Unless they happen to take advantage of Sharjah’s lower rents, many Dubai expats have never set foot in their conservative northern neighbour. Why go, they ask? There’s no booze, no party, no fancy restaurants, no beaches, and traffic is so dense, it’s punishing to even get there. All true. But as so often is the case, that’s only half the story.
Sharjah doesn’t dazzle with glitz but with culture. Long before Abu Dhabi began vying for the title, Unesco declared Sharjah the Cultural Capital of the Arab World. And deservedly so. The restored central Arts and Heritage Areas are among the most interesting neighbourhoods in the UAE. Quality museums, galleries and theatres abound. And prominent festivals like the Sharjah Biennal art fair and the Sharjah International Book Fair draw worldwide attention. Add to that some lively souqs where you can indulge your souvenir cravings and you’ve got a fascinating destination that’s well worth braving the traffic for.
One caveat: Sharjah is the one emirate that takes its decency laws seriously, so do dress modestly. That means no exposed knees, backs or bellies – and that goes for both men and women. Swimsuits should only be worn at hotel pools and beaches (no string bikinis).
Sharjah destination guides
Sharjah Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
There is no better way to see Sharjah than on a double-decker, hop-on hop-off bus! See top Sharjah attractions on this comprehensive sightseeing tour, such as Al Qasba, Etisalat Eye of the Emirates Ferris Wheel, the Blue Souq and much more. Hop on and off as many times as you like at any of the 17 stops around the UAE’s third largest city for a full 24 hours of sightseeing.
Sharjah Hop-On Hop-Off Night Tour
See the Central Souq (Blue Souq), the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Al Noor Mosque and other cultural landmarks of Sharjah lit up at night on this hop-on hop-off bus tour. Through recorded commentary, learn about the rich history of Sharjah, the third largest city in the United Arab Emirates after Dubai and Abu Dhabi.