WanderlustAn essential guide to Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Modernity meets authenticity at this magical Arabian market

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The perfect encapsulation of old and new, Souk Madinat Jumeirah is a clever shopping and dining destination next to the iconic Burj Al Arab. Offering a wonderfully modern take on an old Arabian town, it’s all about the electric atmosphere, incredible scents and the mix of bars, restaurants and coffee shops that run alongside the palm-fringed canals.

Hit the shops, souk-style

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, jewellery or something a little more decorative, this old-style bazaar is the perfect place to indulge in a little retail therapy. Inside, it’s an endless maze of tiny alleys and wood-framed walkways, with a colourful treasure trove of little stands and stalls that sell all kinds of clothing and local trinkets. Souk Madinat Jumeirah is less traditional than the souks you’ll see in the Old Town, but there are still lots of little touches that give a flavour of local culture; the wind tower accents and handsome Moorish design are the perfect homage to the heritage of an old Arabian market.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah old architecture istock Dubai

 

Schedule in a spot of canalside dining

With nearly 50 different bars and restaurants on site, personal preference lies at the heart of the dining experience here. You could try a flagship Indian, taste ancient recipes at the local Persian or even spend time in the wintery wonderland of a traditional alpine eatery. The prettiest al fresco spots sit clustered alongside the canals; sun traps by day and enchanting at night, take a seat on the terrace to make the most of the Burj Al Arab backdrop.

Canalside paths Souk Madinat Jumeirah istock Dubai

 

Take to the water in an Arabian gondola

Slow down the pace and swap the shops for the scenery with a serene afternoon boat ride along the souk’s beautiful canals. Tours are taken in traditional wooden abra boats; more often seen ferrying across the waters of the creek, these Emirati-style gondolas are the perfect way to wind your way along the tranquil waterways. Hop on a boat at the central abra taxi station and sit back to soak up the palm-fringed views – if you’re waiting for that postcard-perfect photo of the Burj Al Arab, this is it.

waterways and abra boat at Souk Madinat Jumeirah Dubai Istock

 

See a show at the theatre

If you fancy a bit of culture, walk across to the handsome Madinat Theatre to take in a show. There are just 442 tiered seats so performances here are wonderfully intimate and productions include a crowd-pleasing mix of musicals, plays, stand-up comedy and ballet – there’s even an annual panto when the festive season comes calling. Coming soon to the souk is the brand-new addition of the Theatre of Digital Art Dubai. This new art space is due to launch within the complex later in the year and will set the stage for interactive exhibitions and exciting virtual art displays on prestigious world artists like Van Gogh and Monet.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah is in walking distance from Jumeirah Al Naseem, Jumeirah Mina A’Salam and Jumeirah Al Qasr in our Madinat Jumeirah complex.