Welcome to Sharjah, neighbour to Dubai, and an Emirate that lets you step back in time. A place where you take touring and exploring a little slower. Not so much glitz and glamour here, it’s more restrained with a large helping of culture and history.
Sharjah sits around an hour away from the all-encompassing, ever expanding Dubai city. Gone are the large shopping malls, gone are the cocktail bars, but what it lacks in alcoholic beverages, a modern day malls it gains by having some of the best museums and art galleries. Call this your cultural stopover.
Of course, there are modern day trappings, gorgeous beaches and opportunities to try out the water sports. It’s just that spending time here you’ll realise that this is the place that is trying to maintain its past while still embracing the new. So, let’s delve into what’s on offer as we present the best things to do in Sharjah.
Art and Culture
As we’ve been going on about the culture and heritage of the region, we’ll start our look at the places you can visit. You had better start at the Sharjah Art Museum. It’s a dynamic museum and is the place that is the anchor for the heritage and art areas of the region. From modern art to Arabic art and calligraphy, there’s plenty to keep you engrossed. Where better to start, right?
You’ll find there are over 20 Sharjah museums in the region, so plenty to pick from. Our pick of places in the central region of Sharjah include, Emirates Handcraft Centre, the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, and Emirates Fine Arts Society. Each different, each worthy of your time.
And the museum choices don’t end there! There’s a Maritime Museum, an Aquarium, classic cars and the impressive Islamic Museum. The list goes on and on! You are spoilt for choice for deep diving into the local culture here.
The Heart of Sharjah
Want to just soak up the atmosphere of the region? Then head to old Sharjah and just stroll through the narrow alleys. Once a hub for the merchant trade, it’s regeneration makes for a pleasant time. Wander the art spaces, and if you are visiting at the right time, from July to mid-September you may come across some annual events. Which brings us nicely onto the souks.
No trip here can go without visiting a souk or two. You have choices once again, so pick the ones you are most interested in. Souks include dates, textile and gold among their wares. Other popular souks to visit include Souq Al Shanasiyah, Souq Saqr and the Central Souk. Plenty there then to brouse through and get lost in!
If you need some beach time, well, Sharjah has some of the very best. Your opportunity then to wakeboard, scuba dive, kayak… you name it! There are even nature reserves near the beaches at Khorfakkan and Kalba.
Sharjah is not Dubai, and that’s where it benefits. Yes, there are modern activities and top dining places. There are some stunning beaches, but it’s the arts and culture that make the region the reason to visit. If you can go a few days without a beer, then spend time here and you’ll get your fill of the cultural.
Have you been to Sharjah? Got a place to recommend? Leave a comment and we’ll make sure to add it in.