The glittering heart of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai offers as much in the way of glitz and glamour as it does sandy beaches and bright blue skies.
Holidays in Dubai
Offering the perfect combination of city thrills and beach relaxation, there are few experiences you'll struggle to find in glitzy Dubai. Just a few hours along the coast from the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, Dubai can offer visitors, well, everything!
From stunning beach resorts to seemingly endless shopping malls (with a good bit of history and culture thrown in there for good measure) there's certainly no shortage of attractions in and around this metropolis. Head up some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, or jump head-first into the Persian Gulf with some water sports - whether you like to experience a city from above or below sea-level, the only limit to what you can get up to in Dubai is your imagination!
When it comes to selecting the best time of year to visit Dubai, you'll be pleased to know that there aren't really any cold months to avoid! If you're looking to avoid the rain, plan your visit to Dubai outside of February and December, as these months experience the highest average rainfall.
But, rainfall aside, even November through to January sees average temperatures vary between 19 and 25°C, making Dubai the ideal location for a little winter sun fun.
The flip side of that is that summers do get very warm. The temperature between May to September, on average, rarely dips below 30°C, and August frequently hits 40°C. However, this does mean that the average sea temperatures are positively balmy throughout the summer months!
Things to do on holiday in Dubai
Take a look, and explore the kinds of experiences that are on offer in this vibrant metropolis.
Retail therapy is big business in Dubai. From authentic souks to big shopping malls, brands of all shapes and sizes vie for your attention in the well-heeled city.
If it's variety you're after, you can't go wrong with a visit to The Dubai Mall - the largest shopping centre in the world. Not only is it full to the brim with over 1,000 shops from some of the most globally-renowned brands, you'll also find an aquarium within.
In a similar fashion, the Mall of the Emirates is designed to give you more than full shopping bags. Along with Dubai's Apple Store and an assortment of cafes and restaurants, you'll find Ski Dubai here, along with a theatre and arts centre, and Magic Planet - a family entertainment centre full of game arcades, dodgems and soft play areas.
Sitting on the coast of the Persian Gulf, its right to expect amazing things from Dubai's beaches. Though many stretches of coastline are owned by private hotels and resorts, there are a great range of beaches to enjoy on the main Dubai coast, as well as on the man-made archipelagos of Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali.
If you're after views of the Burj Al Arab (a favourite spot for those sightseeing snaps!), then head to Sunset Beach. JBR Beach offers a more conventional beachy day out, and Al Mamzar Beach Park is a firm favourite with families - though there's a small entrance fee, you'll have access to playgrounds, lagoons and BBQ areas. Perfect!
Adrenaline junkies, look out! There's so much in the way of high-rush and extreme sports in Dubai, you might not want to leave.
Sky diving is a popular option for Dubai visitors as, let's face it, the views out over the desert and the ocean are second to none! Those who prefer to keep their fun closer to earth can have a go at dune bashing (where you career down sand dunes in a 4x4), and the really brave among you can dip beneath the waves and give shark diving a go.
But, don't assume your only options are sand or sea-based. Dubai might sit on both the coast and the edge of the desert, but that doesn't mean you can't hit the slopes and perfect your skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing skills too. Ski Dubai comprises 22,500 square meters of snow, with a huge range of slopes to contend with - opt for lessons or freestyle time.
Many people unfairly think of Dubai as a purely commercial place. Though a large part of the city's attraction is in its modern and new nature, the metropolis is also home to some to some brilliant cultural hot-spots, too.
Contemporary art is a growing interest in Dubai, and you'll find some excellent collections in galleries like the Mottaheden Projects, Artspace and Lawrie Shabibi.
Away from art, there's plenty in the way of museums to tickle those history appreciating taste buds, too. The Dubai Museum, which sits in the Al Fahidi Fort is a must-visit for anyone that's intrigued by traditional Emirates life. Head slightly further afield, and you'll find the Hatta Heritage Village - a historical site that dates back centuries and gives a genuine insight as to how desert life was once lived.
Though Dubai is famed for its shopping, beaches and extreme sports, that doesn't mean to say that there's not enough going on for the little ones in the family, too. In fact, there's plenty of fun to be had in this family-friendly city!
Little (and big) kids will love the Wild Wadi Waterpark! With rides and slides across the park that are suitable for all ages, you'll have the best time zipping down slides, along rapids and bopping in waves.
Away from the water, get up close and personal with one of the most majestic birds of prey - the falcon. At the Falcon and Heritage Sports Centre, you'll have the chance to learn all about falconry and the important part it plays in desert life.