Things to do in Sharjah: top 44 attractions to visit across the emirate

Beaches, culture and museums, sightseeing, shopping and more...

Things to do in Sharjah: top 44 attractions to visit across the emirate

While neighbouring Dubai is full of glitz and glamour, Sharjah's charm lies in its cultural heritage.

Not only does the emirate boast sparkling beaches and an array of excellent shops (both traditional and modern), but there are also loads of things to see and do.

Experience traditional art, delve into the UAE's rich past or view important artefacts from Islamic civilisation at Sharjah's museums.

The emirate is also home to ancient forts constructed from coral stones and mangrove trunks, as well as a wonderful rain room art installation which lets you walk through a torrential downpour without getting hit by a single drop.

Nature-lovers can also explore Sharjah's vibrant parks, including plenty of green spaces and wetlands, with plenty to do for all the family.

Get ready to experience an emirate like no other – here are the top 44 things to do in Sharjah...

CULTURE & MUSEUMS
Al Mahatta Museum
With a name that comes from the Arabic word for station, it perhaps comes as no surprise to learn that this wonderful little museum at the city’s heart has an association with the country’s transport past. It is situated in what was the region’s first airport, which was built in 1932, and now chronicles the history of flight in the UAE and the region, with a collection that highlights man's first attempts to fly, the first moon landing and more. A great one for kids - and big kids.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-8pm. Al Estiqlal Street, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 573 3079).

Art Area of Sharjah
One of the most prominent cultural areas in the emirate, this arts hub is home to the Sharjah Art Museum, the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, the Sharjah Art Foundation and more. In 1993, work began to transform the 12,000 sq m Al Shuwaihean area into an artistic centre to emphasise local architectural and reflect the important historical identity of the UAE. Since its completion in 1997, it has grown into a vibrant arts hub, featuring interactive exhibitions, educational courses and workshops for experienced and up-and-coming artists alike, plus plenty for art lovers in the UAE and beyond.
Open Sat-Thur 9am-9pm, Fri 4pm-9pm. Al Mareija, Al Shuwaihean Area, Sharjah, www.sharjahart.ae (06 568 8800).

Bait Al Naboodah Museum
Ever wondered how the prosperous pearling families of the 19th century lived? Take a trip back in time in this two-storey house, built in 1845 with walls made of coral, which was once home to prominent pearl merchant Obaid bin Eissa Bin Ali Al Shamsi and his three wives and children. It became a museum in 1995, allowing visitors to get a glimpse of this important lifestyle and see  wonderful examples of traditional Gulf architecture in an age before air conditioning.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-8pm. Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 568 1738).

Sharjah Maritime Museum
Take a deep breath and dive into the world of diving and fishing trades so vital to the development of the UAE. The area now making up the seven emirates is one of rich and varied maritime history. Here, you can discover stories of Sharjah's heritage and the country’s key role in the development of the region’s coastal cities more than 6,000 years ago, explore traditional wooden dhows used for fishing, trading and pearling and be wowed by magnificent Arabian pearls collected from the deep blue waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-10pm. Al Khan, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 528 2582).

Mleiha Archaeological Centre
Evidence shows that anatomically modern humans lived in the Mleiha area up to 130,000 years ago.
Hidden deep in the Sharjah desert, this fascinating facility reveals some of the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin culture, showing where settlers lived and died during the ­Palaeolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, Iron and pre-Islamic periods. Built around the Umm Al Nar tomb - a huge circular Bronze Age grave - it details the excavations and discoveries made in the Mleiha area over the past 40 years, including the presence of these extremely early humans. Without a doubt one of the country’s most significant historical sites.
Dhs25. Open Sat-Wed 9am-7pm, Thu-Fri 9am-9pm. Mleiha, Sharjah, www.discovermleiha.ae (6 802 1111).

Rain Room
Rain is a rare thing in the UAE. The best rain dance in the world couldn’t produce moisture from the sky on an average day in the emirates. But in Sharjah, an art installation is giving us plenty of wet weather to enjoy whenever we want - though leave the raincoat at home because you are in no danger of getting wet. The permanent installation at Al Majarah, near Buhaira Corniche, uses special trigger motion sensors to pause rain from the ceiling wherever people walk through. Not helpful for those hoping to cool off - but a magnificent sight that must be seen.
Dhs25 (adults), free (children aged five and under). Sat-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri 4pm-11pm. Al Majarah, near Buhairah Corniche, Sharjah, www.sharjahart.org (06 544 4113).

SAF Art Spaces
Sharjah Art Foundation’s Art Spaces project comprises five buildings hosting a range of exhibitions, along with a variety of exterior spaces including courtyards, alleyways, open squares and an inter-connected roofscape in the urban Heart of Sharjah. The urban development of just under 2,000 sq m of interior space provides a variety of visual experiences, including former traditional Emirati family homes which have been preserved or restored over the past 50 years.
Open Sat-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri 4pm-10pm, Al Shuwaiheen Arts Area, Sharjah, www.sharjahart.org (06 568 5050).

Sharjah Arts Museum
This striking three-storey building features more than 500 artworks from some of the Arab world’s most famous artists, as well as pieces from international names, in what is one of the largest art exhibits in the Middle East. Permanent displays include a collection of works by the Palestinian artist Suleiman Mansour highlighting the conflict in occupied Palestinian territories. The museum also boasts an art library with more than 4,000 titles in Arabic, English and other languages, along with visual and audio materials.
Free. Sat-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-8pm, Al Shuwaihiyeen, Sharjah, (06 568 8222).

Sharjah Calligraphy Museum
In a digital age, the mastery of beautiful handwriting is in danger of becoming a lost art to us all. For those who learned to read using the Latin characters of the English alphabet, there is certainly something captivating about the beauty and style of Arabic calligraphy in particular. Here, visitors can learn about the evolution of Arabic calligraphy over the years and also marvel over some of the more stunning examples of the medium.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-8pm. Calligraphy Square, Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 569 4561).

Sharjah Classic Car Museum
Audacious automobiles and the UAE go hand-in-hand. It doesn’t matter which of the emirates you are driving in, you are likely to see a marvellous - or monstrous - motor on the road beside you. If vintage vehicles are your thing, you won’t find a better collection than the one on display here, comprising more than 100 classic cars and motorcycles manufactured in the early 20th century, with the oldest dating back to 1915. The jewel in its crown is a 1969 Mercedes Pullman Limousine, which was custom-made for Sharjah’s ruler and is one of just 2,000 in the world.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am–8pm, Friday 4–8pm. Airport Road, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 558 0222).

Sharjah Fort Al Hisn
If you haven’t yet visited this outstanding museum, which underwent a comprehensive renovation in 2015, you might want to add it to your list of visitor destinations for 2019. Built in 1823, it has walls made using coral stones collected from the Arabian Gulf, while the ceilings are made from mangrove trunks and palm trees. This former headquarters of the Sharjah government and the residence of Al Qawasim ruling family also houses an impressive armory and prison, while visitors can also learn how dibs, or date molasses, was made in the past.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am–8pm, Friday 4–8pm. Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 568 5500).

Sharjah Heritage Museum
Expats in the UAE can never learn enough about the richness and variety Emirati culture. This attraction features six galleries filled with artworks and artifacts from the fascinating heritage of Sharjah itself. Like the Bait Al Naboodah Museum, it is set in a restored 18th-century pearl merchant’s house. Folk tales and proverbs within tell the traditions of the emirate for younger guests.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am–8pm, Friday 4–8pm. Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 568 0006).

Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilisation
Boasting a collection of 5,000 rare and important Islamic artefacts, including carvings, coins and scientific tools, arranged across seven large galleries, this is the ideal place to learn about Islamic faith, culture, art and science. It opened in 1996 as the Islamic Museum in the city’s Heritage area before moving in 2008 to its current home in a former traditional souq. A beautiful building and a gem of an attraction.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am–8pm, Friday 4–8pm. Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 565 5455).

Sharjah Science Museum
Looking for somewhere to explore the world of science as a family? Look no further. Learn about the achievements of Islamic science through more than 50 interactive exhibits and hands-on experiments on subjects including the secrets of space, aerodynamics and thermal physics, plus take the chance to test your reactions and discover your scientific potential.
Dhs10 ages 13 and up, Dhs5 ages 2-12, free ages 0-2. Open Sat-Thur 8am–8pm, Friday 4–8pm. Heart of Sharjah, Sharjah, www.sharjahmuseums.ae (06 566 8777).

SIGHTSEEING
Al Ittihad Square Park

City living can be stressful - sometimes we just need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the working day. This park is one of the emirate’s best spots to do just that, with plenty of open green space and great views of the Sharjah skyline. Its location between the Sharjah Souk and the King Faisal Mosque, two of the emirate’s most recognisable landmarks, make it ideal for a stop-off during a day out. Busy at the weekend, this park is usually a bit quieter during lunchtimes and midweek evenings.
Free. Open 24 hours. Al Soor Ibrahim Mohammed Al Medfa'a Street, Sharjah.

Al Majaz Waterfront
Breathtaking scenery overlooking the Khaled Lagoon puts this spot at the top of many lists for Sharjah day trips. Don’t miss the stunning Sharjah Musical Fountain or Maraya Art Park, take the children to Splash Park, and then enjoy one of a good choice of restaurants and cafes. The more energetic visitors will make a beeline for the jogging track, while those who enjoy a relaxing afternoon can take in a cruise along the Khaled Lagoon on either an electric or traditional Abra boat. The waterfront also hosts concerts and other events throughout the cooler months.
Free. Open 24 hours. Khalid Lake Trail, Sharjah, www.almajaz.ae (06 511 7000).

Al Noor Mosque
This amazing piece of architecture is the first mosque in the emirate to allow entry by non-Muslim visitors, who can take a tour and learn about Islamic culture, the traditional clothes of the UAE and the Arabic coffee. Beautiful inside and out, and located in a stunning setting next to the lake, this mosque allows photography from visitors, so don’t forget to pack your camera. Visitors are reminded to dress modestly.
Open to the public Mon-Thur 10am-11am. Corniche Street, Sharjah, (06 568 3338).

Al Rolla Square Park
When the shopping bags are getting heavy and the game of human dodgems is taking its toll, get away from the nearby retail areas and head to this park for a light stroll among the fountains and pathways. The square is said to take its name from the planting of the first banyan tree - known locally as a rolla tree - which would be used as a meeting point on special occasions. Nothing much has changed as nearby residents still use the site to reunite with loved ones on occasions special or not.
Open daily 8am-10pm, Rolla, Sharjah.

Buhaira Corniche
If you consider yourself a flaneur, we can probably assume two things about you: one, you enjoy a long, leisurely stroll along a lengthy corniche, and two, you know the word flaneur is used to describe someone who enjoys a long, leisurely stroll. Here, not only can you take your time with a long walk, you can also jog, cycle or just sit. Enjoy some of the many attractions that surround this waterside walkway, including taking a trip to Al Noor Island, getting some culture at SAF Art Spaces or visiting Al Noor Mosque.
Open 24 hours. Buhaira Corniche, Sharjah.

Sharjah Fish Market
Part of the emirate’s massive Souq Al Jubail, which comprises not only a fish section, but also neat rows of stalls specialising in meat and also fruit and vegetables. The jewel in the crown of the souq is undoubtedly the famous fish market, where fresh catch is packed on ice and sold to the highest bidder as tourists look on. Don’t forget your wallet - and your camera - when traders conduct the twice-daily auction at around 6am and 4pm.
Open Sat-Thu 6.30am-10.30pm; Fri 6am-11.30am, 2pm-10.30pm. Souq Al Jubail, Corniche Street, Sharjah.

Sharjah Heritage Area
This historic neighborhood comprises many tourist attractions showing off the emirate’s proud heritage, including the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, Al Midfaa House, Hisn Fort and the Sharjah Heritage Museum. Grab an Arabic coffee and pick up some beautiful jewellery and handicrafts at the authentic open-air Souq Al Asrah, one of the UAE’s oldest, before setting out on the 1km walk which takes you past this raft of fantastic features. Allow yourself the whole day - or even a few days - to make the most of this concentration of wonders.
Open 24 hours. Al Maraija, Sharjah.

PARKS & NATURE
Al Fayha Park

A little green oasis in one of the emirate’s more densely populated areas, this large park is very neat and tidy, though perhaps not Sharjah’s most aesthetically pleasing. It is a welcoming place for families, with children’s swings and other play facilities. The park also has soccer and basketball facilities plus a small snack stop. Entry is free but you will need a municipality card.
Free. Open 6am-10pm. Ibn Khaldon Street, Sharjah, (56 843 9266).

Al Noor Island
This stunning isle is one of the emirate’s real must-sees. Visit the Butterfly House - its top attraction - to learn more about these beautiful flying insects than you ever thought possible, then curl up with a good book at the Literature Pavilion. Wander among the visually stunning egg-shaped OVO sculpture and installations by some of the world’s most famous artists - beautifully-lit after sundown - and stroll down the 3.5km boardwalk through tropical landscaped gardens.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-11pm, Thur-Fri 9am-midnight. Khalid Lake, Buhairah Corniche Road, Sharjah, www.alnoorisland.ae (06 506 7000).

Arabian Wildlife Center
This facility prides itself on being the only zoo in Arabia that exhibits all extant and extinct animals naturally occurring in the Arabian Peninsula. Resident beasts include those living in the reptile, fish and insect houses, plus venomous snakes, camel spiders and scorpions. The bird aviary set in a wadi leads visitors on to the impressive collection of mammals, including baboons, wolves, hyena, cheetah and the rare Arabian leopard.
Dhs15. Open Sat-Wed 9am-5.30pm, Thurs 11am-5.30pm, Fri 2pm-5.30pm. Al Dhaid Road, Sharjah, www.sharjah-welcome.com (06 531 1999).

Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve
This oasis of wildlife surrounded by the brutal Hajar Mountains is a cornucopia of varied topography, boasting beaches mangrove, mountains and woodland within. Visitors can choose from the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre, Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre, Al Hafiya Picnic Park and watersports providers. In 2013, its mangroves became the third UAE site to be recognised as globally significant by an international convention on wetlands due to its rare Socotra cormorants. Stay at the magnificent Kingfisher Lodge to spend a night overlooking overlooking both the ocean and mangrove forest.
Open 24 hours. Kalba, Sharjah.

Nahda Park
If Sharjah does not have quite as many green spaces as some of its neighbouring emirates, don’t the ones that get it right seem all the more special? Groups who visit the park for morning walks or weekend family socials will tell you that this is one of the emirate’s’ top spots. This family-orientated facility is clean, safe and neat. Ladies who want to bring their children - or their running shoes - during the daytime will tell you how safe they feel. Entry is free but you will need a municipality card.
Open 6am-10pm, Al Nahda, Sharjah

Posh Paws Animal Sanctuary and Petting Zoo
Animal-lovers, or those with little animal-lovers in tow, should be warned: visitors could be in danger of leaving this facility with a car-load of cute cats, adorable dogs, rabbits, hamsters or even tortoises. We are not trying to talk you out of adding to your household animal quota - quite the opposite - we just want you to know the inhabitants at this sanctuary carry a collective cuteness rating of 10 out of 10.  Posh Paws relies on donations, so the least you can do is put your hand in your pocket.
Dhs20 adults, Dhs10 ages 2-16, free under-2s. Open daily 8am-12pm, 3pm-6pm. Al Khawaneej, Dubai, www.poshpawsdubai.com (056 604 4091).

Sharjah Aquarium
If you love aquariums, this is a must. love Reef sharks, manatees, clown fish - yes, just like Pixar’s adorable Nemo - and turtles are some of the residents of UAE waters which also spread their fins across 20 tanks at an aquarium containing more than 200 species of marine life. The best feature here is the underwater tunnel which puts you right in the midst of these majestic creatures. Animal feeding and informative talks take place regularly. Kids will also love the touchscreens and interactive displays. And the cover prices also allows entry to the adjacent Sharjah Maritime Museum.
Dhs20 for adults, Dhs10 for children. Open Mon-Thur 8am-8pm, Fri 4pm-10pm, Sun closed. Al Meena Street, Sharjah, www.sharjahaquarium.ae (06 528 5288).

Sharjah National Park
Feeling lazy? Lie back, relax and look out along verdant landscape that stretches out towards the horizon. The more active can walk, run or rent a bike to reach the far corners of this huge park, the largest in the emirate at more than 600,000 sq m. You can even hop aboard a train for a small charge. Well-spaced barbecue units mean it never feels too crowded when busy on weekends during the cooler months, while the lapping water of the lake is very relaxing. Children will enjoy the slides and rope ladders of the jungle gym.
Dh2. Open daily 8am-10pm, Al Dhaid Road, Sharjah, (06 545 8996).

Wadi Shi
The drive from the city is something in itself to behold, offering impressive views of rugged landscapes and that surrounds this wadi area, which is actually part of Oman - though you don’t need to pass through a checkpoint to reach it. Plenty of places to explore for those who enjoy a hike or mountain bike ride. Some choose to camp overnight, though we would recommend staying at one of the many comfortable hotels in nearby Khor Fakkan.
Open 24 hours. Shis, Sharjah.

Wasit Wetland Centre
If there is a better spot in the emirate for nature-lovers, we have yet to find it. Bird-watchers in particular flock (sorry) from across the UAE to view the feathered residents both domestic and migratory of this huge nature reserve, which is made up of sand dunes, mud flats, salty lagoons and freshwater pools, inhabited more than 60 species of bird. Educational events for groups of children and families include tours of the centre, games and other activities. Take the buggy through the wetlands for an interactive and fun day out.
Dhs15 adults, free ages 12 and under. Open Sun-Thu 9am-6.30pm; Fri 2.30pm-6.30pm; Sat 11am-6,30pm; Sun closed. Wasit, Sharjah, www.epaashj.ae/learning-centres/wwc (050 213 3915).

BEACHES
Al Khan Beach

This 600m golden stretch of sand near the Al Khan historic area is the perfect spot to try kayaking, kite-surfing, parasailing and flyboarding, among other watersports. It is just as good for spending the afternoon lazing away on one of the many sun loungers or bringing the whole family for a picnic. Book your own area on the beach for a birthday party, corporate function or other special occasion.
Dhs5 ages six and above, Dhs5 per car, Dhs20 entry, sunbed and umbrella. Open daily 6am-8pm. Al Khan Street, Sharjah, www.alkhanbeach.com (06 556 0777).

Khor Fakkan
Nestled between the Oceanic Khorfakkan Resort & Spa and a bustling commercial port, this is probably Sharjah’s most famous beach, a tranquil 3km palm tree-lined bay. Watersports, diving, fishing and boat trips are available near the hotel, while some of the country’s best snorkelling can be had at nearby Shark Island - perhaps unsurprisingly. Your haggling skills will come in handy if you want to persuade a local boat captain to take you out to the island - and pick you up afterwards - without it costing you a few hundred dirhams. Just try not to remember that Khor Fakkan means “creek of two jaws” while swimming among some of the larger fish.
Open 24 hours. Khor Fakkan, Sharjah.

Lou Lou Beach
This unspectacular stretch of sand next to the beach resort of the same name is a quieter spot than some to enjoy an afternoon by the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf. The beach is well-maintained and clean too. Visitors should take their own food and drink and entertainment, unless they want to pay for a guest pass for the resort’s beach, which connects to this one.
Open 6am-late. Al Meena Street, Sharjah.

Sharjah Beach
A great spot for those who can’t be bothered with the fuss of some more popular beaches which often means an afternoon of sunbathing comes with the irritation often caused by loud groups, busy restaurants and growling jet-skis. Here, just take in the calming sounds of the sea and leave behind the stress of city life for an afternoon. This beach has some sports facilities plus showers and changing areas.
Open 24 hours. Al Muntazah Street, Sharjah.

SHOPPING
Al Qasba

This lively waterside hub is a haven for shoppers and diners, with a good mix of stores, cafes and  restaurants. It is also the home of the huge Eye of the Emirates ferris wheel, which offers spectacular views of the city for Dhs30 for an adult ticket and Dhs15 for children. Theatrical shows, musical fountains, an art centre and a public park will also save you from a shopping trip overspend.
Various opening times. Al Qasba, Sharjah, www.alqasba.ae (06 525 2444).

Al Shaab Village
Admit it, you secretly consider yourself a bartering champion. Well, now it is time to put your money where your mouth is at a place where many of the traders will be glad to negotiate the price of their goods. And with more than 250 shops at this large hall, filled with stalls selling clothing, footwear, jewellery, cosmetics and more, you will have plenty of chance to sharpen those bargaining skills. There is also the largest ice skating rink in the emirate.
Open 11am-11pm Sat-Wed, 11am-midnight Thur, 4pm-midnight Fri. Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi Street, Sharjah, www.alshaabvillage.com (06 524 2007).

Blue Souk
If you don’t recognise this building, take out a Dhs5 note and take a look at the structure that features on it. One of Sharjah’s most photographed places is officially called the Souk al-Markazi (Central Souq or Central Market), but is more regularly referred to as the Blue Souk due to the ornate blue-patterned tiles that surround the striking structure, which is made up of two long buildings connected by indoor bridges. It is famed for its gold and diamond shops, authentic Bedouin jewellery and skilled craftsmen.
Open Sat-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri 5pm-10.30pm. King Faisal Street, Sharjah (06 556 6777).

Gift Market
An old favourite for bargain-hunters, this is the place if you are looking to find something useful for your last 10 dirhams. Just be warned: if you expect to pop in for one or two gifts for friends of family members, don’t be surprised if you waddle back to the car with armfuls of weird and wonderful items that you never wanted and didn’t need.
Open Sat-Thur 8.45am-11.45pm, Fri 3pm-midnight. Al Wahda Street, Al Nahdha, Sharjah, (06 539 4741).

Safeer Mall
A solid if unspectacular mall with a decent range out outlets and restaurants, ideal when you can’t face the madness of some of the emirate’s larger retail centres. Worth a visit for bargains littered through the mall and a good market with reasonably priced fruit and vegetables, though the building’s interior is starting to look a little dated.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thur 10am-11pm, Fri 2pm-10pm, Sat 10am-11pm. Al Khan Road, Sharjah, www.safeergroup.com (06 531 3366).

Sahara Center
A raft of the most popular chain stores greet you at this huge shopping centre in a great location for consumers from both Sharjah and neighbouring Dubai. If you have children, expect them to tug at your clothes eagerly as soon as they catch sight of the huge Adventureland indoor theme park, which features rides, rollercoasters and go-karts. The gadget-obsessed may find their eyes popping out of their heads when they are greeted by this amount of electronics stores, while the mall also features plenty of jewellery stores, clothing outlets, novelty candy stores and a cinema.
Open Thur-Sat 10am-midnight, Sun-Wed 10am-11pm. Al Nahda Street, Sharjah, www.saharacentre.com (06 531 3666).

Sharjah City Centre
This instantly recognisable UAE mall brand is unsurprisingly one of Sharjah’s largest and most-visited retail destinations, with more than 11 million people entering its doors every year. International brands cover 38,000 sq m of retail space, alongside an excellent range of of lifestyle, electronic and convenience stores, a Carrefour hypermarket, plenty of restaurants, a multi-screen cinema and a Magic Planet amusement park to make sure the children are tired out before it is time to go home.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thur 10am-midnight, Fri 2pm-midnight. Al Wahda Road, Sharjah, www.citycentresharjah.com (06 532 770).

Sharjah Fish Market
Part of the emirate’s massive Souq Al Jubail, which comprises not only a fish section, but also neat rows of stalls specialising in meat and also fruit and vegetables. The jewel in the crown of the souq is undoubtedly the famous fish market, where fresh catch is packed on ice and sold to the highest bidder as tourists look on. Don’t forget your wallet - and your camera - when traders conduct the twice-daily auction at around 6am and 4pm.
Open Sat-Thu 6.30am-10.30pm; Fri 6am-11.30am, 2pm-10.30pm. Souq Al Jubail, Corniche Street, Sharjah.

Souk al-Markazi
If you don’t recognise this building, take out a Dhs5 note and take a look at the structure that features on it. One of Sharjah’s most photographed places is officially called the Souk al-Markazi (Central Souq or Central Market), but is more regularly referred to as the Blue Souk due to the ornate blue-patterned tiles that surround the striking structure, which is made up of two long buildings connected by indoor bridges. It is famed for its gold and diamond shops, authentic Bedouin jewellery and skilled craftsmen.
Open Sat-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri 5pm-10.30pm. King Faisal Street, Sharjah (06 556 6777).

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