Dubai

As one of the most sought after holiday hotspots in the world, Dubai may be the ultimate staycation destination: why would you go anywhere else with so many riches right on your doorstep? With its luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, pristine beaches and gargantuan malls, this larger-than-life emirate has everything you need for a non-stop short break to really brag about to your work colleagues on a Sunday morning.

New Dubai 
Downtown Dubai is home to some of the city’s biggest attractions. Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is a must-see; the observation deck on the 124th floor offers spectacular 360° views. Head downtown in the evening and you’ll be treated to a show from the Dubai Fountain, the largest dancing fountain in the world. Performances take place daily at 1pm and then 6pm to 11pm at 30-minute intervals. The bars and restaurants of Souk Al Bahar provide some of the best views. Nearby, The Dubai Mall offers plenty of indoor entertainment including an ice rink, the theme park Sega World and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.  

Old Dubai
Away from the gleaming skyscraper valleys lies a very different Dubai. Head for Bastakiya in Bur Dubai, close to Dubai Creek, and you’ll find an atmospheric heritage area of traditional windtowers, courtyards and winding alleyways. A myriad of cultural attractions such as Dubai Museum and the historic Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House are located nearby. Stroll along the creek to the abra station and cross the water to explore the bustling souks on the Deira Side, or take a dhow cruise with traditional food and drink as the sun sets over the city. Beyond the city limits, Dubai’s desert landscape provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, from dune bashing to Bedouin-style camping and desert safaris.

Aquaventure
This popular waterpark at Atlantis, The Palm has something for everybody, whether you’re a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie or a family looking for some relaxing fun in the sunshine. One of the highlights has to be the legendary Leap of Faith, a 27-metre near vertical drop that shoots you through a tunnel surrounded by shark-infested waters. There are plenty of gentler rides too, for young children. 

Dubai Dolphinarium
A fantastic indoor attraction where bottlenose dolphins and fur seals are the stars of the show. These fascinating creatures dance, juggle, play ball, jump through hoops and even paint. The evening shows feature illusions and aquatic acrobatics. Before or after the show, leave time to explore the UAE’s only mirror maze – a dizzying labyrinth. 

Ski Dubai
Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and boasts more than 22,500sqm of real snow, as well as a snow park for the kids. With temperatures at around -3°C, this is a great place to cool off. It’s also home to a colony of snow penguins that visitors can see through specially organised ‘Peng Friend’ encounters or during the March of the Penguins show. 

Wild Wadi Water Park 
This 12-acre attraction next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel boasts more than 30 rides and attractions. While it can be a bit of a wait for some of the popular rides on busy days, Wild Wadi is nevertheless well worth a visit, especially for rollicking rides like Wipeout, a permanent rolling wave. Be sure to check out Breaker’s Bay, the largest wave pool in the Middle East. For fun with friends, head to the four-seater Burj Surge, and if you really want to test your bravery, opt for the Jumeirah Sceirah and its near-vertical drop.

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