cosa fare e vedere a Dubai

What to do and see in Dubai from skyscrapers to desert

Once upon a time the desert. And life in the dunes was hard and grim. Then from bedouins who were family members Al Maktoum they turned into fishermen and settled, in 1833, at the mouth of the muddy Dubai creek: it was a small natural harbor and was perfect for the pearl fishing boats that used to moor here for the old folks dhows, the sailboats, in which they carried goods back and forth across the gulf. A bit like the Bedouins of the sea and this already seemed like a miracle: in 1930 there were 20,000 inhabitants. Then suddenly it was all over. And it all began: in 1966 the Petroleum and it Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum he understood that nothing would ever be the same again. THE petrodollars they became the driving force of the country which in 1971 entered the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai was born: a few decades have passed but this is a story that can only be told with superlatives. Yes, because here everything is super, big, perhaps excessive. And a guide on what to do and see in Dubai must take this into account: that it might seem at first glance to have ended up in vegas. But the only similarity is that around the city is the desert. There are no neon lights here, no dancer shows, certainly no casinos. Here the game is illegal. Yet here is held the horse race richest in the world. Here alcohol is almost prohibited and yet in English pubs pints are poured non-stop as well as in the brunches on Fridays (the feast day ofIslam) in multi-star hotels the bartenders mix Martini cocktails that even James Bond would have liked.

What to do and see in Dubai: how the city is changing

In short, Dubai it is excessive even in the differences. Or maybe, if you want to find a resemblance at all costs, you have to aim east. Dubai perhaps is more like Shanghai, with its audacious architecture bordering on exasperation, its obsession with fashion and style, its roaring desire to be avant-garde, attracting people from all over the world like a magnet made of possibilities and dreams of a future. It is no coincidence that the inhabitants are little more than two and a half million: the natives, the only ones who can boast the title of “locals” are less than two hundred thousand. They are the ones who hold the power – economic and political – and they are the ones who hold the reins of the future. And figuring out where this slice of desert from which the skyscrapers have sprung will go is perhaps the hardest bet.

But why come to this emirate, what to do and see in Dubai? Perhaps first of all being amazed that everything happened so quickly, that in a few years i camels hey hunting falcons have left the place at custom-built and ai private jetsthat the shopping centers have grown to their current size and that here, it seems incredible, you can ski. Obviously indoors. On the snow, below zero, while outside the glass the thermometer exceeds forty degrees. Yes, because even if everything has changed here, only one thing cannot be transformed: the climate. Dubai is stuffy most of the year. And therefore the air conditioning is the master.

The best time to visit Dubai is from November to March, when temperatures are more bearable – although in recent years, January, often considered the optimal month to visit, has given long periods of cloud. If you come here to alternate a visit to the city with sea and sunbathing, the best periods are spring and autumn when you can go to the beach during the day and you can go around in the evening with a certain amount of tranquillity. But remember: we are in the Persian Gulf. In January the highs never drop below 23 degrees. And ad August below 38 degrees.


Shopping mall heaven

But one doesn’t come as far as wondering what to do and see in Dubai to be outdoors. This city, indeed this emirate, is made to be experienced indoors: come on shopping centers to the palaces, come on restaurants garlic hotel life takes place inside a building. Also there subway, very elegant and immaculate, whizzing suspended with a Blade Runner-like image, leading directly to the entrance to the malls and other places of attraction. So be prepared not to walk. Here we are in Dubai: and walking, if not from one shop to another, is considered an almost inconvenient attitude.

what to do and see in Dubai

What to do and see in Dubai: the city of records

As we said, Dubai thrives on superlatives: the largest mall, the artificial island more imaginative. And obviously tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa, tall 830 meters. And it is no coincidence that it can be seen from every point of the city. Looking at it from below is impressive but most visitors can’t resist climbing up to the observation point at the 124th floor. The views on city ​​skyline from this point of view, truly from a bird’s eye view given the height, they are simply impressive. Before going up, you follow a path where there is a multimedia presentation on both Dubai and the construction of the Burj Khalifa (which was completed in 2010) before a high speed elevator dash up to the observation point. Outside the glass the view is 360 degrees across the skyscrapers and the desert on one side and the ocean on the other.

The most popular hours are those of the sunset and be careful to buy the ticket in advance because often the places for the visits are sold out especially in the high season at the weekend. Once back on land, visit what is around or the shopping centers and the lake where the famous water games of the Dubai fountains which rivaling those of the Bellagio from vegas. Do you feel like you’ve filled up on records? We’re not joking, we’re just at the beginning because the shopping center connected to the Burj Khalifa: it is about the Dubai Mall and it is the shopping center with the most shops in the world: there are 1200 to which are added an aquarium, a permanent ice skating rink and about 120 bars and restaurants. It goes without saying that everything you can dream of is here.

To get there, just get off at the subway stop of the same name and then walk for about 800 meters indoors on a suspended walkway. This is one of the key points of the Dubai Shopping Festival annual which takes place in January and February and of Dubai Summer Surprises Festival in July and August.

what to do and see in Dubai

What to do and see in Dubai: walking on the river and through time

In the list of what to do and see in Dubai, the expressions of the most extreme modernity clearly have first place. But after so many dizzying heights, and the ultra-modernity of Burj Khalifa there is nothing better than the contrast of a simple boat ride on the Dubai creek. To live this experience, take one of the many abras, le old boats traditional, serving as water taxis or ferry for the many commuter workers who move from one bank to another. To find one, just identify one of the many rest areas abra which generally leave every twenty minutes. If you want to feel a little more sheikh rent one for yourself. Spending will never be crazy.

The most evocative moment will be at sunset, especially if you manage to get the moment of prayer right: and if you close your eyes it might seem that you have returned to the 70s when the city was being born. Disembarking on the other side of the river you will be greeted by the aromas of spice souk of Dubai, the right place to buy a burner and a handful of incense. Find time for a walk around the old area of Deira and watch sailors load goods onto dhows which will then transport them across the Persian Gulf.

Burj Al Arab

Seven-star hotel and record

Are we going back to modernity? Here then is the right place in the endless series of options between what to do and see in Dubai: the Burj Al Arabanother piece of the puzzle Dubai records. He defines himself as the only true one seven star hotel to the world and the higher: 321 meters high. Surely it is one of the best known with its sail shape that stands on the artificial island in front of the city. It was designed to look like a dhows with the sail unfurled and is also noticeable in the dark, thanks to the spectacular lighting. of colorful lights choreographed at night.

Everything is top notch here: even the prices. It is one of more expensive hotels in the world with the most luxurious suites that cost as much as $15,000 at night. Do you want to save (so to speak)? You can book afternoon tea at the splendid panoramic bar Skyview (costs more or less 240 euros per person) or a dinner in the underwater restaurant Al-Mahara: you eat watching the life of the fish around. However, expect at least 330 euros per person.


What to do and see in Dubai: snow in the desert

What to do in the middle of the desert? Well, of course: skiing. At least for Dubai it is obvious that this is the case. To do this, just enter the Mall of the Emiratesone of the largest malls housing approx six hundred shopsone hundred bars and restaurants and precisely a system for the indoor skiing. It’s 40 degrees outside, inside minus 4 degrees perennial with chair lifts and ski lifts in action from morning to evening. Inside is one track more than 400 meters long, a snow park and games for children. It sounds strange: but you can also go tobogganing.

The Mall of Emirates for shopping enthusiasts it is a magnet with its endless range of brands from all over the world. Basically a small miniature world that was built in record time: less than two years. After the snow comes the sand: but that of the sea. For those arriving in Dubai, an afternoon is certainly worth spending Jumeirah Beacha long stretch of beach that lies beyond the Marine district, one of the newest and most exclusive. There are hotels and deckchairs in the shade skyscrapers, restaurants and bars and perfect leisure facilities. And fear not: the veil is not needed here. On the beach, especially on festive afternoons, you can have fun with live music, alcohol and a wild nightlife.


What to do and see in Dubai: the old fort

Let’s go back to the past, let’s go back to yesterday’s Dubai by discovering the museum housed in the Al Fahidi Fortbuilt in 1787 to defend the Dubai creek. The fortress walls are built in coral and stone blocks held together with lime. The upper floor is supported by wooden poles according to the ancient technique of these lands (before the invention of the skyscraper) and the ceiling is built with layers of palm, mud and plaster. Throughout its history, the fort has served as the residence of the ruling family, seat of government, garrison and prison.

Restored in 1971 (and extensively again in 1995) it is now the main museum of the city. The entrance collects a fascinating exhibition of ancient maps of the Emirates and of Dubai, which show the extraordinary expansion that has rocked the region since the oil boom. The courtyard also houses some old boats and you can also see traditional constructions such as wind towers. Then there are rooms with the ancient weapons and musical instruments while on the ground floor there are some naïve models that reconstruct the life of when the inhabitants were here bedouins. And not oilmen.

what to do and see in Dubai

Finally, some space for the spirit: the Jumeirah mosque is considered by many to be the most beautiful of Dubai mosques and a prime example of Islamic architecture. This stone structure is built in the medieval Fatimid tradition with two minarets. But not only does it deserve to be admired from the outside: the Sheikh cultural center Mohammed bin Rashid organizes guided tours of the mosque to try to foster a better understanding of the Muslim faith. Tours start at 10am every day except Fridays.

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