Planning a weekend trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi? These cities offer a mix of old-world charm and modern wonders that will make your 72 hours unforgettable. From exploring bustling markets to relaxing on pristine beaches, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone who enjoys a more laid-back vacation, this itinerary has got you covered.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the rich cultural heritage of Old Dubai by visiting the Dubai Museum and exploring traditional souks.
  • Experience the modern marvels of Downtown Dubai, including the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain.
  • Spend a day filled with adventure on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, enjoying attractions like Ferrari World and Yas Waterworld.
  • Indulge in the luxurious side of Dubai with a visit to Jumeirah Beach and a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
  • Explore the cultural and historical highlights of Abu Dhabi, such as the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Exploring the Cultural Heritage of Old Dubai

Visit the Dubai Museum

Step into the Dubai Museum to uncover the city’s rich history. Located in the Al Fahidi Fort, this museum offers a glimpse into Dubai’s past, from its early days as a fishing village to its rapid growth in the 20th century. The exhibits are both educational and engaging, making it a must-visit for history buffs.

Stroll Through the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood

Wander through the narrow lanes of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood and get a feel for 19th-century life in Dubai. This well-preserved area features 50 old houses, each with its own unique charm. Key cultural stops include the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Coin Museum. Don’t miss the chance to hop on a one-dirham abra ride for a unique perspective of the area.

The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is a hidden gem that offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Shop at the Traditional Souks

Dive into the vibrant atmosphere of Dubai’s traditional souks. From the aromatic Spice Souk to the glittering Gold Souk, these markets are a feast for the senses. Bargain for unique souvenirs, spices, and jewelry while soaking in the rich cultural heritage of Old Dubai. A guided tour can enhance your experience, helping you navigate the bustling markets and even assist with bargaining.

Modern Marvels: Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is a bustling urban hub that epitomizes luxury, elegance, and innovation. This area is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking landmarks, making it a must-visit destination.

Ascend the Burj Khalifa

Experience the thrill of ascending the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The observation deck offers a panoramic view of the city, providing a unique perspective of Dubai’s skyline.

Explore the Dubai Mall

Dive into a shopping paradise at the Dubai Mall, one of the largest malls globally. From high-end fashion to unique souvenirs, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss the indoor aquarium and ice rink!

Relax at the Dubai Fountain

End your day with a visit to the Dubai Fountain, where you can enjoy a mesmerizing water show set to music. It’s a perfect spot to unwind and take in the beauty of Downtown Dubai.

An enchanting walking tour of Downtown Dubai is the best way to explore the city’s modern marvels. Join us as we explore the elegance and excitement of Dubai.

A Day of Adventure on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Experience Ferrari World

Feel the rush at Ferrari World, home to the world’s fastest roller coaster. This theme park is a must-visit for thrill-seekers and car enthusiasts alike. Don’t miss the chance to explore luxury, culture, and entertainment in Abu Dhabi.

Cool Off at Yas Waterworld

Beat the heat at Yas Waterworld, a water park with over 40 rides and attractions. From high-speed slides to lazy rivers, there’s something for everyone. It’s the perfect spot to cool off and have fun.

Unwind at Yas Beach

After a day of excitement, relax at Yas Beach. This serene spot offers beautiful views and a chance to unwind. Whether you want to sunbathe or take a dip in the sea, Yas Beach is the ideal place to end your day.

Yas Island is a modern-day entertainment and leisure destination with attractions that will keep you hooked for the entire day.

Discovering the Luxurious Side of Dubai

Dubai is the epitome of luxury, offering five-star accommodations, exclusive beach resorts, and thrilling desert safari excursions. Whether you’re looking to relax or indulge, Dubai has it all.

Relax at Jumeirah Beach

Discover the magic of Dubai’s luxurious retreats at Jumeirah Beach. This pristine beach offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Enjoy the sun, sand, and sea while staying at one of the many high-end resorts.

Dine at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Savor world-class cuisine at one of Dubai’s Michelin-starred restaurants. From traditional Middle Eastern dishes to international gourmet meals, the dining options are endless. Make sure to book a table in advance to experience the best of Dubai’s culinary scene.

Shop at the Mall of the Emirates

Indulge in a shopping extravaganza at the Mall of the Emirates. This shopping paradise features a wide range of luxury brands, an indoor ski slope, and numerous dining options. It’s a must-visit for any shopaholic.

Live Dubai’s ultimate luxury experiences: set sail on a private cruise, unwind in a sky-high infinity pool, or book a helicopter ride. The city offers something for everyone, making it a perfect weekend getaway.

Cultural and Historical Highlights of Abu Dhabi

Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a must-see landmark in Abu Dhabi. This architectural marvel is one of the largest mosques in the world and can hold up to 40,000 worshippers. Its stunning white marble structure and intricate designs make it a breathtaking sight.

Explore the Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi offers a unique blend of art, culture, and history. Located on Saadiyat Island, this museum showcases works from around the globe, bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art. Don’t miss the impressive dome that creates a ‘rain of light’ effect inside.

Walk Along the Corniche

The Corniche is a beautiful waterfront promenade that stretches for miles along the coast of Abu Dhabi. It’s perfect for a leisurely walk, bike ride, or even a picnic. The area is well-maintained and offers stunning views of the Arabian Gulf, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

Outdoor Activities and Natural Wonders

a woman holding a bird on her arm in the desert

Desert Safari in Dubai

Embark on a thrilling desert safari in Dubai. Feel the adrenaline rush as you ride over the dunes in a 4×4 vehicle. Enjoy a traditional Bedouin camp experience with camel rides, henna painting, and a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars.

The desert safari is a must-do for adventure seekers visiting Dubai.

Kayaking in the Mangroves of Abu Dhabi

Paddle through the serene waters of the Al Qurm Nature Reserve. This natural mangrove forest offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including flamingos and herons.

Visit the Dubai Miracle Garden

Marvel at the stunning floral displays at the Dubai Miracle Garden. With over 150 million flowers arranged in colorful patterns, this garden is a feast for the eyes. Don’t miss the life-sized Emirates A380 flower structure, a highlight of the garden.

Nightlife and Entertainment in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Enjoy a Dinner Cruise in Dubai Marina

Sail through the sparkling waters of Dubai Marina on a dinner cruise. Feast on a delicious buffet while taking in the stunning views of the city’s skyline. This is a perfect way to unwind after a day of exploring.

Visit a Rooftop Bar in Dubai

Experience the vibrant nightlife by visiting one of Dubai’s many rooftop bars. Sip on your favorite drink while enjoying panoramic views of the city. It’s a great way to see Dubai from a different perspective.

Experience the Nightlife on Yas Island

Yas Island in Abu Dhabi offers a mix of entertainment options. From lively nightclubs to relaxing lounges, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on the vibrant atmosphere and exciting events that take place here.

Both cities expect visitors to comport themselves with dignity — alcohol is largely illegal outside of hotels and public intoxication can land you serious jail time. But Dubai has more nightclubs and more of a party scene. If you’d like to experience lavish, outrageous living, give Dubai a shot. But if you’d prefer touring a hip new art gallery, followed by a mellow evening, Abu Dhabi might be your destination of choice.


Spending 72 hours in Dubai and Abu Dhabi offers a whirlwind of experiences that blend modern marvels with rich cultural heritage. From the towering skyscrapers and bustling markets of Dubai to the serene beaches and historic sites of Abu Dhabi, this itinerary ensures you capture the essence of both cities. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or someone looking to relax, this guide provides a balanced mix of activities to suit every traveler’s taste. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable weekend getaway that will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of year to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

The best time to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi is from November to March when the weather is cooler and more comfortable for outdoor activities.

How can I get around in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

You can get around using taxis, ride-sharing apps, and public transport like buses and the metro. Renting a car is also an option.

Is it expensive to visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

It can be pricey, but there are ways to save money. Look for budget-friendly accommodations, eat at local restaurants, and use public transport.

What should I wear when visiting cultural sites in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?

When visiting cultural sites, it’s important to dress modestly. Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Women may need to cover their hair when visiting mosques.

Can I visit both cities in a single weekend?

Yes, you can. Both cities are about an hour and a half apart by car, making it possible to explore both in a 72-hour trip.

Are there any cultural customs I should be aware of?

Yes, respect local customs by dressing modestly, avoiding public displays of affection, and not eating in public during Ramadan.