Much of the tourism to the UAE is focused around Dubai and Abu Dhabi, both cities are grand, elegant and offer much in the way of entertainment. However, the UAE is comprised of seven emirates in total and the third biggest Sharjah is unquestionably a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Sharjah is the only emirate to have land on the Persian Gulf coast and the Gulf of Oman. It is easy enough to reach from Dubai via bus or taxi. The Heritage area is a great attraction and will provide more than enough to keep you busy for the day. Within the heritage area there are many historical buildings which have been reconstructed and interesting sites such as the Al Hisn Fort, Sharjah heritage museum, Souq al-Arsa and the Sharjah museum of Islamic Civilisation. 

Another great attraction in Sharjah is the Desert Park. Spread over one square kilometre, this park is home to four distinct sites, each offering a glimpse into the desert eco system of the region. The wildlife centre is hugely popular and a fun activity for kids.

For a spot of shopping the Blue Souq is the place to be. This is the Sharjah central market and was designed using an intricate blue tile pattern. Inside there are more than 500 shops, selling all sorts of goods. The atmosphere is that of an authentic vibrant bazaar with colourful vendors always ready to haggle.

In terms of accommodation you’ve got several choices with many luxury brands cheaper than what you’d pay for in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. These include Pullman, Sheraton, Fairmont and Ajman.

If you are looking for an authentic dining experience, then you are in luck because Sharjah is well-known for its Shawarma. Popular eateries to visit are Aroos Damascus, Al Mallah and Kriech. 

All in all, Sharjah offers a simpler more culturally enhanced experience of the UAE. Next time you’re in Dubai or Abu Dhabi maybe head on over for the day.