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Dubai – City Guide


More and more people want to discover Dubai. It’s true that the small emirate has been advertising itself for a few years now: social networks, investments, favorable economical taxes…

Dubai has done everything the government thought was right and it’s working. In 2020, while the covid-19 pandemic was raging, more than 5.5 million tourists from all over the world visited Dubai!

Burj Khalifa, desert, beaches and sea, unusual indoor and outdoor attractions… The reasons to be interested in this region of the world are numerous. This guide will help you to get the main ones.

> Why visit Dubai?
> When to go to Dubai?
> How to find a plane ticket to Dubai at the best price?
> Where to sleep in Dubai?
> How to get around Dubai?
> Preparing your stay in Dubai: the essential activities
> The best restaurants in Dubai 
> Where to go out in Dubai?
> Practical information for your stay in the Emirates
> What else should you see in the United Arab Emirates?

Why you should visit Dubai


For a few years now, Dubai has been the trendiest travel destination of the moment. It must be said that everything is there to enjoy your vacation: 

  • quality restaurants, run by the greatest French and international chefs;
  • hotels accessible to all budgets;
  • affordable plane tickets, even in “last minute”;
  • indoor activities (skiing, Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab etc…);
  • outdoor activities (desert walk, desert rally, sea walk, snorkeling, etc…).
  • For almost ten years now, the small Emirate has been investing massively in infrastructure, sports and culture in order to attract more and more European, American and Asian tourists.

Last but not least, getting to Dubai is quite quick. From Paris, Amsterdam or Barcelona, flights are often direct and last between 6 and 7 hours. Once there, the time difference is only one hour. In short, Dubai is accessible. A real gateway to the Middle East and Asia.

When should you go to Dubai ?

dubai when

Traveling to Dubai can technically be done at any time of the year. However, we recommend that you go in November, December, January, February, March and April. Indeed, at this time of the year, the temperatures are still quite bearable, between 25 and 30 degrees.

The period from May to September can be difficult to manage, especially for young people. Temperatures are around 40 or even 45 degrees (much more in the desert).

Let’s add to that that rainfall is totally inexistent at this time of the year. Fortunately, everything is well air-conditioned. You will not suffer from heat peaks if you participate in indoor activities.

Find the cheapest plane ticket to Dubai !

If you are interested in visiting Dubai, you should know that the official airline, Emirates, often organizes quite impressive promotions. 

On any flight comparator, on specialized sites such as Private Sales or others, you will be able to find round trip flights, with the hotel included, for prices beating all competition… About 500 euros. 

Except for promotions, this is about the price you can pay (400-500 euros) for a round trip flight, without hotel. We therefore recommend that you simply pay attention to the current flight offers, starting from anywhere.

Going to Dubai can be really cheap. Patience, good timing and a well-defined project and you are on your way to the United arab emirates in one of the most beautiful airports in the world!

Book your stay in Dubai

As we have already mentioned, hotels in Dubai are clearly not lacking. If the offer in youth hostels is a bit limited in our eyes, another solution is on the rise: AirBnb rentals.

Hotels in Dubai

hotels in dubai

More and more hotels are opening their doors in Dubai. One of their main characteristics is that they offer a range of services that are quite surprising for Westerners. 

Swimming pool, room service, cleaning, accompaniment in the activities, restaurants… Very often, absolutely everything is taken care of in order to offer you the best possible stay. 

Naturally, the more you choose a luxury hotel, the more personalized and high quality the assistance will be. However, most hotels (even those that are seemingly first rate) will meet certain standards. 

Among the hotels we recommend, consider discovering the Holiday Inn Express and the Burj al Arab. If you want to go further, don’t hesitate to check out our article on the best hotels in Dubai to get more info on this subject.

Hostels in Dubai

In our opinion, the offer in youth hostels is quite limited in this small Emirati country. If there are a few, these hostels are often poorly located and sometimes quite expensive. For a similar price, you could very well have your own room in a good quality hotel. 

Nevertheless, we suggest you to have a look at the Dubai Backpackers and the Heartland Hostel, which have caught our attention, especially for the reviews left by travelers who have spent a few days there.

Book your AirBnb

In Dubai, vacation rentals are very popular. It must be said that real estate developers tend to build impressive buildings, with rather surreal accommodations. From studios to 3 or 4 bedroom apartments, you will find everything. These buildings are actually gated communities where everything happens on site. 

By opting for an AirBnb you will have access to your own swimming pool (at least, the one in the residence), your own gym and even, in some cases, your own coworking space, if you have a little work. The week is a little more expensive than a hotel, but you’ll get all the comforts you need for a peaceful night’s sleep. 

How to get around the city ?

dubai transportation

Dubai has a very efficient transportation system. There are two metro lines (green line and red line). They operate from Saturday to Wednesday, between 5:30 am and midnight. On Thursdays, the metro closes at 1am while on Fridays, the hours are from 10am to 1am.

What about fares? A short trip will cost you between 0.8€ and 1€. You can go up to 3km around your departure point. For medium trips, you should count 1.4 to 1.7€ per ticket. Finally, for long distance trips, the prices change, from 2.1 to 2.4€.

You will have the choice between several types of transport card, on which to recharge your tickets. We recommend the Silver Card, which costs 7 euros and includes 5.30 euros of travel. It can be recharged absolutely anywhere.

Prepare your stay in Dubai : what are the must-sees ?

You will find during your trip to Dubai, many activities to do, whether indoors or outdoors. Let’s have a look here, with our selection of the 5 must-do’s (of course, this one is far from being exhaustive!).

Burj Khalifa

dubai activities

The Burj Khalifa, located in the center, is the main place of the city, the one you can’t miss under any circumstances. In fact, it is difficult not to see it as it is so high. Indeed, this building is the highest tower in the world. 

From the top of its 828 meters, it is visible from anywhere in the city. To go underneath is impressive. In the evening, a small sound, light and water show is also proposed in the basin located just in front of it!

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping center in the world. More than a million square meters, 1,200 stores, luxury and bling, in short this place is the Mecca of compulsive shoppers. 

On site, you will find absolutely everything you need. The Dubai Mall is also famous for its huge aquarium, located in the center of the mall, which extends over several floors.

Ski Dubai

You didn’t even imagine it, Dubai did it: a ski resort in the middle of the desert. Indeed, in the mall of the Emirates, has been installed an incredible ski resort, with its small chalet located in height. We tell you more about it in our dedicated article on ski Dubai.

The beaches in Dubai

dubai beach

The advantage of Dubai is that it is possible to swim. The city is surrounded by the sea and several beaches are easily accessible. We recommend the one near the Burj al-Arab, which is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city, shaped like a sail. 

An exceptional place, that we invite you to discover… From the outside. Don’t hesitate to take beautiful pictures! To go further, you can also discover our article on the best beaches of Dubai.

The desert

The desert of Dubai is striking. Besides the feeling that it never stops, you will have the opportunity to participate in many activities, such as rallying in a special car, hiking or simply going to a dedicated camp at night, where you can have dinner and enjoy a dance show. In short, a pure delight.

Dubai’s best restaurants

what is there to do in dubai

Not sure where to go for dinner while in Dubai? Once again, the small emirate has put everything in place to satisfy your desires. 

Indeed, the city attracts the world’s greatest chefs by providing them with carefully designed facilities, teams and locations, allowing them to evolve in the best conditions, to give free rein to their imagination and thus, to offer you the best dishes possible. 

Whether in the hotel or directly in a restaurant, you will find everything: European, French, Asian, South American, meat, fish or vegetarian cuisine… 

In our article dedicated to the 10 best restaurants in Dubai, we discuss the subject in depth. Among some of our selections, we find the Enigma or the Ayanma. A real treat for the taste buds.

Nightlife in Dubai

Want to enjoy Dubai’s nightlife? Although in the Middle East, Dubai is an international, cosmopolitan city, which allows for the consumption of alcohol and the ability to have a good time at night. Often, the establishments are highly rated, with DJs coming from all over the world. 

Add to that the fact that the country’s bartenders are cocktail specialists and you have a great environment to enjoy the night. Some of the best bars in the city are Miss Lily’s, Coya (facing the sea) and Treehouse. Of course, this selection is far, far from being exhaustive!

Practical information about your stay in Dubai

visit dubai

Want to learn a little more before you fly to Dubai? In case of a problem, find out how to react, what numbers to call and above all, how to get assistance from the French consulate, if necessary!

Is Dubai a dangerous city ?

Dubai does not have the reputation of being a dangerous city, quite the contrary. Indeed, the Emirate makes security one of the pillars on which it relies to attract tourists and travelers. Penalties are high for the slightest misdemeanor. 

Of course, you are encouraged to pay special attention to your belongings, especially if you are staying in a hostel or on the metro. In the evening, make sure you don’t leave anything unattended (just in case, like anywhere else). As for the rest, there’s nothing to be worried about.

What are the spoken languages in Dubai ?

Dubai is a cosmopolitan, international city. Arabic is of course the first and official language. However, absolutely everyone speaks English. In the street, you will hear a little bit of everything, French, German, Chinese or Russian. This is what makes this city so special!

What’s the currency in the Emirates ?

dubai money

In the Emirates, people use the AED, the Emirates Dirham. In an article specially dedicated to this question, we talk about the exchange rate and the places where to change your euros for the local currency in the country. 

Don’t hesitate to ask for more information on that subject, in order to be sure to get the best quality-price ratio, without high fees.

What should you do in case of an emergency

You have lost your passport or your identity card? Have you encountered a problem or witnessed a particular situation? Here are some important numbers to keep close by:

  • Coast Guard: 996 ;
  • Fire department: 997 ;
  • Ambulance: 998;
  • Police: 999.

Regarding national representations :

  • the American consulate in Dubaï is in 8 Al Seef St – Umm Hurair 1 ;
  • the Canadian consulate is in Jumeirah Emirates Towers 19th Floor – Sheikh Zayed Rd ;
  • the British consulate is in Al Seef St – near to 7864+PR2 – Al Hamriya ;
  • the Indian consulate is in 4 8th St – Umm Hurair 1.

What else can you see in the Emirates ?

Want to explore Dubai and the UAE as a whole? In addition to this sumptuous city, there are many other places worth visiting, such as Palm Jumeirah, the Marina, and the entire JVC (Jumeirah Village Circle) district. 

To go further, we recommend Abu Dhabi! The capital of the Emirates is surprisingly modern and has a lot of culture. The Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi is the best example.

Questions you might ask yourself

  • How did Dubai make its fortune ?

    Dubai, to become the rich city we know today, has been able to rely on the gas business as well as the oil business (to a lesser extent).

  • Why is Dubai so well known ?

    Dubai has become a city known for its large-scale projects such as the Burj Khalifa (the tallest tower in the world), the Burj al Arab and the Dubai Mall (the largest shopping mall in the world).

  • Is visiting Dubai expensive ?

    Visiting Dubai can be as expensive or as cheap as you want and it all depends on your choices. In general, prices in Dubai are comparable to other major cities around the world