When you think about holidays in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you think Dubai and Abu Dhabi, right? Dubai has become the jewel in the crown of the UAE, and it is not hard to see why. It ticks a lot of holiday boxes: sunshine, stunning beaches, fantastic shops, luxury hotels, and plenty of family activities. Abu Dhabi has similar attractions, and since Carrie and the girls visited the capital in Sex and the City 2, it is become a holiday hotspot. If you are keen to try something a little bit different, take a look into Ras Al Khaimah holidays. This dazzling city is one of the lesser-known emirates and has not received the credit it deserves as a fantastic holiday destination. For those of you who know little about this picturesque region, we have put together five reasons you should visit Ras Al Khaimah in 2019.
Stunning Beach Resorts
For holidaymakers seeking a bit of traditional sun, sea, and sand, Ras Al Khaimah has a lot to offer. The UAE is renowned for luxury and opulence, and Ras Al Khaimah is no exception. If you are looking for a luxury beach resort, you are spoilt for choice. Marjan Island offers expansive stretches of beautiful sand and a range of impressive hotels. For true beach lovers, Al Hamra could be a perfect choice. It is right on the beach and offers plenty of activities to keep you busy if you venture beyond the sand, including a waterpark, shops and an 18-hole championship golf course. The options are almost endless, so whether you are traveling solo, with the family or as a couple, you will find a luxury beach resort for you.
Temperatures range from pleasant to hot, so it is a great year-round choice for a beach holiday. Many people choose to visit in the winter when temperatures are perfect for a day at the beach, but do not reach the scorching heights of the summer months.
Ras Al Khaimah is a relatively undiscovered holiday destination (we doubt it will be for much longer!), so it is a great choice if you are keen to escape the crowds. Whichever resort hotel you pick, you will be spoiled with long stretches of private beach and warm crystal clear water and some resorts even have natural lagoons to boot! If you want to do more than lounge on the beach, many resorts provide a dizzying array of watersports and activities.
Impressive Culture and History
Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is historically known as Julfar and is one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE. People have settled in the region for 7,000 years, so it is steeped in rich history and culture. For culture vultures and history buffs, there is plenty to keep you entertained beyond the beach.
The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, located in the city, has a series of galleries exhibiting archaeological and historical artefacts. The building itself has a long and varied history, having originally been built as a fort for the ruling Quwasim family between British attacks in 1809 and 1819. It was converted into the museum in 1987 and remains a historically significant part of the city. It costs just AED 5 to enter and all information is presented in both Arabic and English.
Jazirah Al Hamra is an abandoned village located to the south of the city. Locals believe the 14th Century mosque to be haunted by “jinns” or spirit creatures. The village is often overlooked by tourists, but makes a unique day out for archaeology enthusiasts. The buildings have a striking orange colour and often attract both amateur and professional photographers.
Why not combine history with a bit of pampering? Khatt is a small village to the south of the city renowned for its thermal springs. The springs are now run by the Khatt Hotel, which offers a range of spa treatments. The desert setting is quite spectacular and there are numerous archaeological sites to explore nearby, including prehistoric tombs and 19th-century forts.
We have barely scratched the surface of all the region has to offer history lovers. If you want to add some culture to your beach holiday, Ras Al Khaimah will keep you coming back for more.
For adrenaline junkies, Ras Al Khaimah is a playground full of possibilities. Via Ferrata, or “iron path”, is a must-do activity for thrill-seekers. A professional instructor will guide you along a 1 km stretch of a spectacular mountain route. You will be given a ferrata kit and every one to ten meters, you will need to secure yourself to a steel cable that runs along the route, which peaks at 120 meters. There are three zip lines to navigate and various steps and ladders. It is four hours of pure exhilaration and adventure!
Fancy a record-breaking experience during your Ras Al Khaimah holiday? The longest zip line in the world opened in Jebel Jais in February 2018. Standing at 1,930 metres high, Jebel Jais is the highest peak in the UAE. Here, thrill-seekers can enjoy a double whammy of length (longer than 28 football fields) and height! The zip line can accommodate only 250 people per day, so it is a good idea to book in advance online.
For those who want some adventure, but are not quite brave enough for such extremes, or perhaps have children in tow, there is a wide range of activities on offer at the many beach resorts. Why not hire a jet ski or try your hand at kayaking? There is also the Iceland Water Park, the biggest waterpark in the UAE, and RAK Track Go Karting — fun for adults and children alike!
Breathtaking Desert Adventures
There are numerous overnight camps offering amazing desert experiences, which are equally suited to families, solo travelers and couples. Stay in a luxury tent and watch the wildlife go by before enjoying a spot of stargazing. Light pollution is almost non-existent here, so you are guaranteed to see the constellations in their full glory.
The desert wildlife in Ras Al Khaimah is unique to the region. See if the kids can spot an exceptionally rare Arabian oryx! If your holiday schedule is jam-packed and you do not want to commit to an overnight desert safari, you can choose a four-hour excursion. There is a range of optional extras you can add to tailor your experience, from adding a BBQ dinner for the family to trying your hand at sandboarding — much like surfing but on sand!
A Fabulous Location
Ras-Al Khaimah is only an hour’s drive from Dubai Airport, making it easily accessible and a great destination for both short and long breaks. There is a range of options for making your connection, from car hire to renting a taxi or taking the bus. If you rent a car, you will have the freedom to explore beyond your final destination. Why not stay a night or two in Dubai and enjoy city life before heading to the beach? Many of the desert safaris depart from Dubai and there are countless trip excursions to choose from. Explore the stunning Musandam peninsula on a full-day cruise or take a private tour of Khasab city and enjoy the panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf.
There is so much to see and do in and around Ras Al Khaimah. Whether your idea of a perfect holiday is relaxing on the beach and soaking up the sun, or you are looking to take the kids to a giant water park or experience the thrill of a via ferrata tour, there is something for everyone in a Ras Al Khaimah holiday. Try something new this year and book a trip to the UAE’s rising star.