Man in modern Emirati dress riding a camel in the UAE Desert - feature image for a 6 day itinerary in Dubai

Dubai in 6 Days – Your Complete Day-by-Day Itinerary for Dubai

by Dubai Travel Planner

What can you do in Dubai with 6 days? [+ more ideas if you have longer!]

Dubai is an incredible and eclectic Middle East mega-city situated in the Arabian Peninsula along the Arabian Gulf’s shores.

Some mere 60 years ago, it was little more than a bustling trading port sitting along the banks of Dubai Creek; now, it’s one of the world’s most talked-about cities known for its superlative extremes, year-round sunshine, innovation, incredible architecture, and a complete melting point of cultures from around the world with a vastly expatriate population.

So is it possible to capture the best of Dubai in just 6 days? It’ll be a squeeze, but we’re going to show you how!

The 6-Day Dubai itinerary we’ve set out for you below will take you through all the different aspects of Dubai, from the modern skyscrapers and architectural feats to more traditional parts of the city, the desert, and a day trip further afield thrown in. Mix and match the days to suit your interests best – plus, we share extra day trip ideas if you have even longer to explore.

This is a super detailed guide so do bookmark this page for later in your browser or save it to Pinterest

Dubai 6 Day itinerary

Things to know before visiting Dubai

Before we dive into the juicy details of WHAT TO DO, make sure you’ve checked out our essential planning information too. We cover in much greater detail:

  • Dubai dining guides – all our favourite places to eat, dining specialities, bars, and special occasions.
  • Best times to visit Dubai – don’t be caught out by the weather or religious events, here are the ideal times to visit Dubai.
  • Take out travel insurance! We are in an ever-changing world at present, whilst Dubai remains open for business, don’t get caught short; make sure your trip is comprehensively insured.

Transport in Dubai for 6 days

Over the course of using our 6-day itinerary, you will need to take a combination of taxis, the Metro, and private tours.

We’ve given basic directions on how to get to each place by public transport if possible, or where you may need a taxi to get door-to-door with ease. You can find our complete guide to Dubai Transport options here.

Metro Cost: If you stay in Dubai for around one week, it is recommended to get a Silver Nol and top it up with a 7 Day Pass (The card costs 25 AED with 19 AED in credit, then a regular weekly Metro pass is 110 AED). We explain all the fares in more detail here.

A note on taxies: In the hottest part of the year (i.e. about May to October!), be wary of how far you can walk during the day. Places may look relatively close and within walking distance on a map, but under the heat of the sun, a short taxi/Careem/Uber ride may very much be worth it (noting a minimum fare applies of 12 AED applies to Dubai Taxis).

Hiring a car: Unless you are a super-confident driver or plan on taking several trips out of the city, you are best relying on taxis and tours for your out-of-town trips during a one-week stay in Dubai.

What can I fit into 6 days in Dubai?

With only 6 days in Dubai, you need to be careful with your time management and no doubt book a few activities in advance, especially if you’re visiting at peak tourism times. Given COVID restrictions, many venues continue to have capacity limits.

When planning out your days, note that the weekend in Dubai is Friday & Saturday; these days are MUCH busier with local residents also out and about, especially Friday afternoons after prayer time. Some attractions may open later on a Friday.

We set out for you here a balanced itinerary for seeing everything that Dubai has to offer, but also included below is a table of additional activities that you can mix and match to your tastes.

For a comprehensive list of everything there is to see and do in Dubai, pop over here – we have 150+ ideas!.

Day 1 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Old Meets New

Step back into the Dubai of the past from Bedouin roots to bustling Dubai Creek.

For your first day of sightseeing in Dubai, it really helps to go back to the grassroots of what Dubai city is about; a busy trading port city based around Dubai Creek.

Get your bearings at Dubai Frame

Let’s start your exploration of Dubai taking in the views from the Dubai Frame. Pretty much what it says – it’s a giant picture frame! One of the first tourist highlights you will capture coming from the airport into the city.

The Dubai Frame
The spectacular Dubai Frame gives you the opportunity to see old and new Dubai

You ascend up one side of the 150m high frame (48 floors) and then walk across the top. The see-through floored sky deck gives you fabulous views of Old Dubai, Dubai Creek to Sharjah and beyond in one direction, and the modern skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai to the other.

Learn more about visiting the Dubai Frame here

Getting there: Nearest Metro is Al Jafiliya for Zabeel Park but it’s a decent walk, you may prefer a taxi/Uber drop off

Wander Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

This is the oldest part of Dubai city, a labyrinth of narrow laneways that date back to the 19th century. The historic area (previously known as Bastakiya) is protected so that the city’s heritage does not become lost forever under the sprawling skyscrapers. Most of the traditional sandy-coloured low-rise buildings are now galleries, museums, and small cafes.

Within this area, you will find the Dubai Museum, housed within the Al Faihi Fort which dates back to 1787. At only 3 AED you should definitely pop your head in for more insight into the country’s Bedouin past and the pre-oil era of Dubai. {CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS SINCE EARLY 2021}

There are many other Dubai museums to be discovered within the laneways, the Coffee Museum is one of our favourites worth seeking out.

Getting there: Al Fahidi Bus Station or Al Fahidi Metro station

Lunch at Al Seef Waterfront

By now you have most certainly worked up an appetite, so if you’ve not stopped for lunch in XVA Cafe or Arabian Tea House situated within Al Faihidi Historical Neighbourhood, now would be time to head to one of many restaurants in this waterfront development. Seamlessly blending old with new it’s directly across the street, next to the Al Faihidi Marine Transport Station.

Al Seef is set up like a traditional souk so you’ll be able to do your shopping here too. Kids may enjoy popping into the Museum of Illusions or have some fun with photos in the instagrammable laneways.

Cross Dubai Creek on an Abra

An absolute must for an authentic old Dubai experience! Whilst there are far more modern methods these days of crossing the city, a traditional abra at 1 AED per person is still a steal!

Old Dubai – Dubai Creek

Explore the Traditional Deira Souks

Depending on the heat you could spend several hours lost in the laneways of Deira, the most popular stops being the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. It’s all open-air so it can be heavy going and a bit of walking mid-afternoon in the hotter months.

You’ll find a few more museums in this area of the city too, Naif Museum and Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili are worth seeking out.

If you need to escape to airconditioning at this point, Al Ghurair Centre offers an indoor shopping option – a more modern mall you can still pick up cheap(er) clothing and electronics here before starting your evening exploration.

Take a food tour in Old Dubai

For the evening, its time to take in some local cuisines. Being the multicultural city that Dubai is, you can be sure there are many dishes vying for attention as “local” cuisine, in addition to traditional Emirati or Bedouin-style dishes.

One of the most highly recommended food tours in Dubai is Frying Pan Adventures which offer various options for small groups to have authentic experiences in the streets of Dubai. Most group tours start and end in Deira.

A boat cruise on Dubai Creek

A great way to see how busy and bustling Dubai Creek can be, even at night, is by taking a dinner cruise on Dubai Creek.

An alternative is to hire a guide for your first day, you will get informative commentary along the way as well as help with transportation and getting your bearing in the city before hitting modern Dubai on your own!

TIP: Whilst the dress code in Dubai is quite loose around the beach, heading to the older parts of town it’s definitely advisable and polite to cover up more – we talk more about what’s appropriate when here.

Day 2 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Modern Dubai

Explore around Downtown Dubai, from towering heights to mighty fountains and everything in between.

In complete contrast to Day 1, let’s take you over to the glimmering skyscrapers of Downtown Dubai and the ultra-modern side of the city.

Dubai Mall

Often touted as the biggest shopping mall in the world (though technically it’s not!), there are a plethora of indoor experiences to have just inside Dubai Mall, other than shopping! Especially if you’re visiting in the summer, its easy to spend 2 days just exploring everything this mega mall has to offer.

Let’s be realistic though and assume with half a day you can explore one of:

There are plenty more things to see and do indoors and some just outside and on the roof – see the full list of Dubai Mall attractions here.

Getting there: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Station on the Red Line Metro then there’s an airconditioned travellator connecting you to the entire surrounding area of Downtown

Scale the Burj Khalifa

It would be hard to set out a Dubai itinerary and not include THE most iconic building in the city – the tallest building in the world no less! Yes, you can travel to the observation deck of the building on the 124th and 125th floors (extra packages take you to the 148th floor!), or even dine at At.mosphere restaurant and lounge on Level 122.

Burj Khalifa viewed from below wide angle lens over Burj Lake

If you’re unsure what experience might suit you, head over to our complete visitor’s guide to visiting the Burj Khalifa where we set out all your visiting options – no outside climbing permitted Mission Impossible-style!

If there’s one part of your Dubai itinerary you simply must book in advance it’s the Burj Khalifa. Tickets at the door are extortionately more expensive and can sell out. Do allow a good 2 hours for queuing and having a good look around. Note sunset and sunrise slots (only on weekends) cost more.

Souk Al Bahar

Another spot to explore nearby is Souk Al Bahar. Accessed over a pedestrian bridge from Dubai Mall, this modern market is made in the design of a traditional souk offering handicrafts through to fine dining and spectacular views over Burj Lake.

You can find a good selection of places to grab a drink and bite around downtown Dubai here.

Evening in Downtown Dubai

There are several ways to continue enjoying Downtown Dubai well into the evening, its the hub of Dubai nightlife alongside JBR/Dubai Marina.

The Dubai Fountain show is one of the most popular free things to do in Dubai. Starting from 6:00 PM nightly, then every half hour watch the fabulously choreographed light and sound show on Burj Lake, sitting at the foot of Burj Khalifa. Later in the evening the Burj Khalifa also lights up for half-hourly shows.

Dubai Fountain view from ground floor Todd English Food Hall
The Dubai Fountain show on Burj lake, viewed from a restaurant in Dubai Mall

For a close-up view of the fountain show, you can take an abra ride on the lake. Alternatively, our favourite is to pick out one of the restaurants with uninterrupted views in either Dubai Mall or Souk Al Bahar and dine whilst getting to see the show a few times over without the crowds.

If your trip happens to align with something you enjoy at Dubai Opera, this is another sensational Downtown Dubai experience to get glammed up for.

If concrete and modern Dubai is really not you, then head to the listing below of the best cultural activities to continue on a few more activities we couldn’t squeeze in Day 1. A day trip to the Heart of Sharjah may be preferable if the older side of the UAE interests you more.

Day 3 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Beach & Desert

A day for sand and surf – dune surfing that is!

Whether you are staying in one of Dubai’s luxury beachfront hotels or not, with 6 days you really need to squeeze in some relaxing time in the sun too!

After two days of heavy touring, it’s time to leisurely stroll into day 3 at one of Dubai’s famous beachfront districts (choose one, you’ll never fit two into a day!) before heading to the dunes late afternoon.

JBR, Bluewaters, Dubai Marina

A lot of first-timers to Dubai find the area of JBR and Dubai Marina a great place to start. Familiarise yourself with The Walk & The Beach, then if you’d like to stretch your legs further, take a walk over to the ultra-modern Bluewaters Island to dine and marvel at the Dubai skyline along Jumeirah Beach

(Coming soon to Bluewaters is Ain Dubai, the largest observation wheel in the world for spectacular city views – bookmark this idea if you’re visiting in 2022 and beyond!)

JBR & Dubai Marina are a hub of tourist activity – as well as favourite spots with local residents!

You can easily spend a whole day in the JBR area between activities along the beach – think inflatable water parks, splash pads, jet ski, and flyboarding, Flying Cup sky-high dining – read more on what to do around JBR here!

You may also want to head out into the stunning Gulf waters with a cruise. Plentiful operators can be found in Dubai Marina from speed boat tours around Palm Jumeirah, or for a more sedate experience at a fraction of the cost, the RTA Ferry is a winner (with kids at least – they love anything that goes!)

Getting there: JBR/Dubai Marina is the perfect place to stay with 6 days in Dubai due to the high number of spacious hotel apartments, or by Metro take Red Line to DAMAC Properties or DMCC Metro Station

Lar Mer

Another ultra-modern beachfront area of the city to explore is La Mer. An eclectic mix of palm-tree-lined walkways, retail, dining & play opportunities. There’s even a mini water park here. As pretty at night as it is by day La Mer is a trendy new addition for families and singles alike to enjoy Dubai’s modern vibes.

La Mer Beach Dubai
The modern beachfront of La Mer with the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai as its backdrop

If you don’t want to spend the whole day simply at the beach – or it’s simply too hot after an hour or so – La Mer sees you close to both the Jumeirah Mosque – the largest mosque in Dubai open to the public for daily tours – and Etihad Museum, telling the story of the country’s unification in 1971.

Another short hop away is the Shindagha historic district near Mina Port, another great way to learn about Dubai’s past.

Getting there: No direct Metro stop (nearest is Financial Centre then a 10-minute taxi), or take bus 8, 9, or 88 along Jumeirah Beach Road

Dubai also has plenty of public beaches, some are completely free and others have a small Dubai municipality charge but great facilities. Local favourites include Al Mamzar Park and Kite Beach has slightly bigger waves than others, or head to Sunset Beach for iconic views of the Burj Al Arab.

Dubai Desert Safari

In the afternoon, get set to experience the Dubai desert. There are numerous tour operators who have camps set up in the dunes just outside of the city, as well as a select few operators in the protected Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

A typical desert safari trip will include city pickups, then you’ll travel by 4×4 into the dunes, doing some dune bashing along the way before an offering of sand sports – pick from quad bikes, fat bikes, sandboarding, dune buggies, camel rides, henna painting, shisha then join a communal BBQ dinner.

Alternatively, if you are more interested in seeing the desert wildlife than the sand sports, opt for premium options offered by Platinum Heritage, a little more pricey but smaller groups, and a more genuine desert experience.

Getting there: No need to worry about your 4×4 skills, tour operators will pick you up from your hotel or a convenient city location

You can do Day 3 of our 6-day Dubai itinerary in reverse too; If you take an early morning desert safari you can get out and beat the heat, then spend the rest of your day enjoying one of the beachfront areas, perhaps book yourself into a relaxing beach club experience at one of the nice hotel resorts and finish off your day with sundowners on the beach.

If you are visiting in the peak of summer, you would likely need to modify or scratch this largely outdoor day and replace it with some further activities from our indoor guide to Dubai

Day 4 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Abu Dhabi Day Trip

No trip to the UAE is complete without seeing the Capital, Abu Dhabi.

The most iconic of buildings to visit in Abu Dhabi is the simply stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

Skeikh Zayed Grand Mosque, woman in abaya admiring
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is simply unmissable

Whilst it is possible to squeeze in a trip to the Grand Mosque only on a half-day trip to Abu Dhabi – it’s less than 90 minutes on a tour coach from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – you’d be doing yourself an injustice not to see more of the city.

Learn more here on border crossing requirements Dubai to Abu Dhabi

Getting there: If you want to move at your own pace then definitely hire a car for your Abu Dhabi day trip, but catching a tour is the easiest option – the big price differential is whether you join a shared tourist coach or take a private tour

We have more details here on the spectacular places in Abu Dhabi you can squeeze in on a one-day trip from Dubai – including the Louvre Museum and Qasr al Watan, the Presidential Palace. A longer itinerary would see at least 2 to 3 days spent in Abu Dhabi to properly capture the highlights of the capital.

If you are a theme park junkie, you may want to even stay overnight and enjoy Day 5 at the Yas Island theme parks, just as good (if not better!) than their Dubai counterparts – Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi & Ferrari World.

Abu Dhabi is but one of the other 7 Emirates of the United Arab Emirates (albeit by far the largest in size and the richest in oil!). Dubai is quite central in the country so it is a great base for exploring the rest of the Emirates. We have more ideas listed below for alternative or additional day trips from Dubai.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi? For the Yas Island theme parks definitely overnight in the brand new Hilton Yas Island. For views of the Grand Mosque, The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi or Fairmont Bab Al Bahr on the Grand Canal are good choices closer to Dubai end of town.

Those staying longer in Abu Dhabi, pop on over to our Abu Dhabi Travel Planner website.

Day 5 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Dubai Theme Park Day!

Thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies will never be left disappointed in Dubai.

Now if you have littles travelling with you (or big kids at heart!) you may well need to move theme park day further up the itinerary or dedicate two full days.

There’s a superb selection of world-class theme parks to choose from in Dubai. If you’re visiting in the beautiful shoulder seasons (approximately March to May and October to November), our top pick would be one of the mega water parks – choose from Atlantis Aquaventure or Wild Wadi at Jumeirah.

(NB if you stay at Atlantis the Palm or any of the Jumeirah hotels, your water park entry will be included!)

New family rides have opened at Atlantis Aquaventure

Over the coolest part of the year (December to February), Dubai Parks & Resorts is our top choice. Here you can choose between four connected theme parks (ideally you can fit in two of these in a day – three at a squeeze):

  • Legoland Dubai
  • Legoland Dubai Water Park
  • Motiongate
  • Bollywood Parks

And if it’s the peak of summer, the top pick goes to IMG Worlds of Adventure – think Marvel characters to Cartoon Network-themed rides and activities. IMG is entirely indoors to beat the heat.

If theme parks really aren’t your thing, we strongly suggest checking our alternate suggestions for day trips & cultural activities you could add on below.

Getting there: The Theme Parks in Dubai are all quite spread out, Atlantis Aquaventure is on the outer crescent of Palm Jumeirah and Wild Wadi is close to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Dubai Parks & Resorts is in Jebel Ali, beyond the end of the Metro and IMG Worlds of Adventure sits south of the city. In a group, it’s worth getting a taxi for this day

Day 6 – 6 Day Dubai Itinerary: Shopping & splurge on something unique

On your last day, it’s time to tick off anything you’re yet to see and do from our ideas above and engage in something uniquely Dubai.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah

The perfect place for a little retail therapy in Dubai, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a modern souk (market) built in traditional style, with indoor and outdoor (seasonal) stalls and shops offering tourist tat to genuine souvenirs and a superb range of eateries to choose from.

You can get some brilliant Burj Al Arab views here and even take an abra out on the waterways around the extravagant Jumeirah hotels (a bit more pricey than the 1 AED on Dubai Creek but what an amazing backdrop!).

A traditional abra in a modern setting at Souk Mainat Jumeirah Dubai
Views from Souk Madinat back to the Burj Al Arab

Getting there: Souk Madinat Jumeirah is not on the Metro but you can get to Mall of the Emirates and a short taxi from there, or stop at Internet City and then hop on Bus 88.

Only in Dubai experiences

Finish off your trip to Dubai by partaking in some of the most unique “only in Dubai” experiences including:

If you’ve not had the opportunity yet, find one of Dubai’s dramatic rooftop bars (seasonal) to finish off your incredible week in Dubai with dramatic views over the city skyline or the Arabian Gulf.

Rooftop view from the top of Raffles Dubai Tomo restaurant
Rooftop dining from Raffles hotel, looking back to Downtown Dubai

Additional activities for your Dubai itinerary

There was only so much we could fit in an initial 6-day itinerary!

If some of the above activities do not appeal, were out of your budget, or perhaps you’d like to add some additional days to make it a 10 day or two-week itinerary, here’s what you could look to add:

Additional family activities

See our complete guide to Dubai activities for kids here

Additional cultural activities

Additional Dubai itinerary day trips

  • Head over the mountains to the east coast and spend some time in Fujairah including snorkelling and scuba diving opportunities
  • Scale to the UAE’s tallest peak in Ras Al Khaimah and experience a modern pearl diving farm
  • Cross the border into the remote Omani enclave of Musandam for a day of sailing, dolphin spotting and snorkelling
  • Check out the amazing outdoor adventures, hikes, and water sports on offer at Wadi Hub, Hatta

See our complete guide to Dubai day trips

Additional adventure activities

Al-Bithnah Fort, Fujairah UAE
Al-Bithnah Fort in Fujairah – a fascnating day trip from Dubai you could add to your 6-day itinerary

Frequently asked questions about Dubai itineraries

Is 6 days in Dubai enough?

It really depends if you’re coming just to get a taster for future trips, a stopover on a long journey or simply to relax in the sun.

If you want to “see it all” and explore more of the UAE and the Arabain Peninsula, no it’s not enough, we’d recommend two weeks to thoroughly cover the United Arab Emirates.

6 days will be good – though very busy – sample of everything the country has to offer but with plenty left to enjoy on future trips to Dubai.

Can I properly see Dubai & Abu Dhabi in week?

Yes, in theory, you could squeeze in an exciting and action-packed trip to both cities in 6 days, but you will be exhausted and only scratch the surface. You can fit the very biggest highlights of Abu Dhabi into one day but realistically, give yourself 2 to 3 in Abu Dhabi and 7 or 8 in Dubai, 14 days if you really want to see the whole of the United Arab Emirates with a few break days built-in.

How much money do I need for 6 days in Dubai?

It depends on what sort of budget you are operating at. We talk more about money matters here.

If you consider a cheapish hotel room for two, close to the Metro can be obtained for around 200 AED, a day pass on the Metro 20AED, meals, if you go cheap and cheerful, could boil down to 50-100AED a day.

So before your airfares and any fancy extras like waterpark days or desert tours, let’s say 300AED per day or c1800 AED for 6 days in Dubai ($490USD). It’s not the cheapest city but there are ways you can save money as we discuss in our budget guide to Dubai.

Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

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Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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