Soaring skyscrapers, world-class shopping malls and otherworldly desert blend to electrify this dazzling metropolis. Soak in views from 148 floors up at the record-setting Burj Khalifa, tour the man-made Palm Islands or discover the city’s old-world charm among its winding alleyways and spice souks. Whether on a short stopover or long-term holiday, Dubai has plenty of unique gems to discover.

Dubai’s pearl-diving industry collapsed with the global Great Depression, but the city quickly boomed again when oil was discovered offshore. The ruling sheikhs poured their newfound wealth into infrastructure and cultivated a booming trade, real estate and tourism sector. With its relatively stable politics and low taxes, the city has attracted a large number of expatriates from across the Arab world, Asia and Europe, giving it a distinctly cosmopolitan feel.

A shopper’s paradise, Dubai is home to an array of luxury boutiques and world-famous malls. Whether you’re searching for the perfect designer handbag or simply want to browse, there’s something for everyone in this shopping mecca. The Dubai Mall, for example, is one of the largest and most extravagant malls in the world. Its signature sail-shaped design is an ode to the city’s rich maritime heritage, while its suites are stocked with extravagances like a 14-piece set of Hermes toiletries and personal butlers on hand.

In the emirate’s old town, traditional Arabian bazaars still thrive. The Gold Souk is a glittering labyrinth of more than 300 gold merchants, while the Spice Souk offers mounds of all things fragrant and exotic – from saffron to dried lemons and roselle. You’ll also find a selection of the region’s finest cuisine.

The city’s many gastronomic hotspots range from fine dining at the Michelin-starred Zuma to street food at the stalls in Al Seef. The city’s restaurants and cafes are known for their innovative dishes and use of fresh ingredients.

During the cooler months, the city’s beaches become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. The large expanse of soft sand on Kite Beach offers activities from volleyball to kite surfing, and its clean waters are ideal for swimming.

Dubai’s burgeoning sporting industry has added to its enviable reputation. The city is home to the world’s most lucrative horse race and has hosted a number of international golf tournaments. The Dubai Duty Free Championship is the most prestigious event on the European Professional Golfers’ Association Tour.

With a wealth of world-class attractions and unrivalled hospitality, Dubai is a dream holiday destination. Whether you’re seeking thrills from sky-diving and bungee jumping or prefer the comfort of luxury hotels and shopping, this cosmopolitan city has a little bit of everything for every traveler.

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