12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Fujairah
Fujairah city is a modern, industrial town and the main settlement of the east coast. The emirate is separated from the rest of the United Arab Emirates by the jagged line of the Hajar Mountains, and although the city itself is a grid pattern of high-rise office blocks with little to offer visitors, Fujairah Emirate's beaches to the north are some of the nicest in the UAE. This beautiful slice of coastline is ideal for sunbathing, swimming, and scuba diving.
Away from the sand, Fujairah is a great base for exploring the Hajar Mountains and the series of small forts and historical buildings, such as Al-Bidyah Mosque, that speckle the coast. For ideas on the best things to do, see our list of the top attractions in Fujairah.
See also: Where to Stay in Fujairah
1. Al-Bidyah Mosque
About 35 kilometers north of Fujairah city, the mud-brick Al-Bidyah Mosque is the oldest in the United Arab Emirates and was named after the town that once surrounded it. The engineering features are a major accomplishment for the period of construction. The mosque consists of a prayer hall, decorated with arches and featuring ventilation openings and a mihrab (prayer niche pointing to Mecca). A central pillar divides the internal space into four squares of similar dimensions, covered by domed ceilings.
The site surrounding the mosque has been excavated to reveal that it has been inhabited for 4,000 years. A large Islamic graveyard just to the north contains a massive tomb dating back to the Iron Age, which when unearthed revealed fragments of pottery, metal arrowheads, and other artifacts dating back to at least 1000 BC.
2. Fujairah Fort
Built in 1670, Fujairah Fort was badly damaged by a British attack in the early 20th century. Considered the oldest fort in the United Arab Emirates, it has served previously as both a defensive building and a home for the ruling family. And for many centuries, it was the only stone building along the Fujairah coast. The fort has three major sections, several halls, one square tower, and two round towers. In recent years, it has been fully restored to its former glory.
The area surrounding the fort is now part of a Heritage Village set up by Fujairah's Department of Archaeology and Heritage. Here, you can see restored old houses, exhibits about traditional life, and a display of the Al Yazrah irrigation system that Emirati farmers used in their fields.
Location: Fujairah city
3. Al Aqah Beach
About 45 kilometers north of Fujairah City, Al Aqah beach, dominated by the rocky outcrop of "Snoopy Island" just offshore, is the emirate of Fujairah's top beach resort. This slither of coast, sitting on the Gulf of Oman, offers the United Arab Emirate's best opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling and is a must-do for underwater enthusiasts.
The scatter of hotels that line the shore are all set up for water activities, with diving operators and plenty of other water sports on offer, but don't worry if you just want to laze on the beach, this strip of sand has everything you want for an easygoing day of sunbathing.
4. Bithnah Fort
Outside Fujairah city, 13 kilometers away along the main highway, Bithna Fort once stood watch over the strategic routes crossing the Hajar Mountains through Wadi Ham. Built in 1735, the fort was considered of vital importance to the defense of the United Arab Emirates' eastern region. The fort's bulky frame of thick golden-stoned walls, edged by a chunky circular watch tower, makes it particularly photogenic, while the views from the ramparts over the countryside of palm groves and jagged mountains behind are spectacular.
5. Hajar Mountain Wadis
The Hajar Mountains separate the western coast of the United Arab Emirates from Fujairah, making this emirate an excellent base for further exploration of the rocky and arid terrain. This area of the mountains is well known for its wadis (a wadi is essentially a dry riverbed that can contain water after a heavy rain but can also refer to any valley oasis), and wadi-bashing (four-wheel-driving or hiking through the wadis) is one of Fujairah's major things to do for visitors.
Among the most beautiful wadis in the area are Wadi Siji, Wadi Saham, and Wadi Maidaq. Wadi Ham is the longest valley, and Wadi Al Taiwan is fun to visit just as much for the stunning mountainous route it takes to reach it.
North of Fujairah, Wadi al-Wurayah is the UAE's most famous wadi, though it has been closed to the public by the authorities to preserve its sensitive and unique ecology for the past few years.
6. Sheikh Zayed Mosque
Fujairah's modern Sheikh Zayed Mosque covers a site the size of three football pitches and boasts six minarets 100 meters high. The mammoth prayer hall has space for 32,000 worshipers. Its white facade has made it one of the city's major landmarks, and it ranks as the second biggest mosque in the United Arab Emirates after the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi.
Unfortunately, the interior of the mosque is not open to non-Muslims for sightseeing, but you can take photos of the exterior of the mosque.
7. Fujairah Museum
Just south of Fujairah Fort, the Fujairah Museum has an excellent collection of artifacts, dating from the early Bronze Age, that were unearthed during archaeological digs at Qidfa and Bithnah. Exhibits include Bronze and Iron Age weaponry, painted pottery, carved soapstone vessels, and pre-Islamic silver coins.
One of the museum's prized pieces, discovered at Qidfa, is a bowl made from ostrich egg dating back 2,200 years. There is also a good ethnography section, with displays of traditional Emirati daily life and craft work.
8. Al-Hayl Castle
Al-Hayl Castle was once used as the headquarters for Fujairah's ruling family. Built approximately 250 years ago, it has played an important role in the area's defense, used as a base for surveillance and patrolling to guard Fujairah from attack. Not much remains today-the original fortifications have long since been demolished-except one two-level tower, which sits on the hill as a reminder of the days when these forts were scattered all across strategic hillsides in what is now the United Arab Emirates.
9. Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs
In the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, outside Fujairah city, the Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs are a popular local retreat. The mineral springs here produce warm sulphuric water that is pumped into two swimming pools. There are separate bathing areas for males and females. It's a family-friendly place that gets packed on weekends. If you've been traveling and need some downtime, this is a great place to relax and allow the warm, mineral-rich waters to soothe any niggly pains.
About 33 kilometers northwest from Fujairah, the village of Masafi is on the edge of the Hajar Mountains near Fujairah. It was originally a trading post and refueling stop before the region's modern highways were built in the 1970s. Masafi sits on the border between two emirates, with the larger section of town part of Fujairah, and the smaller section belonging to the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.
Masafi is famous in the United Arab Emirates for its natural springs, and the Gulf's leading mineral water producer (named after the town) is nearby. On the Dubai-Fujairah Road as you approach Masafi, the excellent local market is a great place to bargain for carpets, earthenware products, antiques, and local handicrafts.
11. Awhlah Fort
This distinctive fort in Aouhlah village, with its thick, high walls, is one of the best preserved forts in the Emirate of Fujairah. It lacks the over-restored "new" look of many of the other forts in the United Arab Emirates and so is a great place for history buffs to come and capture a sense of Emirati heritage. It sits 30 kilometers from Fujairah city itself, on a hillside in an excellent strategic position to guard the countryside. Inside, the circular watch tower is 20 meters high and has narrow windows built into the walls for archers and excellent views.
12. Bull Butting
Bull butting was introduced to the United Arab Emirates by colonizers from Portugal. In Fujairah, bull butting takes place every Friday during the cooler months and is a popular family event. The day begins with 20 bulls battling each other, and numbers slowly dwindle as winners move on to the next round.
The prize for the winning bull is to have his value increased. For tourists, the contest has an extra frisson of danger, as even though bulls are tied up and handled by attendants, they sometimes break free and have been known to charge spectators.
Where to Stay in Fujairah for Sightseeing
Most visitors to Fujairah stay at the coast's beach resorts rather than in the city itself. Most of the resorts are in the luxury category while Fujairah city offers more business-style hotels.
- Luxury Hotels: These top-notch accommodations on Al Aqah Beach, about 55 minutes' drive north of Fujairah's city center, are all large family-friendly resorts with spas. They average about 10 minutes' drive from Al Badiyah Mosque.
The InterContinental Fujairah Resort is a sprawling five-star resort known for its exceptional service and plenty of children's activities on offer. The architecture and interiors are chic and contemporary, and the pool area and beach are exceptional.
The Miramar Al Aqah Beach Resort has an on-site PADI dive center and sports an eclectic Middle Eastern style throughout its interiors. There is an immaculately kept slice of beach. Great for activity-focused travelers, Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort has a whole swag of water sports on offer, as well as a PADI dive center, great pools, and recently renovated rooms.
- Mid-Range Hotels: On Al Aqah beach, Sandy Beach Hotel & Resort looks out to Snoopy Island (a popular snorkeling spot) and has an on-site PADI dive center and two-bedroom suites for families. North of Al Aqah, at Dibba Al Fujairah, the Radisson Blu Resort offers a swag of facilities, including a spa, swimming pools, a private beach, and bright modern rooms with balconies overlooking the sea.
- Budget Hotels: If you're looking for affordable accommodation, hotels in Fujairah city tend to be cheaper than the larger resorts along the coast. Ibis Fujairah offers excellent value in the city center, with a swimming pool, mountain views from rooms, and a restaurant.
Next door, Novotel Fujairah is one of the central city's most popular choices for its good-sized contemporary-styled rooms, including breakfast, a restaurant, and rooftop pool. Across the road is the Nour Arjaan Fujairah, with contemporary rooms and suites, which are ideal for families or longer stays. It offers a pool, spa, and included breakfast.
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More UAE Cities: Dubai is the ultimate UAE city experience with its contemporary towers, beaches, and mammoth shopping malls. The capital, Abu Dhabi, offers two of the country's top cultural attractions, home to both the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Sharjah is a must-do for museum fans for its restored heritage district and the excellent Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization.
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