In a little over 25 years Dubai has exploded skyward, from an Arabian backwater into one of the most dynamic and visually impressive cities on Earth. It has grown at an incredible speed 40 years ago there wasn’t a single high-rise in Dubai. Today, there are giant islands in the shape of palm trees that can be seen from space and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Dubai is one of the seven states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is ruled by a Royal Dynasty with a vision and ambition to drive Dubai’s phenomenal growth. The discovery of oil reserves in the 1960s transformed the area from a simple fishing village into a powerful financial center and transport hub. As the oil reserves began to dwindle, the city turned its attention firmly to tourism.
One of Dubai’s biggest attractions is its shopping. Explore the glittering streets of the Gold Souk in search of jewelry bargains, or get lost in retail heaven for the day in Dubai Mall, one of the world’s biggest shopping centers. This mall features more than 1,000 stores, an aquarium and indoor theme park.
Dubai offers attractions which defy the harsh arid environment. Stand in awe in front of the Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest dancing fountain, or grab your skis and cut through real snow at the indoor ski resort of Ski Dubai.
There’s more to Dubai than just man-made opulence. Relax on beautiful beaches, explore nature-rich wetlands and discover the magical desert environment at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
The superb climate makes Dubai a year-round destination. If you are not used to temperatures that can top 104 F (40 C), the best times to visit are during the winter and spring months.
Dubai has an excellent public transport system with more than 50 bus routes, water taxis and a metro system. If you prefer to drive, rental companies will indulge your automotive wishes, offering Hummers and Italian dream cars, as well as more humble vehicles.
For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Dubai page.