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Sharjah, UAE | © Fariz Safarullah
Sharjah, UAE | © Fariz Safarullah | Flickr
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How to Spend 48 Hours in Sharjah, UAE

Picture of Jessica Harn
Updated: 11 October 2017
Sharjah, a city only 20 minutes away by car from Dubai, is often ignored because of its image of being a quiet, small city in comparison to its larger and more bustling sister-city of Dubai. What many people don’t know however, is that Sharjah is the cultural and educational city of the UAE, and boasts Islamic museums, cultural centers, and grand educational institutions … in addition to probably the best food and desserts in the entire country! Here’s how to spend 48 hours in this unique and colorful city.

Day 1

Morning

The UAE is famous for its ritualistic coffee-time in the mornings, and then there is Sharjah, which is probably the best place in the country to get really good Emirati coffee and breakfast. Head to the Qasba, an area in Sharjah along the breezy bay, and choose from its many cafes and restaurants for a delicious start to the day. The Fenyaal Café is highly popular because of its local Emirati coffee, breakfast items, and sweets.

Once you’ve indulged on a hearty Emirati breakfast, walk around the Qasba to experience one of Sharjah’s most friendly and popular spots to relax. Enjoy the Eye of the Emirates Ferris wheel, drop off the kids at the Kid’s Fun Zone, or do some shopping as you enjoy the breeze that comes in from the nearby water.

Looking out from the Qasba
Looking out from the Qasba | Flickr

To finish off your Qasba experience, stop by the Maraya Art Centre, which showcases both emerging and well-known artists from around the Middle East. Enjoy the art, and if curious, engage in interactive projects and sculpting for the public to experience!

Afternoon

By now you’ll be wanting lunch, and deciding which delicious restaurant to go to is almost impossible. Sharjah is known for having some of the best food in the country with truly authentic flavors, so no matter which restaurant you stop by, you’ll most likely not be disappointed. One restaurant that remains a favorite is Gazebo Restaurant on King Faisal Street, just a short taxi ride away from the Qasba, which serves delicious Pakistani and Indian food, with an Emirati twist. The food here is truly a mouthwatering experience.

Pictures can’t explain how amazing the food is!
Pictures can’t explain how amazing the food is! | Flickr

After lunch, head over to the Sharjah Heritage Museum in the heart of the city to understand why Sharjah is dubbed the UAE’s cultural and educational pride. Take a walk through this well-kept museum to learn about Sharjah’s history and culture, and the Arabian traditions that are still alive today. You’ll walk out with an entirely new appreciation for this part of the world!

Evening

As evening approaches and you leave the museum, you’ll start to hear the evening calls to prayer from the mosques around the city. Head to either the Blue Souq (sometimes just called the Central Souq), or the King Faisal Mosque, which stand right across the street from each other. You can either walk or take a short taxi ride from the museum to this area, as once you’re in the center of Sharjah almost anything is either walkable or a short car ride away. Enjoy the peace and serenity of the mosque, or head to the souq for a more vibrant experience. The Blue Souq is the place to get all your UAE and Sharjah gifts and souvenirs, and you’ll be tempted by almost everything you see. From exotic Arabian oil perfumes to colorfully painted bowls and plates, from camel keychains to lush red carpets, you’ll be in souq heaven!

The Blue Souq
The Blue Souq | Flickr

Finally, to end the day and relax into the night, head to the Sharjah Dhow Restaurant alongside the Buhaira Corniche to have a truly unique experience of dining in a traditional Emirati dhow boat! Serving local food with Arabian spices and flavors, this restaurant is one of the best ways to end a day in Sharjah.

Day 2

Morning

Once in Sharjah, you’ve got to experience why it’s called the educational heartland of the UAE. Start off the morning alongside the students of the city by heading to Sharjah’s University City. This is a large compound of Sharjah, so-called because of the line of universities and research centers that could almost amount to being its own independent city, this area is the best place to witness the brightest and most energetic of Sharjah (and the country’s) youth at work. Before getting lost in University City, head to University Road for a quick breakfast. This road is jam-packed with small tea shops, cafes, and restaurants for the ever-hungry student, and you’ll be able to find anything you want for breakfast here. They even sell hot cereal in take-away bowls for the extra-late student!

One of the institutions within University City
One of the institutions within University City | Flickr

Once you’ve finished trying all the different foods on University Road, head inside University City to gawk at the enormous universities. Just the architecture itself will amaze you; the American University of Sharjah, known as the Oxford of the Middle East, has been compared to the looks of the Taj Mahal. Walk along its white-washed marble campus, and if the security guards let you, check out the library… it’s enough to make you want to enrol in classes there!

Afternoon

After feeling a bit more educational, head over to Sharjah’s most-beloved museum, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization in the heart of the city. This museum showcases thousands of ancient and historical artifacts that hold great importance in the history of Islam. Learn about the religious, social, and scientific discoveries and revelations made by Islamic scholars and ordinary people in this truly immersive museum. The Sharjah Archeology Museum and the Sharjah Science Museum are all close by as well, and are well worth a visit to learn about this city and region’s history and science.

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization
Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization | Flickr

By this point you’ll be wanting a break to sort through everything you’ve learned, and for another amazing lunch in Sharjah try the Mushmaool Arabic Grill Restaurant, located right next to the Mega Mall, for an authentic and hearty Arabic meal. From grilled lamb chops to succulent shish kaboobs, from buttery rice to vegetable samosas; all bursting with flavors; this restaurant is a must to experience all the best flavors of the region.

Evening

Finally, to end your day alongside the residents and the people of Sharjah, head to the Buhaira Corniche for a relaxing walk next to the water, small shopping boulevard, a large plaza to people-watch, and some of the best cafes in the city. The Al Majaz Fountains, alongside the waterfront, is one of the main attractions of the area, with the colorful fountain shooting water 100 meters in the air in rhythm with the music that plays every 30 minutes in the evenings. This is where families go to relax, couples go for a date night, and children go to run around in freedom; and is the perfect place for a relaxing dinner to reflect on everything you’ve experienced in the wonderful city of Sharjah.

Sharjah at night
Sharjah at night | © János Korom Dr./Flickr