Ain Dubai

Following your Dubai Expo 2020 site visit, make your way to Dubai’s waterfront destination of Bluewaters Island.

Head straight to its star highlight – Ain Dubai! It is the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel at a height of over 250 meters.

A 38-minute rotation aboard one of its 48 air-conditioned cabins gives you an unparalleled overview of Dubai’s phenomenal sights across Bluewaters Island, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Dubai Marina, and Palm Jumeirah.

Night: Dhow Cruise at Dubai Marina

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Dhow Cruise

After that whirlwind of action and fun, be ready to give a relaxed end to your mini Dubai getaway with a dhow cruise.

It gently sails you down Dubai’s water along the elegant Dubai Marina in a traditional Arabian vessel for approximately two hours. Take in the cruise while sitting back in its air-conditioned lower deck or partially open upper deck.

Besides the stunningly illuminated views of modern Dubai all around, this delightful sailing trip allows you to dine, drink (for an extra charge), and enjoy traditional shows like Tanura onboard.

Final Thoughts

That’s it for a couple of days in Dubai! Whether your next stop is Abu Dhabi or Dubai International Airport, this itinerary ensures that you’ll have sampled the city’s most significant, traditional, and brand-new experiences.

So create your perfect Dubai travel program and get set for an Arabian escape of a lifetime!

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Guest Post contributed by Neha Singh

Nesha loves traveling, seeing different places, and learning about their history. She also likes adventure sports like skydiving, bungee jumping, and zip-lining. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, sketching, and chilling with her pet dog.