Fujairah is one of the UAE’s most striking emirates, with its coastal towns and villages nestled between rugged mountains and one of the most beautiful stretches of ocean in the Middle East. Fujairah city is one of the best destinations for diving enthusiasts, and is a great (and much cheaper when compared to Dubai) beach destination.
The Emirate of Fujairah is undoubtedly one of the least explored, and despite the many huge oil tankers that crowd the port of Fujairah (one of the most important oil ports in the world), it maintains an authentic, peaceful and pleasant atmosphere.
Several cruise ships also stop in Fujairah, as the city is the gateway to the UAE’s scenic east coast, stunning Hajar Mountains, and desert. Visiting Fujairah you will be enchanted by the beauty of its beaches, ancient (and almost unexplored) fortresses and oases set among remote valleys and dramatic mountain landscapes, making this emirate one of the best destinations for a road trip or a day trip from Dubai.
What you will find in this travel guide to Fujairah:
- Best Places to Visit and Things to Do in Fujairah
- Best Activities to Do in Fujairah and Tours from Dubai
- How to Get to Fujairah
- How To Get Around in Fujairah
Best Places to Visit and Things to Do in Fujairah
1. Al-Bidyah Mosque
Al-Bidyah Mosque is the oldest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, dating back to the 15th century, and also called the “Ottoman Mosque”.
The Al-Bidyah Mosque is located in a small village about 40 km from the city of Fujairah, and is still in use for prayers. The mosque it was built of mud bricks, and is characterized by a small prayer room and a mihrab, the prayer niche facing Mecca.
Visitors (even non-Muslims) can come in and have a look, but one must be modestly dressed (shoulders and knees covered, women must also cover their hair) and take off their shoes. During prayer visitors are not allowed.
The area around is characterized by ancient watchtowers and archaeological excavations that testify to the first settlements in the area dating back to the Iron Age.
Climb the hill of Al Bidiyah Fort to enjoy a beautiful view over the surrounding valley, enjoying the ancient atmosphere of this place is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Fujairah.
2. Fujairah Fort
Fujairah Fort is one of the oldest forts in the UAE, and in my opinion it is one of the most beautiful.
Built in 1670, the Fujairah Fort has been the main defense fortress of Fujairah for centuries, as well as a home for the ruling family. It has three main sections with several rooms and two round towers.
In the early 1900s, the Fujairah Fort was heavily damaged by a British attack, and only in recent years has it been restored to its original splendor.
Around the Fujairah Fort there is today the Heritage Village, where you can see ancient traditional houses and exhibitions on traditional local life.
3. Fujairah Museum
The Fujairah Museum is located near the Fujairah Fort and houses a collection of artifacts, weapons, and utensils dating back to the Bronze Age, as well as an exhibition on the traditions of local life.
The Fujairah Museum houses the most precious finds from the archaeological areas of Qidfa and Bithnah, including burial artifacts, coins from the pre-Islamic era
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 and a bowl dating back over 2200 years ago.
4. Al Aqah Beach and Snoopy Island
Al Aqah Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the UAE’s east coast, and is located about 45km north of Fujairah City.
Al Aqah Beach is particularly popular with families who take advantage of it for swimming and sunbathing. But what makes Al Aqah Beach truly unique is the fact that in front of the beach there is an islet, renowned for being one of the best spots for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
The rocky islet, called Snoopy Island, attracts people from all over the world for its coral reef, and for excellent scuba diving opportunities.
5. Bithnah Fort
Approaching Bithnah Fort you will feel just like an explorer in the desert: this wonderful oasis surrounded by palm trees is located just 13 km from the city of Fujairah and houses one of the most important castles in the area.
Built in 1735 the Bithnah Fort is located between the Hajar Mountains and Wadi Ham, and is characterized by its mighty stone walls and circular towers.
The area is particularly photogenic, the fort is located in the middle of a palm grove with the rugged Hajar Mountains in the background.
The mountain village of Masafi, about 33 km northwest of Fujairah, is a good place to take a look at the peaceful inland life.
This village is located in the Hajar Mountains, on the road leading to Ras al-Khaimah. The border between the two emirates, that of Fujairah and that of Ras al-Khaimah, passes right in the middle of the village.
Before the construction of modern highways in the 1970s, Masafi was a trading post and refueling stop for caravans traveling between the coasts. Today it is famous for its natural springs (it is one of the largest producers of mineral water in the Gulf) and for the remains of its past, including a small fort.
Along the main road, just before arriving in Masafi (coming from Sharjah or Dubai), there is a traditional local market called Friday Market (but despite its name it is open every day), which is a great place to get something to eat or to bargain for local rugs and handicrafts.
7. Al-Hayl Castle
Al-Hayl Castle is located in a remote village in the mountains (it is better to go there with a 4WD car) and in past centuries it was one of the most important defensive forts in Fujairah.
Built around 250 years ago, Al-Hayl Castle was one of the residences of Fujairah’s ruling family. Today there is not much of the castle left, except for a complex of buildings and two towers.
However the trip to Al-Hayl Castle deserves, the place is still little visited and little known to mass tourism, so you can still get an idea of the rural life of these areas.
8. Hajar Mountain Wadis
The Fujairah region is the wildest in the UAE, between a desert of sand and stones and rugged and remote mountains. One of the best things to do in Fujairah is undoubtedly an experience in the Hajar Mountains.
The whole area is crossed by the so-called Wadis: a wadi is a dry river bed, but often the term indicates the oases of the valley. Expert guides accompany visitors through these arid and rocky areas on 4×4 excursions (wadi-bashing).
The most popular areas are Wadi Maidaq (characterized by the presence of hieroglyphics visible on the rocks), and Wadi Siji.
Wadis are very important for the ecosystem, which is why the government has begun to prohibit access to some of them (for example, the spectacular Wadi al-Wurayah is now closed to the public) to protect the nature and delicate wildlife of the place.
9. Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah
The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Fujairah is the second largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, after the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi.
This mosque is really huge, it can accommodate 32,000 worshipers and has 6 minarets 100 meters high each. Its white facade, domes and rich decorations make it one of Fujairah’s most iconic landmarks.
Unfortunately, non-Muslims are not allowed inside the mosque, but it is possible to admire and photograph it from the outside.
10. Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs
The areas at the foothills of the Hajar Mountains are known for the presence of sulphurous thermal springs, one of which is that of Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs, which is located just outside Fujairah city.
Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs park is particularly popular with locals, who come here to relax, have a picnic or BBQ with the family, and bathe in the thermal pools.
The Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs are characterized by several pools of hot sulphurous mineral water, with separate bathing areas for males and females.
If you want to spend time like the locals would do, this is the place for you. The Ain al-Madhab Hot Springs park is family-friendly and, especially on weekends, very popular, also because of its rather cheap entrance fees: 5 AED for the pools + 2 AED for the entrance to the park.
11. Wahlah Fort
Wahlah Fort (sometimes referred to as Awhala Fort or Ohala Fort) is a small fortress located in a remote village near the border with Oman, over 30 km from Fujairah city.
The village of Wahlah is one of the least known places to visit in Fujairah. Its well-preserved fort is located in a strategic position, with its watchtowers and typical defensive walls.
12. Bull Butting
Okay, this is definitely a show one would not expect in the UAE. But it is actually quite popular in neighboring Oman.
In the winter months, the traditional bull fight takes place every Friday in Fujairah. The place where Bull Butting takes place is a dusty and muddy area south of the Fujairah Corniche, well recognizable by the huge number of SUVs parked along the street during the show.
The fight takes place between dozens of bulls. The bulls take turns fighting against each other. The first who runs away loses. No cash prizes are won, but a bull that wins a lot is synonymous with prestige and honor for its owner.
Best Activities to Do in Fujairah and Tours from Dubai
If you are in Dubai you absolutely cannot miss the visit to Fujairah and the amazing landscapes of the East Coast of the Emirates.
Most visitors arrive in Fujairah from Dubai, to enjoy its authentic places, its remote villages and ancient fortresses, and above all to enjoy its wonderful ocean: Fujairah is a world-renowned destination for snorkeling and diving!
1. East Coast and Fujairah Mountains Tour
This is the most complete tour for those who want to admire the spectacular landscapes of the northern emirates and their cultural heritage: Dibba, Kalba, Sharjah and Fujairah with its main forts and mosques.
Those who want to fully enjoy the East Coast experience can book a private tour that is more flexible, allows you to see more things, includes a great snorkeling experience (equipment provided) and a hearty lunch. Here too, transport and professional guide (English, German or French speaking) included.
2. Scuba Dive and Snorkeling Experiences in Fujairah
The Fujairah area is one of the best in the Middle East for snorkeling and scuba diving. The guides take you to the famous stretch of ocean in front of the Snoopy Island, where you can admire an amazing underwater landscape.
Snorkeling Experience in Fujairah from Dubai
This experience is for snorkelers, by boat you reach the famous coral reef of Snoopy Island where you can swim safely and spot tons of fish and turtles.
The snorkeling experience is suitable for people of all ages, it is easy, does not require special skills or training and does not require complicated equipment (the equipment is provided on site). The tour includes round-trip transportation from your hotel in Dubai and a typical lunch on board. The experience can be booked online in advance.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Experience in Fujairah from Dubai
This is the best experience for lovers of the underwater world: in addition to the possibility of snorkeling near Snoopy Island, you can do scuba diving in several of the most scenic spots in the Gulf of Oman.
The experience is suitable for both beginners and experts: it includes the presence of a certified instructor, if you are a beginner the instructor will guide you step by step in the excursion and you can explore the wonders of the coral reef with the instructor always at your side.
Certified divers will be led by a professional diver, and will be able to explore the depths at two different points depending on their level of certification.
The experience can be booked online in advance and includes all the necessary equipment, the presence of certified guides and instructors, round-trip transportation from your hotel in Dubai and a typical lunch on board.
Scuba Diving Course and Open Water PADI Certification in Dibba Fujairah
If you want to get certified as a professional diver, you can do it in one of the most famous diving spots in the Gulf of Oman.
The certification course includes 2 days of training in the water, with certified and qualified professional instructors. Furthermore there is a part of theory (necessary for certification) that can be easily done online before the course.
The experience includes round-trip transportation from Dubai and an overnight stay in a resort in Dibba Fujairah (lunch, dinner and breakfast included), where the 2-day diving course takes place, first in confined waters and in the center pools diving and the second day in open water.
The PADI Open Waters certification allows you to dive up to 18 meters deep and is valid all over the world.
3. Musandam Dibba cruise with lunch in the Gulf of Oman
The Musandam Peninsula is an Oman exclave and one of the most scenic areas of the East Coast.
The cruise to Musandam Dibba, on a traditional Dhow (the typical wooden boat), is one of the best things to do in Fujairah, passing through breathtaking landscapes, remote bays, sea caves and uninhabited islets.
The area is famous because you can see dolphins swimming in the crystal clear waters, and because it is an excellent spot for snorkeling and seeing the wonderful coral reef.
Tours can be booked online in advance, include a hearty typical lunch on board, and round-trip transportation from hotels in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.
How to Get to Fujairah
From Dubai you can take the E700 Bus which leaves from Dubai’s Union Square Station in Deira and arrives in the center of Fujairah. There is a bus every 90 minutes, the fare is 25 AED and takes about 2 hours.
Buses 116 and 116E leave from Sharjah’s Al Jubail Bus Station every 30 minutes for Fujairah (2 hours, 25 AED). They also stop in Dhaid (15 AED) and Masafi (20 AED). Bus 116 terminates in Khor Fakkan, 116 E terminates in Kalba.
Return buses can be taken from the bus stand located in the center of Fujairah, near the Choithrams Supermarket. Return buses (and so do shared taxis) leave when they are full.
The best way to visit Fujairah is to rent a car. This way you will be free to explore the wonders of this area, saving a lot compared to the cost of taxis or tours. Renting a car in the UAE is really cheap, here you will find some useful tips.
If you have a car, you can easily reach Fujairah and the East Coast in just over 1.5 hours. The fastest is the scenic E84 Higway which crosses the Hajar Mountains and the Desert to go direct to Dubai. Or you can choose the old E89 – E88 that crosses the Hajar Mountains passing through the village of Masafi and the famous Friday Market and then cross the desert towards Sharjah.
A taxi trip from Dubai to Fujairah costs at least 250 AED, one way.
How to Get Around in Fujairah
Fujairah is undoubtedly a good destination for both a beach vacation and a day trip from Dubai, but once you are in Fujairah City you will find that the city itself can be visited in just a few hours. Most of the attractions and the most beautiful landscapes are scattered throughout the emirate and can only be reached with your own car.
For this reason, unless you choose to visit Fujairah and the UAE East Coast on a guided tour, you should rent a car so that you can explore the area in total freedom. Here you can find all the tips for renting a car in Dubai (or any other city in the UAE), so you can easily find the best deals from reliable car rentals. Car rental rates in Dubai can be surprisingly inexpensive and gasoline in the UAE is very cheap.
For a more complete travel experience you could also explore the neighboring emirates, such as the mountainous emirate of Ras al Khaimah or the wonderful emirate of Sharjah, one of the most important in the UAE. Here you can find the complete guide to visiting the 7 Emirates of the UAE.