Whether you’re looking to experience a romantic boat ride as the sun sets over the horizon or you want a peaceful evening to yourself, walking across the views that Dubai has to offer, the Dubai Canal, will give you the best of nature’s beauty while accentuating the skyline of Dubai.
Where it all began
The now-tourist attraction began as a concept for an artificial canal to boost tourism. In 2013, the project was undertaken by the Roads and Transport Authority of Dubai (RTA) in collaboration with Meydan and Meeras. The Dh2.7 billion project was completed and inaugurated in November 2016.
The Dubai Canal is a 3.2 stretch that connects Dubai Creek to the Mediterranean sea, the Persian Gulf (Arabian Gulf). The development starts off in Business Bay, opening out into the Arabian Gulf through Safa Park and Jumeirah and remains open 24 hours a day.
The project gave space for the Emirate to focus on beachfront projects by expanding the beachfront area by over 3.2 kilometres. In light of the waterway that was constructed, multiple bridges were built to facilitate transport over the bridge.
Constructed with the aim of facilitating an ‘environment-friendly lifestyle’ in mind, the Canal is divided into three distinct networks; the Water Network, the Green Network, and the Public Realm. As the names suggest, the networks are divided based on their utilities.
The Water Network
Three bodies of water make up the water network. The first of which is the main attraction, the Canal itself, that connects the Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf. The second is the Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf) coastline which gives access to the warm sandy beaches of the gulf and captivating views. Lastly, the Crystal Lagoon is located at the Safa Park, features a man-made beach and gives way to stunning beachfront residential communities.
The Green Network
This network primarily connects Jumeirah beach park and Safa park through the Canal.
The Public Realm
Rightfully named the Public Realm, this network consists of all the new opportunities that the canal has opened up. From restaurants to recreational facilities and more, this is the area around the canal which makes space for any and all developments to enhance the area.
What can you do at Dubai Canal?
- Five pedestrian bridges to take a stroll across the waterways
- Running, cycling, and jogging tracks to work out
- Ferries, Abra’s, and Dhow cruises to enjoy the breeze
- Photo opportunities
- Grab a meal near the canal after an enjoyable evening
Dubai Water Canal Footbridge
Named one of the most beautiful bridges in the world by Conde Nasta Traveller, a luxury travel magazine, this bridge has to be at the top of your must-see places in Dubai. While walking on the bridge is an experience of its own, the beauty and structural elegance of this bridge is best admired from afar. You can choose to walk on any one of the walkways located on either side of the Canal. The bridge can be observed in its full glory, especially during sunset when the light beams reflect off of the water and snake out through the bridge’s modern design that symbolises the futuristic vision of Dubai.
Named after the International Day of Tolerance, the Tolerance bridge that hovers over the canal symbolises everything Dubai stands for. The majestic structure is adorned by selected 22 Exterior Wash 310 LED fixtures that give the bridge its distinct mixed colour lighting that seamlessly meshes into each other.
Whether you witness the stunning lights of this bridge while taking a stroll on the bridge or perhaps riding your bike across the 690-foot track, or you witness them from the sidelines where you can watch the bridge and its lights in all its elegance, radiating the values that the UAE prides itself upon, the bridge will make for an instaworthy backdrop regardless of your location. The Stellar skyline of Dubai is also visible from this suspension bridge, and you’re sure to capture some delightful shots of the sunset here.
“Love and tolerance are bridges of communication and a universal language, binding humanity across different languages, religions and cultures. Our UAE today is a light in a dark place, setting a bright example for others."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister UAE, Ruler of Dubai.
Dubai Waterfall Bridge
One of the most awe-inspiring bridges on this list, this bridge features a beautiful waterfall that cascades from the side of the bridge combined with lights that take the feel of the place up a notch.
The bridge that the waterfall resides on is called the Business Bay Crossing, owing its name to the area that it spans across. The bridge features two pedestrian walkways and a three-lane roadway that connects old and new Dubai and links Business Bay to Downtown Dubai, home to the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.
Walking, Jogging, and Cycling tracks
Featuring a 6.4 stretch of waterfront track, the jogging and walking tracks give you a view of some of the most popular hotspots in Dubai, like the Burj Khalifa, which stands tall in the Dubai skyline. During your excursion, you can catch a glimpse of the three iconic bridges mentioned above as well as the stunning waterfall with its light show.
The Dubai Water Canal also has a 12 km cycling track. If you’re looking for something longer, the newly opened cycling track that runs across Jumeirah Beach is a whopping 16 km long and connects the Jumeirah Street track to the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud street track that's located near Dubai Internet City.
Where to get a bike?
For those who don’t have a bike, worry not; Careem offers plenty of bikes that are located near metro stations and key areas in populated neighbourhoods. You can find one of these distinct green-colored bikes around town and can download the Careem Bike for more information on how to get there.
They have six bike rental plans from careem plus, yearly plans to daily plans. The memberships start at AED 20 per day, and users are charged an additional fees of AED 10 per 30 minutes when they exceed a 45-minute trip.
Water taxi, Abra’s, and Dhow cruises to enjoy the breeze
You can explore the canal in one of Dubai’s interesting modes of transport, the water taxi. The taxi runs daily from 10:00 am - 07:00 pm and requires prior reservation.
You can explore the Dubai Canal by hopping into one of the air-conditioned taxis from the 44 pick-up points across Dubai.
To book a water taxi, call 8009090.
Petrol Heritage Abra
The Abra takes you for a ride across the canal. Sit back and enjoy as you cruise through the beautiful skyline of Dubai and witness the canal waterfall in action up close. The abra rides cost AED 25 per person for 1 hour and are charged at AED 300 if you’d like to charter the abra.
The Dhow Cruise is the most immersive way of enjoying the Canal on the list so far. Combining food and entertainment with the beautiful skyline and waterways of the Canal, the Dhow gives you an experience unlike any other. You can book your dhow experience from multiple platforms, such as Headout, Dhow Cruise, and more.
Whether it’s posing on a bridge against the skyline or looking out onto the waterfall, there are multiple photo opportunities when you make your way to the Dubai Canal.
Pose under the modern architectural structure at the footbridge.
Nothing makes for a more beautiful photograph than the starkly lit-up bridge in the background.
Pose with the Burj Khalifa as the backdrop.
Grab a meal
Arabian Tea House - Jumeirah Archaeological Site
Located in close proximity to the canal, drop by for a chilling afternoon at this teahouse. The spot will treat you to some classic Middle Eastern Cuisine and has Vegan, vegetarian, and Gluten free options.
Location: Jumeirah Archeological Site, 16th street, Near Water Canal Jumeirah Archeological Site, Dubai United Arab Emirates
Contact: 04 298 3228
Timings: 7 AM - 10 PM
World Cut Steak House
Grab a hearty meal at the steak house after a fun-filled evening at the canal. The restaurant also features a wine bar and gluten-free options.
Location: Sheikh Zayed Rd Level 1, Habtoor Palace, Al Habtoor City, Dubai United Arab Emirates
Contact: 056 659 7287
Timings: Monday - Friday 06:30 PM - 12 AM, Saturday - Sunday 1 PM - 12 AM