Think Dubai’s got skyscrapers and sands and nothing in between? Think again. On the periphery of the bustling centre you’ll find a traditional side, where spice-scented souks and dhow boats set the scene. One of the city’s chief landmarks – the Jumeirah Mosque – is the only one in Dubai that opens its doors to non-Muslims, and it’s also one of the most beautiful, with nine large domes and a minaret that soars 70 metres skyward. If you’re looking to see the sights against blue skies without getting too toasty as you pace the pavements, opt for a holiday to Dubai in the winter months, ideally between mid-November and early December, or at the start of March. It’s also a great time of year for outdoor activities, like teeing off on Dubai’s championship golf courses.
Get the lowdown on our best tour and sightseeing holidays
Dubai – on the trendy Persian Gulf – is a shopper’s paradise all year round, but they take things up a notch in January with the yearly Dubai Shopping Festival. Think of it as an upmarket version of our January sales, where you can grab huge bargains on just about everything – we’re talking designer gear, electronics, jewellery, and more. The discounts even extend to the Outlet Mall, where last season’s clothes and accessories are already sold at cut prices. Can’t make it to Dubai in January? You’re in luck – Dubai Summer Surprises lasts for 45 days and starts in mid-July. During this time, shops lay on all sorts of extra promotions and discounts.
Self-confessed shopaholic? These are the best shopping destinations for you
Dubai’s cloud-tickling skyline’s pretty impressive, to say the least. And there’s no better place to take it all in than hundreds of floors up, on the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. At nearly 3,000 feet tall, it acts as the attention-seeking centrepiece of Downtown Dubai. Floor-to-ceiling windows open up 360-degree views, panning Dubai, the Arabian Desert, and the Gulf of Oman. You’ll get a Boeing-level view of the famous Dubai Fountain, and be able to see planes taking off and landing at Dubai International Airport. Keen to avoid the longest queues and the biggest crowds? Visit the Burj Khalifa in the summer months – it’s too hot to spend much time outside, but you’ll be cool inside the tower. Plus, the sunsets are pretty spectacular. If you’re in Dubai during peak season – AKA December to February – make sure you buy your ticket online at least two weeks’ in advance.
Take a look at the world’s most Instagrammable hotels
This indulgent slice of the Middle East doesn’t really do cold weather – in fact, in Dubai, winter isn’t really a thing, as temperatures rarely drop below the 24 degree-mark. This means sunbathing’s on the cards year-round, and Dubai certainly comes up trumps with a stunning selection of sands – it’s coastline is skirted by platinum-coloured beaches that’re lapped by the clear waters of the Persian Gulf. However, the scorching sun in July and August is too intense for an enjoyable sunbathing session. So, if swimming in the Arabian Sea and topping up your tan is high on your holiday to do list, visit Dubai in April or May. It’s outside of peak season, too, so hotel rates are usually lower and you’ll have plenty of space to roll out your towel.
Check out our pick of the best beach holiday destinations in the world
The TUI MAGIC LIFE Kalawy is just the ticket for action-packed holidays – with four pools, lots of activities and a coral reef on the doorstep.
The ROBINSON Club Khao Lak strikes the perfect active-unwind balance with plenty of pools, a busy sports schedule and a tranquil on-the-sand postcode.
TUI BLUE Jadran impresses with its beachfront location, design-led interiors, and selection of restaurants.
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