Flanked by the rugged Hajar Mountains and considerably greener than the other Emirates, Fujairah offers a serene escape for both UAE residents and international travellers.
The main draw for many visitors to the Emirate of Fujairah is the beautiful sandy beaches and the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean. It’s also great for families with many forts and cultural sites to explore and the opportunity for a wide range of water sports as well as some stunning picnic spots.
Whether you’re camping or staying in a 5-star resort, there’s a lot more to Fujairah than beaches; here’s our pick of things to do and places to visit with kids in Fujairah!
Map of Fujairah’s Top Tourist Attractions
Getting there… Dubai to Fujairah
Whilst Fujairah does have a small airport most visitors arrive by road.
- Take the E102 from Dubai and turn off at Exit 47, then take the E84 straight to Fujairah city centre.
- Alternatively, you can travel via the famous mountain town of Masafi (known for its natural spring water) along the E611 & E99. You can’t miss the hustle and bustle of the Friday Market as you drive down the central street. Despite its name, the Friday Market is open daily with an array of stalls and small shops unlike anywhere else in the UAE – It’s the perfect place to stock up on fruits and vegetables or snag a bargain carpet!
Travelling to Fujairah by public transport is also an option with buses departing from the Union Square Bus Station in Deira (Dubai) every 1.5 hours (at a cost of 25AED one way).
Major Settlements in Fujairah
Fujairah city is the capital of Fujairah Emirate. Whilst Fujairah is known for its beauty, it is also an industrial hub with a major port and a large number of oil storage facilities. The city itself is a hotchpotch of strip-malls and flashier steel and glass office buildings emanating from the busy main street of Hamad Bin Abdullah Road.
Apart from Fujairah city, there are several other large settlements along the coast including Dibba & Khorfakkan.
Famous for a rebellion fought in 633AD, the town of Dibba falls partly in Fujairah, partly in Sharjah and partly in the Sultanate of Oman. This large natural harbour has been an important centre of maritime trade since ancient times.
Today Dibba is home to a number of resort hotels and is an interesting place to visit because of the diversity between the three different regions of the city. It is also a launchpad for trips to the ruggedly beautiful Musandam Peninsula; Known as ‘the Norway of the Middle East’ the cooler climate, fjords and abundance of wildlife make Musandam a much-loved weekend retreat but note you will need your passport and visas are required – you can learn more about planning a Musadam road trip and border crossing here.
Khorfakkan (Khor Fakkan)
Khorfakkan, technically an exclave of Sharjah, is home to one of the UAE’s largest container ports as well as a long sandy beach. As a visitor it is important to remember that whilst there is free-flowing alcohol in the resort hotels of Fujairah, Sharjah is a ‘dry’ state and alcohol is strictly forbidden. Even carrying booze in the car can technically result in a fine and/or time in prison.
Fujairah beaches, swimming, snorkelling and other water sports
Whilst there are many sandy beaches in Fujairah arguably the best is at Al ‘Aqah around an hour’s drive from Fujairah City via the E99. The water is shallow and clear and the beach is clean with no shortage of amenities. Due to the nature of the beach, this stretch is home to many large family resort hotels, our pick of the best you’ll find here.
Most of the resort hotels offer sunbeds and umbrellas to their guests and there are lifeguards employed by the hotels along their respective sections of the beach. Whilst the sand is great for building sandcastles and the water safe for swimming, do watch out for jellyfish as there are occasional sightings of some particularly venomous species!
If resort hotels aren’t your thing, it is also possible to camp on some sections of the beach in Al Aqah. Campsites are usually clearly marked and often have bins and picnic table facilities but don’t think you’ll find any sanitary blocks!
Diving & Snorkelling in Fujairah
From Al ‘Aqah beach and nearby Sandy Beach, it is possible to hire all sorts of sporting equipment. It’s definitely worth borrowing masks and snorkels to explore the marine life around Snoopy Island. You can swim to the island or take a small boat to within a few meters of the rock; here you are able to see turtles and squid as well as an array of fish and crustaceans!
For more experienced divers, there are plenty of excursions to the surrounding islands and reefs available. Al Boom Diving Centre based at Le Meridien offers guided dives and equipment hire as do a number of the other beach hotels. Khor Fakkan and Dibba a little further along the coast also offer excellent diving and snorkelling.
You can check out these diving tour options if you are looking to day trip from Dubai to Fujairah with a guided group.
Fishing in Fujairah
For people that prefer catching fish rather than swimming with them, Fujairah International Marine Club organises fishing trips and will cater to families. The fishing along Fujairah’s coast is considered the best in the UAE with an abundance of tuna, dorado and even marlin in the area.
Parasailing in Fujairah
Not many beaches in the UAE offer parasailing, but if this is your thing Khorfakkan Beach is the place to do it. Here you can also hire boats to take you to Coral Island for excellent diving and snorkelling or let the kids enjoy the many playgrounds and green spaces flanking the beach.
Other Fujairah Beaches
Other nice family beaches include;
- Umbrella Beach – less crowded than the resort hotel beaches near Snoopy Island, umbrella beach is the perfect place for peace and quiet and to work on that tan;
- Sambraid Beach – a family beach with umbrellas and picnic tables, swings and slides; and
- Dibba/Dadna Beach with shallow water, picnic areas, playgrounds and lots of seashells make this a great family beach!
Also located in Dibba is Aqua Bounce Fujairah, an inflatable waterpark offering an obstacle course with slides, bridges and a floating trampoline – great fun for those who don’t mind getting very wet! Access is complimentary for Fairmont hotel guests and payable at a rate of 75 AED per child and 150 AED for the general public. For more details click here.
Note that not all beaches have lifeguards so do exercise caution when swimming in these areas.
Of course, Fujairah has much more to offer than beaches, here’s the lowdown on cultural sites and educational opportunities for families visiting Fujairah:
Cultural attractions in Fujairah
Fujairah offers a number of cultural heritage attractions for visitors. A small charge applies to many but the forts and the mosque are free to visit and really do give visitors a glimpse into Fujairah’s fascinating past.
Fujairah Heritage Village
Visiting the Heritage village is a great way for all visitors both young and old to gain an insight into the history and culture of the emirate. Located by Fujairah Fort on the outskirts of Fujairah city the heritage village is an open-air living museum with reconstructed buildings, handicraft demonstrations and a multitude of local artefacts.
Located adjacent to Fujairah Heritage Village, the museum houses artefacts from local excavations which reveal that the area has been inhabited for at least 3500 years and offers a more in-depth view of the history of the area. For opening hours and more details call (09) 222 9085
Fujairah Fort sits impressively on a hilltop overlooking the city with incredible views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque (the second largest mosque in the UAE) and the city skyline behind. The fort was originally constructed in the 16th Century as both a defensive fortress and family home for the ruler of the time.
The whole family will enjoy exploring the battlements and towers. There are, however, a lot of steps so perhaps leave the stroller in the car!
Al Hayl Fort (Castle)
The Al Hayl Fort is one of the best-preserved in the UAE and for the views alone – access is via a dirt track about 13 km southwest of the city and a 4×4 is definitely recommended!
Al Bithnah Fort
It is also worth visiting Al Bithnah Fort, once considered vital to the defence of the UAE’s eastern region and now a lovely spot for photos with the fort nestling between a date palm oasis and the mountains behind.
It’s always best to phone in advance to check that the forts are open to visitors and avoid any disappointment. In general hours of operation are from 9.30am until 6.30pm Saturday to Thursday and from 2pm until 6.30pm on Fridays, although they may be closed for long lunch breaks.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
The second-largest mosque in the UAE is an architectural gem. Covering an area the size of three football pictures, the mosque has six minarets each 100 meters high and the great prayer hall has space for 32,000 worshippers.
The mosque is not open to non-muslims but all visitors should make an effort to marvel at its beauty from afar.
Dating back to 1446 AD, this is quite possibly the oldest mosque in the UAE. The mosque, constructed of mud and stone, is tiny and whilst non-muslims are not allowed to enter it is possible to catch a peep of the interior through the doors. The mosque still hosts daily prayers and all visitors should dress modestly (women should cover their hair as well as their arms and legs) when entering the surrounding plaza.
Within the mosque courtyard, there is a traditional well and a short hike up the hillside takes you to a watchtower – note that the route is not suitable for strollers or people with mobility issues. A large iron age tomb can also be found within the Islamic Graveyard just to the north of the mosque.
Bait Sheikh Saeed Bin Hamad Al Qasim
Technically in Sharjah, the former home of Sheikh Saeed and his family, built between 1998 and 1901, opened its doors as a museum in 1999. Here you can reflect on a number of Emirati architectural styles as well as viewing a beautiful collection of Islamic artefacts. Further details can be found here.
Every Friday evening (around 5pm) you can catch a bull butting match towards the Kalba end of Fujairah’s corniche. Introduced to the region by Portuguese colonists in the 16th Century. These matches are intended to show the strength of the animals rather than a fight to the death, but you might want to think twice about taking kids or animal lovers.
Hiking and wildlife spotting opportunities in Fujairah
Hiking in the mountains
The dramatically craggy Hajar Mountains offer some of the country’s best hiking opportunities. The mountains are filled with wadis and waterfalls and offer a very different perspective of the UAE – as well as a physical challenge!
After building up a sweat, you might like to go for a refreshing dip at one of the spring-fed pools of Wadi Shees – some climbing is required so again this may not be suitable for very young children but great fun for older kids and teenagers.
True history lovers might also enjoy a trip to Wadi Saham to spot the ancient petroglyphs which date back more than 3000 years.
Using an organised tour provider is advisable as routes are occasionally closed; such closures have recently included Wadi Wurayah, one of the most popular wadis to hike. Tour providers can also assess individual family requirements as many of the routes are not suitable for small children and visitors with health issues. Guides can also offer advice during bad weather as it is prudent to remember that the flash flooding of wadis is the desert’s greatest killer!
Wildlife in the Mountains of Fujairah
Whilst you might spot some wildlife in the mountains for a guaranteed encounter with some of the UAE’s fluffier and more feathery residents if you visit the Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre and the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre (both technically in Sharjah).
Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre
The conservation centre is committed to preserving the flora and fauna of the region and currently houses more than thirty specifies including Arabian Leopards and numerous snakes. Spread over a 12km site there are indoor exhibits along with outdoor enclosures.
There are golf carts available for families with small children and guests with mobility problems. Entry for adults 25AED, closed on Mondays. For opening hours and more information click here.
Kalba Bird of Prey Centre
The Kalba Bird of Prey centre celebrates the Bedouin tradition of falconry which is still very popular today. The centre has free-flying demonstrations as well as aviaries housing owls, eagles, buzzards, vultures and falcons. Entry for adults 15AED, kids under 12 free. For further details click here.
Al Rafisah Dam
Also situated in the Hajar Mountains is Al Rafisah Dam, another beauty spot where you can spot wildlife, hire kayaks and pedal boats and enjoy a family picnic.
Shopping & Other Family Entertainment in Fujairah
Shopping & Indoor Entertainment
Should the weather force you inside there are a few malls in Fujairah City, the most notable of which is City Centre. Here you can find a Magic Planet entertainment centre with various amusements for the kids and an 11-screen cinema amongst a wide variety of shops and food outlets. Alternatively, you can try your hand at Go-Karting or Laser Tag at Kart & Shoot in Fujairah Mall. You might also like to visit the Central Souk or Safeer Market for a full-on assault on the senses!
Parks in Fujairah
Fujairah also has a plethora of parks. Kalba Corniche Park offers lots of shady spots for picnics and games whereas the Madhab spring park boasts a playground and barbequing area as well as a hot sulphuric spring (although this has been closed in recent months).
There is also a park exclusively for women and children at Al Muntazah; open from 6am until midnight, this park includes walking and jogging tracks and private swimming pools. Whilst the standard of facilities varies somewhat there are no shortage of spaces to burn off some energy and refuel with a family picnic.
Ready to visit the Emirate of Fujairah?
Fujairah really does have so much to offer, from hiking in the mountains, exploring historic fortresses, building sandcastles and lazing on the beach to underwater encounters. With so much to see, do and learn you’ll need much more than a weekend for your Fujairah adventure!
With the holidays just around the corner, why not book a spring escape now!
More UAE exploration & road-tripping ideas
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- Interesting places to explore in Ajman – a guide to the UAE’s smallest Emirate
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- Exploring Al Ain & the UAE’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Road tripping from Dubai to Muscat – including driving distances, interesting stops and border crossing guide
- Our favourite UAE Beach Staycation resorts
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Post contributed by Lynette Fortey-Burnett, writer & classical Arceahelogist based in the UAE with her family. You can learn more about our contributing writers here.