Dubai: The best thing about Dubai International Airport is that it’s located in the heart of the city, so it's very easy to move to and from the airport.
Terminals 1 and 3 are connected to the Dubai Metro. The metro station is a very quick walk (about 3 to 5 minutes) from the airport arrival hall, making it very convenient for tourists to move around Dubai with affordable transportation. Get on the red line from, which runs every 10 minutes running daily from 5.50am (5.30am on Thursdays) until 12am (or 1am on Thursdays and Fridays). A metro fare costs between Dh4 to Dh17 for single trips
Just hail a taxi from any terminal and go wherever you want. Depending on the time of the day, taxis should be your fastest mode of transportation and a very convenient. Taxi fares start at Dh25 from the airport and Dh5 from anywhere else, however there is a minimum fare of Dh12.
Uber and Careem:
If you have the app, this could be your best option since no cash is required. This saves you time and money at the airport exchange services. However, unlike in other countries, Uber and Careem are not cheaper than local taxis.
Here’s what to do if your layover is 8 to 9 hours
Check out the Burj Khalifa
Not much needs to be said about this iconic tower. Most tourists love to check it out when they visit Dubai. Easily accessible through the Dubai Metro red line, this should be your first stop. The best views of the Burj are from Dubai Mall. Once there, head towards the promenade to take your best selfie with the tallest tower in the world. You may also want to go inside the Burj Khalifa to the observation deck to see the entire city.
Location Dubai Mall Cost Free from the outside, At the Top:Dh360 per person for Adults Timings Daily from 8.30am until late Contact
The Dubai Mall Fountains
While checking out Burj Khalifa, make sure you make a pit stop to see the Dubai Mall Fountains. It’s a favourite go-to spot among residents and tourists, the Dubai Mall fountain is an unforgettable experience that really just moves everyone because of its beauty and synchronized dance and song.
Location Dubai Mall Cost free Timings Afternoon shows, daily (except Fridays) from 1pm and 1pm, on Fridays at 1.30pm and 2pm, Evening shows daily from 6pm to 11pm, every 30 minutes
Dubai Water Canal Boardwalk
If the weather permits, your next stop should be the Dubai Canal. Take your time along the beautifully illuminated walkways and pedestrian bridges that overlook the Dubai water canal and enjoy the sight of the mechanical waterfall. It’s a perfect place to take photos and just enjoy a cool day or evening out. The Wi-Fi there is really good too. And the best part is that it’s accessible by metro.
Location near Business Bay Metro Station Cost Free Timings Anytime
Food: Burgers at Pickl
Pickl is the most talked-about burger joint in Dubai. The homegrown concept was created in Dubai by a chef and self-confessed burger-nut in 2019. Pickl is the place for burger lovers. They source quality meat and ingredients and their choice of pickled things are mind-boggling. Whether you want a cheeseburger, fried chicken or even a vegetarian burger, Pickl is a must-try. If you have the stones for it, there is even an ice-cream burger.
Locations City Walk, Al Safa, Motor City, Time Out Market, JLT
Layover: 10 to 12 Hours in Dubai
In addition to the above, here’s what you can add on if you have a 12-hour layover in Dubai.
Catch the sunrise or sunset: Dubai Creek Harbour
If you want to capture a photo of the Dubai skyline, head down to Creek Harbour and look for the Arch. The Dubai Creek Harbour is a beautiful place to snap photos of the skyline. Make sure you look for the giant silver arches as they’ll frame your photos quite nicely.
Location Dubai Creek Harbour Cost Free
Check out Old Dubai: Gold Souk in Deira
The Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market in the heart of old Dubai by the creek. This market mainly sells gold, silver and precious stones. You’ll find the odd seller of handbags here and there, but this is the best place to buy gold in the UAE. The souk is home to over 300 retailers. Some have been there for over 40 years, while others have just set up shops a few years ago. It is a must visit for tourists who want to see more than just the glitz and glamour of the UAE.
Location Al Ras Deira Cost Free entry Timings 10am to 10pm, some stores are closed between 1pm to 4pm
Eat some real Dubai street food: Shawarma at Al Mallah
One of the most loved shawarma spots in Dubai. With three locations around the city, Al Mallah is a popular choice for Shawarma lovers. The staff are friendly and the service is great. They also serve a mean falafel sandwich, if you want to try something different. Head to the Satwa location to be extra close to the airport.
Location Satwa, Mamzar, Al Qusais Cost Dh8 per shawarma Timings Daily from 7am to 2am on weekends from 9am onwards
Layover: 16 to 18 hours in Dubai
In addition to the above, here’s what you can add on if you have a 16-18 hour layover in Dubai.
Relax at a beach club: Check out Twiggy by La Cantine
Closely located to the Airport, Twiggy is one of the hottest new beach clubs in town. Located at the Park Hyatt Dubai Lagoon. The new spot comes from the team behind culinary hotspots La Cantine du Faubourg, Ninive and Lana Lusa. A place for those who want to chill, the sunny "beachside" restaurant offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu – with the addition of a sushi selection. It has chic vibes and a chilled yet playful atmosphere with an upbeat soundtrack. The best thing about Twiggy is that it gives you access to the famed 100m Park Hyatt Lagoon with prices starting from Dh200 on weekdays and Dh250 on weekends.
Location: Park Hyatt Dubai Cost: Dh200 on weekdays, Dh250 on weekends Timings: The lagoon is open from 9am to sunset.
Happy hour at a rooftop bar: Treehouse at Taj
If you’re in Downtown Dubai, make a quick stop for a beverage at one of Dubai’s favourite rooftop bars. It looks more like a plush living room than an outdoor terrace. A Mediterranean-themed small plates menu is available but the focus here is on the beverages with the extensive molecular mixology menu providing plenty of interesting beverage options. Looking directly over the Downtown skyline, Treehouse has an amazing unobstructed view of Burj Khalifa and is the perfect place for a quick stop while on layover.
Location Taj Hotel, Business Bay Timings Weekdays from 7pm to 3am and weekends from 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 3am
Layover: 24 hours or more in Dubai
If you are staying for 24 hours in Dubai, make sure you book a hotel to spend the night.
The Dubai Frame
Dubai Frame is one of Dubai's major landmarks which overlooks the entire city. The unique architecture of the building allows you to enjoy 360 degrees views of both old and new Dubai.
Location Zabeel Park Cost Dh50 per Adult, Dh20 per child between 3 to 12 years old, Free for children under three, Entry for the elderly and people of determination and two accompanying persons will also be free of charge Timings Open daily from 10am to 7pm
Check out Tresind Studio
An unbeatable dining experience in Dubai, Tresind Studio is a one of a kind venue, which changes seasonally and only seats 20 people at once. Trèsind is an award-winning and critically acclaimed restaurant that has been serving a progressive take on Indian fine-dining since 2014. Emerging from Trèsind, Trèsind Studio is an immersive, intimate journey into modernist Indian cuisine. Chef Himanshu Saini and his team of dynamic young chef’s craft elevated seasonal tasting menus with creative dishes that have taken inspiration from everything from Frank Sinatra to quarantine banana bread.
Location Voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road Cost Set menu is priced at Dh495 but changes depending on the occasion Timing: Monday to Saturday from 7pm to 11pm
Explore La Mer
Check out this exciting beachfront development that stretches out into the ocean in the Jumeirah 1 neighbourhood. Why not head down for a swim and a long lunch at one of their many restaurants in the area?
Location Jumeirah 1 Cost Free Entry Timings Weekdays from 10am to 10pm and weekends until 12am
Visit the Iranian Mosque in Dubai
Also known as the Imam Hossein Mosque, this beautiful mosque is a popular spot for tourists to take pictures. The mosque is inspired by Persian architecture and is notable for its colourful exteriors and interiors. It is in the heart of the textile area of the Bur Dubai Souq.