A mini weekend getaway or just a long drive to Hatta will take you to a side of Dubai that is made up of picturesque mountain ranges, natural and man-made wadis and trekking trails.
Rich in culture and with ample opportunities for some adventure sports, Hatta truly is a welcome escape from the busy city life. A must-see that so many visitors miss off their Dubai itinerary, let’s see why you should make at least a day trip for an overnight stop in Hatta.
- Hatta: Where Is It, And What’s There?
- Top Things To Do In Hatta
- Where to Stay in Hatta
- Where To Dine In Hatta
- How to Get to Hatta From Dubai
- New Attractions coming to Hatta in 2023 and beyond
- More frequently asked questions about visiting Hatta, Dubai
Hatta: Where Is It, And What’s There?
There are seven emirates that form the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Hatta is part of the Dubai emirate, even though it is not located within the city’s main boundaries.
It sits close to the border of Oman, along the stunning Hajar Mountains, and is less than a 2-hour drive away from Dubai. It’s technically an enclave as you pass through the emirate of Sharjah to reach the township of Hatta.
Due to its location and natural landscape, the place benefits from cooler weather temperatures compared to other parts of the country.
Although it may not feel any different during the hot summer months, the winters surely feel cold. It is advisable to pack warm jackets and sweaters if trekking up the mountains or camping overnight in winter.
Navigating your way around Hatta’s highlights
Top Things To Do In Hatta
Hatta is a bucket-list destination with so many options when it comes to activities for nature lovers. Here are a few top picks for you:
Hatta for Adventure-lovers
1. Hatta Wadi Hub
This is the perfect escape for adventure seekers looking for a wide range of experiences to try out. Choose from Downhill Carting, Zorbing, a human slingshot, Axe throwing, Archery, Free-fall jumps, Adventure Rope courses, Wall climbing or Trampolining.
New experiences continue to get added, and some of the newest include an inflatable obstacle course and a four-wheel off-road electric scooter experience.
Prices vary depending on the experience chosen, and the centre opens only from October until May 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Learn more here.
2. Hatta Kayak
This water sport is an unforgettable opportunity to explore the stunning lake formed by Hatta Dam. You can hire a kayak, pedal boat or water bike, as you enjoy a relaxed afternoon on the quiet waters, surrounded by jagged mountain creeks.
Rental prices start at AED 60, and it is advisable to check their website for up-to-date information about age restrictions and their seasonal opening timings. Learn more here.
There’s nothing more thrilling than getting strapped in and taking in the beautiful Hatta scenery from the air. The paragliding experience will have you soaring 500 feet above Hatta’s rocky mountains. The experience is available for anyone aged above 18, while under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult.
Paragliding is available between 10: 00 AM to 6:00 PM during the winter season, costs AED 650 for a 15-minute flight, and requires pre-booking. Learn more here.
4. Mountain Biking
Home to the Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre, it is the best spot to explore the rugged landscape on two wheels. With 50-kilometre of biking trails covering different terrains and distances, there’s a trail for every rider, catering to all levels of ability. You can bring your own bike or rent a mountain bike at the Hatta Wadi Hub.
The Hatta Trails are open all year round and free to ride. Parking for your car is available for free. Learn more here.
5. Horseback riding
Enjoy a tranquil and memorable experience with a horseback ride at Hatta Horses. Enjoy the sights of Hatta as you trail across lakes and mountain foothills or venture into the wilderness in the company of an Arabian horse. Everyone is welcome here, regardless of whether you’ve never been on a horse before or are a child.
Rides take place during the winter months, start at AED 100/hour, and need to be pre-booked. Learn more here.
6. Hatta Hiking
One of the best free activities in Dubai is to take on the hiking trails around Hatta. There are now over 32 kilometres of defined hiking trails around Hatta. These have been broken up into various different sections to help hikers choose the correct terrain for their ability level.
Map courtesy of Visithatta.com
Exploring Hatta – Nature & Culture
If adrenaline sports aren’t for you, or perhaps you’re travelling with young kids or elderly parents, there’s still plenty more to see and do in Hatta.
In the style of the iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign, the Hatta sign proudly sits atop the mountains of Hatta. Almost 60 meters tall, the sign is visible upon entry and also lights up at night. You can also take a 30-minute trek from Hatta Wadi Hub to reach the sign and take some memorable photos.
Hatta Honeybee Discovery Centre
Wear bright yellow beekeeper suits and experience this unique attraction as you learn about the importance of bees to our environment. Get up close to a hive filled with thousand of bees, and explore the Bee museum, where you learn about their sustainable beekeeping practices and purchase delicious fresh honey. There’s even a children’s outdoor play area and an organic cafe on-site.
Tickets start from AED 50 and are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Learn more at hattahoney.ae.
Hatta Swan Lake
Situated close to the Heritage village, this large pond attracts several local birds. A wonderful place to do some bird watching, relax with family and friends and have a picnic.
Entry to Swan Lake is free and open 24 hours a day.
Built in 1896, and fully restored in 1995, Hatta Fort is one of the most significant architectural monuments in the UAE. A residence and defence facility with a large internal courtyard and an 11m-high watchtower, it is made of mountain stones and mud bricks, while the ceiling is constructed using palm fronds, trunks and mud.
Hatta Hill Park
As the name suggests, this is a park located over a mountain. Opened in 2004, the park is popular with families getting together for picnics and barbecues. With a beautiful landscape and vibrant greenery, the park also includes a kid’s play area, running tracks, sports field and even a tower at the topmost point of the mountain, offering great vantage points of the surrounding scenery.
Entry is free and open between 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM.
Hatta Heritage Village
Take a step back in time and explore this restored traditional village that dates back 3000 years.
Imagine what life must have been like as you walk past reconstructed stone houses, overlooked by watchtowers and a fort, look through old photographs and learn about their agricultural practices and Arab culture.
Close by is a palm tree farm known as the Al Sharia site, where you can learn about the Falaj system traditionally used to irrigate farms. The falaj water system here, which dates back to the 1800s, was used to bring fresh water from the mountains and supply it to the local residents and date farms in the heart of Hatta Village.
Entry to Hatta Heritage Village is free, and operating hours are: Saturday- Thursday: 7:30 AM till 8:30 PM & Fridays: 2:30 PM till 8:30 PM
Where to Stay in Hatta
What level of luxury do you need? Hatta can pretty much cover the lot so let’s take a look around (noting that weekends in the winter here book up FAST!)
Camping in Hatta
There’s no better way to connect with nature, enjoy the splendour of Hatta’s landscape and get in touch with your wild side than to pitch your own tent at Hatta’s dedicated campsite.
Whether choosing to stay in a tent or your own caravan, the Hatta Campsite grounds are a perfect spot for settling down under the stars.
It is closely accessible to Hatta Wadi Hub, where various adventure activities are on offer, and just in case your BBQ is taking time to get started, there are also a few food trucks around to grab a quick bite.
Get in fast for weekends as there are only 18 camping pitches available with a max occupancy of 5 per family. There are also 13 BYO caravan berths. Water is available to connect, but no mains power or sewerage; you’ll need to use the shared facilities.
Glamping in Hatta
Glamping in a true specialty offer of Hatta, Dubai. An experience that absolutely needs to be on a Dubai itinerary. Visitors can get close to nature without letting go of their Wi-fi connection and plumbed-in toilets.
Hatta has recently included glamping trailers, domes, and lodges dotted around the scenic Hajar mountains, where you can experience the Bedouin lifestyle with comfortable and modern living. All include amenities such as TV, free Wi-fi, and washrooms, while most also include housekeeping.
Hatta Caravan Park
This is the region’s first luxury caravan park, complete with luxurious caravans that can be rented for a short stay and can comfortably accommodate a family of four, five or six. The caravan park usually operates during the cooler months only between October to April.
You have three different vans to choose from:
- Deluxe Campers (max 2 adults, 2 kids)
- Executive Camper (max 2 adults, 3 kids)
- Executive Camper Plus (max 2 adults, 4 kids)
All offer guests an ensuite bathroom and cooking amenities in your van, as well as access to a fire pit.
Hatta Dome Park
A glamping park with 15 dome-shaped luxury tents, perfect for a family of four. The dome tents come with 40 square metres of accommodation space and include outdoor space for a private barbecue and a fire pit.
Nestled on rocky terrain, these domes offer uninterrupted panoramic views of the Hajar Mountains during the day and an escape under the stars at night.
Damani Lodges Resort
Perched along low-lying mountain tops, these purpose-built lodges provide a cosy place to get close to nature. The simple lodges can sleep two adults as well as a family of four and come with a private terrace to enjoy the amazing mountain views.
Overlooking the Hatta Wadi Hub activity park, you can even order your meals directly to your lodge from any of the on-site dining options.
Sedr Trailers Resort
This is a campers park built out of 13 airstream trailers, for experiencing ‘trailer-hotel’ style glamping. These silver trailers have everything a family of four could need, along with a private outdoor terrace area and a communal fire pit.
You can choose to grill your own BBQ or order take-out from on-site food trucks. Located by the banks of the breathtaking Hatta Dam, this place is so remote that you’ll need a 4X4 vehicle to get there.
Resorts and Farmhouses in Hatta
If comfort is key, Hatta has a few options that ensure you have a pleasant time without any compromise on the breathtaking mountain views. Perfect for exploring what Hatta has to offer while treating yourself to a relaxing staycation.
JA Hatta Fort
This resort has been around since the 1980s, and has undergone a modern transformation to achieve its four stars. The views of the majestic mountains against the resort’s lush lawns look impressive as you stand on your private balcony from either your room or three-bedroom chalet.
There are so many activity options here, with everything from mini-golf, petanque and archery to air-gun shooting, a zip line, swimming pools and even a maze.
Relax at their spa & wellness centre, play at their indoor recreation centre and even interact with the resident animals which include deer, ponies, bunnies, tortoises and exotic birds.
Sunrise Farmhouse Hatta
A secret little farmhouse with quaint rustic interiors, an elevated swimming pool and outdoor terrace space hidden amongst the mountain landscape of Hatta. Inside, the farmhouse can comfortably accommodate up to six people, and outside during the cooler weather, you can warm up around a fire pit under the stars.
To learn more email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Palm House Hatta
A farmhouse surrounded by palm trees, where the modern and traditional seamlessly blends together. Perfect for a large family or a group of friends, this farmhouse has four bedrooms, a centrally-located pool, kitchen and dining areas, and a games room. Contact via WhatsApp only.
Other farmhouses suitable for large families and groups of friends include:
Where To Dine In Hatta
There are various local food trucks and restaurant options to dine at when staying at Hatta.
Some of the popular food trucks located in tourist spots offering good food and unmissable views of the Hatta horizon include Sedr Bites, Damani Bites, Alberi Cafe, serving hot and cold brews, Doner Race Sandwich for Shawarmas and Adrina serving Italian.
For a taste of Arabian and local Emirati cuisine that serves hearty authentic local dishes and is usually popular among meat lovers, head over to Tanoor Lahm restaurant or Al Hajarian restaurant, located at the Hatta Heritage Village.
The Yamm Cafe at Hatta Wadi Park is a popular place for Arabic breakfast and local red tea.
If you are looking for a luxury dining experience with an extensive a la carte menu and buffet-style dining options, try the restaurant’s Cafe Gazebo and Jeema at JA Hatta Fort Hotel.
How to Get to Hatta From Dubai
Private transport to Hatta
Hatta is the ideal destination for renting a car in Dubai and self-driving.
If travelling from the city of Dubai, you need to take the Sharjah-Kalba route and follow the signs to Hatta. The route is approximately 90 minutes long.
If travelling from Abu Dhabi, you need to take the same route, and it may take you at least 2.5 hours to complete the journey.
Public Transport to Hatta
There is also the option to use public transport to reach Hatta. A new service has been launched by the RTA, the H02 Hatta Express, which starts at Dubai Mall Station and goes directly to Hatta Bus Station.
- The route is operated by deluxe coaches with bathrooms onboard, aircon and wifi
- The route operates from 7:00 AM to 7:00 Pm ith buses every 2 hours
- The journey costs AED 25 per person one-way
We believe this has replaced the previous E16 route which used to operate from Al Sabkha Bus Station in Deira and make multiple stops.
New Attractions coming to Hatta in 2023 and beyond
The number of tourists visiting Hatta has increased considerably in the past few years, and plans for new developmental projects in Hatta are underway.
In a few year’s time, you can expect to find here:
- A 504m-long cable car which will pass over the Hatta Dam Lake.
- The ‘Hatta Sustainable waterfalls’ project, which will use the slope of the upper dam to create a natural waterfall. All the water used in the waterfall will be collected at the end of the stream, recycled and pumped back to the top of the dam.
- The ‘Dubai Mountain Peak’ at Jebel Umm Al Nisour, the highest natural summit in Dubai, 1,300 metres above sea level.
- The construction of hiking trails to Jebel Umm Al Nisour.
- Hotels with cave-like interiors featuring rocky walls and views of the Hatta lake and mountain range.
Hatta was host to the country’s 50th National Day celebrations in December 2021.
More frequently asked questions about visiting Hatta, Dubai
Yes, Hatta is in the emirate of Dubai, though you do drive through parts of Sharjah emirate to get there as it’s an enclave. There are no formal borders to cross, though; you get there by private car in under 2 hours from most parts of Dubai City.
Yes, like most of the country, Hatta experiences the extreme heat of summer. HOWEVER, it can be significantly cooler in the winter.
You will find it’s always a few degrees cooler than the coastal cities throughout the year.
As soon as you’re away from the beaches in Dubai, the dress code is a little more conservative.
We’d suggest if you are taking part in any of the adventure activities to wear something comfortable and sporting. Probably best you leave your bikini at home for the water sports though, ladies, it would be a courtesy to your other guests to wear something more like bike shorts and a tank top.
Just visiting the cultural sights of parks, do aim to dress conservatively covering knees and shoulders as a rule of thumb. Something loose and breathable during the day is a great choice, especially if you’ll visit the heritage village and historic sites.
For nighttime in winter, definitely pack yourself a sweater and maybe some warmer trousers, it can get chilly in the mountains. Campers may want even more warm layers.
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