At the heart of the Middle East, lies the bustling metropolis of Dubai with its unique and innovative fusion of East meets West, not to be found anywhere else in the world.

The rise of modern-day Dubai is akin to the ripple effect seen in the waves of its majestic sand dunes - it is one of the fastest developing cities in current times, evolving from a simple port city to the wealthiest in the Middle East. The largest city of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai fascinates many for the extravagant lifestyle that is a huge contrast from the city's original culture of Bedouins, dhows, and fishing that prevailed as recently as the 1960s. Anyone can admire the ambition and the dreams of the simple tribesmen that have made Dubai the tourist attraction it is today.

Here, extraordinary and extravagant go hand in hand: a pioneer for setting new world records. No two holidays to the city will be the same as Dubai continues to evolve, cherishing the best of its culture whilst innovation drives the tourism industry with the ultimate in modern experiences. The Emirate attracts many Muslims amongst the 15 million tourists who visit every year. Even the hardest-to-impress travellers, cannot fail to be wowed by its wealth of attractions including luxury shopping, state-of-the-art restaurants, rooftop terraces, Islamic history museums, ski slopes in a desert climate, palm trees and paradise-like beaches.

Jumeirah beach in Dubai with its skyscrapers in the background
Jumeirah beach in Dubai with its skyscrapers in the background 

The ultimate halal-friendly holiday in Dubai

When is the best time to visit Dubai?

Travellers will find it easy to reach Dubai with direct flights available from most major European cities. The ultra-modern Dubai International Airport (DXB) offers luxury amenities, prayer and ablution facilities and halal food providing the utmost comfort. Public transport and taxis are a relatively convenient way to travel around the Emirates.

Dubai is one of those rare holiday destinations that can be visited at any time of year. Enjoy winter sun in Dubai and escape the cold and harsh winters elsewhere. The best time to visit is between the months of November through to March, when the heat is not at its peak and travellers have the freedom to explore Dubai with fewer crowds.

What makes Dubai so good for Muslim tourists?

Usually when you look for halal holiday inspiration a few things come to mind, with Dubai you don’t have to try hard to tick the boxes. There are a multitude of reasons why the destination is ideal for Muslim travellers, the confidence that comes with visiting a country where Islamic attire and obligatory prayers are welcomed and halal-conscious holidaymakers are so well catered for cannot be underestimated. Here are some top tips that will enrich your holiday experience:

1. Visit the Mosques in Dubai - three words come to mind: beauty, serenity and architecture. Praying in Dubai’s mosques will give your holiday a spiritual uplift. Energise the soul, contemplate in seclusion or meet local Muslims - feel free to do so at the oldest mosque, Al Bidya Mosque, a 15th century mosque or at the Stunning Grand Mosque. You could even set yourself a challenge and pray the 5 daily prayers at several different mosques in 1 day.

Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai

2. Visit the neighbouring emirate of Al Ain - home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Plan to visit as a day trip or overnight stay, a unique experience of the great oasis includes seeing the 4,000 year old green city and caravan route from UAE to Oman.

3. Get a glimpse into the Dubai of the past. Take a trip to discover its humble beginnings: sit on an Abra - a traditional Bedouin boat once used to travel across the Dubai Creek, visit the old souks, experience a desert trip and take in the cathartic experience. Seeing Dubai stripped of all the glamour will let you see past the man-made beauty and appreciate the authentic charm and tranquillity of the Bedouin lifestyle.

A desert safari in the red desert at Hatta near Dubai, UAE
A desert safari in the red desert at Hatta near Dubai

What to see and do in and around Dubai

Visit the iconic landmarks of Downtown Dubai

Explore what is perhaps the best known testament to the ambition of the Emiratis and their architectural achievements: the Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world took 6 years to construct, and tourists can see the amazing views all the way a height of 828 metres as well as dining in the world’s highest restaurant: Atmosphere.

Downtown Dubai at sunset with the Burj Khalifa on the background
Downtown Dubai at sunset with the Burj Khalifa in the background

A visit to Dubai is incomplete without taking a shopping trip to the Dubai Mall - not just a mall, the centre is home to all variety of shops, and even has around 30 different activities to enjoy including the Virtual Reality Park. One of the best and free attractions of Dubai is the Dancing Fountain: watch as the water dances in tune to the Arabic music making a fun attraction for all the family to enjoy. Get a glimpse of the past in Old Dubai and visit the traditional Souk Al Bahar, perfect for dining and to get souvenirs to take home.

Souk Al Bahar
Souk Al Bahar in Dubai

Explore the Marina & Palm Jumeirah

The artificially created archipelago of Palm Jumeirah and the nearby Marina is fun for all. Whilst the Palm Jumeirah is an attraction and a stunning sight in itself, there is so much more to do. Families will enjoy the Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark, and adventure seekers will love the watersports and the speed boat tour of the Marina in the sparkling Persian Gulf. Finish your days with dinner watching the sunset beyond the horizon.

The Palm Jumeirah archipelago

Take in the culture in one of the oldest parts of the city: Deira

In the traditional area of Deira, tourists can enjoy a ride on an authentic boat called Abra at the Bur Dubai Abra Dock. Take the Abra and ride over to the traditional souks of Dubai: the Gold Souk, Spice Souk and Old Souk. Take a minute to relax in the quieter area of Deira, and soak in the atmosphere of Al Mamzar Beach Park.

Halal food and restaurants in Dubai

Dubai is a foodies’ heaven where your appetite for food will be invigorated. The area of Bur Dubai is known for its wide choice of cuisine, but all over Dubai, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. In Dubai you won't find yourself limited to only fabulous food in restaurants, you will also find yourself lured to cafes, carts selling fresh coconut water to drink on the corniche, ice cream parlours and snack stops. All the big names you're used to seeing around the world are available in Dubai, offering a great choice of halal food. The population of the city is quite diverse and its food represents the fusion of cultures in its flavours. The array of global halal cuisine available in one city is phenomenal and is just one of the things that attracts an abundance of Muslim tourists each year.

Tourists will enjoy tasting the halal Western food chains and award-winning restaurants that we might avoid at home due to concerns about non-halal meat - here they are all halal. We would also recommend trying some traditional and authentic Emirati dishes:

  • Enjoy the camel meat, which is used in a variety of dishes. The camel burger is definitely one to try.
  • Try the Majboos - a traditional rice dish with fragrant spices and chicken.
  • Explore the flavours of the local salads, Fattoush and Tabbouleh - enjoy as a refreshing light meal or part of a bigger meal.
  • Make sure to try the delicious Shawarma, available to go from many stalls.
  • Flatbreads: try the sweet or savoury version, both equally as enjoyable.
Delicious halal food in the UAE
Delicious halal food in Dubai

There are plenty of food tours to enjoy that will give you an introduction to the wide range of food on offer. We suggest choosing meals to enjoy in settings which compliment your mood and itinerary for the day.

Where to stay in Dubai

Perhaps one of the most appealing things for a halal-friendly holiday in Dubai is the ample choice of halal-friendly resorts and hotels. Unlike anywhere else in the world, Dubai is known for the luxury hotels and resorts with halal-friendly amenities and halal food, so anyone can choose exactly what they want on their holiday. On, you can filter the hotels by a number of different filters, including alcohol-free or dry hotels. The best thing about the choice of hotels is that luxury can now go hand in hand with halal-friendly holidays, meaning that you can ensure that whilst on holiday, stay true to your Islamic faith and values.

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