Six days between Abu Dhabi and Dubai - itinerary and tips

Dubai had always been a destination that piqued my curiosity, especially because of all the controversy and discussion it provokes. We wanted to explore it in person, a city that many label as “fake,” but which I prefer to call “modern.” Here is the account of our trip to the United Arab Emirates.

Day 1

The experience begins with a Wizz Air flight from Vienna to Abu Dhabi. Six hours of flying may seem long, but the promise of a new adventure makes the time go by faster. 🙂

Arriving in Abu Dhabi, after passport control, we headed to the Jannah Burj Al Sarab, a hotel that offers a mix of modern amenities with a traditional Arab touch. The central location of the hotel allowed us to easily reach various attractions in the city.

Hunger set in and, without a definite plan, we opted for the “Jones The Grocer” chain.

After dinner, it was time to explore. Abu Dhabi’s Corniche is a real attraction. At 8 km long, it is perfect for a relaxing walk overlooking the Persian Gulf. Here a curiosity: the Corniche has been divided into three sections to cater to all kinds of visitors: one for families, one for sportsmen, and one reserved for singles and students.

Before returning to the hotel, we made a brief stop at a local supermarket. Traveling is not only seeing the great monuments, but also discovering daily life and local customs. Browsing the shelves of a supermarket in another country can reveal a lot about local culture and cuisine. For example, we noticed a wide variety of dates, which are an essential part of the Emirati diet and are often offered as a sign of hospitality!

Other recommended hotels in Abu Dhabi for value for money location I had evaluated:

Day 2

The second day of our trip to the Emirates began with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Ready to explore, we decided to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

The Grand Mosque is not only a place of worship, but a real monument dedicated to the founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is also buried there. With its capacity to accommodate more than 40,000 worshippers at once, it is the largest mosque in the Emirates and the third largest in the world.

A word of advice: you can book admission for free on the official website: click here. But, watch out for the dress code! If you do not have proper clothing, there are numerous stores before the entrance where you can buy or rent the right outfit. I decided to buy one for only 10€ in the mall from which the Mosque is accessed.

One of the things that is immediately striking is the entrance, covered with colorful marbles from 37 countries. The relief technique creates flowers in three-dimensional shapes that almost seem to blossom from the walls. Once inside, the interior is breathtaking. A handmade carpet, the largest in the world, extends at your feet, while a 12-ton gold-plated chandelier hangs above you.

After this experience, we head to Dubai. Although the cab was an attractive option (especially considering the favorable prices due to the low cost of fuel here), we opted for the bus.

The bus is taken from Abu Dhabi’s main train station. There is only one station so you will not struggle to find it. You only need to tell the taxi driver to take you to the bus and he will understand immediately. We bought the ticket directly at the station.

The cab to Dubai will cost you 220 AED which is about 55.00€ while the bus will cost you about 10.00€ each way.

When we arrived in Dubai, theCitadines Metro Central hotel was waiting for us just across the street from the metro stop. Spacious accommodation at an incredible price!

I had also evaluated the following hotels in a good location at a good price:

As for prices in Dubai? Well, there really is everything for all budgets! Many places offer affordable meals. One does not necessarily have to spend a lot to enjoy a good meal here. However, Fabio pointed out that while Dubai can be visited on a budget, having more money can make the experience even more exciting.

After a break at the hotel, we headed to the Dubai Marina Canal, a stretch of desert turned into a fascinating 3.5-kilometer-long canal. A stop at a local bar allowed us to enjoy some delicious non-alcoholic cocktails, as alcohol is rarely available here and tends to be quite expensive. We then had dinner on the waterfront at the zouzou restaurant.

Day 3

Day three got off to a cozy start thanks to the little restaurant located right in our hotel-Brambles Dubai. A perfect place to enjoy a breakfast before venturing into the heart of the desert.

Desert adventure is one of those experiences that sticks with you. I had already had the pleasure of experiencing the thrill of quad biking in the desert during a trip to Sharm with my family, but it was new to Fabio. Thus, we decided to repeat the experience. The excursion we chose included a car tour, sand boarding and, of course, the adrenaline rush of the quad bike. The whole thing lasted about half a day.

Here is the link to the experience we booked: get your guide – click here

When the adventure was over, we headed for the sea. Although many beaches offer day packages for a fee, we opted for a simple hour on the free beach.

Given the interest generated by Dubai, I want to say a few words about the city’s security. Is Dubai safe? Absolutely. The UAE in general boasts a very low crime rate. As a tourist, the risk of theft or assault is minimal. However, it is essential to comply with local laws and regulations to avoid any inconvenience.

Another curiosity: one person had told me that social networks do not work in Dubai. But, through my research, I found that what actually to not work are calls and video calls through social media apps. This is because of the two major telephone companies blocking them to protect their business interests. The solution? Call with the credit offered by your e-sim or sim that you purchased here in Dubai or use VPN (I had talked about it here).

For dinner, we decided to treat ourselves to something exceptional. Akira Back Dubai was our destination for the evening. And for those who were wondering, yes, they do offer an entire gluten free and vegan menu.

Day 4

We started with a visit to the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, towering an impressive 828 meters divided into 163 floors. If you plan to visit, you can book online through their official or as we did on Get Your Guide: click here for the direct link.

Getting to the Burj Khalifa is very easy: there is a dedicated subway stop, the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. On the subway ride to get there, one cannot fail to notice the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel, often described as a “7-star” hotel. This place is one of only seven hotels in the entire world to boast such a reputation. Once you get off, follow the signs to get to the Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls. With a total area of 1.124 million square meters and more than 1,200 stores, it is indeed a true shopping city.

The design of the Burj Khalifa is truly fascinating: it takes inspiration from the Hymenocallis flower and its spiral shape reduces the impact of wind on the structure. The tour offers the opportunity to go up to the 124th floor to enjoy the view, but for a small additional fee it is possible to go even higher.

While we were there, we couldn’t help but stop to see the Dubai Fountains, the largest dancing fountains in the world.

The Dubai Mall really has it all: an Olympic skating rink, a traditional Arab souk, and even a Chinatown. For lunch, we were spoiled for choice among more than 200 eateries. But a special mention goes to
Din Tai Fung:
Their story began in 1958 in Taipei and today they are world famous for their delicious xiaolongbao.

After exploring the modernity of Dubai, we immersed ourselves in its history by visiting “Old Dubai.” Here, we were able to see the original essence of the city, with its “abra,” traditional wooden boats, and had dinner at Arabian Tea House.

This day was actually scheduled to participate in a guided tour but we booked too late so the seats on get your guide were sold out. I still recommend that you book the tours, which cost a pittance (starting at 11€ each) but are sure to give you an interesting overview of Old Dubai. I will leave here the link from Get Your Guide where we wanted to book: Link Old Dubai Tour

After dinner, we returned to the Burj Khalifa and were enchanted by the spectacle of the fountains and the night lighting of the skyscraper.

One last curiosity: have you ever noticed the license plates of cars in Dubai? The lower the number, the higher the status symbol of the owner. The Sheikh of Dubai, for example, has plate number “1,” paid as much as 5 million.

Day 5

A beach and pool day was planned, but guess what? It is raining in Dubai in May! Of course, we did not expect such a surprise, especially on our one day dedicated to the beach. If you stay in a hotel like ours, there is a chance that they will cooperate with some beach clubs by offering discounted rates. At Soluna Beach Club for example, for only 50€ (25€ per person), you get access to the pool, beach, umbrella, two sunbeds and even lunch included.

In the afternoon we visited Bluewaters Island, an artificial island connected to the mainland. Here, the main attraction is Ain Dubai, the world’s largest Ferris wheel, 250 meters high, which offers breathtaking views especially at night.

Concluding our evening, we had dinner at Shimmers on the Beach: a very romantic restaurant. You can dine by candlelight on the beach with a view of the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

Day 6

The next day, we decided to visit La Mer Dubai, a bathing area with a free beach.

At lunch, a food break with Greek delicacies at El Greco UAE. Afterwards, we resumed our journey by returning to Abu Dhabi by bus.

Dubai surprised us in every possible way and left us with indelible memories. In summary, Dubai was a revelation for me. The fusion of ancient and modern, the coexistence of simplicity and luxury, deeply fascinated me.

Other useful info

-Internet in Dubai: We opted for an e-Sim offered by Virgin Mobile once we arrived at the airport. It cost us about 35€ for 21GB valid for 7 days.

-Moving around Dubai: We mainly used the metro. Cabs are cheap but we recommend avoiding cars without the “cab” sign.

-Wi-Fi: Present in many areas, from shopping malls to tourist areas.

-Accommodation: Dubai Marina or La Mer are good choices. We recommend always checking actual distances on Google Maps.

-Local Laws: Yes, Dubai is safe, but you have to respect local laws, such as limiting public displays of affection.

-Language: English is spoken by all, albeit at a basic level.

-Clothing: Dressing with respect is key. Shorts and tank tops are accepted in some areas, but it is best to avoid dresses that are too short or see-through.

-Payments: We mainly used credit cards, withdrawing cash only when strictly necessary.

-Climate in May: Yes, it is hot, but it is totally manageable. Just schedule your visits during less hot hours.

Other things to see:

Here are some of the things to see and do in Dubai that we did not mention in the article:

  1. Dubai Museum: Located in Al Fahidi Fort, it offers an overview of Dubai’s history and culture.

  2. Museum Of The Future
    : An architectural masterpiece recognized by National Geographic as one of the world’s most beautiful museums. A place that explores the possible evolutions of society through science and technology.

  3. Dubai Miracle Garden
    : A themed flower garden that changes every season and houses millions of flowers in incredible artistic structures.

  4. Dubai Frame: An imposing structure that offers a panoramic view of the city, symbolically dividing “old” Dubai from “new” Dubai.

  5. Global Village: A cultural theme park offering performances, shopping and food from around the world.

  6. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
    : Located in the Dubai Mall, it is one of the world’s largest hanging aquariums with thousands of sea creatures.

  7. IMG Worlds of Adventure: The world’s largest indoor theme park with attractions dedicated to Marvel characters, Cartoon Network and more.

These are just a few of the many attractions Dubai has to offer. The city is constantly evolving and every time you visit, there is always something new to discover!

Dubai gave us an unforgettable experience, and we hope you find this information useful for your trip. Have a good trip!

If you want to see all my detailed stories with videos about my trip to Dubai, just check out my featured stories “Dubai1” and “Dubai2” on Instagram: angelaisai.

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