The city of Sharjah is one of the most luxe jewels in the United Arab Emirates and has been branded the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ by UNESCO. Cool stuff, no? Even if culture isn’t your bag, the litter of colourful souqs will see you munching on the best falafel EVER, while bagging some ridonk bargains.
From the lavish entertainment at Al Qasba (jump on the Eye of the Emirates for an awesome view) to the amazing Blue Souq, Sharjah is a city that will keep you busy and completely satisfied. Museum fiends will pretty much lose their minds here (the city has no less than 15 of them). Top of everyone’s list should be the Sharjah Archaeology Museum and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation.
Sharjah’s Top 10
10. Sharjah Calligraphy Museum This place is teeny tiny, but is home to some stunning pieces of calligraphy.
5. Eye of the Emirates Jump aboard this Ferris wheel for the best view of Sharjah. We suggest a night visit.
9. Majilis Al Maidfaa This info centre educates visitors on the role of majilis as meeting places for the big wigs and great minds of Arab society.
4. Al Hisn This fort-cum-museum has everything from age-old photographs to classic weaponry.
8. Sharjah Aquarium The colourful and kooky sea life makes this place almost magical.
3. Sharjah Archaeology Museum Brings the city’s history to life.
7. Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation The place to learn about the Islamic culture and heritage.
2. Blue Souq Sharjah’s biggest souq houses over 600 stores and haggling is encouraged. Bargains, baby!
6. Bait Al Naboodah This two-storey building showcases the quintessential Emirati-style house.
1. Al Qasba This picturesque waterfront complex in the heart of the city will see you shop by day and party by night.
- Al Hisn Fort – The fort has been completely restored and is the largest historical building in the heritage area.
- Bait al-Naboodah – A traditional Emirati house that proudly shows old Emirati traditions.
- Souq al-Arsah – The oldest souq in the country and worth a visit.
- King Faisal Mosque – A gift to Saudi Arabian King Faisal, this mosque opened in 1987 in Sharjah.
- Bait-al-Naboodah – Learn all about the heritage of Sharjah and the surrounding area.
Sharjah Art & Culture
- Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization – Contains exhibits about the Islamic faith, including letters from Muhammad and handwritten Qur’ans.
- Sharjah Calligraphy Museum – This small museum shows calligraphy works of art by Turks, Persians and Arabians.
- Sharjah Archaeology Museum – See amazing artefacts from the Stone Age to the present day showing the ever-changing environment of Sharjah and the surrounding area.
- Sharjah Art Museum – This museum contains contemporary art by both local and foreign artists with changing displays.
- Natural History Museum – Located in the Sharjah Desert Park, this museum contains exhibits about the Arabian Desert.
- Blue Souq – Also known as Central Souq o Souq Al Markaazi, this is a large and chaotic shopping centre.
- Mega Mall – This large shopping mall caters to families and those in the middle- and upper-income brackets.
- Golden Center – Some of the best gold shops in Sharjah can be found in this centre.
- Sahara Mall – A new mall built in the desert, with a spacious interior catering to locals.
- Carrefour – A supermarket that stocks products from America, France, India and England, as well as local items.
Gay & Lesbian Sharjah
There are no gay and lesbian venues in Sharjah. Gay and lesbian travel is not recommended in the United Arab Emirates.
- Eye of the Emirates – A giant Ferris wheel that offers some of the best aerial views of Sharjah and the surrounding area.
- Arabian Wildlife Centre – Located near the airport, this centre has more than 100 different species of wildlife, many which are nearing extinction.
- Discovery Center – A large attraction centre located in Sharjah, it contains five different themed areas to explore.
- Desert driving – There are many sand driving areas around the city, which is much different than driving on paved roads.
- Camel Safari – Ride a camel and discover the many exciting destinations around the city, as this is one of the most popular ways to spend the day out of doors.
- Attend a cricket match at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium or join the locals in supporting their team during a football game.
- During the summer, spend some time on Khalid Lagoon jet skiing or enjoying other water sports.
- Enjoy diving off the east coast, as this area is famous for spectacular underwater scenery.
- The marine environment around Sharjah is unique and offers priceless fishing experiences.
- Learn how to drive a powerboat, as the city hosts Formula 1 powerboat races each year that have become a huge tourist draw.
February’s Sharjah Light Festival sees lights transformed into works of art. Expect some killer tunes and concerts, too.
Whack on plenty of sunscreen for June’s Summer Promotions Festival for traditional Arab theatre and shopping sales.
The Sharjah Ramadan Festival falls around August to October and combines entertainment with education.
November sees the popular Annual Sharjah Book Fair. Get your literature on!
Come and meet the cute lil’ mascot called Mouj at the Sharjah Water Festival, held every December. People dressed as giant drops of water not your thing? There are plenty of musical and cultural performances on offer, as well.
When To Go
If you’re planning a visit during the first few months of the year, be prepared for the odd storm or three.
Sharjah’s hot months (May to September) are really hot. If you can hack the humidity of 40°C+ (104°F) days and 30°C+ (86°F) nights, bring plenty of sunscreen and moolah for the epic sales.
Late spring and winter is the best time to visit Sharjah. The days are pleasantly warm and the nights are the best kind of cool.
Sharjah’s buses are one of the cheapest and most reliable ways to get around the city.
Taxis can be a little pricey, so ask about rates before jumping in. Some taxis don’t even have meters, so agree on a price before setting off.
Hiring a car is a good option, especially if wanting to explore further afield.
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