Sharjah is an excellent tourist destination for incredible food and culture. We were excited to be here as I am a culture lover and dig deep into Arabic intellect. The architecturally rich emirate literally means “the rising sun” and is more than 6000 years old. It is also the third-largest emirate in the UAE after Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The city is popular as the ‘Cultural Capital of the Arab World’ with its famous museums located in the Sharjah heritage area. I was lucky to be here during the best time to be in Sharjah which is the winter season. Here’s your guide on how to spend 24 hours in Sharjah. Take a look:
24 Hours In Sharjah – Top Activities and Attractions
Immerse the morning in Arabic culture
Sharjah being a culture-lovers paradise, we head out to visit the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization from the airport located in the ‘Heart Of Sharjah district’. The museum houses several Islamic artefacts that are unique with no duplicates anywhere else in the world. It is exciting to learn about Islamic’s timeless achievements, culture, art and beauty.
You can spend almost an hour and a half and embrace the Arabic vibes and learning experiences. Stroll on foot to see the other museums such as the Al Hisn Fort Museum with its high defensive walls and if time permits the Bait Al Nabooda, a pearl merchant’s house that is admirable for its architecture and local design.
Relish flavours of Sharjah cuisine
A short drive away is the best place to relax for a quick visit to the chic Fen Cafe & Restaurant located on the premises of the Sharjah Art Foundation. Don’t miss to sip into an Ube Latte and order eggs perfectly cooked with yoghurt flakes and coconut crumbs.
Crab Burger, Katsu Chicken, Truffle Fries are the other favourites from the menu. After a belly-full moment, we went on to explore other famous attractions on the premises. The traditional courtyards, coral walls, hanging lanterns and the many buildings in the area gave me a sense of cultural bliss.
Walkthrough an exotic experience
The excitement is in the experience of the RainRoom (Random International`s immersive room) that invites you to take a walk through a downpour of continuous rain and walk out dry. The amazing attraction uses 2500 litres of self-cleaned recycled water that is controlled by 3D tracking cameras.
Founded in 2005 the physically intense experience explores the relationship between humankind and nature. Motion sensors detect your every movement as you navigate the room that is dazzled with art, technology and nature performing around. We strongly recommend booking this experience online beforehand as it is usually booked to full capacity.
Shop in an Arabic souq
The next stop you must see when you have 24 hours in Sharjah is the Souq Al Arsah, a traditional marketplace situated close by. The array of little stores selling antiques, handicrafts, herbs, spices, incense and more made me feel a sense of dizzy thrill. Embracing the Arabic vibes and bustling aura you should choose the Al Omani Sweet Factory that sells amazing Omani halwa.
The souq closes during the middle of the day so plan your visit much before 2 pm. After a lovely time shopping for souvenirs, we needed to sort out our hunger pangs. Head to Ratios Coffee, a nearby eatery that overlooks the Sharjah Creek and offers aesthetic decor, take-aways and unmissable coffee. The cafe is featured with decor elements reclaimed from a 60-year old wooden boat or the traditional dhow where you can blissfully settle for lunch.
Also Read: Find The Best Places For Shopping In Sharjah
Relax in the beauty of Al Noor and more
As the evening approached we made time to visit Al Noor Island. Make sure you visit here before sunset and enjoy the Butterfly House. With approximately 500 butterflies in an Arabic influenced structure, our world turned into a flurry of colours. Visit the OVO installation with its multi-sensory experience and the Literature Pavilion that provides the bibliophiles of the city. You can indulge in a yoga session to breathe in the serenity and calmness of the environs. The area of 45,470 meters is filled with recreation, art installations and more.
Spend the evening on the waterfront
Our next recommended stop was the Al Majaz Waterfront to enjoy the sights of the city. Opt for a dhow cruise tour along the Sharjah corniche. Typically a dhow cruise package is reasonable and cruise aboard the traditional abra in Khaled Lagoon is enchanting. Get a feel of Emirati culture and enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape with the city attractions. You can wander the waterfront area that is filled with cafes, restaurants and a splash park. The musical fountain display at night was mesmerizing.
Hit a culinary hotspot for dinner
As the night approached we decided to treat our taste buds to a culinary experience. Famous in the University City is the culinary hotspot, Zushi, a contemporary sushi restaurant. But we decided to relish traditional Arabic cuisine at Al Fanar Restaurant instead. Here I was delighted with the authentic flavours and stunning views of the corniche.
Luqaimat and lamb are the popular dishes with an average cost of AED 200 for two, this was a good choice to make. The Mango Sticky Rice is a must-try dessert that is made of caramelised rose milk and meringue powder. Luqaimat is another favourite, crispy dumpling flavoured with chocolate syrup, lotus and caramel on the outside.
Farewell Sharjah, “Pearl of the Gulf”
“Smile you’re in Sharjah”, a friendly city in the UAE flourishing east of Abu Dhabi and Dubai will always be a wonderful memory in my heart. The Abbasid-styled and Umayyad buildings, Islamic museums, cultural centres and flavourful cuisine made my trip unforgettable.
We head back to the airport with a million images of the picturesque city and delicious tastes. The “Pearl of the Gulf” will stay in our hearts forever. So, if you ever have a day to spend in the UAE, the heritage splendour of Sharjah always welcomes you.
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