Long Layover In Dubai? 48 hour Itinerary!

Here is all you need to know for your long layover in Dubai a perfect 48 hour Itinerary. Dubai is the perfect place to take a break from a long flight and to explore a fabulous city. The first time I went to Dubai I only stayed 1 night and I went back a year later to stay longer, then went back 3 years later to stay even longer…..(are you getting the picture here?)

Emirates are a great airline and fly all over the world. They are also really happy for you to extend your layover by a day or 2 to allow you to explore the great city of Dubai.

This article covers all you need to know for your activities for your long layover in Dubai such as how to get around, where to stay and what to do. If you have questions about what to know about Dubai and cultural considerations check out my article here.

Burj Khalifa and fountain show
The fountain show and the Burj Khalifa

When to go for your long Layover in Dubai

Dubai has 2 types of weather: hot and extra hot. I have visited Dubai 3 times, in July, August and November. The summer (June-August) is the hottest time and can easily be above 40C. The Autumn/winter time is a lot ‘cooler’ with temperatures in the mid-high 20s. If you want to spend outside in Summer, it can be very tiring in the heat so be careful for this and drink lots of water.

How to Get Around Dubai

I would recommend taxis for getting around Dubai. They are really easy to find and also good value for money. There are lots of Taxi ranks, you can hail a taxi yourself or you could ask your hotel/accomodation to call one for you.

Where to Stay in Dubai

For your layover in Dubai, the first thing you will probably want after a long flight is a comfy bed. There are loads of brilliant hotels in Dubai for your 48 hour stay. If you love luxury, this is the time to explore the fanciest hotels you can find. If, like me, you prefer to travel on a budget there are lots of options too.

I would recommend staying in the Dubai Marina Area. Its a great area with lots of restaurants and it’s a lovely area to explore. The last time I stayed there I stayed in an Airbnb with an infinity pool looking over the marina – dreamy!

View from infinity pool in Dubai Marina
This was my view from my Air Bnb in Dubai Marina – dreamy right?!

Day 1 of your 48 hour Layover Itinerary in Dubai: What to see!

Walk Around the Marina

If you are staying in the Dubai Marina Area my recommendation is to make use of the cooler weather in the morning. There are some lovely walks just next to the water. There is lots to see, amazing buildings, lovely cafes and fantastic yachts going past. Once you have explored all you want here, I would take a taxi to the Dubai Mall.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is just enormous, if you like shopping you will adore it and even if you don’t like shopping there is so much more to do! The Dubai Mall can keep you entertained for a whole day if you want it to! If you are visiting Dubai in the summer it is also a great way to escape the heat of the day. There is every shop you would like in the Dubai Mall and lots of lovely restaurants. The Dubai Mall is also home to the aquarium and an ice rink! Its hard to be bored in the Dubai Mall.

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa Selfie
Have fun trying to get a picture with the Burj Khalifa – I nailed this one right??

The absolute MUST SEE is the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. If you want to go up to the viewing platform, definitely book it in advance as this books up really quickly. The viewing platform is a really great way to see the city. I chose to go at dusk so I got to see sunset and also the city light up at night.

Fountain Show

Once you have finished at the Burj Khalifa, spend an evening watching the fountains at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa. It is the largest choreographed fountain show in the world and happens every 30 minutes from 6pm to 11pm. The up to date timings and info are here.

The fountain show can get really busy so it is worth getting there 15 minutes before the next show just to make sure you are not at the back of the crowds. An even better tip would be to go inside the Dubai Mall, go to a restaurant on the first floor and get a table on the balcony over looking the fountain show. You have the bonus of avoiding the crowds and you can enjoy the fountains with some food or drink.

Day 2 of your 48 hour Layover Itinerary in Dubai: What to do!

On day 2 of your 48 hour layover in Dubai, your first goal is not to miss your next flight! Make sure you leave enough time to get to the airport from wherever you go to. Also, there are 2 airports in Dubai, Dubai international Airport (DXB) if you are flying emirates you are flying from here. There is also Al Maktoum international Airport. This is a smaller airport for regional flights. I made this mistake and luckily I checked the name of the airport with my hotel! I was a 5 minute drive from Dubai International and 1 hour drive Al Maktoum which was where my next flight was departing. Not a mistake you want to make!!

Lets go to the Be-each lets go get away!

Dubai has lots of great beaches and they are the perfect place to soak up some sun. There are lots of beach clubs that you might want to try out but there are also public beaches. My favourite is The Beach by JBR. If you are looking for some adventure, you can rent some jet skis.

Dubai Palm

If like me, you love impressive feats of engineering – the Palm of Dubai is the place to go. Impressively they have reclaimed the land in the sea and have genuinely make it the shape of a palm tree! Which leads you to the Atlantis….


At the tip of the Palm is the Atlantis resort. This is a 5 star hotel but also a waterpark that you can visit for just one day. It is the largest water park in the world! All you need to know about visiting for the day is here.

Burj Al-Arab

The Burj Al Arab from the sea view
I took this one when I went on a boat trip from Dubai marina!

The Burj Al-Arab is one of the most famous landmarks of Dubai due to its distinctive building shape. It is a luxury hotel with it’s own helipad for you to arrive in (let’s all pretend that we all have private helicopters at our disposal….). Unsurprisingly I have not been inside…let me know if you stay I would love to know what it is like! It is nice to visit just to see the area and the building up close.

Fun Fact!

Have you noticed a lot of Burj’s in this article? Burj Al-Arab….Burj Khalifa…. That is because Burj means tower.

What to eat

Dubai is truly international and you this is reflected in the food. You can find any cuisine that you want in Dubai. My best recommendations is to try Arabic food in Dubai. By logic and location you will get the best Arabic food in Dubai, especially if you haven’t really tried Arabic food before this is the time to try it! Dubai is a true 24 hour city, so you will be able to find food and drink no matter the time.

All good things must come to an end

You have reached the end of my 48 hour Layover in Dubai Itinerary. You are now equipped with all you need to know to enjoy this beautiful city! Let me know how it goes and have fun!!

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