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What are the best excursions in Dubai? Which one to choose among the many guided tours of Dubai offered by tourist agencies? Better a group tour or an excursion with a private car and personal guide? The best half and full-day tours of Dubai and options that include tickets to the Burj Khalifa. Visiting Dubai with a private car and guide: who to contact. Excursions in Dubai with an Italian speaking guide. The walking tours of Dubai with private guide in the suggestive area of the Creek organized by With locals.
How to visit Burj al Arab? the different options of restaurants and bars and how to book. The companies that organize panoramic tours of Dubai by helicopter: which are they and which helicopter flight to choose. The comparison and detailed description of the best-guided tours, both group and private guide, and the most interesting travel experiences you can do in Dubai with the pros and cons of each excursion and direct links to compare the costs and book easily on the internet with a credit card.
Do you want to visit Dubai with the famous Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the fascinating Creek area, and the Gold and Spice souks? Are you looking for an organized tour that includes both transport and the presence of an Italian-speaking guide? Do you want to enter the Burj Al Arab or see Dubai from above on a scenic helicopter flight?
Among the numerous guided tours of Dubai offered by agencies and bookable on the internet, I have selected and selected a few selected excursions for you, they are not the only ones but in my opinion, they are among the best and most complete available on the market.
The first is a half-day group tour of Dubai and the second a full-day excursion with a private car and guide. I also present a special excursion, expensive but unusual, with the best of Dubai including the ascent to the Burj Khalifa followed by a dinner at the exclusive Armani Hotel, this last excursion has been available for a few months also with an Italian-speaking guide.
Then you will find the description of some very special travel experiences: from how to enter the famous 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab by booking one of its restaurants to the most spectacular panoramic helicopter tours to admire Dubai from above.
The tours and experiences are described below, in great detail, with the pros and cons of each, the times, and the important things to know. All can be easily booked by credit card, usually, confirmation is immediate.
If you go to Dubai, you have little time available and you are looking for a guided excursion, I think these tours are a good solution. See if they interest you.
You can also read the reviews of the most interesting desert excursions on the page The Best Desert Tours in Dubai and the guided excursions from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and the Musandam fjords on the page The Best Tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and Oman. With detailed commentary and the pros and cons of each excursion, so you can get an idea of what it is and you can choose the tour that best suits your way of traveling.
If, on the other hand, you are an independent type and you want to do it yourself, in this blog you will find numerous travel guides that allow you to visit Dubai in total autonomy using public transport. So as to spend very little and be able to move at your own pace by visiting only what interests you.
Honest excursion, in just 4 hours you travel the length and breadth of Dubai, you do not delve into things but you get an excellent general idea of the geography of the city and what it offers. The first stop is the island of Palm Jumeirah, observing the Jumeirah Mosque along the road and stopping to take a picture from the beach at the famous and iconic Burj Al Arab, the 7-star hotel. Continue to Souk Madinat Jumeirah and then admire the tallest skyscraper in the world, the Burj Khalifa, and the forest of tall buildings that line Sheikh Zayed Road from below. Finally, reach the Creek area, the suggestive canal port where Dubai was born, cross it by boat, and reach the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. The sequence of visits is sometimes reversed. Not bad the quality/price ratio.
Pick-up and drop-off: Depart and return to your Dubai hotel.
How long does the excursion last: between 4 and 5 and a half hours, depending on when you are picked up and taken back to the hotel if things have not changed the departure is usually in the morning between 8 and 8.30, on Friday l Departure time may vary, please double-check the time when you book.
Characteristics of the excursion: shared tour, travel on a minivan with other participants.
Price: is per person and includes the guided tour of Dubai including the passage of the Creek aboard an abra.
Pros: the convenience that they pick you up at the hotel; being able to see the key attractions of Dubai in just half a day.
Cons: this is an intense and fast excursion, do not expect to linger too long at the different attractions, the places to see are many and very distant from each other. Here you travel fast!
Good to know: the actual provider of the services is Desert Safari Dubai, very popular in the city, the reviews to date are excellent.
Recommended: if you are only in Dubai for one day; or if you have more time, but first want to get an overall picture of what Dubai is through an easy guided tour, and then once you are set, you can explore the visits more calmly and on your own.
The variant with the desert: it is the combo of two different excursions, the tour just presented and the From Dubai: Safari on the Red Dunes and Barbecue in Al khayma which are described in detail on the page The Best Tours in the Desert in Dubai; the combined booking usually allows considerable savings and is particularly convenient.
This is the link to book Dubai City Tour and Evening Desert Safari, keep in mind that as reported in the description of the excursion, the ideal is to make the city tour in the morning of the first day and the desert tour in the afternoon/evening of the second day, according to then in Dubai for two days; once booked, I suggest you get in touch with The Desert Safari Dubai to define whether to take the excursion on two separate days or in succession on the same day.
Pick & Drop with 4 hours Dubai City Tour
Standard Package Private Vehicle only for you family. All-inclusive
The great Dubai and its contrasts. From souks to skyscrapers. With a private car and a totally exclusive guide, all reserved only for you, for 7 hours. The visit program is 100% customizable based on your interests, the following is only the suggested itinerary. Start by exploring historic Dubai, the Al Fahidi Historic District with the old Bastakiya district, the Wind Towers, the Coffee Museum, and the Al Shindaga district to visit the Sheik Saeed at Maktoum House. Cross the Creek in an abra, walk through the Spice and the Gold Souk and reach the Mosque al-Farooq Omar Bin al-Khattab, one of Dubai’s secret gems. Your guide will suggest a quaint place to have lunch. Now we change the environment, towards the Souk Madinat Jumeirah to admire the famous Burj Al Arab as it should and then continue with a walk in the spectacular Dubai Marina settlement, with the lagoon, the beach, and the very high buildings. Grand finale the Dubai Mall and the phantasmagoric Burj Khalifa, here you can say goodbye to the guide and stay to admire the sound and light show of the Dubai Fountain in Khalifa Lake.
Pick-up and drop-off: The meeting point is the Al Fahidi Metro Station in the Bur Dubai district, on the Green Line. The tour ends at the Dubai Mall unless you make different arrangements with your guide.
How long does the excursion last: about 7 hours, different departure times from morning to early afternoon, choose the one you prefer.
Guide: driver plus English or Spanish speaking guide, you already know the name of the guide when you book, see and choose from all the guides available for your preferred date.
Characteristics of the excursion: 100% private tour with car or minivan and guide in total exclusivity.
Price: the real value depends on the number of participants, starting from 4 people the cost is very reasonable, especially considering that it is a 7-hour private tour; confirmation is usually immediately upon booking.
Pros: the tour is totally customizable, once you have booked and received the guide’s contacts you are invited to write them with your ideas on what you want to see and what interests you most.
Cons: none, and if you travel with your family or with a group of friends, the cost also becomes absolutely interesting.
Good to know: meals and any income not included, at your own expense for you and the guide.
Recommended: If you are curious, you want to ask questions and discover aspects of everyday life in Dubai with a foreign resident who lives there in Dubai.
The shorter variant: it is a 3-hour walking tour, without the availability of the car but always with an exclusive guide and focused on Old Dubai with a visit to the Al Fahidi Historical District, the crossing of the Creek by boat, and exploration of the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk. This is the link to the book The Desert Safari Dubai | The Origin of Dubai Tour: Souks, Sheiks & Spices, which in automatic translation into Italian becomes Tour on the Origins of Dubai: Suq, Sheiks, Spices; the excursion is conducted in English and is obviously less expensive than the previous one.
An expensive but unusual, once in a lifetime tour. Dubai’s most famous and celebrated attractions and two goodies in a single long 8-hour excursion that ends in the evening. There is all the best of modern and spectacular Dubai, from a stop to photograph the famous 7-star hotel Burj Al Arab to a stop to admire the Atlantis on the island of Palm Jumeirah to a boat cruise between the lagoon and the canals of Dubai Marina, dominated by tall and impressive towers of glass and concrete. Then comes the grand finale: the Dubai Mall with the ascent to the panoramic observatory on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa and the fusion dinner included in a super place, the Armani Hotel located inside the skyscraper, you can also take a look at the show of the dancing fountains in Khalifa Lake from the restaurant terrace.
Pick-up and drop-off: your hotel in Dubai, be ready at least 20 minutes before the scheduled time.
How long does the excursion last: about 8 hours, a departure from the hotel is usually scheduled for mid-afternoon, after booking, contact the local supplier (contact in the voucher/confirmation sent to you immediately after the booking) to reconfirm the time exact pick-up; the return to the hotel takes place in the evening.
Guide: English speaking driver and guide, for a few months the tour is also available with an Italian speaking guide.
Characteristics of the excursion: tour on a shared basis together with other participants, generally the group is small and transport takes place by minivan.
Price: it is per person, and includes in addition to the transport and assistance of a professional guide also the entrance ticket to the panoramic observatory on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, the dhow cruise in Dubai Marina including soft drinks and dinner buffet at the Armani Hotel.
Pros: well, you don’t go to Armani for dinner every day, and you don’t even go to the top of the tallest skyscraper on the planet, if you add that you also see the Burj Al Arab, the famous Palma and take a boat cruise, a day comes out intense, one to remember.
Cons: the price, but if you value the climb to the Burj Khalifa, the cruise and the dinner you see that the cost is more or less; sometimes a stop is made at the Saga World shopping center which is very uninteresting if we want the only discordant note of the whole excursion.
Good to know: the ascent to the Burj Khalifa can take place both in the afternoon and after dinner depending on when the organizer finds confirmation; drinks not included during dinner at Armani, if you want to keep the extra at reasonable values, order beer, water or soft drinks! No tank top, short shorts and flip-flops, the clothing required is smart casual.
Recommended: if you want to see in one fell swoop everything that has made Dubai famous in the world; if for once in your life you want to go to Armani’s by entering the front door, having dinner at the buffet, among other things, so you can eat properly.
Video: the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina and the boat cruise between the canals and the lagoon in these images by HDexplorer:
Do you want to enter the Burj Al Arab? The construction is spectacular and is a true icon of Dubai, the hotel everyone has heard of. It is undoubtedly the most prestigious of all the hotels in the entire Emirate and unlike almost all the other hotels on the planet to enter and visit it either you must be a guest or you must have a confirmed reservation in one of its bars and restaurants. Otherwise, you will be rejected mercilessly by the concierge who controls the heavily guarded bridge that gives access to the hotel.
The experience: do you want to enjoy the thrill of entering the Burj Al Arab, take the elevator, and sit in one of the most scenic bars in the world? To have a drink while admiring Dubai from 200 meters high? And do it without spending a fortune? Well, you can do it, by booking in advance the entrance and the drinks package at the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor of the Burj Al Arab, certainly the cheapest option to enter the hotel.
Good to know: the price includes 2 drinks, one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic; no children, the minimum age for evening drinks is 16 years and above if you want you can check again on the hotel’s official website.
Info & Reservations: TDSD | Burj al-Arab: Drink Package at the Skyview Bar
Al Mahara Restaurant
The experience: it is one of the most exclusive fish restaurants in the entire Middle East, the new chef is called Kasper Kurdahl and in 2019 he took over from Nathan Outlaw at the famous Al Mahara restaurant on the first floor of the Burj Al Arab. The setting is extraordinary, the tables are placed in a circular room with a huge aquarium in the center with marine creatures of all shapes and colors, you can admire them from a few steps through large floor to ceiling crystal windows.
Good to know: the cost is high but in addition to the 4-course lunch, a bottle of water/soft drink and a non-alcoholic cocktail are included. Tips and alcoholic beverages are not included. Receive a confirmation when you book, minimum of 2 people; the age policy is as follows: lunch all ages are welcome, dinner eight years and above are welcome.
Info & Reservations: The Desert Safari Dubai | Burj Al Arab: Lunch at the Al Mahara Aquarium Restaurant
If you want to go to dinner with transfers included: the service to book is Viator | Gourmet Dinner at the Al Mahara Restaurant of the Burj Al-Arab with Private Transfer, which does not include any drinks but instead includes transfers by private car to and from your hotel, please note that by including transfers and dinner, everything is much more expensive than in book simple lunch.
Al Muntaha Restaurant
The experience: do you want to climb to the top of the Burj Al Arab and have lunch or dinner enjoying the view of the Persian Gulf from the top of the 27th floor of the skyscraper? The right restaurant is Al Muntaha, the cuisine is modern French and in my opinion, the place gives its best during the day rather than the evening, at least if you want to see outside. The isolated location of the building means that in the dark all you can distinguish are the distant lights. The chef is Francky Semblat, one of the pupils of the late great French restaurateur Joel Robuchon.
Good to know: the basic cost includes a 4-course lunch or dinner with a fixed menu but if you wish you can also book the more expensive tasting menus; included in the cost you also have a bottle of water/soft drink and a non-alcoholic cocktail but no wine / bird which may have to be paid separately, obviously excluding tips. Receive a confirmation when you book, minimum of 2 people, children under 8 only allowed for lunch, do not assume that you can have a table next to the windows.
Info & Reservations: The Desert Safari Dubai | Burj Al Arab: Contemporary French Cuisine at Al Muntaha
If you want the transfers included: Viator offers you the possibility to book lunch or dinner including transfers by private car to and from your hotel, here are the links to investigate the costs and book, Viator | Lunch at the Al Muntaha Restaurant of the Burj al Arab with Private Transfer or Viator | Dinner at Burj Al Arab’s Al Muntaha Restaurant with Private Transfer, carefully check what is included and what is not and remember that tips in addition to wine/beer are always excluded.
Afternoon High Tea at Sahn Edgar Lobby Lounge in Burj Al Arab & Burj Khalifa
The experience: the highlight is the afternoon tea with pastries and cakes, a 7-course ritual at the Sahn Eddar Bar in the lobby of the Burj Al Arab, the setting is Arabian and luxurious, the service usually cured and above you the impressive interior atrium of the Burj which rises hundreds of meters upwards. But there is not only this, the tour is a real 8-hour guided excursion with departure usually in the morning around 09.30 and return to the hotel at 17.30 which includes an orientation overview of Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah and the ascent to the panoramic observatory of the Burj Khalifa in addition to the visit of the Dubai Aquarium tunnel
Any Option You Choose …
Clothing: don’t think about coming here in the wrong dress, you will stay out, even if you have already paid for the reservation. What to wear? For men, the jacket is not mandatory but at dinner, if you wear it you are not wrong, the minimum required is an elegant long-sleeved shirt, long trousers, and closed shoes that present well. For girls, a suit, long skirt, and top. No jeans, no sneakers or sandals, no shorts, t-shirts and things like that …
The extras: tips and alcoholic drinks are never included, pay attention to the costs of the latter, anything has important prices including beer, with wine the bill can become truly stellar, far more than the 7 stars for which the hotel; you look carefully at the list and maybe instead of a bottle just order a glass …
Lastly: book one of these experiences if you care to enter the Burj Al Arab and see this phenomenal building up close, that’s what you pay for. Then … whether you choose one restaurant or the other, the quality/price ratio will never be high, and it is not even certain that the cuisine will satisfy you, despite the great luxury of the hotel. But that’s not why you come here.
To get an idea: the arrival at the Burj Al Arab, the spectacular hall, and the High Tea experience in these images by EMKWAN VLOGS:
The cost is high but not inaccessible and you don’t go by helicopter every day, if you can afford it, don’t hesitate. Because it is a unique opportunity to admire Dubai from a privileged position, an extraordinary glance that allows you to realize the enormous extension of the city. The company HeliDubai offers three different combinations, the first cheaper, the others more expensive. With the Iconic Heli Tour, see how historic Dubai should be, fly over the ships at anchor at the mouth of the Creek, admire the Burj Khalifa and the tall and spectacular skyscrapers of Sheikh Zayed Road. To fly over the island of Palm Jumeirah and admire the Atlantis you must instead book the longer The Palm Tour or Vision Tour, but they are more expensive, especially the Vision, and this is not necessarily a good idea.
Pick-up and drop-off: you double-check on the confirmation but if things have not changed you must be at least 45 minutes before the scheduled take-off time at the HeliDubai heliport located on the road connecting the Mall of the Emirates to the Souk Madinat Jumeirah near the Dubai Police Academy; don’t forget your passport, otherwise no flight.
How long does the excursion last: the helicopter flight lasts 12, 17, or 22 minutes depending on the tour you choose, the possibility of different departure times from morning to early afternoon, select the one you prefer.
Guide: English speaking pilot who comments on the flight and answers any questions, you wear a headset with a microphone.
Which tour to choose: there are 3 proposals, the 12-minute Iconic Tour, the 17-minute The Palm Tour, and the 22-minute Vision Tour. I suggest the first one, it is more affordable in terms of price and extends for several miles along the coastline and the beaches, taking a look at the Burj Al Arab and then reaching the Creek flying over the districts of Deira and Bur Dubai with a view from ‘high on the Wind Towers of the old Bastakiya district and the whole area of old Dubai. Return to the heliport along the entire most spectacular section of Sheikh Zayed Road with the very high Burj Khalifa. Among all the helicopter tours of all the companies, this is in my opinion one of the best, perhaps the one where you spend your money best.
Price: is per person, select the 12, 17, or 22-minute tour. Once you have booked and received the voucher/confirmation, contact Helidubai (the contact details are shown on the voucher) to reconfirm the exact take-off time.
What do you fly with and where is the heliport: HeliDubai flies with Airbus / Eurocopter EC130 B4 or with Airbus / Eurocopter AS 350 B3 departing from its brand new base on Umm Suqeim St, near Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and at the Mall of the Emirates.
Why choose this flight/company: choose HeliDubai if what you want to privilege is the Dubai coast and the Creek, because these are the areas reached by the shortest and least expensive tour. Reaching the same area from the Atlantis heliport on the island of Palm Jumeirah requires instead more time, precious time (which by helicopter means expensive) that goes a little unnecessarily flying over the sea for long minutes.
Video: the Creek and the center of Dubai seen from above in these images by Happysteps, the video is that of the shortest flight of HeliDubai, previously called Heritage Trail and operating from the old HeliDubai headquarters in Festival City:
Alongside the more urbanized Dubai, the one with record-breaking buildings and accustomed to unbridled luxury, there is the most authentic and unspoiled Dubai, the one that offers us a naturalistic landscape that will leave you speechless.
In fact, a few kilometers from the Dubai of the skyscrapers, the desert extends the boundless expanses of sand, the camels, and the sultry heat that we have always admired in TV documentaries become reality before our eyes.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that among the suggested activities in Dubai there is never a lack of desert safari: as soon as we leave the city center, the immensity of the uncontaminated environment overwhelms us and we could spend hours contemplating the power of nature that has forged such an evocative landscape.
However, in addition to watching, the Dubai desert also invites us to do one of the many things that are organized here. In fact, you can decide to rely on a guided tour and be “chauffeured” on these crumbly stretches of sand aboard an off-road vehicle and, along the way, the guide will explain the morphological characteristics of rocks and sand.
Or you can decide to test our talent as a driver and drive the cars ourselves (obviously, 4 × 4), choosing between the “traditional” jeeps and off-road vehicles or decide on vehicles specially designed for the desert (dune buggy).
For those who prefer something decidedly more romantic, there is no lack of the opportunity to rent a camel and, on the back of the animal, venture into the desert on a guided tour.
In addition to a tour in the desert, you can organize a candlelit dinner in a camp (the night excursion is often privileged due to the more livable temperatures than the daily ones), generally followed by a belly dance show and the possibility of smoking a typical hookah.
For the more intrepid spirits, a sandboarding session (a discipline very similar to surfing, except that it takes place on the sands) could be an unmissable activity to do during the desert safari in Dubai. Finally, if you would like this experience to never end, you can also organize an overnight stay in the desert.
The temperatures in the desert during the day are very high and the climatic conditions are quite extreme, so the safari before sunset is not recommended for pregnant women, very young children, and the elderly.
In the desert with the children
Most of the tours include “Dune bashing” or slalom in the desert dunes, so for safety reasons, children under 3 cannot participate.
In case you do not want to give up this activity, it is possible to take the excursion in the desert privately, so your driver will tackle the dunes at your own pace and in complete safety and safeguarding the safety of even the little ones.
Pick up via 4x4. 45 Minutes Dune Bashing and more. All-inclusive.
Standard Package with 20 minutes of Quad biking self Drive. All-inclusive
Standard Package Private Vehicle only for you family. All-inclusive
Before booking, carefully read the description of the excursion, what is included, and what is not, the time and point of departure, the conditions for any cancellations. If you have any questions or doubts, contact the customs office of the agency offering the tour, the contacts are listed on the official websites. And as soon as he arrives in Dubai, and in any case the day before the excursion, through the hotel he reconfirms the tour with the local supplier with the exact pick-up time from the hotel.
Read the reviews, things may not always work well but if most of the reviews are positive this is a good sign. And always double-check all the information you have read in this article on the official page of each excursion, things change and the official website reports the latest updates.
And if you like to do it yourself, read the numerous articles about the city published in this blog, they will help you organize your trips and visits in complete autonomy, you can find them in the main directory dedicated to Dubai. With complete information on transport, my advice on the best neighborhoods to book a hotel, malls and souqs, water parks and the most beautiful public beaches. And above all a very detailed guide to visiting Dubai in two days: not a pure list of attractions but a real itinerary, hour by hour, almost street by street, which you can follow easily and spending very little by using the subway. I hope they are useful to you.