BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN SHARJAH

In my 5 years living in Dubai, I never thought of Sharjah as a place to visit. But COVID and the travel restrictions made me consider visiting places closer to home. And when I started to research places to visit in Sharjah I was really surprised to find a lot of options, including so many museums! Sharjah is actually considered the cultural center of the UAE, although Abu Dhabi is investing heavily in order to grab that title. If you live in Dubai or if you spend some time in the UAE, I really recommend to visit Sharjah (especially the city center and the newly restored Heart of Sharjah), to see a different facet of the country. Less flashy and luxurious, more raw and authentic.

Like Dubai, the best to visit Sharjah is from November to February. The temperature should be idea to walk around and enjoy dining outside. The shoulder season of March to May is also an option if you are up for some higher temperatures.

Before getting started, don’t hesitate to check out some of my most popular articles to learn more about Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE in general.

So here are some of what I consider the best places to visit in Sharjah, many of them located in the Heart of Sharjah neighbourhood.

THE HEART OF SHARJAH

The Heart of Sharjah is an ongoing restoration project to turn the heritage district of Sharjah into a cultural and historical hub for the UAE. Existing building are being restored, and new one built in traditional style, to host hotels, cafes, museums, souks etc. The full restoration should finish around 2025, but it is already very pleasant to wander in the alleys, and explore the many museums and historical buildings. Except for Noor Island, all the places I recommend to visit below are within, or walking distance from, the Heart of Sharjah.

Tips : If you are planning to visit several museums, consider getting the Heritage Ticket , a joint ticket to visit 5 museums for the price of 2. It includes Al Eslah School Museum, Sharjah Heritage Museum, Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Sharjah Fort “ Al Hisn” and Bait Al Naboodah. The ticket can be purchased from any of these museums.

Children < 2 yo: Free 
Children (2-12years): 10 AED 
Adults:  20 AED

SHARJAH MUSEUM OF ISLAMIC CIVILISATIONS

Reopened in June 2008, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisations is the first of its kind in the UAE. Displaying thousands of antics and artifacts highlighting the achievement of the Islamic World from the 7th century AD to modern time. It is a great place to learn about the Islamic culture and its impact on the world. It is for sure the most important cultural landmark to visit in Sharjah.

Places to visit in Sharjah City Center
Heart of Sharjah Islamic Civilisations Museum

The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisations is incredibly rich in artifacts but in my opinion the scenography is quite outdated. It is still a great place to visit in Sharjah.

Location: Al Majarrah area in Heart of Sharjah.

Opening hours:
Saturday to Thursday 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM 
Friday: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM 

Entrance Fees:
Children < 2 yo: Free 
Children (2-12years): 5 AED 
Adults:  10 AED
Seniors (60+), poeple of determination and their companion: Free

BAIT AL NABOODAH

Built in 1845, Bait al Naboodah (The house of Naboodah in Arabic), is the historical house of a successful pearl marchant from Sharjah. A two story house built around a grand courtyard, the house is unique among historical Sharjah houses, because of the teak columns surrounding the courtyard, the absence of wind towers and the intricate plaster and wood carvings. All these unique design elements were brought by the owner from his many travels in the Gulf region and beyond.

Throughout the various rooms of Bait Al Naboodah, you can learn about the daily lives of this successful Emirati family, their culture and traditions.

Location: Heart of Sharjah

Opening hours:
Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Entrance fees:
Children < 2 yo: Free 
Children (2-12years): 5 AED 
Adults:  10 AED
Seniors (60+), poeple of determination and their companion: Free

AL HISN FORT MUSEUM

Best places to visit Sharjah City Center Heart of Sharjah  Sharjah Fort

Also known as the Sharjah Fort, Al Hisn Fort Museum is a double storey fortification built in 1823 in what is now the city center of Sharjah. The fort used to be both the Sharjah’s government headquarter and the residence of the ruling family, the Al Qawasim. Much like Bait Al Naboodah and Qasrn Al Hosn in Abu Dhabi, I liked the spacious central courtyard and the surrounding columns. This architecture is pretty simple but I find it beautiful. Don’t miss visiting the prison to learn about the early justice system in Sharjah.

Location: Heart of Sharjah

Opening hours:
Saturday to Thursday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
Friday: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Entrance fees:
Children < 2 yo: Free 
Children (2-12years): 5 AED 
Adults:  10 AED
Seniors (60+), poeple of determination and their companion: Free

SOUK AL ARSAH

Right the in the Heart of Sharjah you will find the Souk Al Arsah, one of the oldest market places in the country. The souk is beautifully renovated, with solid wooden doors and ceiling, white washed walls, and Arabic lanterns. What I particularly liked is that the souk didn’t feel touristy. Most of the shops sell genuine antics, wooden articles, silver jewelry, herbs & spices, etc. You won’t find much of the usual touristy t-shirts and cheap souvenirs here. There are many other souks to visit in Sharjah, including the nearby Souk Al Shanasiyah and Souk Saqr, as well as the Central Blue Souk (an iconic landmark in the UAE, depicted on the 5 AED banknote).

Location: Heart of Sharjah

Opening hours:
Saturday to Thursday 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Friday: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm

THE RAIN ROOM

Undeniably the most Instagrammable place to visit in Sharjah, the Rain Room is a permanent art installation, part of the Sharjah Art Foundation since 2018. A few meter below grounds, step into a dark underground space with a massive rainfall at the center. Come closer, steps under the rainfall and notice how you dont’ get wet! It is a pretty fun experience, but it is really the pictures that you can take there that are so cool!

Insiders tip : Take a slow-motion video for the coolest effect!

Opening hours:
Saturday – Thursday: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Friday: 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Entrance fees:
Adults 25 AED
Students & Teachers 15 AED
Children under 5 yo, people of determination and their companion: free

Entry every 15 min, limited to 6 pax / No professional photography allowed (no DSLR / Mirrorless cameras)

AL NOOR ISLAND

Close to the city center of Sharjah, yet miles away in atmosphere, Al Noor Island is a beautiful tropical biosphere in the heart of Sharjah. This tiny island host a variety of trees, flowers & cactus, some art installations, a cafe and a butterfly greenhouse. It is a very family friendly environment, ideal to take a break from the city. The beautiful Al Noor mosque across the bridge is also a must visit in Sharjah, but it is closed for now due to COVID.

Places to visit in Sharjah City Center Al Noor Mosque

Prettiest places of the island: The Litterature Pavillon with its cushioned sitting area and water fountains, and the Butterflies House, a small greenhouse with over 500 butterflies.

AL MADAM GHOST TOWN

Al Madam is a short hoour drive from the city center of Sharjah. This abandoned village in the middle of the desert is made of a few houses and a mosque half buried in sand. Al Madam Ghost is a very mysterious place, as no-one really knows why the village was abandoned in the first place. In any case, it is really cool to see how easily nature takes over!

WHERE TO STAY IN SHARJAH

The best place to stay in Sharjah is the Chedi Al Bait hotel! Meaning “The Home”, the Chedi Al Bait is a beautiful restoration project, that turned a collection of 19th century houses owned by prominent Emiraty families, into a spacious yet intimate 53 rooms hotels, right in the Heart of Sharjah. With its wind tower, internal shaded courtyards and high beige walls, the architecture of the hotel is a stunning tribute to the UAE traditional architecture.

The rooms themselves are beautiful of course, with heavy four poster beds, majlis style seating area and an intricate wood ceiling. My favorite part? The full size Aqua Di Parma amenities!!

The service at the restaurants and in the hotel is impeccable, friendly and personalized.

It is the second time I stay at a Chedi hotel, the first time being in Oman, and in both case I really loved the super high end, yet refined and not showy atmosphere. I just learned they also have hotels in Mumbai, Montenegro and Switzerland that I would die to visit!

If you are looking for an other hotel in the UAE, here are some of my favorites :

Here you go, these are some of the best places to visit in Sharjah. I really enjoyed roaming around the Heart of Sharjah and would love to go back soon to see more museums! If you have any question about visiting Sharjah, do not hesitate to leave me a comment below or to reach out on Instagram!

Love, Emma


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