DUBAI

This year I made my first trip out of Europe. I traveled to Dubai, one of the seven Emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

I chose to go in March and the temperature was like summer in Greece. While I was there, it ranged from 27-37 degrees. In my opinion, the best months to go to Dubai are from October to March. From April to September the heat is unbearable.

Trip

We didn’t go directly to Dubai from Greece, as we went with WizzAir to Abu Dhabi. It is a different Emirate from Dubai and it has different regulations for tourists now with the coronavirus pandemic.

If a passenger chooses to stay in Abu Dhabi for even one night, he must stay in quarantine for ten days at his hotel. If it’s just a middle stop to go to Dubai, then as soon as you arrive at the airport you have to get in a taxi and leave immediately.

The duration of the trip was about 1 hour and it costed about 60 euros.

Be Careful: These airport taxis accept only cash.

What you need in order to travel to Dubai during the coronavirus pandemic

First of all, if you are a Greek passport holder, then you can travel just with it, without a visa.

At the moment, their coronavirus policy is as follows: You must have done a PCR test no later than 72 hours before entering the country and as soon as you arrive you’ll also do a free rapid test at the airport. Then you have to stay in quarantine in your hotel room, until the results come out.

We, who traveled to Abu Dhabi, also filled out a “health” form in order to enter the country. I don’t know if Dubai has the same form.

In order to return in Greece, you must do another PCR test up to 72 hours before your arrival in the country. In addition you must complete a Passenger Locator Form (PLF) no later than 24 hours before the flight. Finally, when you’ll arrive in Greece you will do a fourth coronavirus test and you will remain a mandatory quarantine for 7 days.

Caution: 1. Coronavirus tests must be negative. 2. These instructions were valid during the time period I traveled (March 20-27). As each country renews its policy often, it would be good to be informed from the official pages of the airports.

Where to stay

Hotel Revier – Dubai

Hotel is located in Business Bay an it’s so close with many tourist attractions such as the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

It’s different from the most hotels in Dubai. It has minimal decoration with modern details. As soon as you get in the lobby, you are transported to a resort in Aspen, Switzerland. It’s really impressive. The staff is incredibly polite and willing to help you with anything you need.

The owners first visited Dubai in 2008 and  were instantly fascinated by this thriving and pulsating city. They were impressed by the way Dubai transformed from a small town to an internationally recognized bustling destination and they set up their plan to bring a taste of Switzerland to the Middle East.

The rooms are very big with unique decoration. The hotel has also a big pool, which is very useful with the hot temperatures of Dubai.

Hotel’s restaurant are open both for the residents and the people who don’t stay in Revier. Everything was delicious and the meals were very well-decorated. Their prices are very affordable, especially for that they provide to you.

For Breakfast we chose the “Mashed Avocado & Egg Toast” and the “Egg Benedict with smoked turkey ham”.

For Dinner we tried the “Caprino Salad”, the “Wienerschnitzel” and the “Rib Eye, Grain Fed Agnus”.

For more informations check their website or Instagram.

Instagram: @revierhoteldxb

Where to eat

Salt

After our walk in Kite Beach, we chose Salt. It’s a food chain, because there are many “Salt” in Dubai.

At first, you have to order your food, then you sit at the table you like and they give you a little gadget that will notifies you as soon as your order is ready, to go and pick it up.

I tried the Chicken Crispy Burger and it was fantastic. One of the best breaded chickens I have ever eaten! Highly recommend.

Wendy’s

This restaurant was close to our hotel and we chose it one night, as we were too tired to go out for long walks. We ordered and got them in a package to eat at the hotel, but you can sit in the store if you like. It’s a quick and cheap option. For four burgers (two of them with double burger), fries, chicken nuggets and a portion of chicken wings, we paid a total of 17.70€.

The Chickery

At La Mer Beach, we ate at The Chickery. In this restaurant there is an offer and with 44 AED (approximately € 10) per person, you have a portion of potatoes, a soft drink and as many chicken wings as you can eat! For the record I ate 13.

Pizza Hut

The day we went to the Dubai Mall, we chose the Pizza Hut, as we found a table outside and we sat in front of the Dubai Fountain. Chicken BBQ pizza and Lasagna pasta were my favorite choices. We also got Alfredo pasta, but I didn’t like it so much.

Kazoza Restaurant

When we visited the Palm Jumeirah island, we went to The Pointe Beach and then strolled down the sidewalk with the shops, until we chose to sit at the Kazoza Restaurant.

The tables have the view of the famous Atlantis The Palm Hotel, as it’s in front of them. The restaurant is nicely decorated and the staff is very polite.

Alphorn Restaurant at Revier Hotel Dubai

Above I mentioned the hotel I stayed. On the third floor there is a restaurant that you can visit it even if you don’t stay there. We chose it for dinner and their food was delicious. The dishes are very tasty and the atmosphere is very nice. You can also enjoy your breakfast there and lunch, but also fresh cocktails.

There is also “The Lounge” at the lobby cafe and the bar “Allegra”.

El Greco

If you want to try Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in Dubai, it’s the perfect place. The portions are very big and the food is delicious. The prices are very good, especially for their quantity and quality. You will find it at La Mer Beach.

Bab Al Mansour

Centrally located, near the Burj Khalifa, you will find the Moroccan restaurant. The decoration is fantastic and the food is unique. Worth a visit.

At.Mosphere Burj Khalifa

The restaurant is located on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. There you will feel to the fullest the luxury for which Dubai is famous the last years.

The prices are quite expensive, but let be honest, where else will you find this view? We went for a morning coffee, but you can go for any meal of the day. You must have a reservation in order to get there.

A sample of their prices is their popular coffee, with gold leaf, which costs 160 AED, about 37 €.

Places you have to see in Dubai

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa skyscraper is the tallest building in the world, with a height of 827 meters and 160 floors!

If you want to go up to the building, you have to buy a ticket. For the 124th and 125th floor, the entrance costs 149 AED, around 35 €. If you want to get to the 148th floor the ticket costs 379 AED, about 88 €.

Alternatively, you can stay at the hotel inside the Burj Khalifa or dine at the 123rd-floor At.Mosphere Restaurant.

Kite Beach

An endless beach with white sand full of shells. Above the beach you will find cute colourful canteens with a big variety of food option.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden is a magical place. It first opened on Valentine’s Day in 2013. It’s the largest garden with real flowers in the world and contains more than 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.

The entrance ticket costs 55 AED, about 13€, for people over 12 years. Children aged 3-12 will pay 40 AED, around 9€ and the admission for children under 3 is free. The best way to go is by taxi.

Definitely worth a visit, it’s something you will never see anywhere else.

Madinat Jumeirah

It’s luxury resort with a private beach, but there is an area with many souvenir shops and restaurants. You have free access there, even you’re not a resident of the hotel.

Personally, it was one of my favorite places in Dubai.

Burj Al Arab – Jumeirah Public Beach

Close to the Madinat Jumeirah resort there is the Jumeirah public beach. It’s a wonderful beach with white sand and countless shells. The best part is the unique view of the only 7-stars hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab.

Al Fahidi Area

A beautiful place, which transfers you to the past. Around you will find small paths with coffee shops, restaurants and many tourist attractions. You will see an other side of Dubai there. It has historical architecture and there is silence and peacefulness around.

La Mer Beach

A beautiful place to spend your evening. The public beach is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. Around there are many shops and restaurants.

Dubai Marina

If you ever visit Dubai, you should definitely visit Dubai Marina. The scenery is extraordinary. Huge skyscrapers around, shops and so many people everywhere.

Dubai Desert Safari

My favorite activity at the whole trip. It’s a unique experience and definitely something that you can find in Europe.

There are many travel agencies in Dubai who organise safari tours. Prices range from 20-60€ for group packages and from 100-700€ -maybe more- for the private tours.

We paid 25€ per person and the package included: 20 minutes dune bashing, camel ride, henna for women, sand boarding in the dunes, photo with traditional clothing (due to coronavirus it wasn’t available).

After the activities in the sand, we went to a camp located in the middle of the desert and had dinner, while at the same time there is a spectacle of oriental dancers and other fire dancers etc. We were picked up from the hotel at 15:30 and returned at 21:30.

The Palm Jumeirah – Atlantis The Palm

The artificial island of Palm Jumeirah in the shape of a tree is known for its luxury hotels and of course the famous Atlantis The Palm. In order to get there, we took the metro that leaves us almost at the beginning of the island and from there we took a taxi to The Pointe beach.

Although the beach was small, it was a nice beach and it was full of shells too. It’s also the place with the best view of Atlantis. Above the beach you will find the pedestrian street with countless shops to drink coffee and restaurants to eat.

Dubai Mall

The huge mall next to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain attracts millions of tourists every year. It has four floors and over 1,500 shops. In fact, it’s so big that there are mini vehicles inside to transfer you from the one side to the other. Inside there is even an ice-skating stadium and an aquarium. It has almost all the famous luxury brands and is neat and clean.

Strengthen with time, big patience and prepare for walking!

Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountain is the largest fountain with water choreography in the world. From 18:00 to 23:00 daily, every half an hour, it has a mini show of 2-3 minutes. It’s quite impressive, but I wasn’t so excited, as I expected the show to last a little longer.

Transportation in Dubai

Dubai is a huge city with long kilometers distances. You can rent a car, move around with public transportation or by taxi/ Uber.

Metro – Buses

We used very often the public transportation. The metro has very frequent routes, every 3-5 minutes. Buses routes are every 10-20 minutes.

We stayed in Dubai for a week, so we got a weekly travel card and it cost about 30€ per person. It’s an affordable solution, because if you move around only by taxis, be prepared to pay a lot of money.

Taxi – Uber

In cases where the metro was far from the location we wanted to go we used taxis and Uber. At first, we only called Uber, as we considered it the cheaper option, but eventually in Dubai taxis are cheaper.

For example, when we wanted to go to Miracle Garden we wanted to call Uber and it would charge us 30-40 AED. It was late so we cancel it and we decided to take a taxi and it only charged us 17 AED. Then we realized that taxis are a cheaper solution than Uber.

Things you need to know before traveling to Dubai

  • The currency in Dubai is the Dirham. 1€ = 4.30 AED approx.
  • They accept credit cards almost everywhere, but Greek banks charge a big amount of commission.We paid everything with the Revolut Card.
  • The climate is very hot. The best months to go are from October to March. Unless you don’t have a problem with 40+ degrees.
  • Greek Mobile data and minutes are not valid in the United Arab Emirates. There are you local SIMs you can buy there. We bought an e-SIM, as we only wanted mobile data and not minutes. There is free Wi-Fi everywhere, so you don’t have to buy anything if you don’t want to.
  • Distances are huge. If you don’t have a car, prefer the metro and take taxi/Uber during the high-traffic hour, when the metro is full of people..
  • With the currently pandemic restrictions, in order to travel from Greece you need a total of 4 tests. One before you go, one as soon as you arrive at the airport, one before you return to Greece and one at the airport of Greece. (The restrictions are constantly updates, so before you go please get informed from the official sites of each country).
  • At the moment, anyone returning to Greece from the United Arab Emirates must be quarantined for 7 days.

If you want to see more videos and photos from my trip to Dubai, visit my profile on Instagram.

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