Top Recommendations for a Dubai Layover Tour


As one of the largest and fastest-growing airports in the world, Dubai International Airport (DXB) is a perfect encapsulation of the city itself – massive and modern with a penchant for grand luxury.

But while the airport is a magnificent sight to see, it’s the futuristic city of Dubai itself that is not to be missed. That’s why, if you’ve got a layover of 5 hours or more, we highly recommend leaving the airport to embark on a Dubai layover tour. 

Dubai is an especially great city for a layover. Most of the city’s major attractions are in the same general area and there are several transportation options available to take you into the city. Keep reading for our top picks for making the most of your Dubai layover tour.

Dubai International Airport to City Center

As Dubai International Airport is located a mere 3 miles from the city center, it’s incredibly easy to get into the city on your layover tour.


There are only 2 metro lines that run throughout the city. Take the red line into the city from Terminals 1 or 3. The red line comes roughly every 10 minutes and stops at major tourist destinations like the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.


Travelers can catch the bus at stations opposite terminals 1 and 2. Buses to the city center leave roughly every 30 minutes from the airport.


Taxis and ridesharing apps like Uber are the most popular transportation options for getting to Dubai city center. Taxis can be found waiting outside all airport arrival halls. Fares start at around 20 AED (about $5.50). 

boat ride in dubai

Morning: Breakfast spots in Dubai

If you’re arriving in the morning, there are plenty of places to fuel up before you get to sightseeing. With eateries that specialize in strong coffee, fluffy pancakes, vibrant acai bowls, and everything in between, breakfast lovers are sure to find something to sink their teeth into.

  • Sarabeth’s – This New York City export serves American breakfast staples like fluffy pancakes and eggs benedict, all day long from 8:30 a.m. until midnight.
  • Boston Lane – This hip coffee spot looks like it was plucked straight out of Australia. The menu features plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, as well as classic items like scrambled egg breakfast sandwiches. 
  • Tania’s Tea House – Rated the 7th most Instagrammable cafe in the world, the menu here is as artfully crafted as the restaurant itself. On their all-day breakfast menu, you’ll find unicorn toast, vegan banana pancakes, and avocado toast.
  • Common Grounds – The spot for those who take their coffee seriously. Common Grounds roasts its own beans and serves all variations of popular espresso drinks, from lattes to Bulletproof coffee. This specialty coffee shop serves breakfast all day, featuring items like Turkish eggs, breakfast burgers, and acai bowls.

Afternoon: Things to do in Dubai

The Burj Khalifa

The first stop on any traveler’s Dubai layover itinerary is also the most famous: the Burj Khalifa. At 2,720 feet –160 stories – tall, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. The behemoth building also holds the title of the world’s tallest observation deck.

The observation deck is located on floors 124, 125, and 148. To avoid any unnecessary waiting during your layover, book a fast track ticket for priority access ahead of time. Expect to spend about 1 hour on the observation deck. 

The Dubai Mall

As the world’s second-largest mall, Dubai Mall is so much more than a place to shop.

Sure, if you’re the type of person who loves to get a little retail therapy on vacation, you may never want to leave the Dubai Mall. But if you’re not a fan of shopping, you’re still likely to get caught up in one of the other countless things to do here. In addition to over 1,000 shops, visitors can also enjoy an ice rink, movie theaters, an aquarium, and even an indoor theme park!

dubai at night

Evening: Ending your layover in Dubai

As the sun begins to set in Dubai, end your layover tour by taking in a show at Dubai Fountain, the world’s largest choreographed fountain. For 5 extravagant minutes, the fountain performs a light and music show as water blasts 125 meters into the air to the beat of a high energy soundtrack. 

Getting Back to Dubai International Airport

It takes 15-35 minutes to get back to the airport, depending on where you are in the city and how you’ll get there. In addition to travel time, be sure to also consider these key things to avoid any layover mishaps.

  • What will security be like?
  • What time does your flight board?
  • Will you be picking up your bags from storage?

Save big on your next flight to Dubai

After your Dubai layover tour, you’ll already be looking forward to coming back to this incredible city.

Fortunately, Dollar Flight Club sends our members free flight deal notifications to incredible destinations like Dubai every day. Sign up for free today and you just might be on your way back to Dubai before you know it.

  • Zach Anderson

    Zach was a digital marketer, copywriter, and flight deal expert at Dollar Flight Club where he helped 1 million people travel more. As a digital nomad, he is deeply passionate about location independence, Thai food, and helping others see the world affordably.

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