Top 5 Dubai International Airport Souvenirs
During your trip to the Middle East, where will you visit? Dubai is home to a rich culture, beautiful architecture, and many unique shopping experiences. You can find intense fragrances, decadent chocolates, quality gold, and more. At Dubai International Airport, travelers can join in on some duty-free shopping where they do not have to pay import fees or sales taxes on many popular products.
What are the best souvenirs to purchase at Dubai International Airport? At the Dubai airport, you can purchase many great souvenirs tax-free, which include cigarettes and alcohol, fragrances, camel ornaments, jewelry and gold, and chocolate Arabic sweets.
Read on to learn more about pre-flight shopping at the Dubai Airport and some of the best souvenirs to take home with you.
The Best Dubai International Airport Souvenirs
Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates is one of the most prestigious in the world. It sees passengers from countries all over the world, as many international flights layover at this busy airport. Dubai International employs over 90,000 people—6,100 of which work for the duty-free shops within it.
As a tourist destination, Dubai is already a place known for its amazing shopping venues. Throughout your trip here, you should be able to find many luxurious stores where you can buy unique trinkets and gifts. Surprisingly for some, their airport is another great place for some unique finds. The biggest benefit? When you shop at Dubai airport, you can enjoy duty-free shopping. Here, travelers can enjoy shopping without having to pay taxes and other fees. Check out some of the best souvenirs you can purchase at the Dubai airport for your loved ones back at home, or keep all to yourself.
Cigarettes, Cigars, and Alcohol
At Dubai International Airport, some of the coolest souvenirs you can bring home are their quality cigarettes, cigars, and liquor. First, if you are looking for cigarettes, you can find a large variety of options from both budget and premium brands. Purchase packs of cigarettes from brands like Davidoff, Dunhill, Marlboro, Winston, and others.
In the airport’s duty-free shopping center, you can also find a large range of quality cigars from around the globe. Visit a store called La Casa de Habano for their awesome Cuban cigars. They are located in Terminal 3 of the airport. You can enjoy a nice quality cigar during your travels, or you can keep it packed up for a souvenir when you get home.
Just like cigarettes, you will find a ton of variety in your choices for liquor. Le Clos is another great store to visit while you are shopping. There, they sell quality spirits, wine, and liquor. You will, of course, have to pay a premium price for a high-quality product. But, the benefit is that their clerks can give you their expert advice for the best spirit for yourself or the friend you are buying it for. You can even engrave a bottle to create a custom and thoughtful gift for your loved one at home. It is well worth the price point!
To learn about duty-free allowances for your country, visit the DDF site. There, you can read their full breakdown of how many cigarettes, cigars, tobacco, and liquor you can bring back on a plane with you.
In the Middle East, fragrances and perfumes are a large part of their culture and history. When they visit, many tourists are encouraged to try out their signature scent, oud. When you try it for the first time, oud can have a strong, incense-like smell that may be too intense for some people. However, it has been used in Dubai for generations, and it has been becoming a bigger part of the mainstream fragrance industry in recent years.
Buying a fragrance as a souvenir from Dubai is a great idea. These products represent the culture well, and they make a wonderful present for any of your loved ones. Fragrances are so popular at the Dubai Duty Free shops that they account for a large portion of their total sales. Fragrances came in at 15% of the shopping center’s revenue in 20018.
Thus, perfumes are a great gift that you can find within the airport’s shops. Don’t let the shopping location fool you—you can still find high-end luxury brands even though you’re shopping in an airport terminal. You can choose between a wide variety of fragrance brands like Dior, Givenchy, Lacoste, and more. In addition to the mainstream brands known in the Western hemisphere, you can also find authentic Arabian fragrances and oud.
If you have a layover between flights, take your time while you are shopping through the many stores. Browse the aisles for new scents that you may have never tried before. Many luxury perfume houses will even allow you to sample various scents. Consult with their salespeople and sniff around until you find the best choice for your loved one before taking off.
If you are looking for a traditional souvenir that screams, “Dubai!”, consider taking a look through the many camel ornaments sold at the airport. These animals represent the Emirati culture because they play a major role in their economy and lifestyle. So, you’re sure to find a wide variety of these little trinkets as you’re browsing through the shops.
Camels have been a strong part of Emirati culture since its beginning. These animals were considered to be a gift from God because they helped make life in the harsh desert bearable. These large companions would carry Emeratis across deserts in the sweltering weather. They also provided the people of Dubai with fabric for clothes, entertainment, and sometimes even food.
In many of the airport shops, you can find colorful ornaments that were handcrafted with careful glass blowing techniques by local artisans. Some of the ornaments will even come with a man in traditional dress sitting atop the camel’s back.
When you visit Dubai, you can participate in a variety of activities surrounding camels like camel racing, camel beauty pageants, camel safaris, and camel markets. If you take one of these excursions, make sure to include a camel figurine on your souvenir list to remember the good time you had.
Some shops will have trinkets and figurines made out of many different materials. Stroll around the various shops until you find something interesting. These unique little trinkets can make great souvenirs to bring home with you. Use them to decorate your house and commemorate your experience overseas.
Jewelry and Gold
Dubai Gold is a significant part of the Middle Eastern culture; to some, Dubai is known as The City of Gold. When planning a Dubai trip, many people plan to visit a famous marketplace, or souk, where you can buy amazing gold pieces. When you visit these vendors, you’ll have access to one-of-a-kind pieces with good prices. But, if you don’t get a chance to go there, you can still catch some unique pieces of gold at the airport.
Look for many of the airport’s gold shops to view their extravagant counter displays up-close. Enjoy the bold, unique designs on their gold pieces that are a lot different than American styles. Middle Eastern gold jewelry are often chunky statement pieces. Shop for beautiful chains, anklets, headbands, and rings. These gold pieces are often adorned with diamonds, pearls, and other gemstones.
In addition to traditional gold pieces, duty-free airport shops will sell watches and jewelry from many mainstream Western brands like Cartier and Tiffany & Co. Purchase luxury watches to take home with you. You can also find shops that sell unique and stylish jewelry boxes inside which you can hold your new treasures.
Make sure you understand your limits when purchasing gold. At Dubai Duty Free, there is no limit to how much gold you can purchase. However, when you arrive to your home country, you may have to pay an import tax if you go over the limit imposed by your home country’s customs.
Chocolates and Arabic Sweets
Do not leave Dubai Airport without trying some of their delectable treats! You can find a bunch of sweets that originated in this region. Many shops sell delicacies from the area like chocolates, dry fruits, and nuts.
In these shops, you will find both Arabic and Western chocolates. You can buy individual candy bars and packets to have as snacks during your flight. Or, you can purchase large gift boxes that you can share or keep all to yourself.
- AlBaba Sweets is among the shops you should visit at the airport. Their products have a sweet, authentic taste. They sell cakes, fresh dates, Baklawa, chocolates, and kunafa. This place is a pretty popular shop around Ramadan; people like to balance their sugar levels after a day of fasting.
- Also, try Al Nassma milk chocolate. These treats are made from local camel milk!
- Patchi Chocolate is another great choice. This luxury chocolate brand originated in Lebanon and currently gets distributed around the Middle East.
Dry fruits are a great healthy snack. Dates are particularly popular in the Middle East. These fruits are rich in carbs, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. Dates sold here in Dubai can be larger in size than you may be used to, but they are packed in high-quality boxes to wow shoppers. Make a tasty mix by combining dates with nuts. These delicious treats come at a reasonable price and make a great gift any loved one can enjoy.
In addition to our top five gifts, here are some other great options you have for souvenirs at Dubai International Airport:
- Makeup kits and other cosmetic products
- Arabic coffee
- Sunglasses and accessories
- Leather products
- Men’s and women’s fashion
- DVDs and CDs
- Children’s toys
What Makes the Dubai Airport a Great Place for Souvenirs?
Before you go on a shopping spree in Dubai malls and shops during your visit, consider saving your money until the day you are returning home. You can find some great buys at Dubai International Airport, where you can enjoy duty-free shopping at Dubai Duty Free (DDF) shops. It’s just as much a tourist attraction as some of the most popular Dubai spots!
In 1983, DDF opened an area within the airport where passengers can do this pre-flight shopping. It is now one of the world’s largest retailers when it comes to size and total sales. DDF sees revenue of about $2 billion a year, and its shops span about 34,000 sqm. DDF employs over 6,100 people.
What is duty-free shopping? This means that shoppers do not have to pay import fees or sales taxes when they shop in certain places. These shopping privileges occur within areas of international transport like the airport and on international flights to and from the Emirates.
The duty-free shops are located in all of the airport’s terminals. They’re open 24/7, so no matter when you are passing through for a flight or a layover, you have the chance to save some money, use up the remainder of your foreign currency, and find some great souvenirs to take home!
The benefit of shopping duty-free is that some items will be cheaper when you buy them in DDF shops. However, this is not the case with all items. Consider purchasing items like cigarettes and alcohol duty-free, because they do not have the import taxes added onto the sales price. Duty-free items you can buy include cigars, gold, watches and jewelry, perfumes and oud, leather products, and more.
You can find products from over a hundred brands, including the following:
- Pandora Jewelry
- Tom Ford
- Giorgio Armani
Should I buy this item duty-free in Dubai or in my home country? Do your research when waiting to buy certain items duty-free. You don’t want to buy something on an impulse and risk it being cheaper online or in other stores. You can visit the Dubai Duty Free website to take a look at their online store to get a preview of their products and prices. Compare these prices to those in your region before making a duty-free purchase.
In addition to tax-free shopping, you can also find many discounts and special offers when you shop at DDF. The specials will, of course, vary depending on the store you visit and the promotions they have at the time. Many great discounts were offered around the anniversary of DDF’s founding on December 20, 1983.
DDF shops are not only a great place for souvenirs, but for food and everyday travel essentials. Forgot your charger at the hotel? You can find one at one of these shops. You can find a bunch of other electronic devices, chocolates and dry fruits, makeup kits, and more. It’s like a full mall inside an airport—a great spot for a last-minute shop before your flight or to find something cool for a loved one back home.
Limitations to Duty-Free Shopping and Traveling
The airports and airlines put in place certain limitations when it comes to what you can purchase duty-free and how much you can travel back to your home country with. Check with your airline for information on how to determine what duty-free shopping bags will count as your carry-on items. You want to make sure you can bring your souvenirs onboard without having to pay more luggage fees.
You may also have to declare anything you are bringing into the country when you travel back home. There are restrictions on how much alcohol, cigarettes, and perfumes you can bring aboard. If you are ever unsure, ask the airport staff if certain things you have in your luggage need to be declared at the security checkpoint.
More Tips for Shopping Duty-Free at Dubai International Airport
Here are some extra tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping at DDF:
- Buy combo packs or saver packs to save money. DDF shops may have special offers when you buy items in bulk or buy items in a pair or group. Shop around to find the best deals.
- Travel when there’s a special event going on. Stores may offer discounts for holidays and other special occasions.
- Know your limits! Restrictions on items like alcohol and cigars will vary by country. Do your research so you can learn how much you can buy and legally take back to your home country.
Plan Your Dubai Trip
Dubai is a wonderful place to visit because it has a rich culture that will wow all of its visitors. From its beautiful architecture decked in gold to its aromatic oud, there are many great things to experience in Dubai. Make sure to wrap up your amazing trip with a fun duty-free shopping experience at Dubai International Airport. Arrive a few hours before your flight departs so you will have enough time to take it all in.
For more traveling tips for visiting Dubai, read more of our helpful guides like this. Build your itinerary now so you won’t miss a thing!