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Unforgettable Souvenirs to Bring Back Home from Dubai and Where to Find Them

by Paola Bertoni
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Regarding shopping for souvenirs, Dubai is mainly known for its over-the-top malls and ostentatious luxury. However, it still maintains a traditional feel in its souks, where you can buy spices, Arabian perfumes and embarrassing gold decorations. In this article, you’ll find the best souvenirs in Dubai and where to find them, including children’s gifts.

Where to shop souvenirs in Dubai

Dubai will certainly satisfy those who love shopping. This city takes this activity so seriously that there is even a dedicated festival. The Dubai Shopping Festival occurs every year between December and January to combine shopping for the last Christmas presents with a holiday in the United Arab Emirates. Festivals aside, there are plenty of shopping venues in Dubai. Everywhere you can buy souvenirs of all kinds, from when you land at the airport to the traditional souqs and the shopping malls, which are authentic city attractions.

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Shopping Malls

Shopping has always been a favourite pastime of the Emiratis, who have built the most absurd shopping malls in Dubai. The Dubai Mall is so big that it contains an aquarium, a theme park and over 10,000 shops where you can find souvenirs. The Mall of Emirates has an indoor ski slope, while the Wafi Mall has a kitschy Ancient Egypt / Las Vegas style.

In Dubai, shopping malls are modern squares where people can meet and spend time, a concept quite different from how we consider them in Europe. This place is the evolution of the air-conditioned souq, where one can meet with friends and family. Not surprisingly, some of Dubai’s most popular restaurants are inside the shopping malls, which also offer family-friendly attractions and activities.

Souqs and markets

If you want a more traditional souvenirs’s shopping experience, head to Bur Dubai and Deira to explore the Gold and Spice Souqs and the small shops around them. In the open-air markets, you can find everything from real Iranian saffron to exaggerated gold necklaces, delicious dates, and other dried fruits from the Arabian Peninsula.

In these quarters, you can also buy counterfeit bags, perfumes, and watches offered by vendors who show them to you through photographs. However, I cannot tell you if this is a scam because when it happened to me, I politely declined the invitation. I recommend not buying them because fake Louis Vuitton or Chanel bags can be seized at European airports.

Duty Free at Dubai Airport

One of the big myths to dispel is the convenience of Duty-Free. Prices are generally higher at the airport, so you rarely want to shop there before you leave unless you’ve forgotten a souvenir for a friend or relative.

The Gold Souk in Dubai
The Gold Souk in Dubai

The best Dubai souvenirs

In Dubai’s souqs, you can find souvenirs of all kinds of varying quality. For many tourists, souqs are the best places to shop. For me, however, shopping in Dubai is better in malls and shops rather than souqs, mainly because of the fixed price and being able to take your time choosing what to buy.

By the way, if you want to experience the souq without the stress of the salespeople (who are, in any case, much less intrusive in Dubai than in other Arab souq, like Tunisia or Morocco), there is even a mall built according to traditional architecture, complete with fake wind towers: the Souk Madinat.


Dubai is famous for cheap gold and elaborate jewellery. The Deira Gold Souk is the best place to see glittering showcases, complete with embarrassing necklaces as big as clothes. If you are able to recognise precious metals, the souq is definitely the place to go for real bargains. However, I advise against it if you don’t know the value of what you want to buy.

In any case, a stroll through the best that Dubai’s goldsmiths have to offer is definitely worth the trip. Only in Dubai can you see an entire district glittering with the gold that sprouts in abundance from every shop, worked in the most elaborate styles.

Dates and dried fruits

Dates are one of the tastiest specialities of the Arabian Peninsula and part of Bedouin culture. Therefore, they are the perfect souvenirs for anyone who loves this sweet speciality. I bought some delicious dried fruit in a shop near the spice souq.

In Emirati tradition, dates always accompany Arabic coffee and are used to prepare many dishes. They have many different kinds of dates, so I suggest you try them all. They are delicious and vacuum-packed, making a fantastic souvenir to relive the trip once you get back home.

The same goes for dried fruit, you can find many different kinds. Figs, apricots, ginger, apples and any fruit that passes through the UAE you can easily find in its dried version. Stock up on Emirati dried fruits because they are tasty and have great prices.


In the souks and shops of Deira and Bur Dubai, you can find many types of teas and herbal teas, both loose and bagged. If you like them, I recommend buying loose tea blends and herbal teas. They are quite unique and have flavours that are hard to find in Europe. They are also an excellent souvenir for friends who are tea lovers.


If you love international cuisine like me, you already know the importance of spices in making every dish unique. Even if you don’t like cooking, the colourful piles of spices in the souq make you want to experiment with new flavours in the kitchen.

A trip to the Spice Souk is a must for anyone passing through Dubai, especially those who love the tastiest cuisine. Buying spices at the souq stalls is an unforgettable experience. You will take home a unique souvenir that will bring you back to Dubai through the new taste you will get in your dishes.


Arabian perfumes are another typical product you can find in Dubai. Fragrances are so crucial in Emirati culture that there is even a dedicated Perfume Museum. Traditional perfumes can be a beautiful reminder of the out-of-time atmosphere in Dubai’s old city of Deira, Bur Dubai and Al Fahidi Historical District.

You can buy traditional perfumes in different fragrances, sweet, delicate or strong, either in the Spice Souk or Dubai’s shopping malls, usually at very affordable prices. A perfume bottle can be a wonderful souvenir to take you back to the excitement of your trip to the UAE.

Perfume bottles at the Spice Souk in Dubai
Perfume bottles at the Spice Souk in Dubai

Souvenirs of Dubai for children

Buying souvenirs for children is always challenging. Moreover, cheaper souvenirs often aren’t good quality, which you must consider if you are purchasing a gift for a small child who still puts soft toys and toys in his mouth. Then, let’s face it, some souvenirs are not only useless but also downright kitschy.

At the official Discover Dubai souvenir shop at the Dubai Mall, you can find everything for children. The best gifts for young travellers, approved by my son, are the Dubai police cars and the children’s travel guide.

Children’s travel guide

When I travel, I always seek a children’s travel guide for my son. It is very useful for discovering things to do with kids, planning the next trip, or remembering the last trip together. However, The Key to Dubai is much more than just a travel guide because it explains the history and values of the Emirati culture in simple, child-friendly words.

This guide costs about €20 in official souvenir shops in Dubai. You can also find it in bookshops and some museum bookshops. The price, however, can vary by a few dirhams. I found it for the lowest price in the Discover Dubai souvenir shop at the Dubai Mall, where I also got other gifts for my son.

Police cars

Dubai police cars are an authentic tourist attraction. The supercars, besides being used in siren chases, play an important role in promoting tourism and showcasing the role of the Dubai police in a friendly manner.

Kids love toy cars and Dubai police cars are real luxury supercars that you can buy, in miniature, individually or in larger or smaller sets. I bought for my son a three-car set that contained a Mercedes SLS AMG, a Lamborghini Aventador and an Audi R8 in the police colours. If you have more space in your suitcase, there are also larger sets with white and green helicopters and off-road vehicles. The price is around €10 for a set of three cars.

Plush camel

The plush camel is one of Dubai’s must-have souvenirs. You can find it everywhere, both in souq stalls and in the most elegant mall shops. The quality is very variable, as is its more or less kitschy appearance depending on the number of glitters adorning it.

For soft toys intended for children, I advise you to pay close attention to the quality so that pieces or stuffing do not come off if they are put in the mouth. As you know, young children often do this because they discover the world around them mainly by ‘tasting’ it.

I bought my son an Emirati camel, choosing from the most sober ones on display in the official Discover Dubai tourist shop at the Dubai Mall. The smaller camels start at around €5, a great price commensurate with the quality. Unfortunately, the camel could not compete in popularity with the Dubai police cars.

Plush camels for sale as souvenirs of Dubai
Plush camels for sale as souvenirs of Dubai

Where to stay in Dubai

Often considered a luxury destination, Dubai offers hotels and flats for all budgets and is much cheaper than you think. Below are a few value-for-money establishments that have been tried out by me personally or by friends and fellow bloggers.

For a luxury family holiday, the Bluewaters Beach Hotel, with swimming pools, restaurants to suit all tastes and children’s areas, is a great choice. To spend less but still stay in top-notch facilities, the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City or the V Hotel Dubai are great choices, both overlooking the Dubai Water Canal with numerous in-house restaurants to choose from.

Finally, to see Dubai from a different perspective, I suggest you stay at the Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, a unique property built in traditional Arabian style and located a short distance from the historic district and Al Fahidi Fort.

In conclusion, Dubai is a shopper’s paradise with a range of options to buy souvenirs, from traditional souks to extravagant malls. Spices, Arabian perfumes, gold, dried fruits, and teas are amazing ways to remember your trip once you’re back home. Let me know what unique and interesting souvenirs you’ve collected in Dubai. Feel free to leave your comments below, and let’s start the conversation!

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