A 1.5-hour drive from the city will bring you to scenic Hatta, and a view of the Hajar Mountains
Glamp in style
There’s a government initiative to make Hatta a hub of tourism over the next few years. Helping push things forward is trendy property developer Meraas Group, which recently opened the Sedr Trailers Resort, a unique luxury hotel made up
of kitted-out trailers in the Hajar Mountains. visithatta.com/en/sedr
Head out for a hike
Hatta’s undulating peaks lead into plenty of dry riverbeds, called wadi. Recently, 9km of hiking trails have been opened as part of the Hatta Hiking Project. These pass through the Hatta Heritage Village, farms, parks, dams and even a fruit and vegetable market. hattamtb.ae
Kayak in the dam
There are few experiences as picturesque as the kayak trip in the vast lake formed by the Hatta Dam, as the sun drops down over the Hajar Mountains. Kayaks are available to rent (from AED60 for single-rider kayaks; about P850), but there can be a queue on weekends. hattakayak.com
Picnic at Hatta Fort
Impossible to miss, this historic structure looms above most of the town. Built in 1896 and restored in 1995, Hatta Fort was once used for local defense. You can climb up the circular staircase to the top of the fort for views of the town, then picnic in the shade. It’s located at the highest point of the Hatta Heritage Village.
Explore Arabic heritage
The Hatta Heritage Village is designed to depict the area’s early rural life. You can roam between reconstructed traditional huts, peer into houses with life-sized dioramas and wander toward the historic Bait Al Wali. This sprawling house was once the space where the local ruler lived. visitdubai.com
Work up a sweat
Given its stunning landscape, Hatta is a popular spot for mountain biking. Regulars head straight for the Hatta Mountain Biking Trails (hattamtb.ae), which are free to ride. You can grab a bike from Adventure HQ at the new visitor center on Fridays and Saturdays, or snag a rental from Showka Bike (showka.bike), a 20-minute drive away.
Where else to stay … Pillow fort!
Linger a night — or some nights — at JA Hatta Fort Hotel, which offers 52 rooms and almost as many hosted activities. Guests can kayak, bike, zipline through the mountains, wall-climb, play mini golf, shoot airguns and more. jaresortshotels.com/dubai/ja-hatta-fort-hotel
This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of Smile magazine.