Located to the north of the Persian Gulf, Sharjah is a neighbour to the city of Dubai. Famous as the “Cultural Capital of the Arab World” as well as the “Capital of Islamic Culture”, Sharjah is a wonderful place to start on your exploration of the UAE. Sharjah is home to a wide variety of museums, cafes, bustling souqs, glittering malls, as well as some timeless history, art and culture that has shaped the UAE. While you’re here, all you need is a car rental and 48 hours to explore. Here’s a list of things to do and places to see while you’re in Sharjah:

Eat your way through Sharjah

Sharjah offers visitors some delectable Arab fare, but also has a range of international and regional restaurants that serve up great dishes. The best part is that there is something for every budget, ranging from authentic street fare to magnificent fine dining restaurants.

Visit Milas, located in the Mega Mall of the city for some rustic regional cuisine. The dishes are simple, but the flavours are mind-blowing. A few must have preparations include the saloonat laham and the saloonat diyai, along with the mbahar tuna as well.

A more budget friendly option is the Aroos Damascus Restaurant, where locals and travellers chow down every day. The authentic Syrian fare is delicious, with a vast menu including fattoush salad, tabouleh, mishwe, hummus, kebab halabi, shawarmas and much more.

Embark on an adventure

Sharjah is home to a number of dried out river beds, or wadis, near the Al Hajjar Mountain Range. Many visitors head over here to experience the thrilling drive into the wadis, which is a definite adrenaline rush.

You can also get your heart pumping at the Sharjah Water Festival that is held every December. A quick visit means that you can spend some time riding waves or participating in other adventure sports, including parasailing, water-skiing, jet skiing and more.

Kick back and relax

After a day of intense adventures, sometimes, you just want to kick back and relax by the beach. Luckily, Sharjah has you covered with the Coral Beach Resort, located by the city’s beachfront. Surrounded by greenery, the resort is the ultimate place to rest and rejuvenate yourself. You can sunbathe or hit the beach for some much needed relaxation. Yoou can even head out to explore the rest of the city by car since the hotel is centrally located.

Shop at the unique Blue Souq

You’ll see why this market is called the Blue Souq as soon as you set foot inside—it’s covered in blue tiles. Famous all over the world, it is also called the Central Market or the Gold Souq. You can find everything ranging from antiques, carpets, and jewellery to authentic Pashmina shawls and much more at one of the 600 outlets inside.