The UAE is filled with incredible places to visit and explore. From fascinating malls, the largest buildings and most extravagent hotels, there is something for everyone. But what about for those seeking nature and history? With my parents in town over the festive holiday, we decided to explore Fujairah, the UAE’s only emirate, which faces the Indian Ocean, and is separated from the others by the gorgeous Hajjar mountain range.
While driving into the emirate, the scenery is made up of surrounding desert dunes, the occassional work quary, and if you are lucky to spot them, camels. And then, out of nowhere, the mountains appear, bashfully, making you question whether you really see them. Fujairah’s landscape is fascinating as the mountain range comes in different shapes, sizes, vegetation and colour. At one point while driving into the emirate, visitors can stop and spot 4 different mountain colours, thanks to the diverse minerals found in the sub-terrain. On the other side, along the coast – Al Aqah beach is the best place to enjoy a variety of watersports, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, and relaxation at any of the beautiful resorts.
Although the city centre is relatively small, the emirate has quite a range of interesting places, scattered around, which should be visited, whether you are a resident, or visiting the rest of the UAE. Fun fact: did you know that Fujairah was the last emirate to join the UAE, until 2nd December 1971 – which is the official national day of the country today?
Here is my “must see” list:
AL BIDYA MOSQUE
Located 31km from the city centre, Al Bidya is the UAE’s oldest mosque, built in the mid 1400’s out of mud and bricks. It is quite different from other mosques as it does not have a minaret and features only 4 domes instead of 7-12.
Considered to be the UAE”s oldest fort, Fujairah Fort was built between 1500 – 1550 AD, using mud, rocks, plaster, mortar and palm trees. It features 4 circular watch towers with each one overlooking a specific point: the sea, the mountains, the town, and one for the main square. The fort served as a home for the ruling family in the past, and has interesting lighting features which follow the location of the sun.
Located 2 minutes drive from Fujairah Fort, the museum is a treasure chest filled with antiques. Fujairah has a long history dating back to 2,000 BC and the museum beautifully displays excavations, jewelry, clothing, instruments, tools and so much more, from the past.
Designed to replicate traditional Bedouin lifestyle, the Heritage Village is an excellent place to spend some time reflecting on history. Featuring traditional homes, desert tents, a fishing village, instruments, and even livestock to showcase how farming was done in the past, I always admire how far the UAE has come in less than half a century.
Although it technically belongs to the Emirate of Sharjah, Khor Fakkan or “Creek of Two Jaws” in Arabic, is surrounded by Fujairah and is located only 30 minutes from the city centre. While driving along the coast, it is an unmissable sight, as it is surrounded by beautiful white sandy beaches and coral reefs.
The village of Masafi “pure water” in Arabic, is located 30 mins away from the city centre, along the Hajjar Mountains. It is most famous for its natural springs and Friday Market “Souq Al Juma”, selling everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to pottery, carpets and souvenirs. Although it is technically open every day, the market is a hot spot for locals and tourists to catch up on purchases along the Dubai – Fujairah highway.
Known for its blissful resorts and coastal retreats, Al Aqah is THE place for leisure. Located about 1 hour away from Fujairah city centre, this stretch features a public beach, popular for campers (even overnight campers). However, if you are looking for something more posh, check out any of the resorts dotted along the coast, like the brand new and sparkly InterContinental Fujairah Resort.
Some other unique places are Wadi Al Wurayah waterfalls and Ain Al Madhab gardens, however we will have to explore those next time 🙂 These map screenshots will give you a birds eye view of the emirate and location of must see spots (click below to enlarge):
More pictures from our roadtrip, can be viewed here!
- Fujairah Tourism: http://www.fujairahtourism.ae
- InterContinental Fujairah Resort: http://www.intercontinental.com/fujairah
- Suggested driving directions from Abu Dhabi: click here
Disclaimer: All views are my own and all photographs are © My Pink Diary. Map of Fujairah – courtesy of Google Maps.