Explore the emirates: 15 amazing things to do in Ras Al Khaimah

Heritage, adventure and so much more…

The northernmost emirate in the UAE, Ras Al Khaimah is as popular for its sandy beaches as it is for its rocky mountains. Besides the luxury resorts, you can also enjoy the day in the beautiful city where you’ll find rich culture and adrenaline-fueled adventures.

From the coolest activities to the rooftop bars with mountain views, here are amazing things to do in Ras Al Khaimah. 

Have some adrenaline-pumping fun at Jebel Jais


We can create a huge list of all the activities at this popular mountain peak alone. Jebel Jais is the highest mountain peak in the region and is home toa plethora of fun adventurous activities. There’s the popular Jais Sky Tour, Jais Flight, Jais Sledder, Jais Rope Course, and more. For those who want to learn to rough it out in the wild, there’s The Bear Grylls Explorers Camp (you can read our review here), or you could pick the “simpler” route and go hiking or just soak in the views at the Viewing Deck.


Take a hike at Wadi Shawka

One of the closest hiking spots to Dubai, Wadi Shawka is just an hour away. Shawka has several varied routes including paths great for beginners. You can choose from a quick ramble or make a day of it and include the Shawka pools, too. Whichever you pick you’ll enjoy impressive, panoramic views (aka several ‘Gram opportunities). Head to the Shawka Dam and either take the stairs directly to the summit or choose one of the trails, easily visible from the small parking area. The trails are well marked out, so you won’t get lost and it’s safe for families with children. It’s dog-friendly, too but keep them on a leash as you don’t want them to wander too far.

Banan Beach now at Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, is just an hour from Dubai where guests can enjoy a weekend away from the hustle and bustle in a place that looks (and feels) more like Santorini than RAK. The camp resort is set on a beautiful beach and features infinity pools, bars and restaurants, plus a self-cooking barbecue area. If you haven’t visited before, Al Marjan Island boasts crystal clear waters and pristine white sandy beaches, giving you all the European escape feels without the hassle of leaving the country. Read more here.

Banan Beach, Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)7 235 3566. bananbeach.com@bananbeach

Have an unforgettable dinner under the stars

Sonara RAK

When it comes to dining in the desert, no one can top the luxurious experience on offer at Sonara Camp Al Wadi. There are three offers to pick from: the sunset experience, the sunset and dinner experience, or you can opt for an experience with a chauffeur. Depending on what you pick, there are fun activities such as sandboarding, camel rides, live entertainment, a fire show and more. For little ones, there’s a movie under the stars, soft archery and even a kid’s menu.

Al Wadi Desert, Ras Al Khaimah, Adventure Center, The Ritz-Carlton, Tel: (0)50 336 7909. nara.ae

Tuck into the UAE’s highest afternoon tea

puro afternoon tea

Love afternoon tea? Well, this restaurant in the northern emirate will take your experience to new heights – literally. 1484 by Puro in Ras Al Khaimah is the highest restaurant in the UAE perched on the popular Jebel Jais mountains. How high up? Well, the restaurant is 1,484 metres high above sea level – hence the name. The restaurant has floor-to-ceiling glass windows so you will be able to soak in the views of the stunning Hajar mountains as you indulge.

1484 by Puro, Jais Adventure Park, Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)7 244 5018. puro.ae /@1484_puro_ae

Enjoy sips at Neo Sky Bar

Neo sky bar RAK

Ras al Khaimah’s first rooftop bar, Neo Sky Bar brags extraordinary 360-degree views of the twinkling city and the glistening ocean. Neo offers guests delicious light nibbles and Mediterranean-inspired meals with a selection of curated wines you can enjoy as you relax in the bar’s upbeat yet chilled atmosphere.

Neo Sky Bar, Movenpick Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)7 246 0134. movenpick.com

Float across the Ras Al Khaimah desert in a hot air balloon

We all love a hot air balloon tour which offers us a bird’s eye view of our beautiful country. And you can also soak in natural beauty at Ras Al Khaimah. ActionFlight will take guests on a sky-high tour of the rolling dunes, inviting desert lovers and adventure seekers to enjoy the sunrise from a soaring new vantage point. It includes complimentary transportation from anywhere within the emirate, with additional transfer options available from other emirates for an additional fee plus breakfast. If you’re looking for even more action, a bird of prey show featuring native Arabain falcons, owls, and hawks takes place afterwards.

To book your desert balloon ride, visit actionflight.ae

Pay a visit to Dhayah Fort

If you want a dose of heritage and history, a visit to Dhayah Fort is in order. It is the only hill fort remaining in the UAE and dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1600 to 1300BC). While visitors head to the fort now for the spectacular views, back then it was used by the locals for fortification. The monument is of historical importance and is the place where the battle between the British troops and local Qawasim tribes took place in 1819. If you’re visiting, better wear your comfy shoes as you’ll have to climb 239 zigzagging steps. In the end, though, you’re rewarded with those spectacular views of mountain ranges, palm trees and the lands of Oman. Want to learn more? You can get a great history lesson from the brochure here. At the base of the fort, visit the large Wadi Souq tombs which date between 2,000 to 1,300 BC.

Dhayah Fort, Al Rams, Ras al Khaimah, visitrasalkhaimah.com

Celebrate the emirate’s history at The National Museum

National Museum of RAK

Ras Al Khaimah is said to be one of the few places in history that have been continuously inhabited, making it one of the longest-settled places in the world. You can explore an impressive collection of artefacts at The National Museum which has been excavated from over 1000 individual archaeological sites and antiquities are scattered around the emirate. The ticket price is just Dhs5.

The National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hisn Road, Old Ras Al Khaimah, Tel: (0)7 233 3411. rakheritage.rak.ae

Soak in the sun at Flamingo Beach

Flamingo beach RAK

We know you’re probably asking ‘Is a beach worth the long drive to Ras Al Khaimah?’ especially given that there are so many beautiful beaches in Dubai. Well, since RAK is known for its abundance of nature and wildlife, you may be lucky to spot this colourful resident at the mangroves in Mina Al Arab which is just a stone’s throw away from this namesake beach. Keep your eyes open and if you may even spot a camel or two taking a dip in the waters. Head here at sunset to catch a vibrant sky or for a fun day at the beach with little ones. The warm waters are perfect for playtime or if the kids want to learn to swim.

Flamingo Beach, near clock roundabout on the way to Ras Al Khaimah City and Al Hamra 

Enjoy a peaceful walk in Al Rams

al rams

For a true getaway from the bustling cityscape, head to Al Rams. The area is one of the oldest coastal settlements in RAK  – home to the Tanaij tribe, overlooking Jebel Jais and Dhayah Fort on one side and the Arabian Gulf on the other. Go with a loved one or the family and see the protected date palms, natural sand bars and islands. For some more heritage, soak in the old village architecture or pay a visit to the local shops and markets and sip on strong traditional Arabic Coffee. The corniche is open every day, and access is complimentary.

Al Rams Corniche, Al Rams Road, RAK, open daily, free. visitrasalkhaimah.com 

Try something different

Visit the mysterious Al Qassimi Palace

Al Qasimi Palace

Well, okay… it probably isn’t as mysterious (read, spooky) anymore – not since the four-storey property has been ‘officially’ open to the public. Before this, the mysterious building lay vacant for 35 years and no one really knows why. It was rumoured that the family of the late Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Humaid Al Qasimi who it was built for, moved out after one night claiming the property was haunted. Inside you’ll venture around the 35 rooms, which have been designed with marble floors, glass chandeliers and a few peculiar artworks. There’s also a room with a huge pyramid structure that sits at the top of the mansion.

Al Qassimi Palace, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Road, Al Dhait North, Ras Al Khaimah, prices start from Dhs50. Tel: (0)52 828 2222. 

Images: Getty Images, Social and Visit Ras Al Khaimah