The east coast of the UAE is almost the exact opposite of the west. Compared to the country’s heavily developed Arabian Gulf seaboard, the Indian Ocean-facing east is only thinly settled and still relatively untouched. Somnolent and scenic, the east is a popular weekend destination, just two hours’ drive away, for visitors from Dubai, who come to loll around on the largely deserted beaches dotting the coast.

Much of the east is dominated by the magnificent Hajar Mountains, which bisect the region and run on into Oman. The UAE section of the Hajar rise to a highest point of 1527m at Jebel Yibir, inland from Dibba in the far north of the country, and provide a scenic backdrop to the length of the eastern coast, metamorphosing from slate grey to deep red as the light changes through the course of the day.

There are a number of low-key sights scattered around the east coast, including the old fort at Fujairah and the UAE’s oldest mosque at Bidiya, although for many visitors the main attraction is the trio of attractive beachside resorts which dot the beautiful Al Aqah Beach.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Dubai features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

6 things every family must do in Dubai

6 things every family must do in Dubai

Dubai is the most spectacular playground on Earth. The desire to make everything bigger and brighter and better has created a city of superlatives – and for w…

15 Jun 2017 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
Burj Khalifa: is the world’s tallest building worth the hype?

Burj Khalifa: is the world’s tallest building worth the hype?

One of Dubai’s main attractions and currently the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa draws in hundreds of people daily to marvel at the views from i…

31 Jan 2017 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

Away from the skyscrapers: how to find the “other” Dubai

It’s big, brash and lays claim to so many world records it might even have the world record for the number of world records. But beyond the superlatives, skys…

22 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook