Recently I traveled to Dubai again in a partnership with Visit Dubai, so I can experience the Dubai Shopping Festival and many other new activities in this incredible city!
I am always happy to go back to Dubai as I find it a perfect spot for shopping, holidays and partying!
There is always something new and cool to do while in Dubai and since it is on the beach and the weather is nice almost throughout the whole year, it really is a perfect vacation spot! However, unlike most vacation places where you only have the beach and not much more activities available, Dubai is a busy city full of great things to do!
It was the first time visiting Dubai during the Shopping Festival and what I loved about it was all the extra art and incredible designer markets placed across the city. Dubai is one of my favorite shopping places in the world, as it is full of incredible shopping centers, where you can find a great variety of brands and since some of them are not available in Europe, you can find very original and unique pieces. Also, Dubai is a Duty-Free shopping area, so you also get a tax return on your shopping! I found it even a better shopping place during the festival due to all these extra markets that were full of items created by young designers. I absolutely love browsing through such markets as you find a lot of unique pieces that you have never seen before!
During our visit, we stayed at Palazzo Versace Dubai, which is one of the newest 5-star hotels in Dubai! It is known as the most stylish address in Dubai and I couldn’t think of a better nickname for this hotel! The interior is simply incredible and every little detail is just so stylish and perfectly placed.
I stayed at one of the grand suites which had a view over the main pool and the marina and it was the most comfortable and luxurious suite I have stayed in Dubai! The hotel has three pool areas, 3 restaurants, and various bars, so there are many places to go without living the resort.
My favorite area was La Piscina (one of the 3 pool areas) and I absolutely loved the brunch that they organize there on Saturday! The spa was also great!
I have been to Dubai a couple of times before (you can read all about my previous trip and what to see in Dubai here), so this time I decided to focus mainly on activities I have not done before!
Surprisingly enough, this was my first time to go to the top of Burj Khalifa. Every other time I visited Dubai I had so many things in my agenda that I never went up to Burj Khalifa. This time, I was so determined that I will go, that I put it as my first activity in Dubai! I had the VIP pass and I would highly recommend you to book it too if you want to go to the highest level of the building or if you are in a rush and do not have time to wait for the queue, as it can be very long sometimes.
It is unnecessary to say how incredible the view from the top level was! As you probably know, Burj Khalifa is the highest building in the world (829.8m tall) and it was built in 2009. I visited Dubai for the first time in 2009 and celebrated New Year’s Eve there and I remember that the building process was just finished, but the building was still not open to public. Back then, it was one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. You just get lost looking at its top, which seems to be touching the clouds!
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Despite being inside the Dubai Mall more than 20 times, I have never entered inside the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo until this visit. The wall of the aquarium gathers thousands of people passing through the mall every day, as its size and the beauty of the creatures living there is truly impressive. In fact, it is the world’s largest acrylic panel. The Aquarium is home to over 30,000 aquatic animals including over 400 sharks and rays. You can do various activities at the aquarium and the underwater zoo. I went on a boat ride inside the aquarium, with a glass bottom boat, where you get to observe the sea life underneath. There is also a submarine simulator, fish feeding activities and even diving!
Dubai is also home to various attraction parks and one of them is Global Village. I have heart many great things about this place, so I decided to pay it a visit! We went during the evening and it was great as there were special fireworks and a concert to celebrate the Dubai Shopping Festival!
Global Village is the region’s largest and first ever multi-cultural festival park that takes you on a journey across the world offering an engaging experience to families through a wide variety of shopping, dining, entertainment and funfair activities in an open-air environment that is usually open throughout October till April 1st week. What I loved about it, apart from the beautiful lights and decoration, was the fact that you get to see typical souvenirs from various countries in the region and to try their food. It is a great place to visit, if you want to experience more of the Middle Eastern culture, but not only, as you will also find Europe, America and Asia in the park! I would recommend visiting during the night as the lights of the park are impressive!
Madinat Jumeirah is one of my favorite places when it comes to buying Middle Eastern souvenirs, going for a nice walk or having a lunch or dinner out! The Madinat is a shopping centre with mainly local goods that also has a very nice open area by the canal full of restaurants and coffee places! It also has an amazing view over Burj Al Arab, so if you are in the search for a perfect picture spot, this is your place! The Madinat is great to visit during the day, but also very vibrant during the night! There are also boat tours going through the canal that are super fun if you are looking for some extra activity to try.
Hero Odysea Boat Ride
One of my favorite activities during this trip was the boat ride with Hero Odysea. They offer a tour with little speed boats (every person has his own boat), during which you get to discover Dubai’s iconic coastline. The tour lasts 75 minutes and for me, it was very relaxing and enjoyable! It was just great to drive your own boat and admire the coastline of Dubai from the ocean! The boats are super easy to drive, so even if you have not been on one before, you will easily adapt to it. In addition, there are pretty much 0 chances of it turning around, so even if you are not able to swim, there is nothing to worry about.
Swimming with Dolphins at Dubai Dolphinarium
Another activity that I have not done before was to visit the Dubai Dolphinarium and swim with their beautiful dolphins. I spend around 40 minutes playing and swimming with two dolphins that were around 25 years old. It was a great experience and I would recommend you to do it if you admire these beautiful creatures too! Also, they have a show everyday apart from Sunday which I loved watching too!
I would like to mention that I am not a supporter of such facilities in general, but the dolphins that are at the dolphinarium were born in captivity, so for such animals it is very hard to adapt to the wild life, and they are likely to live better and much longer if kept in captivity and taken care of.
City Walk and The Dubai Mall
I have visited both of them before, but since they are my favorite shopping centres in Dubai, I went there again!
City Walk is a very cool shopping centre that has many open areas, where you can sit at a restaurant or a coffee place! It is always very nicely decorated and the décor changes every few months. So if you want to go outdoor shopping, it is one of my top suggestions in town!
The Dubai Mall is the absolute must-visit shopping center in Dubai. It is one of the biggest and most impressive shopping centers in the world. In fact, it is the most-visited retail and entertainment destination, which welcomes more than 80 million visitors annually. The Dubai Mall has over 1,300 retail outlets including two anchor department stores – Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s – and over 200 food and beverage outlets. You can easily spend a whole day there. At night, you can observe the fountain show that is situated in Burj Plaza – just at the entrance of the Dubail Mall. It is one of the best fountain shows in the world and you have to see it at least once while in Dubai.
Gold Souk and Spice Souk
Apart from luxury shopping centres, Dubai is also full of amazing souks. One of the oldest and most authentic ones to visit is the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. As the names suggest, in the Gold Souk you can find a huge variety of Gold Jewellery. The price is usually much better than in Europe and there are incredible designs, so if you are a fan of gold I highly recommend you to visit.
On the Spice Souk you will obviously find a lot of spices, but also various souvenirs. Everything is much cheaper than at a shopping centre and you can always negotiate the price. So if you are looking for Middle Eastern goods at good prices, definitely visit this souk.
Well, these were the highlights from my recent trip to Dubai! To see more of the incredible things that Dubai has to offer, check out my vlog from my trip last year!