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Five days in Dubai: The perfect itinerary for first timers

My favorite thing about Dubai is that you can spend lazy days sunbathing at the beach and then only a short stroll away you’ll be in the middle of skyscrapers, busy city life and amazing shopping options! So here's an itinerary that lets you do both. Relaxation in the sun and ticking cool sights off the list – not to mention eating at trendy Dubai restaurants.

10 must-see sights to see in Dubai

  • Burj Khalifa

  • Dubai Mall

  • The Fountain Show

  • Old Dubai

  • Dubai Miracle Garden

  • Global Village

  • The Dubai Marina Walk

  • Arabian Tea House for lunch

  • La Mer

  • Dubai Aquarium

Good to know before going

  • Uber is the best way to get around in Dubai. Taxis are cheaper, but the taxis don’t speak English very well and more scams happen. Uber is easy peasy because the prices are fixed in the app so they can't take you on a detour to up the price or similar.

  • There's a few metro lines that takes you to the biggest of the sights like Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa, the Marina, the Palm and Old Dubai among others.

  • There’s lots of free wifi around the city (which makes it easy to order an Uber).

  • Notice that lots of beaches, parks and other sights have days reserved for only women and/or families, so make sure to check whether this is the case.

Alright let's get started on the itinerary!


Overview of the day:

  • Lunch at Brunch & Cake

  • La Mer Beach

  • Burgers at Salt Camp

Brunch & Cake:

A cute little brunch spot in Dubai with two locations: In Wasl 51 and at The Pointe. Both open from Monday to Friday. We visited the Pointe where the images are from. This location is great for outdoor seating, while the other one has a bigger indoor area. When visiting the Pointe, you also get to see end of the Palm and the famous Atlantis The Palm Hotel.

La Mer:

Want a beach day in Dubai to take a break from the city life? La Mer is to Dubai kinda like Venice Beach is to LA; A trendy getaway from the city with a buzzing beach promenade with palm trees, swimwear boutiques and plenty of restaurants to choose from when you get hungry. Next door is even a water park! Oh and free WiFi. You can also just bring you own snacks and a beach towel and you’ll have a completely free day in Dubai. There’s free showers and bathrooms near the beach almost anywhere you choose to lay down, so it’s super easy! In the evening, the string lights along the boardwalk is turned on and it makes for a cozy afternoon/evening.

Salt Camp:

Here's the spot to indulge in a salt and sugar high! I visited the pop-up from Find Salt to try out their burgers and sweets, and it was absolutely delish! Even more delish was the settings – including live music! SALT has made this pop-up restaurant next to the Museum of Future for the last two winters. Hopefully it’ll be here for a few more years.


Overview of the day:

  • Breakfast at Saya Café

  • Rain Room art installation

  • Old Dubai

  • Lunch at Arabian Tea House

  • Dubai Mall

  • Burj Khalifa fountain show

Saya Café:

Obsessed with this place in Dubai!! All cute and pink on one side 💖 and a black and white 2D universe on the other 🖤🤍. The location for this pretty café is: Saya Café, Wasl 51. For getting around in Dubai we opted for a metro card but the metro doesn’t go everywhere unfortunately and buses are a very slow form of transport here due to the traffic, so we took the metro to the stop “Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa” and got an Uber from there to save a few bucks.

Rain room:

Rain Room is an art installation part of the Sharjah Art Foundation in Dubai. It’s pretty cool as you can walk through pouring rain without getting wet! Sensors in the room prevents the rain from falling directly above any detected human presence, but you have to walk really slow so it won’t miss you and you’ll be soaking wet. You can buy tickets on-site or online (on-site you can get student discount if you are a student). It's very cheap, but the only way to get there is by uber/taxi.

Price: 25 dirhams

People that can visit per time slot: 6

Time: 15 minutes

Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday 9am-9pm and Fridays from 4pm to 11pm

Old Dubai:

Noon in the pretty old part of Dubai! Visit the local sand stone buildings in the neighborhood Al Fahidi (Al Seef) where old meets new and the traditional gold market (Gold Souk). Enjoy a traditional lunch at Arabian Tea House for authentic Emirati cuisine in the prettiest white and blue surroundings. You can see and read more about that below.

Arabian Tea House:

The Arabian Tea House located in Old Dubai was highly recommended all over the internet which showed when we reached the place. There was a 30 minutes wait, but luckily they use these beepers to let you know when you are up, so you can explore the neighborhood while you wait! And it is worth the wait. It is a beautiful oasis of blue and white and lots of greenery! The food on the menu is authentic Emirati cuisine and I’d say it’s one of the best places to have a traditional and very affordable lunch. They are also famous for having 150 different types of tea and drinks – I didn’t check though.

Dubai Mall:

Perfect on a hot day as it is well air-conditioned. One of the largest shopping malls in the world with waaay too many stories and stores to go through haha. Also home to Dubai Aquarium and underwater zoo which is famous all around the world and looks pretty cool.

Fountain show:

Just outside the Mall in front of Burj Khalifa, there’s a big pool. Every evening starting from 6pm there’s several shows with 30 minutes between them. I don't have an image of it, but before or after going there I recommend finding a rooftop bar with a view of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (so far). We went to Taj Treehouse as pictured, however, you can def find less obstructed viewpoints. Like CÉ LA VI Dubai – but that's a little high-end which is the reason we didn't go there.

We chose not to go into Burj Khalifa, but you can. For a price of course. But I'd rather have the Burj Khalifa in my view than seeing the city from it.


Overview of the day:

  • Dubai Miracle Garden

  • Jumeirah Public Beach or Sufouh Beach

  • Drinks and dinner at Koko Bay

  • The Dubai Marina walk

Dubai Miracle Garden:

The world’s largest natural flower garden is located only 30 minutes from the Dubai city centre. In an area called Dubailand to be exact. The park launched on Valentine’s Day back in 2013 and it is a very cute place to go for a date with your significant other – but also for a family trip as there’s the cutest Smurf village inside. It is really MUCH bigger than I expected!

What time to visit: 9am when they open

Entrance fee: 55 dirhams

How to get there: You can reach it by public transport but it takes double the time as a cab or Uber, but you would need to take the red metro line to MOE (Mall of Emirates) and from there take bus 105 to Miracle Garden

Jumeirah Public Beach / Sufouh Beach:

Visit one of the free public beaches like Jumeirah Public Beach or Sufouh Beach. Jumeirah is the famous public beach in Dubai. Free to visit and there’s showers and changing stations available which is awesome! Notice that Mondays are for women and children only.

However, if you also chose the beach for the views of Burj Arab – another famous Dubai building – you'll be disappointed as they have put up a new building just in front of it. Instead I'd try the public beach, Sufouh Beach, instead.

Dubai Marina Walk:

Evening stroll surrounded by skyscrabers. That’s what to expect from the Dubai Marina Walk. A 7 kilometer stretch with lots of dinner opportunities on the way both street food and fine dining. The Marina is easy to reach by metro. There’s two stops to choose from: Dubai Marina Mall and DMCC.


A must in Dubai is going on a desert safari in the Dubai desert! We explored Dubai's sandy dunes on the passenger seat of a vintage Land Rovers with the eco-luxury company Platinum Heritage. We were picked up at around 3pm and then it took about 45 minutes to arrive at the reserve. After a few hours in the desert, we stopped at a camp to have dinner and watch the sunset.


Overview of the day:

  • Drift Beach Club

  • Global Village

Drift Beach:

I don’t normally go to beach clubs, but this one just screamed Dubai and I had to go. The panoramic view of Dubai’s skyline on the beach at DRIFT BEACH (a separate part of the hotel One&Only Royal Mirage) is really something special!!

We visited Drift Beach Dubai for a place to chill for a day! The beach clubs here aren’t cheap tho… But Drift Beach has a promo called “Chic Wednesday” which saves you some money especially if you were going out for breakfast anyways. If you have breakfast here between 9-11.30am on a Wednesday you’ll get a complimentary day pass and a sun lounger (reservation needed)! That saved us 150 dirhams per person and the delicious breakfast had a reasonable price, which we were going to have at some place anyways.


You are not allowed to bring any snacks or drinks with you, which we discovered when a guard searched our bag. However, they only look at the top (where we had been stupid enough to put our snacks) so you can just put it below your other stuff if you want to bring a few things if you don’t want to buy it from the pool bar.

Global Village:

Want something unique to do for a night in Dubai? Global Village is a cool place to spend an evening only a 30 minute taxi ride from Dubai. You’ll find food from all around the world, rides, shopping and much more.

Here’s a few things to know:

  • It’s open from October to April

  • It opens at 4pm

  • A ticket is 15 dirhams online and 20 dirhams at the ticket counter

  • Tuesdays are for women and families only

  • Modest attire is required



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