Dubai, the most opulent of the desert cities, is where the ancient and the futuristic collide to offer its lucky visitors an unforgettable adventure. Naturally, if you’re fortunate enough to be planning a trip to the City of Gold, you want to make every moment count.
Of course, a few days in Dubai is not enough time to experience all the city has to offer, as the crowning glory of the Arabian Peninsula is a vast metropolis with almost infinite things to do and see. However, you can still check off a lot of must-see attractions and have the trip of a lifetime.
Being Dubai ‘s premier Airbnb management company, it’s safe to assume that we at Frank Porter know pretty much all there is to know about the city, its people, where to go, and what to see. And so, just as we take the hassle out of renting out holiday-homes on Airbnb, we’re here to help you design your ideal three-day vacation.
Without further ado, here’s our incredible itinerary for 72 spectacular hours in Dubai.
10am: Land in Dubai
Welcome to Dubai! After landing and collecting your luggage at the city’s bustling Dubai International Airport, hail a cab, or better yet, jump on a shared shuttle service that can get you to your accommodation in as little as ten minutes.
Once you’ve arrived, it’s time to check in. If you’ve booked to stay in one of the city’s luxurious Airbnb properties, you’ve chosen well. Unpack, refresh, and bask in the glorious view that waits for you on the private balcony of your penthouse, before heading to Old Town.
1pm: Old Town tasting tour
The modern side of Dubai is dazzling, boasting towering skyscrapers and a sparkling nightlife, but the historic district is where the real magic happens. Therefore, your first stop is to visit Deira, in “Old Town”, one of the oldest and, some would argue, most authentic spots in the city. It’s the perfect opportunity to banish your jet lag, get a taste for Dubai’s world-famous cuisine, and see Dubai as it once was: a working port with a rich trading history.
Here, booking a tasting tour is the best way to see the side of Old Town that the locals treasure but few visitors and expats get to see. Take in the myriad of exotic delicacies and allow your senses to explode as you sample camel burgers, Lebanese baklava, and saffron ice cream, to name just a few.
4pm: Souk shopping
Dubai’s world-famous souks (Arab marketplaces) are also found in the district of Deira. Wait for the merchants to open up following the afternoon qayloulah (siesta), and then cool off with an iced watermelon juice and watch the action unfold.
The gold, spice, and perfume souks are easily accessible on foot from the Deira side of Dubai Creek, with the textile souk just a quick abra (water taxi) ride away. As you explore the labyrinth of stalls at the traditional Arab market, you’ll see that haggling is not only tolerated, but encouraged, making Deira the ideal spot for a little souvenir shopping.
7pm: Pierce the sky at the Burj Khalifa
Laden with a dizzying array of goodies — we’re talking aromatic spices, handwoven fabrics, and striking gold pendants — head back to your Airbnb. Spritz yourself with the bespoke oud you created at the perfume souk and get ready to leave for a pre-booked dinner at the world-renowned Atmosphere, up the Burj Khalifa
Atmosphere is not for the faint of heart; it is located on the 122nd story of the world’s highest building! Tuck into a 13 course tasting menu with seasonal and traditional French delicacies, before zooming up to SKY on level 148 and bask in the view from the 360-degree observation deck.
Day 2 – 11am: Deep dive at the Dubai Aquarium
After a restful night’s sleep, you’ll be ready to take on the second day of your Dubai getaway. It’s a blistering hot day — ideal for cooling down in the air-conditioned splendour of the Dubai Mall. Certainly, shopping is a given, but first up is the Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which is one of the largest in the world.
The iconic 48-metre long Aquarium Tunnel leads you 11 metres under the surface and is an absolute must-see. With 270-degree views of over 140 species, including giant spider crabs, lionfish, seahorses and humboldt penguins, the tunnel is a kaleidoscope of marine life. Feeling brave? Take a dive with an experienced scuba diver to bring you within inches of toothier aquatic creatures.
2pm: Shopper’s paradise at the Dubai Mall
With more than 1,200 stores, including over 200 designer boutiques on “Fashion Avenue,” Dubai Mall is a shopper’s paradise. Download the mall’s app to simplify your shopping experience, as the sheer size can make it difficult to find your way around.
If you need a suitable meeting spot after perusing the layers of sought-after stores, what better spot than the foot of The Human Waterfall? Spread over three floors of the Dubai mall, the colossal landmark is a delight for Instagrammers and artists of all stripes.
6pm: Sunset cocktails at the Palm
After dropping your treasures back at base camp and having a quick change, you’ll be ready for a night on the Palm Jumeirah — Dubai’s famous man-made archipelago. Firstly, we recommend a monorail trip that runs from the base of the three-mile long trunk to up to the crown of Atlantis, the Palm, the world-renowned destination resort.
Take a lazy alfresco supper at Dubai’s trendiest beach club, WHITE, with a stunning outdoor patio ideal for cocktails at sunset. You’ve been bar hopping from posh cocktail club to hip molecular bar, and now it’s time to cap off the evening with a bang. Hail a cab or take the short walk to Atlantis, the Royal, to watch the region’s first fire-meets-water show, at the Skyblaze Fountain.
Day 3 – 11am: Blissful beach trip
Now that you’ve had some time to sleep in and enjoy a leisurely brunch, it’s time to enjoy your last day in the City of Gold. Those searching for a peaceful day trip or an opportunity to work on their kitesurfing or windsurfing skills will find what they’re looking for on Dubai’s pristine, white sand beaches.
With the luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel as a backdrop, Sunset Beach, also known as Umm Suqeim beach, is a must-visit. Catch a snooze or borrow a book from one of the charming libraries dotted around the shore, before getting ready for your final excursion.
3pm: Half-day desert safari
Pickup for afternoon desert safaris starts at around 3pm. You’ll want to hang on tight as you cruise over the sand dunes in a 4×4 Jeep and take in the breathtaking views of the desert. Once the adrenaline rush is over, unwind in an authentic Bedouin tent and try your hand at camel riding, sandboarding, or even getting a henna tattoo.
As soon as the sun goes down, the party truly starts. Under a canopy of stars, enjoy a traditional feast and evening of entertainment, replete with enchanting belly dancers, spellbinding fire eaters, and curious folktales — there’s simply no better way to round off your trip.
So there you have it, your itinerary on how to make the most of 72 hours in Dubai! If you liked this article, you may also be interested in reading our guide to Dubai’s unique dining experiences to find out more about the city’s culinary delights.
Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more about what Frank Porter can do for you, should you choose to one day return home to the City of Gold.