Madinat Jumeirah

Top choice area in Jumeirah
Image by Enyo Manzano Photography / Getty Images

One of Dubai’s most attractive developments, Madinat Jumeirah is a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Arab village, complete with a souq (market), palm-fringed waterways and desert-coloured hotels and villas festooned with wind towers. It’s especially enchanting at night, when the gardens are romantically lit and the Burj Al Arab gleams in the background. There are exquisite details throughout, so if you see some stairs, take them – they might lead you to a hidden terrace with a mesmerising vista of the sprawling complex.

Billowing bougainvillea, bushy banana trees and soaring palms characterise the enchanting grounds, which are scrupulously maintained by a small army of gardeners.

At the heart of the complex lies Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a maze-like bazaar with shops lining wood-framed walkways. Although the ambience is too contrived to feel like an authentic Arab market, the quality of some of the crafts, art and souvenirs is actually quite high. If you fancy a bit of Western culture, see what’s playing at the Madinat Theatre.