Surrounded by desert, sea and mountains, on holidays to Ras Al Khaimah you’ll have sunrise and sunset to yourself and dizzying adventure high up in the sky
A rare glimpse of the elusive Arabian oryx, Champagne dinners on white sands and trekking by Arabian horse through valleys and pools; Ras Al Khaimah holidays are for those inclined to discover lesser-known places. Imagine Middle Eastern style picnics on oriental rugs as you sink into oversized pillows on the beach, dune bashing out into the desert and kayaking through mangroves. This quieter emirate in the UAE has so far managed to keep its secrets away from the crowds but those in the know come here to go off-the-grid in blue skies luxury against a backdrop of dramatic Hajar Mountains.
You can tick off the crazy on holidays to Ras Al Khaimah – zip line on the Via Ferrata’s one kilometre sky high route, quad bike over rolling dunes and climb the highest mountain in the UAE, but equally you can star gaze through telescopes, discover how Arabian explorers navigated the terrain and fall asleep under the stars to the night sounds of the desert. We love this part of the world for its mystique, romance and solitude – scorching days, cooler nights and unabashed indulgence.
The beaches are a dream – miles of white sand sloping into brilliant blue seas, nomadic life of years gone by can be found in abandoned ghost towns home to perfectly preserved 14th-Century buildings, and frenetic souks, early morning fish markets and unique mosques ascertain where you are in the world. Just an hour’s drive from Dubai this under-the-radar emirate is making shapes to become a rather a special place.
Best time to visit Ras Al Khaimah
The United Arab Emirates are warm all year round, but the best time to visit is from November to March when the average maximum temperature is 25°C. May to September are the hottest months, when temperatures often exceed 40°C.
Ras Al Khaimah holiday highlights
Hike Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the United Arab Emirates, follow the trails to peace and tranquillity in the Hajar Mountains and chase the sun on a dune bashing tour through the terracotta desert. The newest addition to sky-high thrills is the longest zip line in the world where you can fly through mountains at peaks of 300 metres or you can keep your feet firmly on the ground and explore the dust covered pearl fishing village of Jazirah Al Hamra just south of the city where you’ll find 14th-Century houses abandoned long ago in a ghost town that’s supposedly haunted. There are plenty of scuba diving opportunities among over 700 species of fish – sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to spot a whale or rare green turtle – sunset cruises by catamaran or yacht and candlelit restaurants overlooking the beach.
Where is Ras Al Khaimah?
Bordering the Kingdom of Oman, Ras Al Khaimah is the northern most emirate in the UAE and the fourth largest, about an hour’s drive from Dubai.
Getting around Ras Al Khaimah
The coastline stretches some 35 miles and as hotels, restaurants and attractions are quite spread out car hire is the most convenient way to get around. Parking is also free. Taxis are readily available and inexpensive.
Food and drink
Arabic cafes, shisha, lavish hotel restaurants on the beach and local dining on the Corniche, there’s plenty to indulge in. Expect Indian, Lebanese and Turkish influences, fresh seafood platters and a very intriguing camel’s milk ice cream. You’ll find authentic Moroccan restaurants, glamorous New York-style steakhouses and world-class sushi menus.