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Dubai must do recommendations

If you’re visiting Dubai, especially for the first time, be sure to set aside some time to see the city’s most famous attractions. From record-breaking landmarks like Burj Khalifa and man-made marvels such as Palm Jumeirah, to historical, cultural and religious sites like Old Dubai and Jumeirah Mosque, there’s so much to discover in this extraordinary city.

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Burj Khalifa

Standing at a staggering 828 metres (that’s almost double the full height of the Empire State Building), Dubai’s proudest landmark, Burj Khalifa, towers over the city. The impressive structure has won a number of accolades, including a place in the Guinness World Records for the highest building in the world and the highest observation deck.

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Old Dubai

The historical heart of the city, Old Dubai can be found on the banks of Dubai Creek. A far cry from the glitzy skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai, the area is full of colourful local markets, eye-opening museums and historic buildings. Take a walk back in time and see tradespeople working on their wooden dhow boats, test your haggling skills at the spice and gold souks, or get a valuable history lesson at the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, the former residence of the ruling Al Maktoum family.

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Desert safari

Dubai is a city built from the sand, and the desert surrounding it is an adventure playground rife with opportunities to get active and explore. Crowds flock to the dunes in 4x4s to try their hand at adrenaline-fuelled sports like dune bashing, quad biking, camel riding and sandboarding, while those after something a little more relaxed opt to enjoy a traditional Bedouin barbecue and night under the stars on a once-in-a-lifetime Desert Safari.

Once in a lifetime experiences

Palm Jumeirah

The iconic manmade Palm Jumeirah is a symbol of Dubai’s innovative, architectural prowess. Few islands in the world compare to Palm Jumeirah’s distinctive palm-shaped silhouette, which is instantly recognisable, even from space. After gazing down at it while flying into the city, most visitors are keen to get a closer look at its landmarks, including the famous The Atlantis hotel.

Dubai from the sky

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Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

A fascinating place to spend an afternoon, Al-Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is a reconstructed Arabian village on the banks of Dubai Creek, built in the style of classic Emirati architecture. The art, culture and leisure hub is home to a fascinating collection of independent galleries, cosy cafés and museums. A highlight is the nearby Dubai Museum, set in a restored fort, which gives visitors a real insight into the city’s rich and varied history.

Explore Al-Fahidi

Jumeirah Mosque

This elegant and imposing stone mosque at the top of Jumeirah Road is the only one in Dubai that welcomes non-Muslims. Tours of Jumeirah Mosque run frequently and cameras are welcome. Visitors should remember to dress conservatively.

A mosque from the inside

The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is one of the largest and most impressive shopping malls in the world. It’s home to over 1,200 stores, hundreds of dining and leisure outlets and a 440,000 square foot Fashion Avenue dedicated to high-end brands. A highlight attraction is the dancing Dubai Fountain, which performs in sync to music every 30 minutes throughout the evening, and at lunchtime, at the base of Burj Khalifa.

Image credits: All imagery © iStock