Helping you plan your trip to Sharjah!
So, you’ve made the perfect decision to visit Sharjah, the cultural hub of the UAE! Fabulous! Now, let me help you with all you need to plan your trip to Sharjah. Use the menu at the top if you want to skip down the page.
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- 5-star, Exceptional 9.4 on Agoda, 9.4 on Booking
- Travel sustainable level 3
- Restored merchant’s homes with traditional decor
- Spa, pool, restaurant, fitness centre, business centre
- In the Heart of Sharjah, walking distance of fort, museums, Art Area, Sharjah Corniche and close to other sights
Why you should visit Sharjah
There are so many reasons to visit Sharjah! Firstly, it’s the cultural hub of the UAE with an abundance of museums, art spaces, fairs, festivals. and stunning Arabic architecture. Sharjah has been awarded many titles, including Cultural Capital of the Arab World, Islamic Culture Capital and World Book Capital 2019.
Secondly, it’s a wonderful place for families to visit with lots of family destinations, such as Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront, Khorfakkan Corniche, Al Rafisah Dam, city and mountain parks, beaches, nature reserves, learning centres, interactive museums, children’s festivals and more. Many of these are free for all, free for children or low-cost.
Next, Sharjah has a rich history and many forts, historical buildings and archaeological sites going back several thousand years. So please, don’t believe it when anyone says there is no history in the UAE!
Additionally, the Emirate of Sharjah has several new eco-resorts, including Kalba Kingfisher Retreat, set on an island in a nature reserve amongst the mangroves and Moon Retreat, where desert and plains meet mountains. You can book Mysk Kingfisher Retreat or Mysk Moon Retreat here.
If you’re looking for a halal, sober or accessible vacation, make sure Sharjah is on your list!
These are just a few of the many great reasons to visit Sharjah. Whatever your reason, the wonderful blend of heritage and modern amenities offers a unique travel experience full of discovery and inspiration that you’ll remember for years.
When to visit Sharjah
When is the best time to plan your trip to Sharjah? The best time to visit Sharjah is between October and April, with November to March being ideal. In the winter, the weather ranges from the low 20s C (low 70s F) to the low-mid 30s (high 80s-low 90s F.)
It can also rain or be cloudy during this time Some years see more rain, while others see none at all and you’re more likely to encounter rain in the Central and Eastern Regions.
In the summer, the temperature rises to the mid-40s (110F) near the coast and high 40s (116-120F) inland. Although it gets very humid near the coast, the heat inland is usually dry and more tolerable.
Apart from the weather, if you want to visit one of Sharjah’s many cultural festivals, exhibitions or fairs, check the yearly calendar. You can also see more on events in Sharjah at the Sharjah Events official website.
My favourite time of year is February when Sharjah Light Festival is on. My other favourite events are Sharjah Islamic Arts Festival, Sharjah Heritage Days and Sharjah International Book Fair.
Where to stay in Sharjah
Best hotels in Sharjah – Top Picks
Chedi Al Bait
For a cultural experience and boutique hotel in Sharjah, I recommend Chedi Al Bait, part of The Sharjah Collection.
Located in the Heart of Sharjah, it’s an ideal spot for exploring the old part of town and visiting museums, art galleries and souqs.
Set in the beautifully restored homes of merchants, Chedi Al Bait will sweep you back in time. Enjoy drinking coffee in the secluded courtyard, reading a book in the old library or relaxing in the spa followed by a dip in the pool.
Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa
If you’re more of a beach resort person and prefer a larger hotel, then I recommend the Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort and Spa with its gorgeous white beach, pools and restaurants.
Enjoy the view of the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf whilst relaxing on the beach with a book or tasting the culinary delights in one of several restaurants.
- 5-star, Excellent 8.4 on Agoda, 8.1 on Booking
- Travel sustainable level 2
- Private beach, spa, pools, restaurants, children’s play areas, sports facilities, water sports, salon, business centre, accessible rooms, sea view, balcony
- Quick taxi ride to many locations, near walking and cycling tracks
Budget-friendly hotels in Sharjah
For a more budget-friendly hotel in Sharjah, City Max is popular. Book City Max Sharjah now.
And if you don’t mind sharing a room, Sharjah Heritage Hostel not only offers low prices, but is a gorgeous little hideaway in the perfect spot to explore old Sharjah.
Recently renovated, it has traditional decor, a peaceful courtyard and rooms for both men and ladies. Book Sharjah Heritage Hostel now.
Let’s move on to the next step of planning your trip to Sharjah. If you’re not travelling to Sharjah from overseas, skip down to best attractions.
Search for more hotels in Sharjah below
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Flights to Sharjah and nearby airports
Many airlines fly into Sharjah International Airport, including Sharjah airline Air Arabia. If you can’t find a flight from your country or wish to use a different airline, just enter Dubai in the search box below.
My favourite airlines flying into Dubai are Emirates and KLM (who partner with other airlines like Air France, Delta, etc.) Dubai Airport is just 14km/9 miles from Sharjah City Centre.
Kiwi can be a great platform for finding different flight routes and great prices.
For your arrival at Sharjah Airport, you can book meet and greet or wheelchair assistance with Hala Services. If you’re flying into Dubai, you can use Marhaba meet and greet services to help you through arrivals quickly.
Taxis are available at the airport and public transport can take you to some locations, but if you prefer to book a pick-up service, take a look at Welcome Pickups.
Sharjah vacation from abroad? – Book travel insurance
An essential element for your trip to Sharjah is travel insurance. Ensure you’re covered in case you need to cancel or change your travel arrangements and for any health costs you may face during your visit.
Of course, I hope you’ll have a safe and trouble-free vacation, but health care in the UAE isn’t cheap, so health insurance is a must. If you need a tourist visa rather than visa on arrival, it is also mandatory.
Do I need a visa to visit the United Arab Emirates?
The rules on this are constantly changing and so it is better to refer to official sources. However, in general, yes you will need either a tourist visa or you will be issued a visa on arrival, depending on your nationality. Check according to your nationality here.
Getting Around Sharjah
Rent a car in Sharjah
To make the most of your trip to Sharjah, you can rent a car at Sharjah Airport or in the city. Personally, I prefer going with known international brands when I travel. You can compare prices in the box below.
Sharjah City bus tour
See the best of Sharjah main attractions on the hop-on hop-off city sightseeing tour – buy a one-day or two-day ticket and go at your own pace. Buses stop at all main sights and run regularly. This is easily one of the best ways to see Sharjah city sights. Book Sharjah Hop On Hop Off City Tour now
Bicycle and kart rental
You can explore Al Majaz, Al Qasba, Al Khan Beach, Buhairah Corniche and Al Heera Beach by renting a bicycle, go-kart, family trike, etc. at BYKY. They also have rental locations in Kalba and Khor Fakkan.
Taxi and public transport
Taxi stands are at every mall and you can stop taxis in the street. Otherwise, call 600-525-252, book online or ask the hotel/restaurant/attraction to call you a taxi. Careem, owned by Uber, is another popular option but you’ll need to book through the Careem app.
Intercity buses from Sharjah go to major towns in the UAE, with some making stops at landmarks along the way. There are also public buses in Sharjah. Visit the website or download the Sharjah RTA app.
If you plan to use public transport and/or taxis, I recommend downloading the apps in advance of your trip to Sharjah.
Seeing the Best Attractions in Sharjah
To help you see all there is to see and do in Sharjah, I’ve written a guidebook, The Ultimate Guide to the Emirate of Sharjah, which will be available very soon. You can see links here to many of the best places in Sharjah that are mentioned in the book
Until then, you can also find most Sharjah attractions in my booklet of walking tours and itineraries in Sharjah. Many can easily be combined into a day trip.
If you’d just like a quick list of my top recommendations for a Sharjah itinerary, here you go!
Best Attractions in Sharjah City
- Heart of Sharjah – old town with old souqs and restored merchant homes used as museums, hotel, etc.
- Sharjah Art Area – home to Sharjah Art Museum and several art spaces and organisations
- Al Noor Island and Butterfly House – see many species of butterflies and enjoy the different landscapes and art works on the island
- Al Qasba Canal – enjoy restaurants and cafes on the canal side, art space, theatre, play areas, gardens, pop-up marketes and festivals and boast rides
- Al Majaz Waterfront – restaurants and cafes overlooking the lagoon, gardens, market, kayak and boat rental, bike and kart rental, festivals
- The Rain Room – art installation – enjoy walking through the ‘rain’
- Sharjah Mosque – the emirate’s largest mosque set in Islamic gardens
- Al Mahatta Museum – the original first airport houses the museum and has old planes, other exhibits and an exhibition on science of flight
- Wasit Wetlands (Bird Reserve) – indoor centre (birds outdoors) and lake with bird hides, take a buggy ride or walk the 5km round the lake
As mentioned above, you can buy tickets for the hop-on hop-off Sharjah bus to visit most of the Sharjah sights above. Buy tickets for Sharjah Hop On Hop Off City Tour now.
Popular Attractions in Sharjah Central Region
- Discover Mleiha – archaeological centre, bistro, glamping, outdoor activities
- Buhais Geology Park – learning centre, outdoor trail
- Sharjah Safari – largest safari park outside of Africa
- Sharjah Desert Park – home to the Arabian Wildlife Centre, Natural History and Botanical Museum, Islamic Botanical Garden and Children’s Petting Farm
Popular Attractions in Khorfakkan
- Al Rafisa Dam – lake, restaurant, play areas, kayaking and other boats, hiking
- Old Souq – restored souq with cafes and restaurants and the fort which is now a museum
- Corniche – newly developed area with cafes and restaurants, kayaing and sup, play areas, sports fields, small skate park
- Al Rabi Sunrise Hike, The View – old tower, hiking, restaurant
- Resistance Monument – monument hosuing a cafe and small museum and theatre showing movei Khor Fakkan
Popular Attractions in Kalba
- Khor Kalba Mangrove Centre – visit the mangroves and the learning centre
- Al Hefaiya Mountain Conservation Centre and Kalba Bird of Prey Centre – nature reserves
- Kalba Lake – gardens, cafes, boats, play areas, waterfront mall
Four other beautiful locations in the emirate of Sharjah are:
- Al Hamriya – a beautiful beach with crystal clear water, white sands and access for wheelchairs (even into the sea!)
- Dibba Al Hisn – a tiny enclave in the north-east between Fujairah and Mudandam, Oman. Beautiful views
- Al Nahwa – another tiny enclave…wait for it… inside an Omani enclave inside the UAE! Heritage area, mountains, wadi,
- Wadi Al Helo – Fertile area with farms and an archaeological site, also a lovely spot for walks and hiking.
Best Events in Sharjah
To get the most out of your trip to Sharjah, you can time it with festivals and other events. The most popular are Sharjah Light Festival, Sharjah Book Fair and Xposure International Photography Festival. I was honoured to be invited to participate in Xposure 2023! See more on events in Sharjah at the official website.
Sharjah outdoor activities
If you’d like to plan some outdoor activities in Sharjah, here’s a quick overview. You can find more details in the dedicated posts.
In Sharjah city, you can walk or cycle near the coast, such as around the lagoons, through the old districts. You can hire kayaks, pedal boats or large boats at Al Majaz. At Mamzar, you can go jet-skiing, and you can swim at most of the beaches. For a round of golf, head to Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, set amongst beautiful greenery. They have other activities too.
Over in the east, in Kalba and Khor Fakkan, you can go hiking, kayaking and play padel, etc. or go on deep sea fishing trips. Sharjah Central Region is perfect for dune drives and desert hacks.
Remember you can find links to the best things to do in Sharjah here.
Recommendations for best trips near Sharjah
When planning your holiday in Sharjah, you may like to include other nearby destinations. Here are my recommendations on things to do near Sharjah. Tap the links to see more.
- RAK – Suwaidi Pearl Farm, RAK hot air balloon ride, Jebel Jais hiking and adventure
- Ajman – Heritage District, kayaking or golf at Al Zorah
- Dubai – Dubai Frame, Al Fahidi District
- Abu Dhabi – Qasr Al Watan or Cultural Day Out at Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Qasr Al Watan and Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Al Ain – Al Ain Oasis and Palace, Jahili Fort, Qasr Al Muwaiji
- Musandam, Oman – An enclave of Oman which sits north of the UAE. Known as the Norway of the Middle East, it has stunning scenery and a slow, simple and relaxing vibe. See more of Musandam over on my other site, In Scotterati Footsteps.
What to pack for your vacation in Sharjah
Here is a brief checklist to help you pack for your Sharjah vacation.
1. Modest Dress – Sharjah values its cultural traditions and religious heritage. And so, respectful and modest dress, particularly when visiting mosques and other sacred sites, is appreciated.
For both men and women, it’s a good idea to pack some loose-fitting clothes that cover your shoulders and your legs to the knee.
Ladies, if you plan on visiting a mosque in Sharjah, pack a scarf or shawl to cover your head. You won’t be expected to wear it anywhere else. Gentlemen, pack long trousers and a shirt for the same visits.
(If you ever need to visit a police station or government office anywhere in the UAE, longer trousers/dress, shoulders covered, and non-transparent clothes are the dress code for both men and women.)
2. An extra layer – While the weather in Sharjah is generally warm, the air-conditioned malls, restaurants, and other indoor spaces can get chilly. Pack a cardigan or similar that can easily be put on or taken off as needed to stay comfortable. You may also occasionally need it in the evening in the cooler months.
3. Footwear – Pack a comfortable pair of shoes if you plan to do any of the walking tours in my Explore Sharjah booklet. Closed-toe shoes are also better for visits to the desert (especially at night) or areas on gravel plains and near mountains, such as Discover Mleiha.
If you plan on doing any of the hikes in the eastern regions, a pair of hiking boots would stand you in good stead. Otherwise, double up with walking shoes by bringing trainers with a good grip.
Sandals will be perfect if you like beach days and can also double up when going out for dinner.
4. Sun protection – With plenty of sunshine in Sharjah, it’s important to pack sun protection essentials such as sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen with a high SPF. I regularly get burned while sitting in the shade here, so remember to apply sunscreen even if you’re sitting under an umbrella.
5. Swimwear – If you’re staying at a beach resort in Sharjah or near Al Khan Beach, you could pack a one-piece swimsuit or swimming trunks. If you plan to visit some of the other beautiful beaches in Sharjah, something more modest would be preferred in this culturally sensitive destination.
6. Adaptor – Although the UAE uses British-style plugs and sockets (three-pin, rectangular pin), you can still come across both in European style (two round pins).
If you’re staying in major hotels in Sharjah, you can expect UK-style sockets, but in Airbnbs, etc, you may still find both.
If you’re travelling from the US, check the voltage of your personal items. If they have a low voltage, they may blow. (Yes, been there, done that!)
7. Water bottle – Carry a reusable water bottle to take with you, as you can quickly become dehydrated. If you’re going off the beaten track, carry at least twice as much water as you expect you’ll need.
8. Reading material – Well, of course, my first recommendation has to be my own guidebook to Sharjah! But what else to read?
If you’re looking for something particularly related to Sharjah, I recommend reading the memoirs of the ruler Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi, starting with The Early Years. You can order this online or buy once you’re here.
Sheikh Sultan is both a historian and a prolific writer and you can also find books on topics, such as the history of the Portuguese and British in the area as well as novels, short stories and poetry.
Note on medications
If you’re bringing medicines to the UAE, check the official guidance to see if your meds are controlled drugs, e.g. antidepressants.
If so, obtain the required documentation mentioned on the website and apply for approval online before your trip to Sharjah. Don’t worry, it’s a relatively straightforward process, and you should have approval within a few days.
What NOT to bring on your trip to Sharjah
Or, in fact, what not to bring into the UAE. The more obvious banned items in Sharjah (and UAE) are pornographic material and recreational drugs of any sort.
Other than these, forbidden items are controlled drugs without the required documentation and more controlled drugs than you need (enough for the duration of your visit and just enough extra for travel delays, etc.).
Leave your drone at home. Drone photography is currently prohibited, except with a commercial license and permits. All drones, including hobby drones, must be registered with the appropriate authorities. Visit the GCAA website to find out more. Not complying can lead to confiscation until you exit the country.
Keeping these packing tips in mind, you’ll be prepared for a memorable and respectful experience in Sharjah!
If you haven’t found the answers to your questions about your trip to Sharjah yet, skip down to the Vacation in Sharjah FAQs below.
Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich culture, stunning architecture, and warm hospitality this fascinating emirate offers. Wishing you a most wonderful trip to Sharjah!
Buy Exploring the Emirate of Sharjah – Walking and cycling tours and itineraries in the city and Central and Eastern Region. Includes Khor Fakkan, the Resistance Monument and a Portuguese History Trail.
But why listen to me?
You may be wondering who am I to tell you how to plan your trip to Sharjah! I lived in the emirate of Sharjah for 15 years, I now live just a few miles away, I work all across the emirate, I’m a licensed Sharjah tour guide, I’ve written a guidebook on Sharjah (awaiting release) and a booklet of walking tours and itineraries, I’ve blogged about Sharjah and the northern emirates since 2013, and I love Sharjah! All blog posts are written by me and based on my own experience. See more on the About Me page.
Take me to the Glimpses of the UAE Map
Vacation in Sharjah FAQS
- What’s the best time for a perfect trip to Sharjah? In my opinion, February is the best month as the weather is good and you can see the Light Festival.
- What is the best place to stay in Sharjah? My top picks for hotels in Sharjah are Chedi Al Bait, Sheraton Beach Resort and Hilton Doubletree. See more in the post.
- Do hotels in Sharjah serve alcohol? No, hotels in Sharjah and restaurants don’t serve alcohol, with the exception of one private club for resident non-Muslim expats.
- Can I visit other emirates while on my trip to Sharjah? Yes, you can travel freely between the seven emirates.
- Can I combine my trip to Sharjah with a vacation in Dubai or Ras Al Khaimah? Yes, you can. Both are less than an hour away.
- Is Sharjah a good family destination? Yes, there are many family activities in Sharjah.
- Are there nightclubs and bars in Sharjah? No.
- Do ladies have to cover their hair in Sharjah? No.
- Can I use my drone on my trip to Sharjah? The UAE has introduced strict rules regarding drones. See the section under What Not to Pack above.
- Are there mini-bars in hotels in Sharjah? There are mini-bars but without alcohol.
- Are there disabled discounts at attractions in Sharjah? Yes, many places have free entrance for People of Determination and usually for one carer.
- Are there any three-star hotels in Sharjah? Yes, there are lots. You can search for hotels in Sharjah here.
- Is it worth going to Sharjah? – Absolutely! Read the full post and see linked articles above.
- Are there any free attractions in Sharjah? Yes, most art spaces and family areas, such as Al Majaz are free. Other parks and museums are usually low-cost. Nature reserves in Sharjah are free for children up to age 12, except Sharjah Safari. Resident seniors get free entry to many places. See more at 25 Places Seniors Get Free Entry.
- Are there any kids’ attractions in Sharjah? Yes, children can enjoy interactive museums, nature reserves, learning centres, Montaza water park, etc.
- Is Sharjah a safe destination for tourists? Yes, the UAE in general ranks as one of the safest countries in the world. In a recent survey, Sharjah ranked in the top five safest cities in the world. However, it’s always sensible to take care of your personal belongings while you’re out anywhere in the world.
- How expensive is Sharjah compared to other cities in the UAE? Overall, Sharjah is cheaper than Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is similar to Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.
- How is Sharjah different from Dubai in terms of tourist attractions and experiences? Sharjah focuses more on culture, learning and family destinations than its neighbour.
- Are there any wildlife experiences or nature reserves in Sharjah? Yes, there are several protected areas with sections open to the public. These are across the emirate and are managed by the Environmental and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA Shj)
- Do I need a visa to visit Sharjah? That depends on your nationality. You will need either a tourist visa in advance or be given a visit visa on arrival.
- What language is spoken in Sharjah? The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken, and museums, etc. are mostly bilingual. Russian is also spoken in some hotels in Sharjah
- Does Sharjah have 3 day weekend? – Government offices in Sharjah and some universities, colleges and schools have a 3-day weekend Fri-Sun. Some attractions in Sharjah, like museums and nature reserves open later on Fridays, usually at 4pm. Local government offices are closed on Fridays.
- Is it allowed to wear swimsuits at the beach in hotels in Sharjah? Yes.