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Dubai - The Magnificent Desert City at the Gulf

Burj Khalifa, the Emirates Towers and the Palm Islands - the gigantic metropolis Dubai at the Persian Gulf represents everything the oil sheiks of the United Arab Emirates have dreamed of. One of the most impressive cities on earth emerged in the desert sand.

Burj al Arab in Dubai

Geography - The megacity between Gulf and desert

Dubai is the greatest city in the United Arab Emirates and the capital of the emirate of the same name. It lies in the north of the sheikdom at the Persian Gulf and is crossed by Dubai Creek. Dubai is divided into nine administrative sectors which each have specific characteristics. The sectors 1 to 4 and 6 are urban areas, while the sectors 7 and 9 are used for agriculture. In sector 8 you find five star hotels and the Golf Resort Dubai. Like the other emirates, the city is dominated by tropical to subtropical climate but it is very hot throughout the year. The winter months are the only period in which the temperatures are relatively temperate. In summer, it is hotter than 40 °C. Of course all public facilities, including bus stops, are air-conditioned in the luxurious megacity.

The skyline of Dubai with the Burj Khalifa

Culture - A gigantic growing metropolis

Dubai is a very young city which benefits from the incredible oil boom of the emirates and still invests in development and expansion. Over the last decades it has become the emirate's economic, cultural and political centre and fascinates with the planning and completion of gigantic, unprecedented construction projects. Hundreds of skyscrapers sprang up like mushrooms in a couple of decades. Examples are the Almas Tower (360 m), the impressive Emirates Towers (355m, 305m) and the Rose Tower (333 m). The most spectacular project, however, is the gigantic Burj Khalifa. With unbelievable 828 metres of height, the tower tapers upwards and is the highest building on earth. 136 storeys, 57 lifts and an impressive viewing platform on the 124th floor (454 m) make this building a popular tourist destination. Even though it is not as tall, the Burj al Arab (321 m) is Dubai's best-known building due to its beautiful architecture. Its characteristic sail shape has made this building famous. For a long time critics accused the emirate of not attending to the city's cultural aspects enough but this is a thing of the past. Visitors can see lots of concerts, festivals, film festivals, operas and ballet performances in the Madinat Theatre. The open-air museum, the Dubai Museum and the Diving Village provide an insight into the region's history and culture.

On Dubai Creek

Experience - Eating, shopping and enjoying the sparkling nightlife

Dubai offers a variety of culinary specialities. The tourism industry has adjusted to international needs, so that travellers from abroad do not have to go without anything. Pork, however, is only served in a few restaurants in the open-minded but deeply Muslim Dubai. It is the best idea to try the local cuisine. Lamb on a skewer (shish kabab), hummus (chickpea pasty), chicken in basmati rice, strained yoghurt with garlic (labneh) and the warm flat bread are easily digestible and served artfully in luxurious restaurants. Dubai is a shopping metropolis and fills visitors with wonder. Dubai Mall is the world's second biggest shopping centre and only one of the city's many shopping facilities. If you are looking for a more traditional shopping experience, you should visit the fragrant spice market and the gold souk in Dubai. Jewellery and gold with 22 and 24 carats are sold for surprisingly reasonable prices here by several hundreds of jewellers. Clothes and electronic goods are not expensive in Dubai either. Another highlight is the city's exciting and sparkling nightlife. The Dubai Fountain shines in all colours and the artificially created yacht harbour Dubai Marina invites holidaymakers to a night-time stroll. Casinos, discos and bars allure with bright lights and have been the setting for many a memorable night.

Marina Bay in Dubai

Activities - The leisure park city in the middle of the desert

Dubai is excellently attuned to the needs of its visitors and leaves nothing to wish for regarding leisure activities. At Jumeirah Beach holidaymakers can relax and enjoy the warm water. A trip with an abra, a wooden water taxi, along Dubai Creek is highly recommended. Those who want more action can go on a rafting tour in the exciting Wadi Adventure, a leisure park for different kinds of water sports. Of course, these sports are also offered by many beach hotels. The Aquaventure Waterpark in the Atlantis Resort on the Palm Island Jumeirah offers gigantic water slides. Golfers also get their money's worth here. The Emirates Golf Club hosts the PGA Tour every year. Adventurers experience the desert in an authentic way on a desert safari by Jeep or quad. Enough drinking water and a good navigation system are part of the basic equipment. You also find one of the world's most modern race courses in Dubai - the Autodrome. It makes motorsport fans' hearts leap for joy. Another thing worth mentioning is the unique winter sports opportunity in the Ski Dubai. Even at 40 °C the Emiratis can dash down the slopes of about 400 metres of length in the unique snow hall.

Through Dubai's desert on a quad


As the most important airport of the Middle East is located in Dubai, the emirate is a common stopover on intercontinental flights. Both the emirate and the city have a dense and well-developed road network. However, as the roads are often congested, it is advisable to use public transport such as air-conditioned buses or the metro. If you are planning a trip to Dubai, you should make yourself familiar with the customs of the Muslim country. Visitors should pay special regard to the use of alcohol, the public display of affection and taking photos of public buildings.

Dubai is a city in which dreams come true. The incredible skyscrapers constitute a mix of the oriental world of Aladdin and science fiction. It is the perfect destination for travellers who are planning a city trip. Furthermore, Dubai offers exciting opportunities and activities for adventurers and active holidaymakers.

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