Epic Khorfakkan Tourist Attractions You Simply Cannot Miss!
If you seek to truly know a place, to feel transported to another era, and to disconnect from modern life, then Khorfakkan belongs at the top of your UAE travel list. After just returning from a glorious week long trip here, I can assure you that it’s well worth venturing to!
So where exactly is Khorfakkan? This ancient port town is located on the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), nestled along the beautiful Gulf of Oman coastline in the Emirate of Sharjah.
Read on to discover all the best Khorfakkan tourist attractions and insider travel tips!
Khorfakkan = Steeped in History
With settlements dating back to the pre-Islamic era, Khorfakkan has been an important port stop for centuries. The city was under Portuguese control in the early 1500s as they fought with other powers for dominance of the lucrative trade routes. Among the many Khorfakkan tourist attractions, you can still see remnants of the old Portuguese fort with its cannons today.
Khorfakkan was later ruled by the Ya’aruba dynasty and became highly influential as a key port facilitating trade between India, Africa and the Persian Gulf regions. Walking the streets lined with traditional architecture, you feel seriously immersed in the town’s storied past.
In addition to its rich history, Khorfakkan has a truly distinctive culture and vibe, with the daily call to prayer echoing loudly through the air from the town’s many mosques.
As you walk around the city, you’ll spot the locals adorned in beautifully embroidered garments and kanduras. You can even shop for your own unique textiles and handicrafts in Souq Sharq – Khorfakkan’s quaint marketplace designed in the style of a traditional heritage village.
Top Khorfakkan Tourist Attractions:
There’s actually so much to do in this town, especially if you scratch beneath the surface. Be sure to put all of these awesome spots on your Khorfakkan itinerary:
The Maldives of the UAE
Khorfakkan Beach is probably the most popular place to visit in Khorfakkan and for good reason! This gorgeous crescent-shaped beach is often considered the Maldives of the UAE due to its turquoise waters, tropical marine life and soft, powdery sand.
This is the ideal spot for just about everyone to visit. Whether you fancy simply chilling out under the palms, snapping some epic Instagram shots, or want to indulge in water spots like fishing and kayaking, you simply need to head here, it’s a MUST!
Also, not too far from the beach you will find some of the newest Khorfakkan tourist attractions including the Khorfakkan amphitheater, which has fast become an iconic landmark. Spanning over 1700 sq meters, this state-of-the-art outdoor venue can host over 3500 people! For a unique experience, you can even dine at the amphitheater’s restaurant and cafe.
Next to the amphitheater lies a stunning 45-meter man-made waterfall cascading down natural rock. It’s often illuminated at night and there’s viewing windows at the top to get a different perspective of the waterfall.
Facing Khorfakkan Bay, the amphitheater and waterfall offer the opportunity to enjoy the stunning beach before a spectacular performance. Blending ancient design with modern technology, this new addition celebrates Khorfakkan’s cultural vibrance.
Shark Island = A Legendary Khorfakkan Tourist Attraction
The most famous Khorfakkan tourist attraction is Shark Island. Though named for its blacktip reef sharks, you’ll be pleased to know that there has never been a recorded shark attack here! Shark Island may sound scary but it’s actually got a super peaceful vibe, which is rare among busy UAE beaches.
People come far and wide to witness the glittering waters and abundant marine life of Shark Island, where just below the surface, sea turtles, sharks and starfish roam the reefs, which you can explore on a solo or guided tour.
Scuba diving here lets certified divers spot the marine life up close – I simply cannot believe my PADI Certified partner left his GoPro behind this day 🤦 Rookie error indeed!
To get to Shark Island you can easily charter a 10-minute boat from Khorfakkan Beach – just be sure to haggle on prices and go on a weekday for better deals. Also, don’t forget to bring your ID, snorkel gear, and camera!
The Heritage Village
The restored heritage village of Najd Al Miqsar is one of the top Khorfakkan tourist attractions, offering a captivating glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the UAE.
This meticulously preserved living museum serves as a time capsule, where you can explore fascinating historical monuments dating back back to 2000 BC and immerse yourself in an authentic Emirati experience.
When you get here, be sure to look out for historical houses built of silt and stone to get a feel for the traditional life of the region, and the incredible craftsmanship and architectural ingenuity of the past.
Within just a short walk, you’ll reach the mountain peak where the upper fort once used to defend the village was located. It’s a place where the the past and present intertwine, traditional music echoes through the mountains, and where the spirit of heritage truly comes alive.
What makes Najd Al Miqsar so amazing is that by bringing the past to life, this heritage village demonstrates the UAE’s devotion to honouring its roots while moving towards the future.
Shees Park is a gorgeous Khorfakkan tourist attraction, offering lush greenery, vibrant flowers and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. If you’re looking for a tranquil escape, be sure to head to this natural oasis!
In terms of things to do here, Shees park is by far the best place in Khorfakkan to go for a leisurely walk, simply unwind in nature with a good book, or have a picnic. It really doesn’t get much more peaceful than this place 😌🌿
When it comes to Khorfakkan tourist attractions, the mountains are a huge draw. If you have the energy, I recommend checking out the Al Rabi Mountain Trail, which is an awe-inspiring trekking route nestled within the rugged Hajar Mountains.
This legendary mountain path takes approximately 1.5 – 2 hours and offers a journey through some of the most dramatic and picturesque landscapes in the region. As you begin your ascent, the trail leads you through winding paths, surrounded by towering mountain peaks that seem to touch the sky. The jagged rock formations and sheer cliffs also create an epic backdrop for some Instagram content!
Along the way, you’ll encounter panoramic views that stretch for miles, showcasing the unique flora and fauna, the sparkling Gulf of Oman, and the pristine coastline below. It’s simply a majestic experience that allows you to connect with the raw beauty and tranquility of the Khorfakkan region. In my opinion, this is one of the most underrated places in all of the UAE, which really shouldn’t be missed!
Practical tips: Carry enough water and wear hiking friendly attire and shoes. Free parking is available.
Al Rafisah Dam
Al Rafisah Dam is another stunning Khorfakkan tourist attraction, offering a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Originally constructed in the 1980s, Al Rafisah Dam has undergone a huge upgrade with a new visitor centre and rest area. Although, on our visit the main restaurant (Rafisa Lounge and Cafe) was still under construction, but we did manage to get an ice cream from another little cafe here.
The dam overlooks a pristine lake, where the scenery is unmatched and you can even go boating or kayaking. If you choose this option, be sure to look out for a secret island where you’ll find a herd of gazelles!
Where to Eat in Khorfakkan
After doing a million activities in the sunshine, you may need to refuel! So here are some of the best restaurants in Khorfakkan for your list!
The View By Wave – this restaurant was my favourite. It’s surprisingly modern and the varied menu was fantastic. The Philly cheese Steak Sandwich I had was literally 10 x better than the one I had in actual Philly, USA! Also the panoramic views of the town from here were to die for. PS. order their homemade Nutella cookie – you won’t regret it!
Sushi Box – the poke bowls and fresh sushi we had here were absolutely delicious and totally affordable. This part of town (Corniche St) has a great vibe of an evening with plenty of options for dessert if you’re still hungry! (You might want to check out DipnDip for some sweet treats 😏).
Sushi Box is actually right by another restaurant we went to called Thai Gate, which served the best Thai food I’ve had outside of Thailand and the restaurant is super trendy / Instagram worthy!
Al Suhub Rest House is perched 600 meters above sea level, offering a luxury restaurant (the Cloud lounge) where you can check out Khorfakkan’s mountains while stuffing your face! Perfection 🧑🍳🤌
Drowsy Coffee – head here if you’re in need of speciality coffee and fast WiFi with some epic views!
Where to Stay in Khorfakkan
If you’re looking for a gorgeous yet affordable hotel, my personal recommendation is Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa simply because we stayed here and LOVED it!
Why this is arguably the best place to stay in Khorfakkan:
- We went swimming on the private beach here every single day and without fail spotted adorable turtles swimming close by
- The pool is HUGE!
- Staff were super friendly and went out of their way to be helpful
- The buffet was delicious and there was so much to choose from
- 24-hour room service – need i say more?!
- All rooms are super spacious and modern
- There’s a fully equipped gym, as well as a spa with a sauna and steam rooms
- It’s close to all the best Khorfakkan tourist attractions and restaurants
Top tip: Booking Khorfakkan accommodation in advance is an essential part of your UAE trip planning. To get the very best deals, use Hotellook to find and compare prices!
Best Time to Visit Khorfakkan
Khorfakkan’s tourist attractions charm visitors all year, but when is the ideal time to visit this hidden gem?
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect each season to help you plan your perfect Khorfakkan getaway:
Spring (March – May)
As temperatures climb into the mid 20Cs (70s F), spring is one of the best times to visit Khorfakkan’s pristine coastline – the turquoise waves are calling your name!
Inland, the Hajjar Mountains come alive in spring with colourful wildflowers blooming. The winter chill has passed, making it a great season for mountain hikes, picnics under the palms or visiting the outdoor Khorfakkan tourist attractions.
Summer (June – August)
Think you should avoid the UAE’s hot summers? Think again! While daytime temperatures exceed 40C (100F), you can still enjoy Khorfakkan’s tourist attractions by planning sightseeing for the cooler morning and evenings.
Start your day at the beach before the sun gets too intense. Or join an early morning hike into Wadi Shees, featuring scenic pools and canyon views. As the sun sets, tables spill onto the sidewalks at cozy cafes around the port.
Summer also brings great hotel deals, providing the perfect incentive for a beach vacay. Most facilities have air conditioning allowing you to comfortably escape the midday heat.
Autumn (September – November)
Following the scorching summer, Khorfakkan shines in autumn thanks to cooler temperatures averaging in the 30s C (80s F). The relief from the heat coupled with low season rates makes early fall a fabulous time to visit!
This time of year is a lovely time to explore Khorfakkan’s tourist attractions, as you can stroll around without the crowds. Autumn’s ideal conditions also invite you to join cycling or kayaking tours along the coast.
Peak Season Winter (December – February)
While the “high season” means bigger crowds and pricier hotels, Khorfakkan remains a tranquil escape from the major cities. With sunny blue-sky days and temperatures in the mid 20s C (70s F), winter brings prime beach and water activity weather, especially during the new year holidays.
The winter period also hosts Khorfakkan’s main cultural events like UAE National Day celebrations in December, full of fireworks and heritage displays.
While mega-cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi dominate most travellers’ UAE itineraries, venturing off the beaten path to Khorfakkan opens the door to an entirely different, yet equally mesmerising, side of the Emirates.
Away from the cosmopolitan glamour, Khorfakkan offers a glimpse into traditional Emirati coastal life, allowing you to vividly imagine the grand narratives of history.
There’s honestly something for everyone to enjoy in this magical town, with every Khorfakkan tourist attraction bringing an authentic charm that has yet to be obscured by excessive commercialisation.
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