Hatta, the captivating mountain city of Dubai, has been gaining a global and regional profile in recent years as a leading tourist destination.
Often referred to as the “Dubai Highlands”, Hatta has transformed into one of the Middle East’s most enchanting cultural, entertainment and adventure tourism hubs, offering a unique combination of exciting outdoor activities, rich narratives historical and impressive natural landscapes.
The area is one of the highlights of the latest edition of the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign, launched by dubai brand, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in collaboration with the country’s creative community and a variety of stakeholders, including that of Dubai. Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
As Hatta undergoes a transformation, driven by Dubai’s visionary development plan, it attracts travelers from around the world and promises a variety of experiences. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled mountain biking adventure, a reflective ride through historic sites, or a quiet moment beside a picturesque lake, Hatta is a must-visit for anyone looking for distinctive experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. With its unique mix of activities, events and attractions, Hatta has quickly become a “bucket list” destination for travelers from around the world.
Helal Almarri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, saying,
“Hatta’s rise as a world-class cultural, adventure sports and ecotourism destination reflects Dubai’s commitment to creating unique experiences for domestic and international travelers. Under the visionary strategy of Dubai leadership, the evolution of Hatta as a destination, part of Dubai’s Urban Master Plan 2040, has added a unique new dimension to Dubai’s rich variety of attractions. Hatta is a testament to our commitment to sustainable, responsible and diverse tourism, and our determination to foster destinations that are not only exceptional but also deeply rooted in environmental awareness and community development.”
Located 130 km southeast of Dubai, the drive to Hatta is a visual feast, transitioning from enchanting desert scenery to stunning mountain scenery. Hatta’s landscapes are also an adventure enthusiast’s dream. In the heart of the mountains, Hatta Wadi Hub is a magnet for thrill-seekers. This adventure paradise offers a variety of activities including cycling, mountain biking, ziplining, horseback riding and paragliding.
The newly opened Wadi Hub Aerial Adventure Park is a thrilling attraction accessible to visitors of all ages and physical abilities. The new park features activities such as high ropes course, free fall, giant swing, 45-degree zip line, luggage drop and zip line belay, and the thrilling “Leap of Faith.”
For cycling enthusiasts, the Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Center offers an extensive network of trails, covering over 50 kilometers and catering for all levels. Trails wind through hills, wadis and farmland, clearly marked for self-guided exploration. Open all year round, these exciting trails offer exhilarating bike rides amidst picturesque surroundings.
Hatta’s topography is also a hiker’s paradise. From the sandy valleys to the rugged foothills of the Hajar Mountains, the area offers varied terrain. A popular hiking spot, the Hatta Dam area offers stunning views and possible wildlife encounters, including the elusive Arabian sand cat. The Hatta Wadi Hub also serves as a gateway to various hiking experiences.
Hatta is a sanctuary for endangered species such as the Arabian tahr. Hikers can explore the natural habitat of these rare animals, contributing to awareness and conservation of the region’s wildlife. Known for its diverse birdlife, Swan Lake is an idyllic spot for bird watchers and nature lovers.
Additionally, the vast Lake Hatta offers opportunities for water sports such as kayaking and rowing. Visitors can rent kayaks or rowboats at kiosks for a relaxing stroll through its crystal-clear waters, where they have the opportunity to encounter the lake’s natural inhabitants, including fish and birds. They can also venture into unseen areas through curved passageways hidden behind mountains.
Hatta Heritage Village attracts tourists eager to experience the UAE’s rich past. This meticulously restored town, dating back to the 3rd century BC, is one of the oldest in the country. It features authentically reconstructed stone houses, ancient water wells, watchtowers and a traditional majlis. Visitors can explore a remarkable collection of old photographs that vividly depict traditional life in Hatta, along with an area dedicated to basket weaving and a museum space displaying historic tools and weapons. Adjacent to the village, Al Sharia Palm Tree Farm showcases the ancient falaj irrigation system, a marvel of traditional engineering.
Another historical attraction is Hatta Fort, built in 1896, one of the most important architectural monuments in the United Arab Emirates. This structure, which originally served as a residence and defensive fortress, has a spacious interior courtyard and an 11-meter-high watchtower. The building, which was restored in 1995, is made of mountain stones and mud bricks, while the roof is made of palm leaves, logs and mud.
As part of the second phase of the Hatta development plan, Dubai seeks to nominate the region’s archaeological sites, including the ancient falaj irrigation system and the Hatta tombs of the Bronze and Iron Ages, for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Hatta tombs are some of the most impressive evidence of the region’s prehistoric past. Human remains found in some of the tombs demonstrate that they were reused over millennia until the time of Middle Islam.
In an unexpected fusion of tradition and modernity, the Hatta Mountains contain an extraordinary work of public art. A huge slanted mural, drawn on the outer wall of the Hatta Dam, features portraits of the founding fathers of the United Arab Emirates, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Another iconic feature of the area is its huge sign that reads “Hatta”, located atop one of its highest peaks. Visible from numerous locations around Hatta, this landmark has letters measuring 60 meters high. Guinness World Records recently awarded the sign the title of ‘Highest Landmark Sign’. For those looking for an adventurous trip, a 30-minute walk from Hatta Wadi Hub leads to this notable landmark. As night falls, the sign transforms, illuminating the night sky, creating a captivating spectacle.
The new Hatta Souq offers a place where visitors can explore the products of local farmers and residents. Built with largely man-made building materials, the Souk is home to shops selling locally grown produce, homegrown cafes and restaurants, and spaces for food carts. With a floor area of 146,000 square feet and a built-up area of more than 43,000 square feet, the Souq encompasses seven stores, six indoor and seven outdoor kiosks, 42 sales platforms, a large store, eight food carts, a children’s playground and spaces green.
Visitors to Hatta also have the opportunity to learn more about the region’s beekeeping traditions at the Hatta Honeybee Garden. This educational and interactive experience also allows visitors to learn about the importance of bees in our ecosystem. Interesting activities like making beeswax candles and building beehive frames offer a hands-on approach to understanding these unique insects.
Hatta is also one of the most family-friendly destinations in the UAE. Hatta Hill Park, set against the backdrop of the Hajar Mountains, is a perfect location for family outings, offering picnic areas, sports fields and a tower with panoramic views. Hatta Dam, with its stunning mountain setting, is another highlight for families looking for a peaceful outing. Here you can also do activities such as kayaking, amidst the quiet grandeur of nature.
Hatta offers a variety of outdoor camping options. Visitors can pitch a tent and sleep under the stars at the exclusive Hatta Campground. There are also many options available for luxury mountain camping and ‘glamping’ experiences. Farm rentals for larger groups are also available, offering pools and barbecue areas.
As part of Brand Dubai’s collaboration with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) for the last #DestinationsDubai winter campaign, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), a DET agency, is working closely to host family events and activities in Hatta.
This includes organizing various activities at the inaugural Hatta Festival, a vibrant celebration of culture, sports and family entertainment running until December 31. Organized by Brand Dubai, in association with the Supreme Committee Overseeing the Development of Hatta, the festival is the centerpiece of the third edition of the #DubaiDestinations winter campaign and includes spectacular lighting displays throughout Hatta Fort, a recreation of the illuminating lights of the Fields. Elysées and fireworks shows over the Hatta sign every weekend throughout the festival.
With various activities and attractions for families and children of all ages at the newly developed Leem Lake in Hatta and Hatta Wadi Hub, the Hatta Festival showcases the uniqueness of the region and its recent development as an eco-friendly destination. The festival also aims to promote the cultural, historical and natural treasures of Hatta and encourage visitors to enjoy its unique landscapes and recreational activities.
Named as one of the 50 most beautiful small towns in the world According to Condé Nast Traveler in May this year, Hatta is undergoing transformative new developments that will increase the appeal of its destination. Phase II of the Hatta development plan will significantly enhance the attractiveness of the region, encompassing a total of 22 various projects and initiatives. A key goal of the second phase is to transform Hatta Beach into a year-round tourist destination, serving both residents and visitors. With a wide range of facilities, services and recreational activities, the promenade is expected to significantly increase the influx of tourists to the area.
Another highlight of the second phase is the construction of the sustainable Hatta Waterfalls near the Hatta Dam. Additionally, a 5.4 km cable car will transport visitors from the dam to Umm Al Nusour, Dubai’s highest peak, offering spectacular views. In addition, the plan includes the development of ecological hotels and spas with urban designs that harmonize with the natural environment of Hatta.
News source: Emirates News Agency