With magnificent landscapes and over 7,000 years of fascinating history and culture, Ras Al Khaimah – the northern-most emirate of the United Arab Emirates – is a relaxing, engaging and reinvigorating getaway.
Visitors can soak up near year-round sunshine against spectacular backdrops — from breathtaking coastlines, lush mangrove forests, rich terracotta desert and fertile green oases to the awe-inspiring vistas of the stark Hajar mountains, including the country’s highest peak – Jebel Jais – where temperatures are around 10 degrees lower than the UAE norm.
The myriad of landscapes offers up a host of activities for all interests and all ages with water sports, family and luxury beach resorts and waterfront golf along the emirate’s 64 kilometres of white, sandy beaches. There’s kayaking through the mangrove forests with hidden bird and marine life. The adventure of a desert safari tackling huge dunes, camel and horse-back riding tours take in the emirate’s ancient and intriguing heritage and culture, including its passion for local cuisine and adrenalin-packed hiking, trekking, cycling and zip lining across the ravines of Jebel Jais, which rises to just short of 2,000 metres above sea level. Visitors also have a wide choice of accommodation – from ultra-luxurious beach resorts managed by some of the most notable names in hospitality to family-friendly city and beach resorts, city centre properties and resorts for the more laid-back adventure seekers.
You’ll also be able to taste local food throughout the emirate – from the luxury of hotel restaurants to the abundance of local cafes and food stalls. For a more ‘traditional’ dining experience, head to Al-Fanar Restaurant & Cafe, where the ambience resembles that of an Emirati family home in the 1930s with a pure UAE menu. Round off the meal with a stop at Ras Al Khaimah’s oldest ice-cream shop Ashuk, renowned for its signature creamy dessert packed with fruits. Don’t miss the chance to sip local tea ‘karak’ from one of the tea and coffee stalls.
Seafood restaurants are also available in abundance – with the catch having been fished just hours before from Ras Al Khaimah shores – though meat dishes, predominantly goat and mutton, also make appearances in the traditional family restaurants.
You can also live the ultimate desert experience in Ras Al Khaimah. Enjoy a wide range of traditional Arabic activities with dune bashing, belly dancers, Arabic Tanoura, camel riding as well as Arabic barbecue. Desert camps also provide facilities to experience an overnight stay for those who wish to camp under the stars.
If you enjoy mountains and cycling, spend a day mountain biking on the UAE’s highest mountain, Jebel Jais, and take part in a guided hikes with three adrenaline-filled ziplines with the Via Ferrata experience. Jebel Jais is also home to the world’s longest zipline, Jebel Jais Flight – an exhilarating experience to definitely tick off your bucket list. You will soar with unparalleled speed over the UAE’s highest mountain peak and land on a transparent platform that will be suspended completely in air. The Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park is perfect for those looking for a more laidback experience. With several viewing platforms, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the majestic Hajar Mountains.
Much of Ras Al Khaimah’s popularity also comes from the ease with which it can be reached. By road, Ras Al Khaimah is a mere 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Visitors from Dubai can also reach Ras Al Khaimah within 25 minutes via the Seawings sea plane service. Meanwhile, an increasing number of charter operators are now flying into the easy-to-navigate RAK airport.