24 hours in Dubai: Your guide to the best layover in the city
GPS not included…
Dubai International Airport has been named the fourth-best airport in the world for a layover, according to Betway. This is calculated based on the availability of shops, food and beverage options as well as hotels within two-mile proximity to the airport. It also includes passenger ratings for airport facilities.
If you’re in Dubai for an extended layover or have friends visiting and want to check out the best the city has to offer in the most efficient manner, this is the guide you need. It can be done in the nick of time if you have a car and want to get as much done as quickly as possible.
Step one – Leave the airport
If you’re the visitor and have friends in Dubai with a car – great, because they can take you on this quick trip. If not… there are options. You could take an RTA taxi between locations, but for the purpose of the tour, it might be best to hire a zippy car. In Dubai, there is the option to download either EKAR or UDrive where you drive the car as pay per minute or for the day at low cost.
Step two – See the popular sights
The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa
The first destinations (and probably the most iconic) on the list are the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall. This short itinerary does not include time for shopping but it’s still pretty cool to drive by. Drive down Sheikh Zayed Road and catch a glimpse of both the world’s biggest mall as well the world’s tallest building. You’ll now finally have answers ready for your family when they ask you, ‘Is it really that big?’
Cruising on Sheikh Zayed to Mall of The Emirates
This stretch of motorway is impressive. You’ll have buildings towering above you as you drive to your next destination: The Mall of The Emirates. If you’re not super pressed for time, this is a good place to stop and park because you’ll want to see Ski Dubai – the city’s indoor ski slope and maybe some cute penguins.
Coffee break – Burj Al Arab and Souk Madinat
The drive continues as you arrive at the Souk Madinat. Set up as an old-world market, weave your way through the corridors to Costa Coffee for a quick refuel. Why Costa Coffee? Well, if you take a seat outside you’ll get perfect uninterrupted views of the Burj Al Arab. This is also time for a cute photo op and time to relax (because driving in Dubai can be stressful…).
Jumeirah Beach Road and the Palaces
When you’re ready to part ways with the glorious view of the Burj Al Arab, the next drive-by consists of the royal palaces as you drive down Jumeirah Beach Road. You may not be able to see beyond the palace gates, but there is a long stretch of beautiful gardens. Be aware, that there are bunnies hopping around the palace grounds.
I’m driving on what? – The Palm Jumeirah
Jumeirah Beach Road and the palaces were merely a set-up for this destination. Created with reclaimed land The Palm is a sight to behold. As you drive onto the island, you will officially be able to say you can breathe underwater as the tunnel onto the trunk runs under the ocean.
Arriving on the Palm’s crescents there are two sides, the east crescent and the west crescent. Starting on the east crescent, as you drive around you will be able to see the Arabian Gulf and the famous Atlantis The Palm Hotel, further along the road, you will also be able to see the newly opened Atlantis the Royal.
There is also the perfect photo op and view (on a clear day) of the Downtown Dubai skyline. Driving from the east to the west you will be able to see the Jumeriah Lake Towers, Barsha Heights and the iconic Ain Dubai.
Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT) and Dubai Marina
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Those buildings you just viewed from the west crescent are now towering above you as you drive through JLT and the Dubai Marina. Have time for a quick meal? There are several options available at JLT from Asian to Greek, Indian, Arabic, Vietnamese and much more. After you’re done, hop back into your car for the drive back along Sheikh Zayed Road which will live up to the grandeur of Dubai.
Museum of the Future and the Dubai Frame
The last destinations of this trip are some of the newest attractions of Dubai. If you have the time, book in advance here and stop at the Museum of the Future or The Dubai Frame (or both.) The Museum of the Future is a journey to 2071 where we have pioneered new ways of living that will help better the world we live in today. While the Dubai Frame sets up a perfect view of both old and new Dubai and a chance for another amazing photo opportunity.
Step three – Disembark to re-embark
Return to the Dubai International Airport. Hopefully safely, and with the biggest sites Dubai has to offer saved in your photo gallery. Enjoy all the shopping at the Dubai Duty Free before your flight out.
Images: Unsplash, Getty and supplied