Sharjah’s many offerings, from cultural and historical treasures, such as the Museum of Islamic Civilisation to the oldest souk in the region, from luxury stays in boutique hotels to fascinating displays of the age-old tradition of birds of prey displays all add up to an unforgettable array of memories. However, Sharjah also offers more for those travelers who wish to get off the beaten path and find even more unique experiences.
Let us introduce you to some of the more wide-ranging locations of the emirate, totally worth the trek.
Set on a splendid bay flanked by photogenic rock formations and backed by the rugged Hajar Mountains, Khorfakkan is a wonderful spot for day trips and weekend breaks.
The crescent beach has playgrounds and football goals dotted among the palm trees. At the northern end, resorts with private beaches, outdoor pools, a dive centre, local playgrounds for the kids and waters ports for all your water sports and activities, are open to non-resident guests.
Meandering for a good 7km along Kalba’s coastline, Kalba Beach is often scattered with footballers, picnickers and fishermen and their Toyota trucks. Bookended by a small marina and the tidal KhorKalba, it is a great place to feel the sand between your toes.
At the southern end, the coastal sands and adjacent mangrove forest are part of a protected area. It is an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles and the only place in the UAE where the beautiful Arabian-collared kingfisher bird breeds.
One can also enjoy the 5 star luxurious eco- friendly lodges and resorts in Kalba with private pools and various water activities on offer.
• Nahwa Enclave:
Nahwa is a rare ‘counter-enclave’: a tiny territory belonging to Sharjah that curiously sits within the Omani enclave of Madha, which is in turn surrounded by the UAE, an interesting geographical quirk. The original village was abandoned in 1999 for New Nahwa, built on a bend of the Wadi Shis.
Surrounded by mountains, it is a scenic spot with lush date palm plantations, rocky peaks and a gorge with freshwater pools hidden at the end of Wadi Shis. There are plenty of places to camp, hike and bike. Off-road driving through the wadi is also popular.
Explore the mountain villages and wadis of Nahwa, a charming anomaly of the region.
• Dibba Al Hisn:
Named after its fort (hisn), Dibba Al Hisn is part of a trio of seaside towns that share a beautiful bay. Green palm trees, serene mosques and bountiful produce markets add character and colour to the town.
Take an afternoon stroll around the harbour to see the fishermen hauling in the day’s catch, and charter a fishing boat or dhow for a cruise along the coast. Dolphins are often sighted and the boats can take you to deserted coves and secret snorkelling spots.
The emirate of Sharjah is well-known for its rich, cultural heritage – an identity that has been recognized a number of times as shown by the winning of the Cultural Capital of the Arab World 1998 and Islamic Culture Capital 2014 awards. It is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums.