Umm Al Quwain might not be one of the most famous emirates in the United Arab Emirates, but it certainly has some hidden gems.
From outdoor activities to traditional Emirati culture, there are many reasons to visit, if only for a day.
Here are 10 top activities to try during your stay:
A once unknown location in the emirate, the picturesque spot in Khor Al Yeefrah is now being upgraded with thatched umbrellas, swings, a café and barbecue areas. There are kayaks to borrow to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the nature reserve around the emirate, and on weekends there is a DJ. There is a small entrance fee for cars, but the facilities and beautiful location make it a worthwhile excursion. It’s already a popular sunset picnic spot.
Escape to the Kite Beach Center, where Zanzibar meets Bali. This laid-back beach destination has the emirate’s first certified kitesurfing school. There are courses for all levels and all instructors are certified by the International Kiteboarding Organization. Admission is low (check website for current prices), but it’s a great place to spend the day soaking up the sun, as well as enjoying other water activities like snorkeling or kayaking. Guests can also sleep overnight or rent cabanas for four hours – but book in advance as it is high season.
This quirky concept uses only natural materials in the sand to create something closer to what would be found in the Flintstones than a traditional gym. Several pieces of wooden pieces of equipment make up this fun fitness center at the Kite Beach Center. Great place to hang out with friends and very Instagram ready, guaranteed to get some laughs, as well as challenges with giant wooden dumbbells, barbells and climbing poles among some of the adult-only “toys” on offer.
Thunder Road Pizza & Grill
We often speak of Dubai as the country’s gastro hub, but Thunder Road is an absolutely hidden gem. The Italian-run restaurant offers flavors that will take you to Italy, with dozens of homemade cheeses, pizza to die for and, to top it off, lovely sea views on the terrace. Their homemade burrata is a must. Located in the Barracuda Beach Resort, Italy meets the USA with a pool table and children’s playground, making a day trip along the coast well worth it. There is even a grocery store that sells authentic Italian goodies.
An abandoned plane
An abandoned Russian cargo plane has become an attraction on the coast of the small emirate. The Soviet-era plane lays in the sun next to the Barracuda Beach Resort, clearly visible from the E11 that leads to the hotel, which was once a popular airfield for skydivers. It’s been around for more than two decades. For aviation fans, it’s a fascinating place that was previously shrouded in mystery. Now we know the Ilyushin IL-76, also known by its NATO operating name “Candid”, which first flew for the Soviets in the 1970s as a replacement for the equally legendary Antonov 12. It was useful for remote areas of the Soviet Union as it could operate on unpaved runways. The model seen in Umm Al Quwain is a four-engine turbofan and was built for the Soviet Air Force in the 1970s. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, she found a new role as a charter and began operating in the United Arab Emirates in the late 1990s.
Coordinates: 25.580214, 55.652882 on Google Maps
Vida Beach Resort
The latest addition to Umm Al Quwain’s tourist scene is the Vida Beach Hotel, which allows pet owners to enjoy the emirate’s beautiful coastline without the hassle of finding a sitter. As one of many hotels to recognize the niche in the market for the growing number of staycationers in the country wanting to take their fur babies with them, the hotel is chic and as expected from Emaar, the attention to detail is impressive.
Umm Al Quwain Fort and Museum – Fort Al Ali
Turned into a museum, the fort is one of the emirate’s most prized assets and offers visitors a wealth of history. It is the oldest historical building in Umm Al Quwain and dates back to 1768 under the rule of Sheikh Rashid bin Majid Al Mualla, the founder of the Al Mualla royal family. The fortress began as a residence and venue for his government, but has stood as a memorial to the tiny emirate’s past since it opened as a museum in 2000. Visitors can see the old prison, armory, military chamber and many other living quarters, offering a glimpse into the design and construction techniques of an era that predates today’s modern UAE. The Falaj Mualla Museum and the Umm Al Quwain Center of Antiquities are also worth a trip for history buffs.
Hop on a boat from the coast to the island of Siniya east of Umm Al Quwain, where the eight kilometer long island offers a wonderful glimpse into the historical and natural beauty of the emirate. The residents of Umm Al Quwain settled on the island 200 years ago before moving to the mainland. Characterized by mangroves, ghaf trees and desert flora and fauna, visitors to the island can discover an abundance of nature – from birds such as the Socotra cormorant to the Arabian gazelle. There are also 65 different archaeological sites on the island, including tombs, structural remains, and towers.
As one of the oldest water parks in the region, Dreamland has become an institution. Established in 1997, the park spans 250,000 square feet and features more than 30 rides, slides, and attractions. This place is more than a water park – families can also camp overnight or rent an air-conditioned cabana for the day to enjoy the park’s landscaped gardens on the coast.
Labsah camel racetrack
One of the Emirates’ most classic traditions is camel racing, a popular activity among royals and non-royals alike. It offers a chance for locals to show off their prized possessions and is an experience like nothing else in the country. It’s a bit rougher than the Dubai World Cup, but this is where the more authentic side of the country shows. Races around the 4 km long track usually take place on weekends during the winter months.
Coordinates: 25 ° 25’42.8 “N 55 ° 43’42.1” E on Google Maps
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Updated: November 24, 2021, 11:46 am