Layovers can often feel like wasted time in airport terminals only if you don’t know how to utilize that time well. No layover is boring in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)! Layovers in this country allow you to explore the nearby gems. With its dynamic cities, cultural attractions, and stunning landscapes, the UAE offers many experiences to make your layover memorable. 

Top 8 Things To Do in UAE During a Layover

You might post so much on Instagram that leads people to believe you’re vacationing in the UAE. Whether you have a few hours or a day to spare, here are eight things to try till you catch your next flight from the UAE!

Visit the Burj Khalifa in Dubai

The list cannot be completed without the iconic Burj Khalifa. Start your layover in Dubai by visiting the mesmerizing Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Take a high-speed elevator and reach the observation deck on the 124th floor. 

You can store the magical views of the city, desert, and ocean in your mind forever. This would be the best option, even with a short layover. Operating hours differ depending on the deck but typically span from 8:30 AM to 11 PM. You can check the prices on Burj Khalifa’s official website, which range from 135 to 500 AED. 

The price may vary based on the time of day and deck selection. For an extra special experience, consider booking tickets for sunset or nighttime to witness Dubai’s stunning skyline.

Indulge in a Desert Safari

This option would work if you have a long layover in the UAE. You will be lucky to escape the urban hustle of this luxurious country and immerse yourself in its natural treasures, particularly the beautiful deserts.

The desert safari experience is worth the hype. Head to the outskirts of Dubai or Abu Dhabi and embark on a thrilling dune-bashing adventure in a 4×4 vehicle. Later, you can enjoy traditional Arabic entertainment, including camel rides, falcon shows, and a sumptuous barbecue dinner under the starlit sky. 

The cost of a desert safari in Dubai can vary based on the different safari rides. A basic morning or evening desert safari typically ranges from 88 AED-176 AED.

Shop at the Souks

These markets are a paradise for ladies. You can immerse yourself in UAE’s traditional markets, known as souks. Wander through the narrow alleyways of the Dubai Gold Souk, where shop windows glitter with gold jewelry and precious gemstones. You can explore many Spices and awaken your senses with the aroma of herbs and incense. 

It’s not just about gold and spices. The Dubai Souk market is home to local and international shops that sell everything from traditional wear to carpets, utensils, bags, and perfumes.

Experience Ras Al Khaimah’s Nature and Adventure

Ras Al Khaimah, only a short 45-minute drive away from the Dubai International Airport, is a serene coastal emirate that is close to Dubai. It is well known for its rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and cultural heritage. Explore the towering peaks of Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE, with thrilling activities such as the Jebel Jais Flight – the world’s longest zipline. 

Or, you can relax on the beaches of Al Hamra or delve into the region’s history at the National Museum of this city. It is the perfect location for both mountain and beach lovers. But it’s not limited; you can enjoy sandy deserts, salt flats, and mangroves to explore different ecosystems at each stage. 

Experience Culture at Louvre Abu Dhabi

All art lovers can spend their layover exploring the cultural treasures housed within the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is a museum full of masterpieces worldwide, spanning thousands of years of human history and artistic achievement. The museum’s unique architecture features a stunning dome. It filters sunlight to create a “rain of light,” adding to the enchanting ambiance. 

Louvre Abu Dhabi hosts special exhibitions that explore specific themes, regions, or artistic movements. These temporary exhibitions offer visitors a deeper insight into various aspects of art and culture worldwide. You might get a chance to have a glimpse at their exhibitions. 

Take a Dhow Cruise in Dubai 

Experience the charm of old Dubai with a leisurely dhow cruise along Dubai Creek. A Dhow Cruise in Dubai Creek is a famous tourist activity that offers a unique and picturesque way to experience the city of Dubai. A dhow is a traditional wooden boat-like vessel that has been used for centuries by traders in this region.

Enjoy the city’s historic landmarks, bustling waterfront, and traditional dhow sailing against modern skyscrapers. Plus, you can taste a delicious dinner onboard as you soak in the mesmerizing views of the city skyline. 

Explore the Al Ain Oasis

The Al Ain Oasis is a historical and cultural landmark in Al Ain. You can escape to the tranquil oasis city of Al Ain and explore its lush date palm groves at the Al Ain Oasis. Stroll along shaded pathways, cross ancient falaj irrigation channels, and discover traditional mud-brick houses. 

Take the chance to visit the Al Ain National Museum and learn about the region’s archaeological treasures. The oasis is home to diverse plant species, including fruit trees, vegetables, and ornamental plants. The lush greenery of the oasis provides a habitat for various bird species and wildlife, contributing to its ecological significance.

Discover the Jebel Hafeet Mountain

Do you know that Jebel Hafeet Mountain is the second-highest peak in the UAE? It has an elevation of approximately 1,249 meters. This is the best option to explore if you are an adventurer and don’t know what to do during a long layover. 

Embark on a scenic drive to Jebel Hafeet, located near Al Ain. Wind your way up the mountain road and enjoy breathtaking views of the desert landscape. You can explore the Jebel Hafeet Mountain Park at the summit or relax in natural hot springs. Make sure you capture the panoramic views from the observation deck.

Final Words

Exploring the UAE during a layover can be an enriching experience. The country offers you a glimpse into its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and iconic landmarks. Whether you have a few hours or a day to spare, use each minute to create lifetime memories. 


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