Ras Al Khaimah’s beating heart, the Emirate’s historic Downtown area, is steeped in natural beauty, thanks to its three-kilometre-long waterfront promenade that sits aside a protected stretch of mangroves and is lined with luxury apartments, international restaurants and local cafés.
Corniche Al Qawasim is widely acknowledged as the most beautiful boulevard in the Northern Emirates and is a magnet for visitors on weekends, particularly families, walkers, cyclists and joggers. Young children adore the corniche’s many play areas, while water sports enthusiasts are well catered for with many outlets offering craft for hire.
The corniche boasts an impressive variety of restaurants, cafés and other dining hotspots ranging from the finest Middle Eastern and international cuisine to takeaway venues and ice cream outlets. The area really comes to life at night, with a buzz that is unique to Arabia’s most authentic and historic cities.
Corniche Al Qawasim is also home to two of Ras Al Khaimah’s most iconic tourist attractions. The RAK Eye is a grand 37-metre ferris wheel that offers extraordinary views over the Grand Mosque, the corniche, lush mangroves and the city’s skyline to the Arabian Gulf. With air-conditioned cabins and a selection of Middle Eastern and Western cuisine available to order, RAK Eye is a fantastic option for families and groups all year round.
Meanwhile, scaling a height of 120 metres, the mega RAK Flagpole has been synonymous with the Downtown area since it was first raised in December 1971 to mark the formation of the United Arab Emirates. The sheer volume of photographs taken by locals and visitors in front of this icon has established it among Ras Al Khaimah’s most popular Insta-worthy attractions.
A beach retreat in the heart of the city
One of Ras Al Khaimah’s most beautiful and popular beaches, Flamingo Beach is a favourite hangout for locals and visitors alike. Its calm, crystal-clear waters and shallow shoreline make it an ideal destination for families with young children, who flock to the beach on weekends.
The beach, which is situated between Ras Al Khaimah city centre and Al Hamra Village, takes its name from the stunning flamingos that populate the nearby mangroves in Mina Al Arab and wade through the shallow, salty waters of the Arabian Gulf. Wild camels have also been spotted on the beach, making for a unique and remarkable sight.
A popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, Flamingo Beach boasts a range of recreational facilities, including a floodlit beach volleyball court, while a selection of trendy cafés and eateries serve up delicious fare for breakfast, lunch and early dinner.
Located just off the Clock roundabout that leads from the main highway to Ras Al Khaimah City and Al Hamra, Flamingo Beach offers ample parking for those visiting by car.
Get your shop on!
Downtown Ras Al Khaimah is the ideal destination for some retail therapy. No trip to the city would be complete without visiting Manar Mall, one of RAK’s newest mega malls. Boasting an impressive waterfront location, Manar Mall is home to more than 120 retail outlets, including high street fashion stores, telecommunications outlets, banks, jewellery, home stores, a department store and a vast Carrefour supermarket.
The mall also offers plenty of options for families and younger visitors. Kids will love Tridom, the UAE’s largest covered play area that boasts an impressive indoor adventure park complete with the Middle East’s tallest, scream-inducing drop tower.
For film buffs, Novo Cinema offers Novo 3D, 7-star, IMAX, MX4D and Kidz experiences for all the family to enjoy. The MX4D® Motion EFX Theatre delivers the ultimate immersive experience, with moviegoers feeling the built-in motion from their MX4D® theatre seat, while their senses are delighted by the inclusion of wind, water and scent effects.
Popular accommodation options
Thanks to its central location, close to the emirate’s top attractions, Downtown Ras Al Khaimah is home to some of the emirate’s most popular hotels.
Offering spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf to the west and Suraya Islands and the Jebel Jais Mountain peak to the north, the award-winning Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Beach Resort boasts 1.5 kilometres of golden beachfront and features 471 guestrooms and villas, signature restaurants, three outdoor swimming pools, sports and watersports centres and a spa. It is an ideal family destination thanks to its dedicated Kidz Paradise kids’ club, which boasts its own swimming pool with funslide. Teens are also well served with their own dedicated club, which offers fun activities throughout the day. The hotel is located a short drive from the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah, as well as the city’s bustling souqs.
Located just a brief stroll from the bustling Ras Al Khaimah harbour, The Hilton Garden Inn boasts 240 well-appointed rooms with views across the creek or the city, two restaurants and a luxury swimming pool. As an added bonus, guests are provided complimentary access to the beach, pools and facilities of the nearby Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort. The Hilton Garden Inn is also a popular events venue, thanks to its large ballroom and four meeting rooms.
The Mediterranean-inspired Cove Rotana Resort ranks among Ras Al Khaimah’s largest resorts. The sprawling luxury destination features dozens of candyfloss-coloured villas situated around a series of manmade lagoons, with beautifully manicured gardens and hillside lanes that meander to the shores of the Arabian Gulf. Guests can choose from a selection of one-, two-, or three-bedroom villas, each with their own swimming pool, making it an ideal option for families and groups. Gastronomic options range from the all-day dining restaurant Cinnamon to the Mediterranean fine dining and Saturday brunch favourite, Basilico. In addition to a stunning, private 600-metre-long beach, the resort boasts two infinity pools, a kids pool, a luxury spa and a vast selection of water sports options.