Five Days In Dubai: Here's The Perfect Itinerary To Start

A panorama of the Dubai city skyline at night

6.12min read

Published 10 February 2022


5 Days in Dubai: The Perfect Itinerary

What to do in Dubai for 5 days, you ask? 

Well, where do we start? There are soaring skyscrapers, jaw-dropping shopping, dazzling beaches, sand dunning and desert safaris, a sizzling party scene and so much more – this one-of-a-kind city will change the way you see the desert forever. Dubai is a city like no other, but don’t just take our word for it, read on to discover things to do in Dubai – the ultimate ritzy oasis.  

Is 5 Days Enough In Dubai?

5 days is the perfect itinerary for a quick break to Dubai if you do not have heaps of leave due to you or cannot escape for an extended time due commitments. Of course, you could stay longer, but 5 days will give you enough time to see the best of the city.

What Is Dubai Known For?

major aviation hub and the ultimate stopover, Dubai draws travellers with its exclusive shopping, futuristic architecture (including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa) and mix of old-world culture and extravagant attractions. Walk in the old town’s ancient souks or discover a world of luxurious brands at a 1,200-store mall; hit the slopes at indoor snow park Ski Dubai or scuba dive inside the massive tank at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, take an abra (a river taxi and the oldest form of water transport) across the creek. Cruise aboard a traditional dhow; and head into the desert for dune-bashing in a 4x4 followed by dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin camp. This is what a typical 5-day itinerary in Dubai could see you experiencing. 


The Jumeirah Mosque surrounded by trees with the Dubai cityscape in the background.

5-Day Dubai Itinerary At A Glance

Day 1 - Explore the History
• Al Bastakiya Quarter
• Dubai Museum
• Dubai Creek and Souks
• Dhow Dinner Cruise at Dubai Marina

Day 2 - Visit the Iconic Landmarks in Downtown Dubai
• Dubai Mall
• VR Park at the Dubai Mall
• Burj Khalifa

Day 3- Explore all things water
• Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
• Dubai Fountain
• Wild Wadi Waterpark

Day 4 - Adventure, Sun, Sand and Sea
• Jumeirah Mosque
• Jumeirah Beach
• Desert Safari

Day 5 - Breathtaking Architecture with a side of Dubai's Nightlife
• Dubai Frame
• Palm Islands
• Dubai Marina

Day 1: Explore the History


A restaurant river cruise ship lined with colourful neon lighting at night.

Why not start your first day by exploring the old part of Dubai by getting an insight into its incredible and fascinating history and culture? 

The Al Bastakiya Quarters takes you on a journey of Old Dubai through its winding alleys and stone colour buildings. Discover Al Fahidi Fort, where the Dubai Museum is located. Next, cross the beautiful Dubai Creek on traditional wooden boats and stop at the lively markets where all your senses are sure to be ignited. 

Draw the day to an end onboard a Dhow with a delectable dinner cruise.

Al Bastakiya Quarter

Your first stop is the Al Bastakiya Quarter. Also known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, this place takes you to bygone days when Dubai was a humble fishing and pearl-diving region.

Behold the houses made of traditional materials, such as coral, gypsum, sand, stone and palm fronds. A relaxed walk down this area is the best way to start your day as the neighbourhood is dotted with colourful art cafes, boutiques and restaurants.

Dubai Museum

The Dubai Museum (which opened in 1971) is believed to be the oldest building that exists in Dubai. Its galleries depict everyday Dubai life, showcasing marine and desert, souks and traditional dwellings, but it also includes several dioramas showing life in the emirate before the advent of oil, in addition to artefacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 BC.

Dubai Creek and Souks

Next on the agenda is to take an 'Abra' - a traditional wooden boat - across the Dubai Creek. This saltwater creek was once a vital part of the city's trade in the past. The Creek separates the city into two main areas, Bur Dubai and Deira. Once here, visit the well-known markets of Dubai - the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk.

All that glitters is gold with The Gold Souk housing over 100 stores that sell precious stones and metals.

Dhow Dinner Cruise at Dubai Marina

As the sun starts to dip and your stomach rumbles, it’s time for your Dhow Dinner Cruise from the Dubai Marina. Roughly a 2-hour cruise on a traditional wooden Dhow, this evening adventure is a delight for the senses. View the incredible evening skyline from below as the lights flicker across the water while being served an array of tantalising dishes. 

Listen to the rhythm of the music as fantastic cultural performances, such as Belly Dancing and Tanura Dance mesmerize you. 

This unique experience is without a doubt to be added to your 5-day Dubai itinerary.

Day 2 - Visit the Iconic Landmarks in Downtown Dubai


Day 2 is your chance to get up close to some of the most famous landmarks in Dubai and witness all the glitz and glamour that the city is known for.

The first order of business though is…visiting the largest mall in Dubai - the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall

Touted to be one of the largest shopping malls in the world, it features more than 1200 stores that showcase the most high-end brands. It's filled with swanky restaurants, high-end fashion, entertainment zones, an ice rink, and even an aquarium.

Browsing the mall for a few hours and stopping to see things that ignite your imagination, is a great idea.

VR Park at the Dubai Mall

One of the first of its kind in the UAE, this park is a paradise for gamers. And oh boy! Is it fun! It transports you to a VR experience, an imaginary world where you feel the adrenaline rush by jumping off from the Burj Khalifa or running through mazes.

Be it animation, adventure, sports, adrenaline, or excitement; you can experience all kinds of emotions under one roof here!

Burj Khalifa

Hands down one of the most incredible experiences in Dubai is paying the majestic icon of the city - the Burj Khalifa, a visit. Get a jaw-dropping view of the entire city from the Observation Decks and admire the incredible architecture of this structure that soars over 828 meters into the sky. 

From the heights of Burj Khalifa, you’ll easily spot the famous landmarks of Dubai, such as the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and more from the telescopes stationed here.

Day 3- Explore all things water


Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

You get a sneak-peek of the enormous water tank that the Dubai Aquarium boasts at the entrance to the mall, but it does not come close to experiencing the real thing!

As one of the largest suspended aquarium tanks in the world (at 10 million litres), this aquarium takes you on an enchanting journey of marine life. Be captivated as you watch exotic aquatic creatures such as; stingrays, piranhas, giant crabs, otters, lionfish, sharks, and even a King Croc!

Dubai Fountain

Just outside of The Dubai Mall, this choreographed musical fountain system is a dazzling display of kaleidoscopic water and sounds. It’s capable of shooting water more than 150 meters into the air (that’s even taller than The Statue of Liberty) while beautiful music plays in the background.

It is a spellbound display at night, best taken in aboard an Abra from the waters of Burj Khalifa Lake.

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Take a break from the scorching heat and work off lunch by heading to Wild Wadi Waterpark.

Touted to be one of the largest theme-based waterparks on Earth, it offers some thrilling and fun rides for children, adults and those who are young at heart.

Based on the tales of Juha, one of the most beloved characters from Arabian Folklore, this amazing waterpark provides an unforgettable experience for all age groups.

Day 4 – Adventure, Sun, Sand and Sea


Be prepared for another action-packed day as you head out to explore on day 4. Today is all about the sun, the sand and a lot of adventure in Dubai. You’ll also get a taste of the unique Dubai cultural experiences along the way. 

Start the day off as you learn interesting facts about Arabic culture and customs at Jumeirah Mosque. Then hit the beach and finally, head out to the desert to indulge in a true Arabian night. 

Jumeirah Mosque

The charming Jumeirah Mosque is one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims and is famous for its exquisite white marble façade and towering minarets look making it the most photographed mosque in Dubai (and there are more than 1 400 mosques).

Jumeirah Beach

This beautiful white stretch of sand is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf. Lined with exotic hotels, high-end restaurants and nightclubs, entertainment outlets and shops, as well as blessed with all-year-round sunshine and blue skies, Jumeirah Beach is a must when visiting Dubai. 

With the Burj Al Arab as your backdrop, stay to tan and even braai at the picnic spots dotted throughout the beach area. Cool down in the sea or dip into one of the four pools or if you are more adventurous there are numerous water activities like water skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and wakeboarding available. 

Desert Safari

If there’s one thing NOT to miss in Dubai, this is it! Book an evening desert safari and enjoy some exhilarating activities, such as sandboarding, quad biking, sand dune bashing.

Sit back as eurhythmics take over the Arabic Bedouin camp such as a fire show, Belly Dancing, and a Tanura Dance around a crackling fire. Savour the flavours of the Middle East under the stars with an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Day 5 - Witness Breath-taking Architecture with a side of Dubai's Nightlife

Spend your last day exploring some of the human-made wonders of Dubai by merely strolling the city on foot. 

Visit the awe-inspiring Palm Islands, and wind down with a relaxed evening in the entertainment hub of Dubai - the Dubai Marina.

Palm Islands

Palm Island is a human-made archipelago and one of the most imaginative sites in Dubai.

This beautiful Palm-shaped island with a crescent on top is even visible from space.

Dotted with astounding skyscrapers, classy restaurants and fancy apartment complexes, Palm Island boasts of luxury and glitter that Dubai is well known for.

Dubai Marina

Visit the liveliest neighbourhood in Dubai to get a taste of Dubai's bustling nightlife.

The promenade is a 7-kilometre long stretch filled with restaurants, shopping malls, bars, and luxury hotels. It is also home to some prominent landmarks, like the Dubai Marina Mall, Jumeirah Beach, and The Marina Walk.

It is the perfect place to spend your last evening in Dubai and experience the city's vibrant nightlife.

The above 5 Days in Dubai Itinerary includes some of the most famous attractions in Dubai, but we can help create one that is customised to your heart’s desire, based on your likes and interests.

If you have time, a day trip to Abu Dhabi city is highly recommended. If not, you can always come back for another holiday and visit the attractions you missed on your first trip.

Sound like your kind of vibe? Check out our awesome Dubai travel deals with 3, 4 and 5-star packages perfect for you!

Flight Centre

© Flight Centre Travel Group (Pty) Ltd. Registration No. 1994/000253/07.

*Prices are in ZAR and subject to availability. Please refer to specific product’s terms and conditions.