A historic beachside Emirate frequented by Dubai's weekend warriors.
DO A usually sleepy city by the sea, Ras al-Khaimah, or RAK City as it's fondly known, comes to life every weekend with scores of Dubaians setting out to enjoy the resort town’s private beaches and acres of infinity pools. Enjoy the same luxuries minus the crowds by visiting mid-week. Adventurous sorts will find plenty to do with windsurfing, diving and sailing hire available on the beach, as well as hiking trails twisting around nearby Jais Mountain. Also worth a visit is the ruins of Dhayah Fort, built in the 16th century and the last surviving stronghold of its kind.
EAT AND DRINK Dip into traditional Moroccan fare of authentic tagines with couscous and hearty pastillas at Casa Maghrib. Otherwise risk a few dirhams on one of the Mandi cafeterias that dot the side streets. Often nameless and without a written menu, they dish out tender tandoor-cooked Yemeni meat and rice pots with all the trimmings.
STAY Five-star resorts rule RAK, with the Waldorf Astoria, Rixos and Banyan Tree all offering their take on the all-inclusive dine, drink and beach package. When booking, avoid the manic peak period during Ramadan, when Dubai's expats escape the city to enjoy both relief from the heat and unrestricted drinking during the religious holiday
GET THERE Ras al-Khaimah is one-and-a half hours by car from Dubai.