Ras Al Khaimah

A real-life desert oasis, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is a paradise for nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike. Swim with dolphins in the crystal-clear waters, kayak through lagoons filled with wild flamingos, explore some of the world’s oldest ruins, and venture up the highest peak in the UAE – or simply soak up the Arabian sunshine by the side of a pool. While most tourists flock to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah is fast becoming the rising star of the UAE. This charming emirate has been the seat of civilization for centuries, and you can still explore antique buildings alongside modern creations such as vast malls and family-friendly waterparks. The city of RAK is ringed by the jagged Hajar Mountains and, at 1934m, Jebel Jais is the crown jewel – the highest summit in the entire UAE and a constant draw for hikers and climbers looking to reach its peak. From the top of Jebel Jais, you can see all the way to Oman, across a dramatic landscape of cliffs, dunes and desert. The burgeoning tourist trade has seen the arrival of a number of five-star hotels and waterparks such as Ice Land, as well as family friendly resorts and pristine public beaches. However, the emirate is still loyal to its roots, with traditional Arabian markets, rowdy camel races and desert camping trips all playing a part in local life. A schedule of regular events means that there is always something to do; with fixtures such as the annual Ras Half Marathon and the three-week long Awafi Festival which covers events such as dune racing. With a wealth of traditional activities, cultural sites, and dazzling beaches, it’s no wonder that RAK is being described as the New Dubai.