The complete travel guide to Sharjah
The Arab world’s cultural capital, a major commercial hub, and a budding centre for health and education—Sharjah dons many hats. It might be the only dry emirate, but its pages of history are brimming with tales of rich heritage, which the modern metropolis still manages to hold on to. Thinking of making a trip? Here’s an itinerary to help you get started:
What to see and do
For culture aficionados, Sharjah has plenty on its plate. Start your tour with a visit to the stunning Al Noor Mosque, located beside the Khaled lagoon on Buhaira Corniche. It’s Turkish Ottoman architectural style is known to be influenced from Turkey’s iconic Sultan Ahmed Mosque. Al Noor is also the first mosque in Sharjah which opened its doors to non-Muslims, allowing them to learn about the nuances of Islam through a guided tour.
For a deeper look at the world of Islam, make your way to Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation. Opened in 2008, the building houses over five thousand historical Islamic civilisation artifacts that delve into faith, science, discovery and art. A group of early Islamic coins, the ‘Sitara’ or the exemplary curtain for the door of the Ka’aba in Mecca, and reconstructions of some of the first astrolabes developed by Islamic scientists are the key elements to watch out for at the museum.
Sharjah has a lot to offer for a family holiday too. Make your way to Al Majaz Waterfront—a mega tourist destination that boasts a multimedia fountain show, an 18-hole golf course, a water park, and a designated creative centre for kids called Alwan. Peek into the hidden world of the deep sea at Sharjah Aquarium, where you can watch blacktip reef sharks, eagle rays and jellyfish in action. For spectacular views of the city’s skyline, and even the Gulf coast stretching all the way to Dubai, hop on board the Eye of the Emirates Wheel, which takes you 60m high in the sky.
Where to eat
El ManzaOverlooking the Al Majaz Waterfront, the view isn’t the only point of conversation at El Manza. Its authentic Moroccan fare, coupled with the stylish décor, makes it a hot favourite among locals. Here, choose from the many seafood options in its ‘Special Menu’ or opt for one of the popular couscous delicacies.
ShababeekIn Arabic, the name of the restaurant translates to ‘window’, for its intention is to introduce the guests to authentic Lebanese cuisine. Expect a mix of traditional and modern dishes on the menu—from mezze platters to charcoal grilled specialties.
GazeboAt any point, if you begin to miss the Indian flavours, remember you’re never too far away. Gazebo bring the recipes from the royal kitchens of Lucknow and Hyderabad to Sharjah. So whether it is succulent seekh kebabs or dum phukt biryani, the restaurant keeps you covered (while making your mouth water).
Aroos DamascusHead here for the perfect fix of a no-frills, easy on the pocket Arabian meal. Start with the lentil soup, dig into a bowl of hummus, pair it with grilled quails or lamp chops, and nosh on a plate of shawarma. Doesn’t get any better!
Shakespeare and Co.A mix of American, English and Lebanese dishes are listed on the menu of this café and bakery. Think indulgent breakfast spreads, sweet and savoury crepes, and several healthy options including gluten-free breads and pastas.
Where to stay
Ramada Hotel & SuitesConveniently located in close proximity of both Sharjah and Dubai international airports, Ramada is the ideal choice for business and leisure travel. Its 343 rooms and suites come equipped with world-class amenities, along with access to the plush fitness centre, indoor swimming pool and complimentary shuttle service to Al Mamzar beach.
Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort & SpaFeaturing its own private beach, this seaside retreat offers stunning views of the Arabian Gulf from the comfort of your room. In-house F&B options are many, ranging from the Middle-Eastern ‘Arjwan’ to the seafood speciality ‘Marasea’. Make sure to spoil yourself at the Shereton’s Shine Spa, spread across two floors in the property.
Hilton SharjahWatch the city come to life at night from the floor-to-ceiling windows of your room, enjoy live music at the Al Dallah Lounge, or soak in the sun with a drink at the Pool Terrace; at the Hilton Sharjah, there’s no dull moment. Pick between one of its three room categories which come with free wifi, a spacious work area and an LCD TV.
Radisson Blu Resort SharjahThe 15-storey Radisson Blu property offers five types of chic rooms and suits, in addition to 20 poolside cabanas. For a memorable romantic dinner, make sure to request a meal at the private beach, with gentle waves for company.
Copthorne Hotel SharjahYou’re in the heart of action when you stay with the Copthorne. Wake up to the breathtaking views of Khalid Lagoon from your luxurious room, head to the neighbouring malls for your shopping loot, and take a short drive to the museums—getting around this centrally-located hotel is a breeze.
Where to shop
Tip: Shopping in Sharjah is tax free, so be sure to make the most of it.
Souk Al-MarkaziA shopper’s paradise, the Souk Al-Markazi or Blue Souk is Sharjah’s iconic shopping hub that caters to every need. Two buildings, interconnected by bridges, together makes its grand complex, which houses over 600 shops selling everything from jewellery and perfumes to rugs and pashminas. The best part: you can bargain at any souk to strike a good deal.
Souk Al-ArsahLocated in the heritage area, Souk Al-Arsah or Courtyard Souk is one of the oldest marketplaces in the city. Visit this for antique handicrafts, wooden Arabic bridal and pearl chests, copper coffee pots, medicinal herbs, and many such curios.
Sahara CentreAmong the largest shopping complexes in the city, Sahara Centre on Al Nahda Street offers a range of shopping outlets, restaurants and entertainment hubs. It also houses an exclusive gaming zone called Adventureland and a popular multiplex.
Other famous shopping hubs in the city include Sharjah City Centre, Al Shaab Village, Mega Mall, among others.
6E and Cheeky
Interestingly, Sharjah is home to many specialty museums. Auto enthusiasts must visit the Sharjah Classic Cars Museum which displays more than 100 classic cars manufactured in the early 20th century, including the 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman owned by the ruler of Sharjah. Al Mahatta Museum is dedicated to the history of flight in the UAE, Sharjah Maritime Museum showcases the rich marine heritage of the region, whereas the Emirati lifestyle, habits and crafts are highlighted at the Sharjah Heritage Museum. Perhaps the reason why the city was awarded the title of ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ by UNESCO in 1998.
|Sharjah - United Arab Emirates||SHJ|