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Hidden delights beyond Dubai

Hidden delights beyond Dubai

Don’t choose your UAE vacation on autopilot. Dubai is famously fabulous — but there’s a world beyond where you’ll find untold pleasures for less than you might imagine. Perhaps you’ll drive an hour along the coast to Ras Al Khaimah, for trekking, water parks and views of the dramatic Hajar Mountains. Maybe you’ll walk amongst the ancient forts and whitewashed mosques of Fujairah. Or find your own personal Middle East in Ajman: the pocket-sized emirate where palm-sprinkled beaches and competitive hotels offer non-millionaires a holiday less ordinary.



Keep Ajman under your hat. Just a half-hour from Dubai Airport, this relaxed and budget-conscious enclave is as close as the UAE gets to a hideaway. With 16 km of perfect shoreline, an 18th century fort and a wetland centre, it’s the emirate with intrigue and elbowroom.


Ras al Khaimah

Ras al Khaimah is the fourth largest emirate in the UAE, but without a cloud-piercing Dubai-style skyscraper in sight. Here you’ll find a traditional fishing village and 18th-century fort, plus the historic Old Town. Soak in desert springs or take in the view on a mountain trek — Ras al Khaimah is full of magical experiences like these.


The area features swathes of beautiful beaches, and is a centre for watersports. No surprise, then, that it’s now home to some wonderful resorts. And if that’s not enough to warrant your undivided attention, there are plenty of unforgettable experiences to enjoy in Ras Al Khaimah, too, such as camel racing, horse riding or falcon shows where the local mastery of these beautiful hunting birds is shown off to thrilling effect.


Abu Dhabi

While not quite as internationally renowned with travellers as Dubai, Abu Dhabi easily holds its own alongside its famous neighbour. You’ve got truly awe-inspiring architecture, including the Yas Viceroy hotel — known best as the backdrop for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with its futuristic design and unique LED canopy; the majestic Emirates Palace and the amazing Capital Gate building.


There are magnificent malls, the unmissable Ferrari World theme park (boasting Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster), and wide, pristine beaches. Abu Dhabi has a rich past, too: Qasr Al Hosn is a stone fort dating from 1760, and the epic Sheikh Zayed Mosque is an essential visit, featuring space for some 40,000 worshippers at a time.



Beyond the desert, explore Fujairah, a stunning spot that rolls from the red rock Hajar Mountains in the west to the golden sands of the east. Fetch your flippers as Fujairah is known for some of the best diving spots in the UAE. Marvel at turtles, rays and of course an abundance of reef fish, which thrive in the Indian Ocean’s warm waters.

Desert region

The spectacular desert landscapes surrounding Dubai are waiting to be explored. Take an exhilarating trip across the rolling dunes and witness dramatic sunsets as the desert changes colour from gold to pink. Enjoy traditional Middle Eastern cuisine under the stars, witness the hunting skills of falcons, or take a trek by camel.


Musandam Peninsula

The Musandam Peninsula on the northernmost tip of Arabia is part of Oman but is bordered by the UAE on both sides. This means it’s actually easier to fly into Dubai to access this pristine wilderness — which also happens to make for an outstanding multi-destination holiday.

Tagged in:

  • Middle East
  • Oman
  • Ras al Khaimah
  • Our picks
  • Abu Dhabi
  • City and shopping breaks
  • Dubai, Beaches and Beyond
  • Luxury
  • Favourite
  • Beach
  • Travel tips
  • Off the beaten track
05 Apr 2019 | Virgin Holidays


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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the  Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.

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With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 31 December 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates

Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected by email. 

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know as least 21 days before travel.

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If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking you can call our team on 0344 472 9646 or chat to us on SMS/Whatspp via Manage my booking.

For the latest information on Covid-19 you can check our FAQs here.

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Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans

We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're holiday is going ahead as planned

If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. You can call our team on 0344 472 9499 who can look at options for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

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To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?

You can contact our team by emailing to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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