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What to do in a 24 hours layover in Dubai?


The Dubai airport is one of the main layover hubs in the world. Especially if you’re on your way to paradise in Asia or an adventure in Africa, you’re very likely to spend a few hours there waiting for your next flight.

In 2016, Joana and I were on our way to our honeymoon destination in South Africa, and we were forced to spend almost an entire day in Dubai. Of course we didn’t complain and we made the most of it by exploring a bit of the city!

Dubai’s futuristic skyscrapers create a unique contrast with the golden landscape of the desert that envelops this modern oasis. The city offers nothing short of the best of luxury and technology in what is known as the fastest growing city in the world.

One day is not enough to visit Dubai, but 24 hours already give you some time to enjoy the city’s main attractions. Below, check out our suggestions to make your layover in this city even more special:



Getting to the top of Burj Khalifa is to literally be on top of the world. With its 828m (2,716 feet) in height and 160 floors, this is the world’s tallest structure. The visit takes place on the 148th floor at over 500m (1,640 feet) above ground level where you can relax in the lounge or step out onto the observation deck – which is also the highest in the world. Here, the view is 360-degree and, on excellent viewing days, you can even peek into Iran and Oman!




On the hottest days (which are almost every day!), this public (and free) beach is your best escape. The warm waters of the Gulf of Dubai are perfect for spending a few hours relaxing and taking in the sun. And, since you’re in Dubai, you know the beach infrastructures here are flawless: there are bathrooms and showers for those who need them.




When we were in New York, we ate at this restaurant and loved it! In Dubai, we had to do it again and we don’t regret anything. We just love Eataly’s concept: its space houses an Italian restaurant (with delicious pastas and pizzas), a market (selling everything Modena vinegars to Parma cheese) and a workshop (where you can learn how to cook your own Italian dishes). It’s a must!




This hotel is undoubtedly one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks. Its superb architecture reminds you of a ship’s sail and easily sticks out on the city skyline. Here, one night can cost up to €1,000! But nothing is stopping you from enjoying a cocktail or a cup of coffee in its luxurious rooms – just don’t forget to book a table first!




Dubai surprises you with record-breaking structures after record-breaking structures and the Dubai Mall is one of them: this is the largest shopping mall in the world. With some 1,200 stores, this is every shopaholic’s Meca. If you’re not so into shopping, you can keep yourself busy by skating on the Olympic-sized ice skating rink or admiring the giant aquarium.




With a view of Burj Khalifa, this show is a must in Dubai. Every 20 minutes, between 7pm and 11pm, music plays as water jets dance to its rhythm creating a truly enchanting atmosphere. We were lucky to catch La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf.


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