Dubai Fountain Show layover

How to Spend an 8-Hour Layover in Dubai

The capital of the United Arab Emirates is a common layover. Especially if you’re flying with Emirates. Dubai is a city like no other. Some people adore Dubai and all the luxury it has to offer. Others may find it a bit too superficial.

While there are many different opinions about Dubai, I think the city is definitely worth visiting. Even if you’re not into buying luxury brands or driving extravagant cars, as I am not either.

Dubai is definitely a place to visit at least once in your lifetime! But what to do on an 8-hour layover in Dubai? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

layover in dubai

Is it worth leaving the airport on an 8-hour layover in Dubai?

Leaving the airport is highly advisable if your layover takes more than 6 to 8 hours. This is the perfect way for you to get a glimpse of what the city of Dubai is actually like. It’s important to check whether you’re entitled to a free visa on arrival.

If you have a few hours to spare, you can easily visit Dubai during your transfer. It doesn’t take longer than half an hour to get to the city centre from Dubai airport. You can use the subway or a taxi to get there.

If you’re thinking of getting a taxi, don’t forget to ask the driver to put his meter on. Otherwise you might have to pay a lot more than the usual price.

Make sure to arrive back on time at Dubai airport again. I would highly advise you to be back at Dubai airport around 3 hours before your next flight takes off. In this way, you will have enough time and you won’t have to stress about being able to catch your flight.

What to do on an 8-hour layover in Dubai?

So, what should you do during your layover in Dubai? Well, there are a lot of things to do in Dubai! If your layover is between 6-8 hours long, I would suggest picking two to three activities of the list below.

You could also try to do all of them, but I think that might be a bit too tiring, especially if you have another flight. There are several things to do during your stop in Dubai, these include the following: 

Visit Dubai Mall

Even if you’re not into shopping, a visit to Dubai Mall will give you an insight in why Dubai is considered one of the most luxurious cities in the world. I personally found the aquarium inside the Dubai Mall very intriguing.

If you’re keen on some coffee after your flight, head over to % in Dubai Mall. They have really great coffee!
Dubai Mall 8 hour stopover

Admire Burj Khalifa & watch the fountain show

After wandering through Dubai Mall, you will find yourself outside. This is where you will encounter the majestic Burj Khalifa, also known as the highest building in the world.

If you arrive at the correct time, you will be able to visit the fountain show at the Dubai Fountain.

On weekdays, the first fountain show starts at 6 pm and the last show starts at 10:30 pm. On weekends, the first show starts at 6 pm and the last show starts at midnight.
8 layover in dubai

Approximately every 30 minutes there is a fountain show taking place here. Make sure to arrive 15 minutes before the show starts to secure yourself a good spot to take in the views.

If you get the chance to visit both the Burj Khalifa and the fountain show in the evening, I would highly recommend doing this. The area feels more lively during the evening.

Dubai 8 hour layover

Wander around the historical neighborhood (Al Fahidi)

A different thing to do while in Dubai, is to visit the Historical Neighborhood of Al Fahidi, also known as Al Bastakiya.

The neighborhood stands in steep contrast to the modern high-rise buildings of Dubai, as it’s characterized by narrow alleyways and traditional houses. 

Explore one of the oldest neighborhoods of Dubai on foot and visit its many quaint cafes and art galleries. Here you can also visit the Dubai Museum.

The Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is a charming area that offers a glimpse into Dubai’s past. Therefore, if you’re interested in historical neighborhoods, Al Fahidi is the perfect place to visit on your 8-hour layover in Dubai. 

Have lunch at the Arabian Tea House

The Arabian Tea House is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience traditional Emirati cuisine in Dubai. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor seating area with traditional Arabian style seating.

The menu features Emirati dishes such as Machboos (spiced rice with chicken or lamb), Harees (a porridge-like dish made with wheat and meat), and Luqaimat (a sweet fried dough pastry). 

The restaurant also serves a variety of teas, both hot and cold, as well as Arabic coffee.

Its prices are reasonable, as prices for dishes range between 30 AED to AED 75. Therefore, if you want to have a relaxing lunch during your 8-hour layover in Dubai, head over to Arabian Tea House. 

Go to the Dubai Gold Souk and Dubai Spices Souk

When you’re in Dubai, the Gold and Spices Souk are worth checking out. The Spice Souk is located in Deira, in eastern Dubai, and is adjacent to the Dubai Gold Souk. These are traditional markets that are very colorful and true sensory experiences.

Especially if you’re interested in buying gold, spices or textiles, you should visit the souks. Do keep in mind that these souks can get quite busy. These souks are all near to each other, hence your visits to them can be combined.

It’s important to note that these souks are also quite near to the historical neighborhood, which is located across the water. It’s possible to get there by ferry.

8 hour layover in Dubai
Dubai Gold Souk layover what to do Emirates

Visit the Museum of the Future in Dubai

The Museum of the Future is an innovative museum in the heart of Dubai that has been opened in 2021. I would highly recommend a visit to this fascinating museum. Especially if you’re interested in the future of technology.

The museum covers a range of topics related to the future, such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, space exploration, and sustainability. 

If you’re looking for a unique museum to visit on your 8-hour stopover in Dubai, this is the place to be! The exhibits are highly interactive and incorporate the latest in technology, such as virtual reality and augmented reality. 

Visit the Iranian Masjid

Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to see this mosque myself. However, I think this beautiful place of worship is worth mentioning here.

You can visit the outside area of the mosque, whereas you have to attend a tour if you would also like to view the inside of the mosque. 

Do keep in mind that you should dress conservatively when visiting places of worship, just like when visiting the majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

I would advise you to wear loose fitting clothing with long sleeves. Also bring a shawl to cover your hair. Otherwise, you might not be let in.

In conclusion

Dubai is the perfect place to explore on an 8-hour stopover. You can visit Dubai Mall, wander through its old neighborhood, admire the Burj Khalifa or go shopping at one of its souks.

For a more cultural experience, you can also visit the Iranian Masjid or one of the many museums in Dubai. 

All in all, it’s definitely worth leaving the airport during your 8-hour layover in Dubai, as there is more than enough to do.

The 8 hour layover will be long enough to leave the airport, soak in what Dubai has to offer, and then come back to the airport to hop on your next flight. 

Have you ever had an 8-hour layover in Dubai? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!  

Away with Danae 

Dubai layover Burj Khalifa
The view from the Burj Khalifa

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  1. I love Dubai, a layover here is perfect as I think a few hours or days max is fine. The burj kalifa at night is also amazing, great light and water show.

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