Planning a trip to the United Arab Emirates and looking for places to explore beyond Dubai and Abu Dhabi? Fujairah is well off many travellers’ radars but is still well worth visiting if you want to see a different side of the country.
Fujairah is a major city in the UAE, situated on the east coast. it’s much less glitzy than the better-known emirates and gives visitors more insight into local history, traditions and culture. There’s enough to do to fill a few days and you’ll find lovely beaches, rugged mountains and some of the best snorkelling in the country.
One of the best ways to experience the essence of Fujairah city by renting a car and touring it on your own. Unlike Dubai, Fujairah's public transportation system is still developing, and language barriers could hinder communication. Renting a car is the easiest solution to explore the city on your own terms.
The city is only around 45km² so you can easily drive around it in a single day. That said, you’ll want to stop frequently to explore your surroundings and visit some of the interesting places in the town. Here are some of the best things to experience when you visit.
Fujairah Fort is a must-visit historic site for anyone interested in the culture and heritage of the United Arab Emirates. Located just two minutes away from the Fujairah Museum, this impressive fort dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest and largest castle in the UAE.
Much of the rectangular fort is constructed from rock, gravel and mortar and its four towers are connected by inside doors and corridors. Mangrove poles provide support for the rest of the structure, while the roof is constructed from a combination of palm fronds and trunks.
Originally built to protect the city from invaders and colonial masters, Fujairah Fort stands as a symbol of the city’s resilience and strength. Between 1808 and 1810, the fort was seized by Wahabbists. Then, the British navy demolished three of the fort's towers in 1925, leading to the abandonment of the structure. The fort was restored in the late 20th Century and opened to visitors in 2000.
Today, it serves as a proud heritage site that attracts tourists and locals alike. Exploring the four walls of the fort is a great activity for families, as the site is open to kids and offers an immersive experience that brings history to life.
The Hajar mountain range is a breathtaking natural wonder that spans across three of the UAE's emirates: Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah. It's a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly hikers, who are looking to immerse themselves in the UAE's natural beauty.
The Hajar mountains were formed over millions of years through geological activity, creating a rugged and majestic backdrop for the region. The range stretches from north to south, covering an impressive distance of approximately 700 km.
If you're into mountain climbing, hiking, or camping, then exploring the Hajar mountain range is a must-do activity. The diverse landscapes and stunning vistas make it an unforgettable experience. Advanced hikers may enjoy the steep 5km route near Dibba, which leads to the top of the mountain range. The trail passes by old houses and provides a panoramic view of the lunar-like landscape of the Hajar Mountains.
Fujairah Heritage Village is one of the most popular attractions in the emirate, providing visitors with a unique cultural and historical experience. The open-air museum showcases traditional Emirati life through various traditional buildings, including a mosque, fort, watchtower, souk, and dwelling place.
The houses in the village are made from traditional materials, such as bricks, mud, twigs, and date leaves, providing an insight into early local life. You can also have a glimpse of everyday life at the time, as traditional rural grocery shops and barbershops have been restored. The heritage village also displays beautiful handicraft items made by local women.
One of the unique features of the village is the Al Yazrah irrigation system, which was used in Arab farms before modern machinery. If you're a history enthusiast, Fujairah Heritage Village is a great place to learn more about old Arabic traditions, nomadic settlers, and the rural lifestyle of the region.
Fujairah has some of the best snorkelling spots in the UAE, so get out into the water if you can. Snoopy Island and Reef Oasis are just a couple of places where you can see vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life.
The natural reefs have some impressive marine life. During our snorkelling trip, we saw magnificent sea turtles, graceful rays, various colourful fish species, and even some prickly sea urchins. It was one of the best snorkelling experiences of my life!
To make the most of your snorkelling experience, you need a sea scooter. This nifty piece of equipment will help you effortlessly navigate through the water and dive deeper than ever before.
Other popular snorkelling spots are Martini Rock, Sharm Rocks and Shark Island. Fujairah is also a great place for scuba diving with wrecks, healthy soft and hard corals and artificial reefs in addition to the tropical marine life.
If you're looking for a truly memorable experience in Fujairah, plan to watch the sunrise or sunset from the historic Al Hayl Castle. Originally built in 1930 and once belonging to the ruling family of Fujairah, this strategically placed castle on a hill offers a clear view of the surrounding area.
On a clear day, the Al Hayl Castle is the perfect spot to take in stunning views of the mountains and sea, making it a great place for a picnic or to watch the sunset. The castle is just a short 30-minute drive from Fujairah and is located in the restored Al Hayl village, nestled beneath the foothills of the Hajar Mountains.
Surrounded by a picturesque landscape of date palms and mountains, the small castle compound includes a few rooms, food storage areas, and a prayer room. On the right side of the fort, you can find ancient petroglyphs, believed to be several millennia old. Be sure to bring a camera to capture the incredible views from the top of the towers and ramparts.
For a panoramic view of the lovely coastline, visit the Fujairah Corniche, a five-kilometre-long seafront promenade that runs along the Gulf of Oman. Lined with palm trees and greenery, the corniche offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.
The Corniche is divided into two sections. The western side is more developed with plenty of options for shopping, dining, and accommodation, while the eastern section offers a more natural setting with views of mangrove forests, sandy beaches, and scenic cliffs.
The Fujairah Museum is located just a short walk away from the Fujairah Heritage Village and offers an opportunity to delve deeper into the region's rich cultural heritage. The highlight of the museum is its extensive collection of pottery, jewellery, and tools from the Umm al-Naar period, dating back 4500 years.
The museum also houses a large collection of Bedouin artefacts, including traditional weapons and jewellery, showcasing the nomadic way of life in the region. These treasures date back several centuries, offering an insightful glimpse into the local history and traditions.
If you have an interest in Islamic history and art, you will find many fascinating exhibits here.
Held every Friday morning, this market is a hub of activity and a celebration of local culture. Vendors sell everything from traditional Emirati garments like abayas, kanduras, and jalabiyas to stunning artworks and intricate jewellery. Essentially, there’s something for everyone here, and this is a great place to get gifts to take back home.
The atmosphere is vibrant and colourful, and the prices are affordable, making it an enjoyable and accessible place to visit. The market is located at the Souq Al Jumʻah on Al Dhaid Rd, about half an hour's drive from the city centre.
Located in the quaint village of Al Badiyah, this mosque was built in the late 14th century and is one of the oldest in the country. It has several unique architectural design and engineering features, including four domes of varying sizes supported by a central pillar.
Inside, you'll find beautiful Islamic art and verses from the Quran, making it a fascinating and awe-inspiring place to explore. As you wander through the mosque, take note of the decorative dentate carvings on the walls, allowing light and air to enter. The niches provided to put the lighting lamps make it an ideal place to capture some truly stunning photographs.
This is the oldest mosque in the UAE that is still in use today, with all five daily prayers held inside. Whether you're Muslim or not, a visit to Al Badiyah Mosque is sure to be an enlightening experience.
Want to visit Fujairah but a bit short on time? You can do a day trip from Dubai and see several of the attractions on this list.
Last Updated 15 February 2023