Things to Do on a Layover in Dubai

Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and has a stunning skyline, luxuriant shopping centers, and a blend of cultures from around the world that makes it an attractive destination for travelers. 

Are you searching for activities in Dubai to fill your layover? 

Dubai is an ideal destination for those looking for an unforgettable experience during their stopover. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or have a six, eight, or 24-hour layover in Dubai, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in this blog article to ensure you get the most out of your layover.

Experience Breathtaking Views from the top of Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa which is the tallest building in the world, is an excellent starting point for layovers. To experience breathtaking views of Dubai, we recommend going to the top. If you plan to visit during a short stopover, it’s best to book your tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

You can immerse yourself in the beauty of the city by heading out to the outdoor terrace located on the 148th floor. Here you will enjoy the refreshing sensation of cool air against your skin while taking in a 360-degree view of Dubai. 

You can snap photos or take a leisurely stroll around the terrace to capture unforgettable moments.

Explore the Wonders of Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is a great option for those who have a limited time to visit Dubai. To get there from the airport, you can either take a taxi or opt for the metro. Another option is to pre-arrange a private airport transfer, which can save you time and money.

Dubai Mall is located adjacent to the Burj Khalifa. Even if you’re not a shopaholic person it is still worth exploring the mall’s diverse attractions that you will enjoy, including the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which ensure your layover becomes an unforgettable adventure filled with retail therapy and awe-inspiring encounters with marine life. 

This is the largest mall in the world which boasts an incredible array of attractions and activities and caters to all interests and ages. It has luxury shopping boutiques and world-class dining options including thrilling entertainment and cultural encounters. Whether you are here to shop, dine or explore, The Dubai Mall offers you a unique experience.

Watch the fountain show

After visiting and exploring the stunning views of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, we recommend you visit the Dubai Fountain. It is the world’s tallest performing fountain with a length of over 900 ft. Be sure to arrive at the right time so that you will not miss the dazzling sights of the fountain show.

The first show starts at 6 pm and the last one starts at 10:30 pm on weekdays, and on weekends the first show starts at 6 pm and the last show starts at midnight. A fountain show happens around once every 30 minutes.

To have a good view and secure a good spot for yourself, we recommend that you arrive 15 minutes before the show starts.

Dubai Dolphinarium

Dubai Dolphinarium is also one of the well-liked and popular choices for travelers with a layover at Dubai Airport, because of its convenient location. It is situated close to the airport, and this centrally air-conditioned indoor facility is home to charming bottlenose dolphins and playful Fur Seals.

At the Dubai Dolphinarium, you have the incredible opportunity to engage with these intelligent marine creatures by swimming with dolphins. It’s a truly unforgettable experience for you. 

Additionally, you can enjoy mesmerizing shows featuring dolphins and seals as they showcase their remarkable skills, including diving, dancing, juggling, and even playing ball. 

It’s hopefully a perfect way to make the most of your time during a layover and you can create lasting memories in Dubai by visiting this place.

Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

You must explore Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood as it is a unique side of Dubai. The buildings are made with traditional materials such as coral, stone, mud and wood, and the iconic wind towers crown the structures in testimony to local engineering expertise.

This area has been set aside to celebrate and preserve Emirati heritage and culture. There are many opportunities to learn about Dubai and the surrounding area thanks to the numerous cultural centers and tiny museums that are dispersed throughout.

There is still a lot more to experience in this old district. You can look for the attractions among the numerous other locations to explore in the Al Fahidi District:

Coffee Museum

The Coffee Museum is well worth a visit. Coffee plays a big part in Emirati culture along with the wider Middle East and you will learn all about the cultural significance of this drink by visiting this museum.

You can also learn about the history of coffee and get an insight into production processes and the many varieties of beans, along with different coffee cultures throughout the world. Don’t forget to sample some coffee in the cafe and stock up on coffee brewing accessories at the museum shop.

Textile Souk

This is one of the most popular souks in Dubai. Here you can shop for colorful fabrics and garments. Please keep in mind that many stores still prefer cash over credit cards and you should come prepared to practice your bargaining.

Relax at Jumeirah Beach

We suggest you stay in the Jumeirah Beach neighborhood for your prolonged layover at Dubai Airport. Here you can spend the majority of your layover time at this popular and stunning public beach. It is well-known for its breathtaking white sands, shining waters, and breathtaking vistas of the Arabian Gulf’s waves.

Visitors and Residents both with long layover times are likely to enjoy visiting this beach. Here we will let you know some facts about Jumeirah Beach.

  • Beautiful Beachfront

Jumeirah Beach provides you with space for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. The soft, golden sands makes it an ideal spot for you to relax and enjoy your leisure activities.

  •  Iconic Landmarks

One of Jumeirah Beach’s defining characteristics is the stunning Burj Al Arab. You must visit this famous luxury hotel and enjoy the shape of a sail which is a prominent landmark that enhances the attraction of the beach.

  • The Beachfront Dining

There are numerous cafes, restaurants, and clubs around the shore that serve both international and regional cuisine. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a meal or sip something cool while admiring the breathtaking sea views.

  • Sunset Views

The sun setting over the Arabian Gulf at nightfall on Jumeirah Beach makes for a beautiful background for lovely walks and special moments

In general, Jumeirah Beach is a must-visit location for anyone seeking to relax on their stopover, soak up the sun, and take in Dubai’s coastline splendor.

Visit Desert Safari for a Long Layover

For a long stopover of about 20 hours, consider planning a desert safari. Here’s why it’s a great choice:

  •  Camel Rides

At desert safari, you will experience camel riding, the traditional form of transportation in the Arabian desert as it is a special chance to engage with the area’s history.

  • Sunset Views

Evening desert safaris are particularly enchanting as you can see a stunning desert sunset. You can enjoy the changing colors of the sand and the sky creating a breathtaking spectacle.

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable desert safari during your layover, it’s important to plan ahead and inform the tour guide of your time constraints. By doing this, you can make sure that your trip is easy-going and pleasurable and that it fits in with your layover plans.

Take a tour of Abu Dhabi

Taking a day tour to Abu Dhabi is another method to maximize your layover. This contemporary city presents a distinctive cultural experience and a window into the national identity. 

Here are some ways you can look into it:

  • Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Start your exploration of Abu Dhabi by visiting the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This architectural beauty is a symbol of Islamic art and culture and provides a serene setting for reflection and admiration

  • Emirates Palace

You can enjoy a lavish lunch at the Emirates Palace Hotel. Even if you decide not to eat there, you should still explore the lovely gardens and take in the splendor of the structure.

  • Heritage Park Historical Village

The Heritage Village, a traditional Emirati village that has been rebuilt, is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the UAE. Here, you can discover the history and artistry of the nation.

  • Return to Dubai

Make your way back to Dubai in the evening, where you can cap off your day with dinner at one of Dubai’s many fine dining establishments or enjoy a relaxing evening along the vibrant Jumeirah Beach Walk.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Please make sure to check the operating hours and any specific requirements for the attractions you plan to visit, especially if your layover happens to coincide with a religious holiday when some sites may be closed. Also, please consider the time it will take to clear immigration and customs at both airports to ensure a smooth transition back to your connecting flight.