Dubai remains one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Once part of a busy hub terminal in the United Arab Emirates, the desert city continues to expand, upwards and outwards. Ideal for a sunny getaway at any time of year, here’s our guide to Dubai and why you need to start planning your trip right now.
Dubai is one of the most convenient holiday destinations in the world. 2021 is set to be an exciting year for the city, with some incredible new attractions and revamped favourites looking to draw in crowds again. We’ve picked an incredible selection of hotels that offer affordable luxury to every visitor.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Why visit Dubai in 2021
With a combination of relaxing resorts, desert-adventure experiences and high-end shopping malls, Dubai is the perfect destination for a long-overdue getaway later this year. Many people pass through the city on flights to long-haul destinations, but we think that Dubai itself should be one of the places you plan to visit for the ultimate sunny escape. Temperatures are consistently good, so a lot of people come here in winter, but we think some of the best deals are to be found in summer.
There are also a few cultural highlights this year to plan your trip around. Here are some of our favourites, with the full list available here.
Escape to Hatta
Not many visitors travel away from the centre of Dubai, which is a shame, as there are many great places to explore in the region, such as nearby Hatta. When you’re surrounded by tall buildings and tarmac roads, it’s easy to forget that this is a desert region, but only a 90-minute drive away you’ll find the majesty of the Hajar Mountains, which will quickly remind you where you are. Adventurers have already discovered the Hatta enclave, so the area is also now a base for a variety of extreme sports.
Museum of the Future
One of the most anticipated new museum openings this year, the Museum of the Future, dedicated to innovation and science, is set to become one of the most recognisable buildings in Dubai, if not the world. The exciting design, by Shaun Killa, is in the shape of a torus: the round part represents the earth and sky, while the empty middle signifies the unknown. Already one of the world’s most complex buildings, it is complemented by the curated exhibitions inside. The precise opening date is yet to be finalised, but construction is in the final stages.
Expo 2020 Dubai
This six-month-long event was scheduled to start in October 2020 but will now take place from 1 October, 2021 to 31 March, 2022. Connecting Minds, Creating the Future will be the theme at the core of the event, and the place of Dubai itself on the global stage will be examined.
This World Expo will be the first in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the largest event ever staged in the Arab world.
Places to stay
With branches around the world, including glamorous locations such as St Tropez, Barbados and Miami, this trendy beach club has built up a reputation as the luxury party destination. But Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is more than just a place to live it up. On the waterfront of Pearl Jumeirah, this blissful retreat offers the ultimate in relaxation. Feel the breeze of the Arabian Gulf while marvelling at Dubai’s distinctive skyline.
One of the best features of the Rove Dubai Marina is its central location near the Jumeirah Islands – the perfect base to get out and explore everything the ultramodern United Arab Emirates city has to offer. There are endless leisure, dining and entertainment options on your doorstep, along with Dubai’s pristine beaches and views of the spectacular skyline. Relax in the casual, laid-back atmosphere of the hotel to prepare yourself for a day packed with urban exploration.
Vida Creek Harbour is a glamorous, modern complex overlooking a pristine quay. It has two top restaurants: Stage2 is a laid-back lounge and terrace with a tranquil ambience, while the Courtyard is a breathtaking spot with views of the Dubai skyline in an al fresco setting. Most of the modern, ultra-spacious rooms include a terrace with a view of the city, and the hotel has a cutting-edge gym and infinity pool. Local attractions include Creek Marina and the Dubai Creek Tower development. Take a boat trip from the Creek Marina Yacht Club, just in front of the hotel. In the evenings, stroll along the promenade where you’ll find restaurants, retail outlets and live entertainment venues.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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