Sharjah

Dubai’s neighbouring emirate is the cultural capital of the UAE, with a well-preserved heritage area, an ever-evolving arts scene, some wonderful museums and a thriving cafe culture. Regular events such as the Sharjah Light Festival and Sharjah Biennial draw visitors from all over the UAE and beyond; in the city centre, it seems like there’s always something new to see and do.

Al Qasba
Sharjah gets the European alfresco vibe spot on, and is home to some great hangouts where people gather to eat, socialise and promenade. Canalside hub Al Qasba is packed with popular cafes and restaurants, and has some attractions worth a look, such as Maraya Art Centre and the Eye of the Emirates observation wheel. Al Majaz Park is good for little ones; there are plenty of kids’ play areas including a lovely splash park. Restaurants along the waterfront overlook Khalid Lagoon, where Sharjah’s nightly answer to the Dubai Fountain is a colourful affair.

Sightseeing by bus 
If you’re short on time but want to see as much of Sharjah as you can, check out the City Sightseeing Sharjah bus tour. This hop on, hop off journey takes in a range of highlights  including Central Souk, Al Qasba, the fish market, Al Majaz Park and the Maritime Museum. Tickets are valid for 24 hours. 

Heritage Area
In 1998, Sharjah was named the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO – and the Heritage Area makes it easy to see why. Sitting alongside Sharjah Creek, you’ll find traditional architecture dating back as far as the 19th century as well as recently-renovated buildings and courtyards designed in the authentic Arabian style. There are souks and exhibitions to explore, too.  

​Museums, old and new
As an emirate that is renowned for its dedication to preserving the treasures of the past, it’s little wonder that Sharjah is home to some truly outstanding museums. One must-see is the Museum of Islamic Civilisation. Once a traditional souk, today this stunning building houses more than 5,000 artefacts from the Islamic world including ceramics and manuscripts. The exhibits are packed with information, and include a beautiful gold-embroidered curtain for the door of the Holy Ka’ba. Sharjah Maritime Museum, adjacent to Sharjah Aquarium, is another destination for history buffs and showcases Sharjah’s illustrious pearling traditions.

For a more modern attraction, head for the Sharjah Classic Car Museum, a must-see for petrolheads. This impressive museum is home to more than 100 classic cars. Some of the models were manufactured as early as 1917, while others date back to the 1960s. Having newly re-opened after a recent renovation, the museum now has more kid-friendly facilities including interactive areas. 

Al Tamimi Stables
This recently-opened facility sounds like it should be a home for horses only, but in fact boasts gazelles, reindeer, oryx, ostriches and more. It’s the perfect place for a family day out; kids are sure to love spending time with the cute creatures at the petting zoo. Al Tamimi is a professional stable too, housing over 30 horses. There are plenty of activities to keep kids and adults entertained including horse riding, falconry and art classes. 

Go east
Beyond the city boundaries, Sharjah emirate spans deep into the desert where you’ll find one of the UAE’s most popular dune playgrounds, Big Red, as well as the impressive Fossil Rock. East coast enclaves Khorfakkan, Dibba Al Hisn and Kalba all have stunning coastlines.

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