There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and...more
There is often a perception that Dubai is a playground only of the rich and famous. This can mean that holidaymakers telling friends of a pending visit to Dubai can be suspected of a secret lottery win. The reality is, however, that the Dubai government are doing all within their power to encourage international tourism and the emirate is opening up to people of all social status.
One of the main reasons why international visitors come to Dubai is for its shopping facilities. There are more than seventy shopping malls in Dubai, as well as countless numbers of more traditional retail outlets. A lot of traders still negotiate on prices for items, so it is not always a good idea to pay the first price suggested. Shoppers and sightseers alike should not miss visiting the Ibn Battuta Mall. Named after a legendary traveller, the mall is separated in to geographically themed wings. As well as retail outlets, it also contains a wide variety of entertainment facilities and food and drink establishments.
Although much of Dubai is of ultra-modern construction and design, the emirate still retains a wealth of sites with Old World appeal. There is no better place to start your historic exploration of Dubai than at the Dubai Museum, a former fort, constructed in the eighteenth century. The museum contains artefacts relating to traditional Arabian life down through the centuries, from weapons to musical instruments. Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum House was the palace of a former ruler of the area and is now a museum, affording full insight in to the privileged lifestyle of the period. Jumeirah Mosque is Dubai’s largest and although tours are available on certain days, the magnificent architecture of the mosque is best appreciated when the floodlights come on after dark.
It is imperative to remember at all times that only certain restaurants and bars in Dubai are allowed to sell alcohol but this should not detract from the entertainment value on offer. The Moroccan themed Kasbar is one bar to make a point of visiting due to its highly unusual terraced construction, while Carter’s in Wafi City in the heart of Dubai is one of the better combined bars and restaurants, very popular with the nightlife crowd later in the evening. The climate of Dubai is very much suited to sun worshippers, though dress code is required to be observed on many public beaches. This is another benefit of private holiday rental in Dubai, permitting discretion and full enjoyment of the climate. If you have children in your party, the Wild Wadi Waterpark is something which should not be missed, where the wonderful variety of rides and activities for all ages are based on the adventures of the legendary Sinbad.
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place...more
Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, has become an increasingly popular place to visit in recent years, with a warm Mediterranean climate in spite of its place facing the Atlantic Ocean. Full of bleached white limestone buildings and intimate alleyways, Lisbon's mix of traditional architecture and contemporary culture makes it the perfect place for a family holiday.
As Portugal's capital, there is a lot to see and do in Lisbon. Even exploring the city centre will take a few days out of a family holiday as there is no real central district, although Praça do Comércio is a good central place to start, in Baxia, or Rossio, the city's main square which has a sort of Trafalgar Square feel to it. Or you might try climbing up the Cristo Rei, a huge statue of Christ with spectacular views across the whole city. The Castelo de São Jorge also offers great views and isn't quite such a steep climb. A short tram ride to the west of Lisbon will also bring you to Belem, where you can explore attractions like the Belem Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre, which features a fantastic art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol and Magritte. In downtown Lisbon, you'll also want to visit the Gulbenkian, which has to be Portugal's answer to the British Museum full of fascinating cultural artifacts and with some superb gardens in the grounds. It's possible to have a fascinating educational family holiday in Lisbon, and there are also plenty of great beaches to work on your tan.