With its diverse landscapes, striking historic monuments, unique cultural landmarks, and dramatic sunsets, Ras Al Khaimah is arguably the most photogenic destination in the UAE.

Whether you’re a professional photographer or a visitor looking to fill your Insta feed with stunning snaps to impress your followers, the emirate is packed with spots to get that perfect shot.

Here, we take you on a photo journey across Ras Al Khaimah, highlighting the picture-perfect opportunities you won’t want to miss.


Go to great heights

To capture the full majesty of Ras Al Khaimah’s mixed terrain, get an aerial perspective. One option is to hop on board a hot air balloon for panoramic views of the emirate as far as the eye can see. ActionFlight operates daily sunrise flights, launching from various locations across the emirate depending on the wind conditions of the day. Expect to fly over the illuminated terracotta dunes, dense mangroves, the craggy mountains and weather dependent, the Arabian Gulf coastline with its turquoise waters, meaning you’ll spend the entire 45-minute flight snapping!

If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, jump in the car and drive up the UAE’s tallest peak, Jebel Jais. A perfect vantage point for photographers, influencers and bragging tourists, Jebel Jais Viewing Deck Park, located 1,250 metres above sea level, just shy of the summit, presents plenty of places to get that shot. With the park straddling the main road, one side of the park presents views across the rocky terrain and out to the Ras Al Khaimah coast, and on the other, an endless mountain-scape unfolds. Hang around until 17.30 to capture multiple shots as the sun sets, casting dramatic shadows and a kaleidoscope of colours.

Mountainside moments

Climb a little higher on Jebel Jais and there are plenty more spots to get that perfect shot, with mountain-top restaurant 1484 by Puro, definitely one of them. Named after its exact height – 1,484 metres above the Arabian Gulf – this is a spectacular location to dine and get the moment on film. Book a table on the outdoor terrace where the view is rugged peak after rugged peak. Position yourself, your friends or your meal in the shot, with the mountains as your backdrop and watch the likes pop up one after one almost as soon as you post on your feed!

Zoom in and you might just get a glimpse of the thrilled smiles on the faces of those riding Jais Sledder, a wild mountain toboggan run located opposite the restaurant that snakes for 1,840 metres around the Hajar Mountains at speeds of up to 40kph.


Awesome architecture

From centuries-old monuments to modern feats of engineering, wind towers to Bedouin tents, Ras Al Khaimah is the place to photograph structures old and new from all angles.

If you are short of time, the one landmark you must immortalise on camera is the golden-walled Dhayah Fort – a prospective UNESCO World Heritage Site given it’s the only remaining hill fort in the UAE. Take snaps before you climb to the top to ensure you capture its twin peaks and sandy yellow bricks in all their glory. Then zip up the 239 steps for 360-degree views of the mountains and palm trees that envelope this historic site.

Not too far away on Corniche Al Qawasim, a 3km-long coastal boulevard nestled between the mangroves and the mountains and lined with luxury apartments, you can get into frame the juxtaposition of modern architecture and nature. And then turn your attention to two impressive manmade monuments – the 120-metre flagpole raised by the country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to celebrate the formation of the UAE, and the 37-metre Ferris wheel known as the RAK Eye.

Dreamy desertscapes

To encapsulate the real essence of Ras Al Khaimah, immerse yourself in the depths of the desert, surrounded by contoured dunes, cast by dramatic shadows and the emirate’s signature red sand.

Get amongst the peaks and troughs with the clear blue sky as a magnificent contrast.

To give visual and cultural perspective, bring some indigenous animals into the mix such as wild camels, the rare oryx, and the occasional lone donkey, all of which can be spotted if you base yourself at Bassata Bedouin Camp and Desert Village. An enclave in the dunes, the Bedouin way of life is preserved here too, presenting photographic moments that are bursting with authenticity, from Arabian fireside feasts to traditional dancers.

Another option is the Sonara Camp Al Wadi, set in the nature reserve at The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert. This hideaway is surrounded by the beauty of the Arabian wilderness where Oryx, Gazelles and the elusive Arabian Red Fox roam, but there’s a chance to get some action shots too – of lively camp activities that range from camel rides to sandboarding, volleyball to falcon shows, live music to archery.


Spectacular sunsets

Some of Ras Al Khaimah’s best sunsets can be photographed from the beach. You can grab a sunbed and a cocktail and savour the moment, capturing the many colours of the rainbow as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon, casting all the colours of the rainbow across the tranquil waters of the Arabian Gulf.

At Cove Rotana Resort, a hotel with an extraordinary hillside location, the top spot to snap this spectacle is at a beachside venue with a name that says it all – the Sunset Bar. Located by the resort’s upper pool, you can relax and sip on iced drinks, juices and cocktails and enjoy nature’s daily show.

Or grab a beanbag on the beach at InterContinental Ras Al Khaimah Mina Al Arab Resort & Spa for uninterrupted sunset views. If visiting with friends or family, pop them on the beach swings to provide some context and the all-important human happiness factor.

Nature’s way

Ras Al Khaimah’s beaches are also teeming with photogenic nature and wildlife, particularly when there are dense and gnarly mangroves involved, because this is where the emirate’s most colourful resident, The Greater Flamingo hangs out, enjoying nothing more than wading through the shallow and salty Gulf waters.

Spot these two-legged stunners near Mina Al Arab or at Flamingo Beach, which as the name reveals, is home to this magnificent creature. Zoom in to capture their curved bills (beaks) and resplendent powder-pink plumage and you might even spot their little grey chicks. This public beach, another sunset hotspot, is located near Al Hamra Village.

Or head further north to Al Rams Beach and Saraya Island where camels roam the islands and sandbars and the mountain views are spectacular. On rare occasions, a pink lake appears on the shores, a phenomenon known as a sabkha – a coastal sandflat where saline minerals accumulate causing red algae to feed on the magnesium-rich nutrients. This bloom doesn’t last for long but is a photographic moment you won’t forget in a hurry.


Secret spots:

Khatt Village: Tucked away in the mountains and surrounded by lush palms, pretty Khatt Village is home to prehistoric stone tombs, not to mention the 1880 Burj al Naqbi tower and a mud-brick tower. If you’re up for hiking or visiting by four-wheel drive, more photo opportunities await – the mountain moonscapes with ancient craters and ravines.


Wadi Shawka: A seasonal riverbed in the Hajar mountain range that’s famous for its dam, and popular for cycling, hiking and more, Wadi Shawka (‘powerful valley’) is a beauty spot running from the village of Khari. Follow the wadi for snaps of ancient settlements, the odd mountain goat and of course, the unique geology, which holds secrets from seven Millennia ago.


Jebel Yanas: Ras Al Khaimah’s second, lesser-known mountain, Jebel Yanas, offers stunning views, but unlike Jebel Jais, with its smooth, world-class asphalt road, is unpaved, so only visit if you have a four-wheel drive and an intrepid spirit. The start of the road is around 20km from the centre of Ras Al Khaimah.

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