Emerging from the desert, Dubai is a dynamic holiday destination, perfect for escaping those winter blues - the idyllic climate has constant sunshine and only five days of rainfall a year.


Emirates Airlines (website: www.emirates.com) is the national air carrier and has direct flights from London and New York.


Admire the Jumeirah Mosque - the most photographed building in the city and an impressive example of modern Islamic architecture. Built along medieval Fatimid lines, entirely of stone, the mosque and its two minarets are unmistakable. It is particularly attractive at night, when subtle lighting increases its dramatic effect.


Experience in the flesh the now famous long expanse of Jumeirah Beach, dominated by luxury hotels and their facilities. There is a stretch of public beach available, with clean white sand, crystal clear seawater and bath-temperature surf.


Al Boom Floating Restaurant (tel: (04) 324 3000) is one of Dubai's finest seafood restaurants and is located on board a traditional-style dhow. Diners choose which fish they want from those on display and the chefs cook it to order. There is also a river cruise every night, creating a unique setting for a relaxed dinner.


Stroll round the souks (traditional markets) that are one of Dubai's greatest attractions. The highlight is the colourful Spice Market, which abounds with exotic aromas and bustles with locals seeking bargains. Wandering around the atmospheric souks is a good way to get in touch with how life was in Dubai, before oil was discovered.


The Burj Al Arab (The Arab Tower) (website: www.burj-al-arab.com), which has become one of the most instantly recognisable symbols of Dubai, is truly unlike any other hotel on the planet. Rising, like something out of a James Bond movie, from its own man-made island in the Arabian Gulf, this multistorey monster is an oasis of true luxury. As the price of the suites rises, so do the number of facilities, with in-room Jacuzzis, snooker tables, cocktail bars and even private cinemas.

Day out

Go dune bashing – an increasingly popular activity, which involves tourists being driven out into the surrounding desert in a 4X4 and thrashing up and down the sand dunes. Companies such as Arabian Adventures (website: www.arabian-adventures.com) and Alpha Tours (website: www.alphatoursdubai.com) run regular tours and can combine dune bashing with desert dinners in recreated Bedouin camps.

Night out

Many of the best bars are in the big tourist hotels, which are situated throughout the city. Wafi City houses Planet Hollywood, with live music and one of the most popular nightclubs in the city – Planetarium. A more mellow night out can be had at one of Dubai's coffee houses, where patrons can smoke apple-flavoured tobacco from a shisha pipe.

Photo credits: All © Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) Welcome Bureau.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.