Head for the 'Highlands of Dubai' this winter and discover all that there is on offer at the mountain town of Hatta
A meandering 90-minute drive from Dubai through the Hajar Mountains leads you to the charming village of Hatta. A popular weekend getaway among UAE residents – and a must-see for visitors – this picturesque mountain town, near the border of Oman, is known for its stunning landscapes, outdoor adventures and cultural avenues.
Against the backdrop of the rugged mountains, lush wadis with natural rock pools and a serene reservoir, Hatta offers a host of opportunities to experience its all-encompassing offerings. From tackling the craggy terrain on a mountain bike to navigating the teal waters by kayak, there's plenty to keep everyone entertained.
Soak up the sights
One of the best ways to make the most of Hatta's picturesque setting is a hike through the hills. Take in the varied terrain while trekking along the winding wadis at the foothills of the Hajar Mountains. There are several photo opportunities along the route, as well as the possibility of wildlife sightings. If you're lucky, you might spot the elusive Arabian sand cat. And you can end your hike with a dip in one of the natural rock pools.
The Hatta Dam is another sight to behold, with its calm turquoise waters set against the rough-hewn mountains. Take the road up from the car park to the main viewpoint, where you will also see a mural on the dam wall depicting the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Outdoor enthusiasts can tackle the trails of Hatta on a mountain bike. Suitable for beginners and advanced riders, the 52-kilometre Hatta Mountain Bike Trail is open to everyone and has plenty of markers along the route to help riders safely navigate their way through the wadis.
While swimming isn't permitted at Hatta Dam, visitors can rent kayaks or paddle boats to experience the vast Hatta Lake. This is also one of the best ways to view areas of the dam that cannot be seen from the main viewpoint and venture into curved passageways hidden behind the mountains, where fish inhabit that waters and birds can be found close to the surface looking for fresh catch.
For more action and adventure, Hatta Wadi Hub (open only during the winter months), offers a range of free and paid activities, including archery, axe throwing, four-wheel electric offroading, horseback riding, rock climbing, ziplining past the dramatic mountain scenery, an adventure ropes course as well as daring water slides.
Immerse in the local culture
The sprawling Hatta Heritage Village recreates the town as it was decades ago. Housed in a beautifully restored fort, it features a majlis and a traditional courtyard and is dotted with palm trees. Among the displays are local handicrafts, weaponry, traditional dresses, products made of palm trees and handwoven items that illustrate the past.
More to come
While Hatta is already a renowned hotspot, there will soon be even more on offer. The town was recently rebranded as the Highlands of Dubai, with plans to develop an all-season beach, a lagoon, a chairlift system, a waterfalls project as well as an enhanced public transport network.