Thursday, February 2, 2023

A jewel in the desert

Larissa Göldner

In the last issue of PRÉMIO, we highlighted one of the world events that will mark the year 2021: Expo 2020 Dubai.
This exhibition will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, between October 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022. Portugal will be represented under the theme “A World in a Country” with its pavilion and many outstanding events.
To get the most of your stay, here we offer some suggestions to visit, enjoy and relax in the largest city in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai, a city rich in both heritage and history, with many cultural highlights and known for its skyscrapers, 7-star hotels –, some of which are considered the best in the world – beach resorts and large shopping centres with giant aquariums and ski runs.

It’s currently a top global destination, attracting many tourists who travel here to shop, enjoy the sun and have fun with family and friends. Between November and April (the European winter) temperatures are milder, making the city more welcoming, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 35 degrees Celsius. This is the perfect time to enjoy the beach, walk in the open or even take a ride in the desert dunes on a camel, among many other activities.

To explore Old Dubai, there is nothing better than wandering the streets of the Al Fahidi neighbourhood to find gold, spices or textiles – you choose. On both sides of Dubai Creek – make sure to take a trip across in an abra, a water taxi whose name comes from the Arabic verb ‘abara’ meaning ‘to cross – and explore some of Dubai’s classic markets, which were once some of the most important economic centres in the city. The Gold Souk is estimated to house to up to 10 tons of gold, with dozens of jewellery stores offering some incredible items.

When it comes to food, from food trucks to the most sophisticated eateries, there is plenty to try. Although much is said about hamburgers with gold powder and the like, the best restaurants serve national cuisines from all over the world as well as offering many fine Arab delicacies. Much more than just a place to enjoy a good meal, these restaurants attract customers for their decoration and incredible views. See for example Shanghai Me, Gaia, La Petite Maison, Amazónico, Buddha Bar Dubai, Pierchic, Zuma Dubai, Zheng He’s or Al Hadheerah.


829.8 metres high, is the tallest building in the world and the most famous in the city. A high-speed elevator takes you to the At the Top deck, located on the 124th floor and with 360-degree views over the skyscrapers and the desert on one side and the ocean on the other. Back down on the ground, visit the Dubai Fountain, inspired by the famous Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the Dubai Mail, one of the largest shopping centres in the city.


This building is quite different from traditional glass-and-steel buildings with their vertical lines and anyone driving along the city’s largest avenue, Sheikh Zayed Road, will be surprised by this project, in a style that is innovative even by UAE’s disruptive standards. The Museum of the Future was designed to be a place to explore the big challenges and technological innovations that will shape the future, offering an experience that combines sustainability, technology and architecture.


The Aquarium and Underwater Zoo contains 140 aquatic species in a huge suspended tank on the ground floor of Dubai Mall. Enter the Underwater Zoo and walk along the aquarium tunnels, taking a closer look at the fish and other animals to be found in the zoo.


150 metres high and covered in gold, this structure has a Sky Deck that offers a panoramic view over the famous and spectacular skyline of Old and New Dubai, showing how the city became a unique metropolis.


Erecting the largest buildings and shopping centres in the world was apparently not enough for Dubai, so it also commissioned the world’s biggest flower garden, over 2,000 square metres and with some 100 million flowers. Pretty much everything is covered with flowers, including windmills, English-style houses and even a floral version of Burj Khalifa.


A covered ski slope, with cable cars and an area for penguins, at a continuous temperature of minus 4 degrees Celsius, located in one of Dubai’s most famous shopping centres.


For a walk by the sea, palm-lined avenues and graffiti murals, and where you can find great options in terms of restaurants, shops and entertainment for the whole family and friends.

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