For anyone on a Dubai luxury holiday, shopping is likely to feature heavily on the agenda. The city is known as “the shopping capital of the Middle East", and from massive malls to traditional souks (marketplaces), when shopping in Dubai you'll truly be spoilt for choice for places to go and things to buy. Since 1996, the Dubai Shopping Festival has been held every year, a frantic month long event in February where traders and shoppers from around the world descend on the city in a frenzy of buying and selling.
Whether you visit in time for the Dubai Shopping Festival or not, the city is a great place to hunt out bargains and souvenirs for home, with the products on offer ranging from gold, spices and traditional Arabic goods to top quality electronics and designer clothes. Here are five of the biggest, best, or simply most spectacular places to go shopping in Dubai.
If you are on a Dubai luxury holiday, don't let the Wafi Mall pass you buy. This is THE place to go for luxury shopping in Dubai, with the shops focusing almost exclusively on the best luxury and upmarket goods that money can buy. Aside from the great selection of shops, visitors can also enjoy the spectacular Egyptian-style architecture (including several stained glass pyramids) and a family entertainment centre on the third floor of the mall.
Dubai Gold Souk
A historic feature of the city, and the reason that Dubai is sometimes known as “The City of Gold", the Dubai Gold Souk is a massive attraction for people on luxury holidays in Dubai. This dazzling open air market offers gold, gold and more gold, with the occasional diamond or precious stone thrown in for good measure. Rings, necklaces, bracelets, and every other conceivable piece of gold jewellery and decoration are available here, and anyone who goes shopping in Dubai has to pay the souk a visit. Great bargains are available, but even if you aren't looking to buy, it is more than worth it for sheer spectacle. If you do decide to purchase something to take back home, be prepared to haggle hard!
Mall of the Emirates
If it's size you are after while shopping in Dubai, look no further, as the Mall of the Emirates is the largest shopping centre in the Middle East. Indeed, it is the largest shopping centre outside of North America! Offering a huge range of designer items and traditional Arabic goods, this massive mall also features a 14 screen cinema, over 70 restaurants and even an indoor Ski Slope - so lots of activities for those non-shoppers on a Dubai holiday too!
Much like the Dubai Gold Souk, the Spice Souk is an astonishing spectacle as much as it is a great place to go shopping in Dubai. This open air market has been around for as long as the city itself, with huge mounds of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, incense, dried fruit and nuts, all brought in from every corner of the Middle East. Like any other souk, be prepared to haggle persistently in order to get the best price, but the shopkeepers are very friendly and eager to talk about their wares.
Deira City Centre
The most popular mall for shopping in Dubai, Deira City Centre is renowned for the buzzing crowds at the weekends and its friendly atmosphere. It has over 350 shops, specialising in international designer clothes and high tech electronic goods, and the mall also contains an 11 screen cinema, a children's entertainment centre and numerous other great attractions.
Rosella Colella is a Dubai specialist for key2holidays, an online tour operator specialising in Dubai luxury holidays , as well as holidays in Australia, Cuba, the Caribbean, Europe, the Far East, the Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles, Egypt and Southern Africa. Key2holidays has a dedicated team of experienced travel consultants to share their knowledge and help you to plan and book your ideal holiday.