By Neha Singh from Dubai Wikia
A Week in Dubai Itinerary: How to Experience 7 Amazing Days in Dubai on a Budget
As a city celebrated for its opulence and grandeur, Dubai may not be the first place one thinks about for a budget-holiday. However, the reality is that it’s very affordable if you know which experiences and attractions in Dubai offer the best value. Below, we lay out a week in Dubai itinerary that will tell you just that. So, get ready to experience The City of Gold!
If at any point you have questions or comments, leave them below, and we’ll get back to you in a flash.[cmtoc_table_of_contents]
DAY 1 – Old and New Dubai
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Al Fahidi
If you’ve ever wondered, where is Dubai, it likely means you’ve never been here before. So, following your first-ever arrival in Dubai, set aside your first day to experience the contrast between Dubai’s old classics and newest attractions.
- Al Fahidi Historic Neighborhood: Located in the Dubai Creek area, this neighborhood will take your breath away with its quaint settings and well-preserved ancient structures (topped by traditional coolers or wind towers) that date back to the 19th century. The current proprietors have converted many of the old dwellings and buildings in the region into art galleries and museums. Therein, you can glimpse into the Emirati’s age-old lifestyle and culture.
- Abra Ride: An abra ride across Dubai Creek, from Bur Dubai to Deira or vice versa, is probably one of the cheapest modes of transport in Dubai. It will cost you just AED 1. Beyond an exciting ride, it provides an enlightening insight into the Dubai’s charming past.
- Traditional Souks: The Arabian bazaars or souks scattered across the Deira region are among the must-have experiences in Dubai. If you don’t have time to explore all of them, be sure to at least take a stroll through the Gold Souk. The entire market glistens with the millions of dollars of gold jewelry. It’s all crammed into a staggering array of stores and outlets that are collectively responsible for Dubai’s nickname – The City of Gold.
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Dubai Frame & Dubai Garden Glow
- Dubai Frame: After lunch, make your way to Zabeel Park’s Dubai Frame, which takes after a giant picture frame. Besides viewing its galleries, the main highlight here is to ascend to its glass-bottomed sky deck. It towers at a height of over 150 meters. The bonus is that you’ll get to appreciate the views of both old and new Dubai from this distinct standpoint.
- Dubai Garden Glow: Also located inside Zabeel Park, this is an edutainment park which you should definitely visit. This is especially true if you’re with your family and little ones. Its glowing displays (many of which are made from ice) are stunningly crafted using biodegradable materials. Apart from Glow Park, it’s also home to kids’ favorites such as the Dinosaur Park, the Ice Park, and the Magic Park.
Top Tips for Day 1: The old part of Dubai is a lively area packed with an array of super affordable dining options. It’s also a great place to sample Dubai’s street foods such as Shawarma. When it comes to getting around, these attractions are not at a walkable distance. Once you’re done experiencing old Dubai and the souks, you can hire a cab or conveniently take a metro from Bur Dubai or Deira region to arrive at Zabeel Park. The metro station nearest to the park is Al Jafiliya.
DAY 2: Dubai Marina & Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
This week in Dubai itinerary wouldn’t be complete with including the following places. Nothing typifies Dubai’s modernity better than the Dubai Marina. Apart from its glitzy architectural splendors, it’s also a place to take in invigorating sea breezes, indulge in water sports and even enjoy a variety of free activities.
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Activities Galore
- Dubai Marina Walk: Take a stroll through the seven-kilometer long pedestrian trail that extends throughout the length of Dubai Marina. It not only lets you catch a glance of the ultra-modern structures that surround the region, but it also provides stunning views of opulent yachts and speedboats that cut through the waters of Dubai Marina.
- Biking: You can hire a bike for just AED 45 to discover the main sights and attractions of Dubai Marina. However, refrain from this activity during summer months.
- Water Sports: From kite surfing and RIB boat tours to jet skiing, Dubai Marina is a haven for water sport enthusiasts too.
- Street Markets: If you visit here during winter months, don’t miss the outdoor street markets at the Dubai Marina Walk. Here you will be able to buy vintage crafts, hand-made specialties, and fresh food at super bargain rates.
- JBR & The Beach: This waterfront community in Dubai Marina is a hub of activities. It’s mainly noteworthy for attractions such as The Walk (the promenade dedicated for dining and shopping) and The Beach – a complex filled with restaurants, cafes, shops etc.
- Dhow Cruise: There is no better way to wind up your evening in Dubai Marina than with an extraordinary dhow boat cruise. Aboard one of these traditional boats, you will be able to marvel at the modern city sights. At the same time, you will be able to enjoy some scrumptious food, live traditional entertainment and unlimited refreshments. Each cruise is approximately 2 hours long.
Top Tip for Day 2: With two metro stations on either end of Dubai Marina, you can easily get around in this section. There are also taxis available to get from one point to another.
DAY 3: Downtown Dubai
One day 3 of your week in Dubai itinerary, set out to explore Downtown Dubai. It may be Dubai’s most modern and glamorous neighborhood, but it does offer many things which you can do on a budget or even for free.
- Burj Khalifa: This majestic structure resplendently dominates the city skyline. It’s the world’s tallest structure at a height of over 828 meters. If you’re keen for an incredible view (and you’re willing to splurge a bit), you’ll want to take a tour of its observation deck on 124th or 148th level. From this vantage point you’ll have the most stunning views over Dubai’s glittering cityscape. NOTE: Book your tickets in advance, as they quickly sell out.
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar
- Dubai Mall: This is one of the world’s biggest shopping malls. It has over 1,200 outlets under its expansive roof. But don’t worry, even if you don’t want to go shopping, this is a great place to people watch. Here you can also check out the Dubai Mall Aquarium’s massive 10-million liter tank which houses over 33,000 marine creatures.
- Souk Al Bahar: Stroll through this modern style bazaar which beautifully recreates the feel of an Arabian souk. The items on sale or display here may not be cheap. However, it’s still worth checking out for its unmatched ambiance, amazing products and extraordinary views.
- Dubai Fountain Show: This is experience is free, and it’s amazing! Located in front of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain on Burj Lake is certain to blow you away. All around you water will be shooting up and dancing in sync to classic Arabic, Bollywood and English tunes.
Top Tip for Day 3: You’ll find plenty of pocket-friendly dining options in Downtown Dubai. Choose to dine at the massive food court inside Dubai Mall, or move out to one of the dining venues that face the Dubai Fountain or the Burj Khalifa. When it comes to getting around, these attractions are within a walkable distance, making it easy for you to explore.
DAY 4: Islands, Beaches, Luxury and a Mosque
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Palm Jumeirah
Start your fourth day off by heading to the Dubai’s stunning man-made island at Palm Jumeirah. Designed to resemble a giant palm tree topped by a crescent, this Dubai icon is absolutely one-of-a-kind. It’s brimming with opulent residences, high-end resorts, and extraordinary leisure and entertainment attractions. Now if you think that the grandeur of this island can be experienced only via an expensive helicopter ride or a Skydive adventure, that is simply not true. Palm Jumeirah has attractions for every interest and budget.
- Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk: This 11-kilometer waterfront promenade across the island’s crescent is not just a spot to take in some of the most stunning views of the Arabian Gulf. It is also an exuberant destination to experience the finest dining and shopping attractions Dubai has to offer.
- Atlantis Aquaventure: A part of the Atlantis The Palm Resort, Atlantis Aquaventure is an all-inclusive leisure zone. It has some of Dubai’s top attractions including Aquaventure Waterpark, Lost Chamber Aquarium, and Dolphin Bay.
- Al Ittihad Park: This is one of Dubai’s eco-friendly parks. Herein you can spot a variety of rare and unique trees and plants. All of them are indigenous to the region.
Week in Dubai Itinerary – Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah Beach and Jumeirah Mosque
- Burj Al Arab: Even if you’re not able to afford to stay or dine at the world’s only seven-star hotel, be sure to at least catch a glimpse of this charming sail-shaped structure from the outside. It has attractions such as Wild Wadi Park nearby.
- Jumeirah Beach: Full of great views and attractions, this public beach is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Besides excellent facilities for outdoor games like volleyball, it also hosts a spectrum of festivals, carnivals and events from time to time.
- Jumeirah Mosque: A visit to this beautiful white mosque is something you won’t want to miss. This is particularly true if you’re interested in learning more about the Islamic religion, culture and traditions. The best thing is that it’s open for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Just make sure you’re dressed appropriately. NOTE: Most mosques that allow visitors provide coverage for woman (like an abaya to throw on).
Top Tip for Day 4: The food trucks seen across the Boardwalk offer affordable dining options in Palm Jumeirah. One of the most convenient options to get around the region is to rent a car. You can also use the metro with Internet City and Nakheel as the nearest metro stations. Moreover, take a monorail ride to admire the whole of Palm Jumeirah from an elevated vantage point. The monorail encompasses the route between the Atlantis hotel in Palm Jumeirah and the Gateway Station at the island’s entrance.
DAY 5: Miracle Garden & Global Village
Your winter trip to Dubai is not complete without making a stop at some of these seasonal attractions.
- Miracle Garden: Begin your day on a relaxing note with a visit to the world’s largest natural flower garden. Spread over a whopping 72,000 square meters, there are more than 45 million colorful flowers here. They are all displayed in a variety of patterns, shapes and themes.
- Global Village: With close to 30 pavilions hosting over 75 countries across the world, this is the region’s ultimate shopping, dining, leisure and entertainment attraction. It not only allows you to discover authentic Emirati specialties but also ones from the world over.
Top Tip for Day 5: Avoid visiting these attractions on weekends or public holidays. They they tend to get exasperatingly crowded at these times. Besides private transfers and RTA’s cabs, there are regular buses available to reach these spots.
DAY 6: Abu Dhabi
Today on your week in Dubai itinerary, head out to explore the UAE’s capital and largest city, Abu Dhabi. It’s about a two hour drive from Dubai. Whether you plan to be there for a full day or a half day, be sure to include on your Abu Dhabi itinerary both these new and classic cultural points of interest.
- Sheik Zayed Mosque
- Heritage Village
- Yas Island (Home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros Abu Dhabi)
- Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum
- Date Market
- Emirates Palace
- Qasr Al Watan
Top Tip for Day 6: While you can choose to explore the city on your own, it’s also quite affordable to to sign up for a sightseeing tour. Choose one that is arranged by an expert travel service provider. The main benefits of a tour are the roundtrip transfers and hassle free experience in Abu Dhabi.
DAY 7: Ski Dubai & Desert Safari
Finish your one week in Dubai itinerary with a blend of literally cool and classic experiences.
Ski Dubai: Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is where you can enjoy authentic winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing etc. This is thanks to its massive snow park plus slopes that are suitable for for all levels. What’s more, you can view real King and Gentoo penguins. As Ski Dubai is open year round, you can visit any time you’re keen to refresh yourself from Dubai’s unrelenting heat.
Desert Safari: With the right dose of adventure, culture, traditional entertainment and dining, a desert safari promises a perfect end to your Dubai experience. Enjoy a thrilling 4X4 drive over Dubai’s colossal dunes, visit traditional campsites, indulge in cultural activities, watch mesmeric performances, and most of all, relish scrumptious culinary delights on an all-inclusive desert safari.
Top Tip for Day 7: To get the best deal, book these experiences through a service provider which offers all of these experiences as a combo package.
Parting Thoughts – A Week in Dubai Itinerary
We are confident that this ‘one week in Dubai itinerary’ will help you to enjoy this spectacular place without breaking the bank, but feel free to rearrange or customize it as per your unique preferences. And, if you’re keen for other short but sweet travel experiences, consider this action packed 12 hour itinerary for London, this thrilling two days in Tokyo, or this self-guided walking tour for a two day itinerary in Seoul South Korea.
No matter what you do, if you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy travels!
Bit by the travel bug early on in life, Neha has always loved exploring new places. Writing comes naturally to her, and in her free time, she loves to go on adventures and strongly believes in the Gandhian principle – ‘Simple living, high thinking’. Check out her comprehensive travel guide to Dubai at Dubai Wikia.