The emirate of Sharjah offers an inviting combination of culture, heritage, art and outdoor activities. Admire the rare artifacts at the Museum of Islamic Civilization, and visit the arts area for a taste of traditional and contemporary art. A walk through the Heart of Sharjah will reward visitors with a glimpse into history, while outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy an exciting 4-wheel drive through the dunes before relaxing on the white beaches or snorkeling through the clear blue waters offshore. While Dubai is all about flashy tall buildings and shop-till-you-drop malls, neighbouring Sharjah takes a more subtle approach, forgoing glitz to concentrate on culture and history. Some travellers are put off by its conservative reputation (the emirate is ‘dry’; no alcohol is available anywhere), but if you can handle a day or two without a beer, Sharjah is home to some of the best museums and art galleries in the country: the restored Sharjah Heritage Area and the mind-bogglingly vast history of the Mleiha Archaeological Site. This emirate is doing more than anywhere else in the UAE to preserve its heritage – explaining why Unesco declared it Cultural Capital of the Arab World in 1998, recognition reaffirmed in 2014, when it became Capital of Islamic Culture.
Summer marks the beginning of the spectacular time in Sharjah. Summer holidays bring together families from across the region for a host of activities, carnivals, events, workshops and summer camps for the kids. You’ll also find several promotions, discounts and giveaways at Sharjah’s premier shopping destinations.
Sharjah summers have long days with lots of sunshine; daily temperatures range from 26°C (103°F) to 40°C (79°F) so most people prefer to stay indoors, but don’t worry! The people of Sharjah know how to have fun.
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Located next to the Majarrah Waterfront, in the historical heart of Sharjah, this fascinating Museum resides in a building that was once a traditional Middle Eastern souq (indoor market).
The new Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is home to more than five thousand rare Islamic artefacts from all over the Islamic World, spread across seven spacious galleries. Visitors can learn about the Islamic faith, science, discoveries and culture, and admire the beauty of Islamic art. If you want to know more about Sharjah and it’s heritage, take the Sharjah Arts Heritage and Culture Tour for a truly enriching experience.
The Central Souk also popularly called the ‘Blue Souk’ is a multi-storey indoor market consisting of two parallel buildings connected by bridges. One of Sharjah’s most Instagram-worthy buildings, the souk even features on UAE currency.
You can buy a variety of Arabian handicrafts like Bedouin jewellery and other curios like handmade Persian Carpets and colourful Kilims from Afghanistan and Kashmir. You will also find skilled craftsmen who can recreate entire designs from a single photo or sketch.
Al Montazah Amusement and Water Park
Located opposite the Central Souk, Al Montazah’s Amusement and Water Park is the perfect destination for the whole family. Beat the heat of the Sharjah Sun at ‘Pearls Kingdom’, featuring wet-and-wild waterslides, meandering pools, twisting tube and speed slides. There are pools for all ages and a shallow splash zone for the tiny tots. If you’re looking for some more privacy, rent out one of the many cabanas.
The amusement park is packed to the brim with exciting rides like bumper cars, go-karts and a mini-train. The grounds also feature a sprawling park with picnic spots, cafes and restaurants.
Sharjah Discovery Centre
Wake up your inner child and marvel at everything the Discovery Centre has to offer. The Centre is divided into seven themed areas, including Water World, Sports World, Body World and Build Town. Each section features cool science and design experiments, alongside climbing walls, mini electric cars and storytelling areas.
The Discovery Centre ultimately helps children understand the role of science and technology in their daily life and encourages them to explore the world around them in a fun-filled and relaxing atmosphere.