Things to do in Dubai

10 Ideas For A 10 Hour Layover In Dubai | The Best Dubai Layover Tour Ideas

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The Emirate of Dubai is an intriguing mix of Arabian heritage and contemporary outlook. With Dubai International Airport just a few miles from Downtown, those lucky enough to score a layover in the Dubai should take advantage of the opportunity and explore the city's many attractions and sights!

While the Dubai airport itself has a lot to do and keep you entertained, you must step out of the airport if you have more than 4 hours. Here's our detailed Dubai layover guide, be it a 6 hour, 8 hour or 12 hour layover, these ideas promise a quick taste of Dubai.

BONUS : Quick tips for your Dubai Layover at the end of this post.

6 Hour Layover In Dubai

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall &
Dubai Fountain

Dubai layover ideas - Burj Khalifa

Climb Atop The Burj Khalifa

World’s tallest building. A concrete wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering, The Burj Khalifa has no equal. Take the world’s fastest elevator to the observation deck at the 125th floor for a one-of-a-kind view. Make sure you book your tickets online; they’re known to have painfully long queues.

Burj Khalifa: At the Top (Level 124 & 125)

Headout Price:

Book Now

Check out other Burj Khalifa tickets and choose your pick!

Roam Around Dubai Mall

The city is renowned all over the world for its shopping hotspots, and Dubai Mall is by far the most exuberant of them all. Dubai Mall offers an unparalleled amalgamation of world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. Theatre, theme park, aquarium, candy world – Dubai Mall has something for everyone. If you're interested in visiting the famous Dubai Aquarium, grab your tickets online and earn 5% cashback!

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Tickets

Headout Price:

Book Now

If you're interested in going atop the Burj Khalifa and visiting the Dubai Aquarium, Headout offers a combo deal which allows you to save a few dirhams and is super convinient! Grab it below.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + Burj Khalifa Combo

Headout Price:

Book Now

Watch the Dubai Fountain Show

Grab a meal from one of the many restaurants in Souq Al Bahr, and watch the Fountain Dance Show which is free for all. Built by the creators of the fountain at The Bellagio, this is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Below is the Dubai Fountain schedule which will help you plan your schedule accordingly. Also, for 25 AED, you can get a fantastic view from the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk which allows only a select number of people, hence avoiding the hassle of struggling for a view. If you're up for an Abra ride, you can buy tickets to the boardwalk and an abra ride below!

Afternoon Shows

  • 1:00 PM & 1:30 - Monday - Sunday

Evening Shows

  • 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Sunday – Wednesday ( Every 30 Minutes)
  • 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM – Thursday – Saturday ( Every 30 Minutes)

Please do not forget that leaving the airport can take a lot of time and you need to plan in some time to get back, so maybe visiting Downtown in 6 hours is probably all you can do. If you are fast you can soak in some sun at the beach.

Dubai Fountain Show & Traditional Abra Lake Ride

Headout Price:

Book Now
Traveling the distance

Distance from Airport : 15 kms
Time Taken : 20 mins
How to travel from the airport to Dubai Mall / Burj Khalifa : You can avail a taxi or go by metro

8 Hour Layover In Dubai

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain
Jumeirah Beach & Burj Al Arab

Dubai layover ideas - Burj Khalifa

Climb Atop The Burj Khalifa

World’s tallest building. A concrete wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering, The Burj Khalifa has no equal. Take the world’s fastest elevator to the observation deck at the 125th floor for a one-of-a-kind view. Make sure you book your tickets online; they’re known to have painfully long queues.

Burj Khalifa: At the Top (Level 124 & 125)

Headout Price:

Book Now

Roam Around Dubai Mall

The city is renowned all over the world for its shopping hotspots, and Dubai Mall is by far the most exuberant of them all. Dubai Mall offers an unparalleled amalgamation of world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. Theatre, theme park, aquarium, ice rink – Dubai Mall has it all.

Watch the Dubai Fountain Show

Grab a meal from one of the many restaurants in Souq Al Bahr, and watch the Fountain Dance Show which is free for all. Built by the creators of the fountain at The Bellagio, this is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Below is the Dubai Fountain schedule which will help you plan your schedule accordingly.

Afternoon Shows

  • 1:00 PM & 1:30 - Monday - Sunday

Evening Shows

  • 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Sunday – Wednesday ( Every 30 Minutes)
  • 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM – Thursday – Saturday ( Every 30 Minutes)

Soak In Some Sun At The Jumeirah Beach

This long, pristine stretch of white sand is ideal for a few uninhibited minutes of pleasure. Also, amongst the many public beaches in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach more so the Kite Beach is hands down the best beach in the city. Spend a few minutes taking in the salty beach vibe and maybe a feet dip in the cool Arabian waters? Check out other beaches in Dubai.

Marvel At The Burj Al Arab

The best part about Jumeirah Beach is that you have the world's one and only 7 star hotel gracing the backdrop! You can now gloat about having seen the Jumeirah Beach and the Burj Al Arab in one go.

Traveling the distance

- Distance from Dubai Airport to Jumeirah Beach : 23 KM (38 minutes)
- Distance from Jumeirah Beach to Burj Al Arab : 13 KM (20 minutes)
- Distance from Burj Al Arab to Dubai Airport : 14 KM (20 minutes)

10 Hour Layover In Dubai

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, Jumeirah Beach,
Burj Al Arab, Madinat Souk

Dubai layover ideas - Burj Khalifa

Climb Atop The Burj Khalifa

World’s tallest building. A concrete wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering, The Burj Khalifa has no equal. Take the world’s fastest elevator to the observation deck at the 125th floor for a one-of-a-kind view. Make sure you book your tickets online; they’re known to have painfully long queues.

Burj Khalifa: At the Top (Level 124 & 125)

Headout Price:

Book Now

Check out other Burj Khalifa tickets and choose your pick!

Roam Around Dubai Mall

The city is renowned all over the world for its shopping hotspots, and Dubai Mall is by far the most exuberant of them all. Dubai Mall offers an unparalleled amalgamation of world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. Theatre, theme park, aquarium, candy world – Dubai Mall has something for everyone. If you're interested in visiting the famous Dubai Aquarium, grab your tickets online and earn 5% cashback!

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Tickets

Headout Price:

Book Now

If you're interested in going atop the Burj Khalifa and visiting the Dubai Aquarium, Headout offers a combo deal which allows you to save a few dirhams and is super convinient! Grab it below.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + Burj Khalifa Combo

Headout Price:

Book Now

Watch the Dubai Fountain Show

Grab a meal from one of the many restaurants in Souq Al Bahr, and watch the Fountain Dance Show which is free for all. Built by the creators of the fountain at The Bellagio, this is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Below is the Dubai Fountain schedule which will help you plan your schedule accordingly. Also, for 25 AED, you can get a fantastic view from the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk which allows only a select number of people, hence avoiding the hassle of struggling for a view. If you're up for an Abra ride, you can buy tickets to the boardwalk and an abra ride below!

Afternoon Shows

  • 1:00 PM & 1:30 - Monday - Sunday

Evening Shows

  • 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Sunday – Wednesday ( Every 30 Minutes)
  • 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM – Thursday – Saturday ( Every 30 Minutes)

Please do not forget that leaving the airport can take a lot of time and you need to plan in some time to get back, so maybe visiting Downtown in 6 hours is probably all you can do. If you are fast you can soak in some sun at the beach.

Dubai Fountain Show & Traditional Abra Lake Ride

Headout Price:

Book Now

Soak In Some Sun At The Jumeirah Beach

This long, pristine stretch of white sand is ideal for a few uninhibited minutes of pleasure. Also, amongst the many public beaches in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach more so the Kite Beach is hands down the best beach in the city. Spend a few minutes taking in the salty beach vibe and maybe a feet dip in the cool Arabian waters? Check out other beaches in Dubai.

Marvel At The Burj Al Arab

The best part about Jumeirah Beach is that you have the world's one and only 7 star hotel gracing the backdrop! You can now gloat about having seen the Jumeirah Beach and the Burj Al Arab in one go.

Blend luxury and tradition at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

The parts of Madinat Souq that are accessible to the public are great to catch a whiff of old Dubai, in a modern setting. Charm oozing out of the gold clad souqs, decked by cool blue canals with up-town restaurants fringing the sides of the canals. You can enjoy a great view of Burj Al Arab and if you have the time to ride an abra through the canals you definitely should!

Traveling the distance

- Distance from Dubai Airport to Jumeirah Beach : 23 KM (38 minutes)
- Distance from Jumeirah Beach to Burj Al Arab : 13 KM (20 minutes)
- Distance from Burj Al Arab to Madinat Souq : 3 KM (3 minutes)
- Distance from Madinat Souq to Dubai Airport : 25 KM (26 minutes)

12 Hour Layover In Dubai

Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, Jumeirah Beach,
Burj Al Arab, Madinat Souk, Gold & Spice Souk

Dubai layover ideas - Burj Khalifa

Climb Atop The Burj Khalifa

World’s tallest building. A concrete wonder. Stunning work of art. Incomparable feat of engineering, The Burj Khalifa has no equal. Take the world’s fastest elevator to the observation deck at the 125th floor for a one-of-a-kind view. Make sure you book your tickets online; they’re known to have painfully long queues.

Burj Khalifa: At the Top (Level 124 & 125)

Headout Price:

Book Now

Check out other Burj Khalifa tickets and choose your pick!

Roam Around Dubai Mall

The city is renowned all over the world for its shopping hotspots, and Dubai Mall is by far the most exuberant of them all. Dubai Mall offers an unparalleled amalgamation of world-class dining, entertainment and leisure attractions. Theatre, theme park, aquarium, candy world – Dubai Mall has something for everyone. If you're interested in visiting the famous Dubai Aquarium, grab your tickets online and earn 5% cashback!

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo Tickets

Headout Price:

Book Now

If you're interested in going atop the Burj Khalifa and visiting the Dubai Aquarium, Headout offers a combo deal which allows you to save a few dirhams and is super convinient! Grab it below.

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo + Burj Khalifa Combo

Headout Price:

Book Now

Watch the Dubai Fountain Show

Grab a meal from one of the many restaurants in Souq Al Bahr, and watch the Fountain Dance Show which is free for all. Built by the creators of the fountain at The Bellagio, this is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Below is the Dubai Fountain schedule which will help you plan your schedule accordingly. Also, for 25 AED, you can get a fantastic view from the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk which allows only a select number of people, hence avoiding the hassle of struggling for a view. If you're up for an Abra ride, you can buy tickets to the boardwalk and an abra ride below!

Afternoon Shows

  • 1:00 PM & 1:30 - Monday - Sunday

Evening Shows

  • 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM – Sunday – Wednesday ( Every 30 Minutes)
  • 6:00 PM to 11:30 PM – Thursday – Saturday ( Every 30 Minutes)

Please do not forget that leaving the airport can take a lot of time and you need to plan in some time to get back, so maybe visiting Downtown in 6 hours is probably all you can do. If you are fast you can soak in some sun at the beach.

Dubai Fountain Show & Traditional Abra Lake Ride

Headout Price:

Book Now

Soak In Some Sun At The Jumeirah Beach

This long, pristine stretch of white sand is ideal for a few uninhibited minutes of pleasure. Also, amongst the many public beaches in Dubai, the Jumeirah Beach more so the Kite Beach is hands down the best beach in the city. Spend a few minutes taking in the salty beach vibe and maybe a feet dip in the cool Arabian waters? Check out other beaches in Dubai.

Marvel At The Burj Al Arab

The best part about Jumeirah Beach is that you have the world's one and only 7 star hotel gracing the backdrop! You can now gloat about having seen the Jumeirah Beach and the Burj Al Arab in one go.

Blend luxury and tradition at Souk Madinat Jumeirah

The parts of Madinat Souq that are accessible to the public are great to catch a whiff of old Dubai, in a modern setting. Charm oozing out of the gold clad souqs, laced with a labyrinth of canals and classy up-town restaurants fringing the sides of the canals.

Travel back in time at the Old District

If you desire a better understanding of Dubai’s history or want to escape the characteristic bling of the city, head to the Al Fahidi district. Here, you can explore museums, craft shops, cafes and art galleries. Take an abra to the other side of the creek and explore the gold and spice souks. Soak up the scents, sights and sounds of this old-world Arabian market.

Traveling the distance

- Distance from Dubai Airport to Jumeirah Beach : 23 KM (38 minutes)
- Distance from Jumeirah Beach to Burj Al Arab : 13 KM (20 minutes)
- Distance from Burj Al Arab to Madinat Souq : 3 KM (3 minutes)
- Distance from Madinat Souq to Gold Souq : 26 KM (30 minutes)

Lucky enough to have more than a layover to spend in Dubai? Check out these other amazing things to do! Next, check out these 5 Essential (and free) Apps For Your Next Trip to Dubai. Also, see our guide to the Best Indoor Activities in Dubai.

Quick Tips For Your Dubai Layover


  • The citizens of 48 countries, including Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States and Germany are eligible for visas on arrival in Dubai, which will allow them to leave the airport during their layover. Indian passport holders with a valid American visa or Green Card are also eligible for a visa on arrival and can leave the airport with much ease. Make sure your country's passport allows for visa on arrival before planning your Dubai layover outing.
  • There are 3 terminals in Dubai airport. While you maybe dropped in one terminal, your transit flight maybe from the other terminal. Make sure you know which terminal your connecting flight is arriving at and reach accordingly.
  • The Dubai Airport is amongst the biggest airports in the world. Be mindful of the time it will take you to exit the airport, get through immigration ( visa on arrival), get into a cab, sit through traffic, go through security check at Burj Khalifa and all of the same for getting back. On an average it takes an hour and half to clear your way through the immigration and customs at the airport. Factor the time all of these will take and plan your layover in Dubai.
  • If you don’t want to lug your carry-on throughout the city, you can lock it up at the short-term storage facility in Dubai Airport. Note, this facility is available only in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 (it is not available in Terminal 2). It is open 24/7 and costs either AED 20 or AED 25 for every 12 hours, depending on the size of the bag.
  • Dubai traffic during peak hours can be time-consuming so its best to opt for the metro if you're planning to get to Burj Khalifa first. There are two metro stations by the Dubai Airport – Airport Terminal 1 and Airport Terminal 3. Take a round trip ticket (Red Line) to the Dubai Mall and in 30 mins you'll have traveled from the airport to Dubai Mall. The mall is connected to the metro station, so a quick 10 minute jaunt on walkalators should get you to the mall.
  • If you're planning to use the metro, know that you're only allowed to carry one large suitcase (<81cm x 58 cm x 30cm) and one piece of hand baggage (<55cm x 38cm x 20cm).If you have anything bigger, stash them away at the storage facility in the airport.
  • If you're short on time and want a quick tour of Dubai, hop onto the Red Line, sit by the window and soak in great views of Dubai's skyline including the Burj al-Khalifa, Dubai Opera House, Dubai Creek and more. If you want to step down, a good place would be at the Baniyas Square (you will have to switch to the Green Line).From here you can walk to the Dubai Creek and take an Abra if you please.
  • If you can snag a Dubai Mall Map at the entrance, nothing like it. This will help you find the attractions and shops you want to visit without wasting time.
  • Unless your layover is for over 12 hours, do not attempt a Desert Safari Experience. They are time consuming and there have been many instances of travelers not being able to reach back in time to make it for their transit flight.

More Dubai Guides


Looking out for more things to do in Dubai? Here are a few of our detailed Dubai guides that will help you plan your Dubai vacation better!

Comments (2)
  1. Lee says:

    This page is fantastic! Thank you for the details! I will have a wonderful layover in Dubai thanks to reading this!

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