Take in the view: tall towers dominate Dubai’s skyline with Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest at 829.8m – a must visit, especially its 124th floor observation deck. Elsewhere, get stunning panoramic views from the Dubai World Trade Tower or head to the coast and see the sail-shaped Burj al-Arab.
Visit the mosques: Dubai is home to magnificent mosques with the Jumeirah the most beautiful of all, especially floodlit at night. Theway the light shines through the intricate stone latticework of the mosque in Bastakiya makes it a photographer’s dream.
Hit the beach: while the luxury hotels have their own sublime beaches, the city also boasts a number of public ones including Al Mamzar Beach Park. Closer to town is JBR Beach, with its juice bars and burger joints.
Learn about Dubai’s culture: it’s not all business and skyscrapers here; top-class museums like Dubai Museum in the Al-Fahidi Fort guide you through the city’s history. Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House, once the home of a former ruler, now plays host to a marine wing with photos of the area’s seafaring past.
Enjoy the high life: Dubai lives up to its reputation as a shopping paradise. Check out the world’s largest shopping centre, Dubai Mall with its famous aquarium, or the massive Mall of the Emirates.
See how it all began: Old Dubai is charming, especially the preserved narrow streets of Al Bastakiya, now known as the Al Fahidi Historical District. Near here is Dubai Creek, a vibrant area where the city began, full of street art, local cafés and colourful bazaars.
Take a trip to the past: while it might be one of the city’s newest developments, Madinat Jumeirah is a recreation of a traditional Arab village. The Heritage and Diving Village looks at the city’s pearl diving and dhow- building history.
Go to the markets: Deira Fish Market, not only sellsamazing blue crabs and huge sharks, but also fresh fruit and vegetables – you must try the dates. Deira Gold Souk is the largest gold bazaar in the world with jewellery of all kinds on sale in the ‘City of Gold’.
Dubai’s deserts are a great place for a day trip. Bounce through the dunes in the passenger seat of a 4x4 or even on the back of a camel. Either way, a traditional meal or BBQ is usually organised at the end.
The Garden City of Al Ain is just a couple of hours’ drive from Dubai and offers a rare glimpse of greenery, a camel market, royal palaces and archaeological finds from 3,000BC.
You can get surprisingly cold in Dubai. Visit the Chillout Lounge, with its ice seats and sculptures – it’s freezing. Or try a spot of skating at Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink or skiing at Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates.