It’s the city where all that glitters is probably gold; where spas, fast cars, and shopping till you drop go hand-in-hand with luxury dining, beach lounging and fun in the desert sun. With 48 hours in Dubai to play with, you can see a lot of this popular stopover spot. Here’s what you simply can’t miss.


Fill up those 48 Hours in Dubai in style…

Use the Dubai Metro during your 48 hours in Dubai

Dubai’s public transport is as modern as its architecture. And faster than a cab.


Getting around

The Metro is your best bet for getting around Dubai. It’s fast, cheap and reliable, and it sure beats sitting in traffic in a taxicab. It’s driverless, fully automated and like most things in Dubai, air-conditioned for your comfort. Alternatively, taxis are abundant and if you can’t stand the heat en route to a Metro station, they’ll collect you outside any hotel or mall and save you from becoming a sweaty mess. 

48 hours in Dubai will require you make some plans for transport

Getting around Dubai is easy. (Photo by Jens Oliver Meiret)


Day One

AM: Breakfast or brunch like a star

Rise and shine early and head to the 25/55 Cafe Bistro at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. A host of international dishes will fill you up as you ogle at the yachts on the sparkling water.

If however, it’s Friday, you simply can’t miss the infamous Dubai brunch. For ice-sculptures, a cheese room (yes, room!) and all the steak and lobster you can handle, the monstrous Al Qasr brunch at the Madinat Jumeirah can’t be beaten. If you’d rather combine your brunch with some outdoor fun, The Meydan Hotel lets you watch the horse races on the Meydan Racecourse as you munch.


PM: Sharks, spas, and sunset

It’s time for adventure at the Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis on The Palm. Dive or snorkel among the remains of the lost city of Atlantis and meet the 65.000 marine animals that call the ancient ruins their home. Real daredevils can opt for the predator dive: hand-feed the 14 different species of sharks and rays swimming among the artifacts.

Stop at the Dubai Aquarium if you've got 48 hours in Dubai

Swim with the fish at Dubai Aquarium

Afterward, relax on the beach with views of the Dubai skyline, hit the spa (they have 27 treatment rooms), then glam up and watch the sun go down with a cocktail and dinner at Vu’s on the 50th floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Ah, bliss.


Day Two

AM: Shop till you drop (with a twist)

You can’t come to the tax-free haven of Dubai without shopping, so get up early for a stroll around the souks in Bur Dubai (smell that spice!), then re-pack your wallet for a whizz about the Emirates Mall while it’s quiet.

How about combining your shopping mall activities with a bit of ice-skating at the Olympic sized ice-rink in the Dubai Mall? You might ache a bit afterward, or just be laden down with shopping bags. If so, schedule lunch at one of the many restaurants around the Dubai Fountains – designed by the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Vegas to shoot water up to 500 feet into the air.

PM: Flights of 5-star fancy

A Desert safari 
might be just what you need to remind you that a stopover in the Middle East isn’t all about extravagance. Take an exhilarating afternoon drive out into the dunes on a bumpy buggy, or even more extravagantly, take a Helicopter tour over Dubai! The views as the sun sets over the city are spectacular and even those humongous skyscrapers look tiny from above. Now that’s how you do Dubai!

So much to see in 48 hours in Dubai. Get up high for great views

Dubai from above is even more spectacular. (Photo by Tim Gouw)

Have you got any more suggestions on how to spend a 48-hour stopover in Dubai? We’d love to know your thoughts!


Sheikh it up even more in Dubai

For heaps more ideas on things to do in Dubai, and more great deals on attractions, check out our ideas on

Becky Wicks

Becky Wicks

Itchy-footed writer Becky has lived and worked in London, New York, Dubai, Sydney and Bali. She started freelancing in 2010 and has collaborated with top brands such as Microsoft, GQ, TripAdvisor, Hello!, Tiqets, HTC, PayPal, eBay, MTV... the list goes on and on! Traveling is a way of life, and Becky has it down to a fine art!
Becky Wicks