Perched on an idyllic stretch of the UAE’s east coast, the seaside enclave of Khorfakkan has long been cherished as a tranquil hidden gem – and the secret’s out.
This year, the destination was named the best Arab tourist city for 2023 by the Arab Union for Tourist Media at travel trade show ITB Berlin.
Currently, the town is in the middle of a huge renovation project, with a water park and new hotels due to open soon. And, with its 90-minute drive time from Dubai and a cluster of EV charging points by Khorfakkan Beach, there’s no time like the present for a jaunt to the coast in your EV.
How to get there: Electric Vehicle charging stations
Snaking through the rugged beauty of the Hajar Mountains and spilling out onto glorious golden beaches, the road to Khorfakkan promises coastal ambience and adventure in equal measure. Despite belonging to the emirate of Sharjah, the town stands out for its natural beauty, as well as its physical location 120km east of City Centre Sharjah.
Situated a mere 130km from Dubai along the Khorfakkan Road, the drive itself is a satisfying stressbuster and you’ll find your cortisol levels dropping as the skyscrapers shrink and the mountains rise.
One full charge is more than enough to get you to Khorfakkan and back with power to spare. If your battery does start to run low en route, the final charging point in Dubai is at Al Khawaneej, next to Roast Coffee Story. There are also several EV charging points in Khorfakkan including Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa and Khorfakkan Amphitheatre.
What can I do in Khorfakkan?
Cultural sights, beach flopping and watersports are all on the agenda in Khorfakkan and Al Rafisah Dam is the ideal spot to swap the wheels for the water. Originally built in the 1980s, the dam was recently spruced up with a visitor’s centre offering a variety of activities such as kayaking, doughnut boating and pedalo hire.
Another relatively new addition to the town is Shees Park, a sprawling green space spread over 11,000 square metres cocooned within the Hajar Mountains. Wander along 500 metres of craggy walkways to a main viewing deck to soak in incredible vistas or simply admire the 25-metre waterfall, open-air amphitheatre and artificial lake from solid ground.
At the Al Rafisah Dam, you can enjoy all sorts of watersports.
For something more invigorating, head to the Al Rabi Mountain trail for one of the most rewarding ways to spend an afternoon. Park your EV at Al Rabi Tower and embark on the three-hour hike for stunning views across the Gulf of Oman. The 6km track is mostly leisurely with a handful of steep sections, though ascending to the UAE flag at the summit makes it all worthwhile.
To discover life like a local you need to shop like one and Khorfakkan’s Souq Sharq is the perfect way to step back in time while picking up some bargains. Designed in the style of an old heritage village, the souk sells everything from herbs and spices to traditional handicrafts at very reasonable prices. Don’t miss the onsite crafts museum to experience what life was like in the days before shopping malls and glittering skylines.
What can I see in Khorfakkan?
The Khorfakkan Waterfall is a man-made structure overlooking the town’s Corniche. Carved out of natural rock, the waterways cascade from a height of 45 metres and are an impressive spectacle while strolling along the promenade. The neighbouring Khorfakkan Amphitheatre is also worth a look and makes for an impressive photo opportunity.
Just over the road, Khorfakkan Beach steals the show with its 2.5km of golden sands leading onto an inflatable play area. Back on dry land, food trucks, a skate park and a beach library are dotted along the shoreline, leading to a Portuguese Fort that dates back to 1635.
For a glimpse into Khorfakkan’s past, the Najid Al Maqsar Heritage Village is a worthy stop-off that demonstrates the way locals lived hundreds of years ago. The restored village is made up of 13 mud and stone houses leading up to Al Maqsar Tower, a 300-year-old fortress that once formed part of Khorfakkan’s watchtower defence network.
Where can I stay?
This year, Khorfakkan is set for a huge tourism boost with the opening of Lux* Al Jabal Resort, scheduled for November. Located on the slopes of the Soueifa mountain and overlooking the beach, the resort by The Lux Collective, a Singaporean hotel company that’s behind swanky resorts in the Maldives and Mauritius, will focus on eco-tourism and be built from responsibly sourced timber.
If you can’t wait until November to get your toes in the sand, Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa is a popular choice set amid lush greenery with a private beach and unobstructed views of the Hajar Mountains.