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When is the best time to visit Ras al Khaimah?

Ras al Khaimah's climate

Like its neighbours on the Arabian Peninsula, Ras al Khaimah has a hot and dry desert climate with two main seasons - long summers and short, mild winters. The sun shines all-year round but temperatures start to climb in late April with daytimes averaging around 30 degrees Celsius. By July, outdoor temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius during the day and humidity is generally very high. During the winter months daytime temperatures average a clement 23 degrees. Nights are cool and there tends to be a light smattering of rain between January and March with occasional fog rolling in off the sea.

The best time to visit Ras al Khaimah

When the weather turns cooler in Europe between November and April, Ras al Khaimah stays comfortably warm and sunny, making it the ideal destination to escape the winter. At this time of year, daytime temperatures in Ras al Khaimah are pleasantly warm, hovering between 20-28 degrees Celsius, with clear skies and bright sunshine. For outdoors enthusiasts and active travellers, either side of winter is a good time to explore the emirate, when the heat is less intense. In the summer months thermometers regularly reach a scorching 40 degrees or more, which makes outdoor sightseeing and physical activities difficult.

That said, if you want to explore RAK during the summer, most places such as indoor attractions, hotels, shopping centres and restaurants are air-conditioned. There are also plenty of things to do based in and around the water from visiting RAK's Iceland water park to going scuba diving. Most Ras al Khaimah hotels are on the coast where it's generally cooler with a welcome sea breeze to take the edge off the heat.

Average daylight hours fluctuate over the year in Ras al Khaimah, though less significantly than in the UK. In December, RAK gets roughly 10-and-a-half hours of daylight, while in June the emirate is bathed in almost 14 hours of sunshine each day.

Public holidays and religious festivals

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is observed in RAK when many locals follow strict rules that include fasting during the daytime. Businesses have limited opening hours during Ramadan and some activities and tourist attractions may be affected too. Many restaurants and cafes close in the day and open late into the night. Most other businesses including shops and markets may stay closed or open up later in the day and travellers may find a reduced transport infrastructure. For travellers on all inclusive holidays to Ras al Khaimah, meals and services usually remain as normal. The dates of Ramadan change every year, so it's best to check before you book your holiday.

The Islamic festival of Eid is celebrated twice a year in RAK - Eid Al Fitr at the end of Ramadan and Eid Al Adha between October and November. It's a vibrant time to visit the emirate to see locals feasting and socialising in the streets and experience the buoyant atmosphere. But keep in mind that Eid Al Adha is a four-day public holiday and Eid Al Fitr is a public holiday too, so transport may be restricted and lots of places may be closed.

Practical tips

Due to the hot climate it's advisable to bring clothing in lightweight, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen with you on holidays to Ras al Khaimah. Although it is hot during the day, it's also a good idea to bring a cardigan or light jacket as most indoor places are air conditioned and temperatures tend to drop steeply at night in the winter, both in the desert and on the coast. Pack a warm layer in the winter if you intend to be outdoors in the desert after dark. At this time of year there can be a dramatic diurnal range, with temperatures varying by as much as 10 degrees between day and night.

When sightseeing, you can respect local customs by wearing conservative clothes such as long shorts and skirts, trousers, pashminas or tops that cover your shoulders. This is particularly true if you are visiting religious sites or in the holy month of Ramadan. Throughout Ramadan it's also worth refraining from eating in public places during the daylight to respect the Muslim custom of fasting until the sun goes down, but most hotels continue to function as normal.

Meterological information

J F M A M J J A S O N D
Average °C 222021232732343636343026
Minimum °C 171516182125283031282420
Maximum °C 262425283338404141393631
Sunshine (hours) 8899101112111110109
Rain (cm) 000000000000

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Al Wadi Desert resort in Ras Al Khaimah introduces The Experience Concierge

The Al Wadi Desert resort in Ral Al Khaimah has launched The Experience Concierge which will help engage its guests in traditional activities of Bedouin culture. Based on the four pillars that highlight the desert and Bedouin lifestyle, the activities will include nature and Environment activities, the Art of Falconry, the Ritz Rangers programme for children and Equestrian and Camel rides.

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International luxury hotel chain, Movenpick Hotels and Resorts are expanding their properties in the UAE with a new project in the up-and-coming holiday hub of Ras Al Khaimah. Set to open in 2019, the Al Marjan Island will feature over 500 lavish lodgings spread across a cluster of stunning man-made keys.