Fujairah Fort on the map, how to get there and description

Fujairah Emirate in the UAE

Fujairah is a small emirate in the UAE that covers only 1,166 square kilometers of area, the only smaller emirates are Umm Al Quwain and Ajman. The population is about 255,000 people (data for 2021, estimated), fewer residents are only in Umm al-Queen – about 75 thousand. Despite its modest size, this emirate can be an excellent choice for a vacation, as we will talk about in this article.

Attention! At the time of updating this article (May 2022), the emirate of Fujairah is open to tourists. Most hotels are working. Tourists fly to Dubai or Sharjah, then travel by land to Fujairah. The E700 bus (from Dubai) runs again from May 19, 2022.

Location and general information

Map of the UAE, the emirates are signed

Fujairah is located in the very east of the UAE on the coast of the Gulf of Oman. The emirate is divided into two parts, its territory “cut” by a small strip of land, going to the coast, this area belongs to the emirate of Sharjah. The map on the right shows the location of the emirate of Fujairah, click on the picture to enlarge.

All of Fujairah was once owned by Sharjah, it was only in 1901 that the Emirate declared its independence. This fact should please tourists, because in Fujairah rather soft rules on alcohol, while in Sharjah there is a strict “dry law” (details in our article “Alcohol in the UAE”).

Fujairah has never boasted of natural resources, developed agriculture or other sources of wealth. The local rulers’ coffers have always been filled with money only from trade. From the center of the Arabian Peninsula came here the Wadi Ham trading route, guarded by the Al Bifna Fort. Fishing has always been the main source of livelihood for the locals. This economic structure has existed here for centuries and has remained so even in modern times.

The main difference between Fujairah and other emirates is the climate.

Features of the climate

Firstly, the entire territory of Fujairah is covered by mountains, except for the coastal strip. It is the only mountainous emirate in the UAE. Secondly, Fujairah is situated in the east on the Gulf of Oman (Indian Ocean), not on the shores of the Persian Gulf, as the other emirates in the UAE.

As a result, the climate here is milder than in Dubai or Abu Dhabi – the average annual temperature is 1-2 degrees lower. The average rainfall here is 125 millimeters instead of 94 millimeters in Dubai or 57 in Abu Dhabi (for details see the article “Weather in UAE”). Fujairah’s climate allows for the development of open field agriculture, which is almost unheard of in other emirates.

Heavy rain in Fujairah

Winter is called the “rainy season. It rains occasionally (pictured left), but the name “rainy season” often draws derision or downright mocking laughter from seasoned tourists. During the winter period, 75-80 millimeters of rain falls. For comparison, in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic during autumn (considered the rainy season) falls 350-400 millimeters, Hainan in China during August-September-October (considered the rainy season) receives about 1000 millimeters of rainfall.

Fujairah owes its rare rains to the clouds brought here by the wind from the Indian Ocean in winter. The Hajar mountain range, which covers most of the emirate, creates a microclimate on the coast, with higher humidity, lower temperatures and pleasant breezes.

Many wealthy UAE residents buy villas and country houses in Fujairah, they are attracted by the mild climate. This is the second popular holiday destination for UAE residents themselves, with Al Ain being the leader.

Tourism in Fujairah

Fujairah is not in great demand in the global tourism market. There are many reasons for this – the poor development of transport infrastructure, not so many attractions, a small international airport and others. But the authorities of the emirate want to fix the shortcomings and are taking steps in the direction of development.

One of the beaches

North of the border with Oman, the Al-Fujairah Paradise resort is being built, the total project cost over 800 million dollars. The resort will consist of 1000 respectable villas, hotels and beaches with developed infrastructure. Its construction began back in 2005, was planned to finish in 2008, then rescheduled for 2009, and so on. It is now difficult to say in what state the project is, there is no news about it for a long time.

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The authorities of Fujairah are interested in tourists from the UAE and the neighboring Arab countries, and the flow of tourists from Europe is of secondary interest to them. There are no plans for the development of an international airport, but highways to other emirates are actively being built.

The airport has only one runway, one passenger terminal can only load or unload 15 planes – very modest characteristics. Its undoubted advantage is the proximity to the city of Al-Fujairah – only 1 kilometer, a cab ride will cost minimal money.

By the way, all local cabs are owned by a single state-owned company FTC (Fujairah Transport Corporation). Cabs are the main form of public transport in the emirate. Recall that the subway in the UAE has only one city – the Dubai Metro. There are bus lines inside Fujairah, but only 11, so they are not of any value for tourists.

Intercity bus service is presented only by one route Fujairah-Dubai. Tourists are expected to travel around the emirate by cab or rent a car.

Central Square

If you want to visit Fujairah, but do not stay in local hotels, you can take the already mentioned bus or cab. The distance to Dubai is only 120 kilometers. In one day it is quite possible to swim in the Gulf of Oman, sunbathe on the beach and see all the significant attractions of Fujairah, which we will describe in detail later.

The bus has the number E700, departs every 45 minutes or 1 hour, travel time is 2 hours, ticket price is 25 dirhams. To Dubai, the bus departs from Union Square in Deira district. In Fujairah, it stops at Old Plaza Cinema/HSBC.

An important tip for tourists. The first rows in the buses are for women, if you are a man traveling alone take the seats at the back.

There are no direct flights from Russia to Fujairah airport and do not expect them in the near future. If you bought a package tour to Fujairah, get ready to fly to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, or Sharjah airport and take 2 to 4 hours by bus to your hotel.

There are only about three dozen hotels in Fujairah. The most famous of them is the Radisson Blu Resort Fujairah 5*. Even in this expensive hotel prices are quite reasonable – $150 per night for a room for two guests. Fujairah is one of the cheapest emirates for life and leisure.

Economy

Fujairah has no oil reserves; its economy is based on income from the seaport and subsidies from the UAE government in Abu Dhabi. Coming here is a good chance to see how dependent the UAE is on oil and what life would be like without the oil wealth.

Fish Market

The main source of food for the locals has always been the ocean. The fishing industry is still thriving here. Any tourist can look at the variety of fresh fish in the local markets and visit the Friday Market (Friday market in the photo on the right). Restaurants offer a wide variety of fish dishes.

The main source of the emirate’s finances is the seaport. We have already written that the overland route from Fujairah to Dubai is 120 kilometers, but the sea route is 3 times longer – about 350 kilometers, the ships have to circle the Musandam Peninsula. Many ships prefer not to sail to Dubai to refuel, rest, replenish supplies, repair or unload cargo, but to stop at Fujairah port.

A dry cargo ship loading at the port

The Habshan-Fujairah oil pipeline that runs to Fujairah Port from Abu Dhabi opened in 2012 and now loads oil tankers that do not need to travel the extra 400km to Abu Dhabi either.

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The region’s economy also boasts cement factories, stone processing plants, and mining. Agriculture supplies residents with fruits and vegetables.

Fujairah has opened a free economic zone, which the emirate’s authorities planned to repeat the success of the Dubai Free Zone Authority in the port of Jabal Ali, but no serious economic boom has occurred.

There are no skyscrapers in Fujairah, nothing like the Burj Khalifa, no large shopping malls like the Dubai Mall, no man-made wonders like the Dubai Fountains. Fujairah cannot be called a poor emirate, it is more suited to the epithet “modest”. However, there is a lot to see for tourists.

Attractions of Fujairah – Bullfighting

The most colorful local entertainment. There is an opinion that it is a modified bullfighting, and this tradition was brought here by the Portuguese, when they controlled the Persian Gulf (we talked about this in the article “History of the UAE”). But there is another opinion that it is a purely Arab tradition.

Bullfighting in Fujairah

There is no blood and murder as in Spanish bullfighting. The bulls do not fight the bullfighters, but they fight each other, trying to push the opponent out of the circle. The technology of this competition is more reminiscent of Japanese Sumo wrestling, only between bulls, than of Spanish bullfighting. The photo on the right shows this competition, make sure it is exciting and not scary.

The fights are held in open areas with almost no stands, there are no special arenas for this entertainment, such as Las Ventas for the Spaniards. No one is betting. Let us remind you that gambling is strictly prohibited in Islam, and you should take that into account and behave correctly in the UAE.

The bullfights are held only in the second half of November and the first half of December. If you want to see them, come to the Arab Emirates just at this time.

Sightseeing in Fujairah – Al Bidia Mosque

It is in Fujairah where the oldest mosque in the UAE is located. It was built back in 1446 from bricks and earth. This mosque has only 4 domes, although similar mosques of the same period found in Yemen, Oman and Qatar have more domes – from 7 to 12. In addition, the Al-Bidyah Mosque has no minaret.

Al Bidia Mosque

In the construction of the mosque no wood was used at all, which ensured its good preservation, but gave rise to a big problem – it is impossible to determine the exact age of the structure. Recall that for dating objects by radiocarbon analysis, you need something organic, and the mosque Al-Bidia is made of soil and bricks, there is nothing organic in its construction. The date of 1446 was determined indirectly, by assigning the mosque the age of the two neighboring watchtowers, assuming that all three structures were built at the same time.

You will not find anything surprising here, the decoration of the mosque is modest, the area inside is only 53 square meters. This is not the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi with its record-setting chandeliers and carpets. Al-Bidyah Mosque is first and foremost a historical site, of which there are almost none in the UAE.

Fujairah Attractions – Shopping Malls

Fujairah City Centre

There are 4 major shopping malls in Fujairah. Three of them – Fujairah City Centre, Century Mall and Fujairah Mall opened in 2012 and the fourth – LuLu Mall Fujairah was opened in 2014.

Which one to choose? The question is complicated, each has its own advantages. We recommend Fujairah City Centre (pictured right), as it has a quality website to help you navigate and plan your time. The site is in English, but it’s easy to translate into Russian with the built-in translator in your browser. Its second advantage is the Magic Planet entertainment center, which is sure to please children.

Fujairah Attractions – Historical Fort and Museum

They are close by. The fort looks new and ancient at the same time. We can’t help but note the magnificent work of the restorers, who used only original materials.

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Fujairah Fort

It is believed that the architecture of the fort is unique, there are three round and one square high tower, which offers a panorama of the old city.

There are no outstanding exhibits in the museum, but the collection is interesting. Ancient ceramics, weapons, tools, cutlery and national costumes. The museum collection was collected from archaeological sites throughout the Emirate.

The size of this museum is comparable to the local history museums that exist in many small Russian towns. It takes about an hour to see the exposition. Ticket price – 5 dirhams. Opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm, and only on Friday from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

Fujairah Attractions – Diving

Divers in the Gulf of Oman

The Gulf of Oman coast is considered the best place in the UAE for diving. Here are the richest in fauna and coral reefs. The prices for rental equipment are quite reasonable – 200-300 dirhams for a dive.

In the waters of the Gulf of Oman one can meet moray eels, turtles, stingrays, sharks and many other interesting “critters”. Separately, you can order a swim with a whale shark, they often appear here. At night diving is practiced in Fujairah, but it is difficult to say how safe it is and what you can see with a flashlight.

Other attractions

In Fujairah there are enough interesting places for tourists. It is the fort of Al Bifna, which has guarded the caravan routes since ancient times. Heritage Village allows you to plunge into the life of ancient Arabs, their customs and traditions. Ain Al Madhab Gardens will delight you with green and freshness even on the hottest summer day. Numerous markets on Fridays offer the opportunity to buy delicious fruits, vegetables and fish.

Fujairah is ideal for tourists who have already visited Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah and are looking for a new experience in the UAE. But for first-time visitors to the UAE, Fujairah will also be an interesting adventure.

Good to know

– Sharks on the beaches of Fujairah should not be feared, there have been no cases of attacks on tourists so far. However, Fujairah has become famous as the site of the loudest shark attack on a fishing boat! Read more in our article Sharks in the UAE;

– In Fujairah, many hotels offer an All Inclusive system. However, in the UAE the concept of AI is vague. Read more in our article “All Inclusive in the UAE.

Have a great trip to the UAE, and read our other useful articles about the country (links below).

12 major attractions in Fujairah

Sightseeing in Fujairah - UAE

Modern Fujairah is the main city of the east coast of the UAE. The emirate is separated from the rest of the United Arab Emirates by a jagged line of the Hajar Mountains. Although the city itself consists mostly of straight blocks of multi-storey office buildings, there are also a few historical landmarks. First and foremost, the Al Bidia Mosque and Fujairah Fort are excellent places to visit.

For many tourists and visitors, Fujairah is a haven of tranquility after the hustle and bustle of Dubai. For UAE citizens, it is a favorite place to spend a weekend, and visiting the beaches is high on the to-do list. In front of you are photos and descriptions of the best attractions in Fujairah. If you want to sunbathe or go scuba diving, the scenic coastline awaits you and the city itself is a great starting point for exploring the Hajar Mountains.

El Bidia Mosque

Al Bidia Mosque

El-Bidia Mosque | Photo: Artur Malinowski / Flickr

The mosque is considered the oldest mosque in the UAE; the stumpy building with pompous forms dates back to 1446. It is crowned by four pointed domes resting on a single internal pillar. The entrance is permitted to non-Muslims, but one must be modestly dressed and undressed, and women must cover their hair. The headscarf and the abay may be taken from the attendant.

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The inner prayer hall, with colorful carpets covering woven palm leaf mats and Qurans stacked in niches of smooth plastered walls, makes a calm, calming impression. Note the simple geometric patterns on the domes and the minbar (mosque pulpit) made of stone and coral blocks.

The mosque stands on a low hillside by the coastal road, north of the village of Bidia, and is guarded by two ruined watchtowers. It is worth wandering around and enjoying the spectacular views of the Hajar Mountains and the bay.

Address: Al Bidiyah Mosque – Al Fujairah – United Arab Emirates.

Opening hours: Fri – Wed: 9:00 – 17:00.

Entrance: free.

Fujairah Fort

Fujairah Fort

Fujairah Fort | Photo: Nick & Mindy Martin / Flickr

Walk through the framed gates of the two towers to the ruins of the old settlement of Fujairah and see this playful fort spread out on a rocky hillside. Built in the 16th century in clay, gravel, wood and plaster, it is a small structure of round and square towers that helped defend the city.

Address: Fujairah Fort – Fujairah – UAE

Open 24 hours a day.

Entrance: free.

Fujairah Museum

Museum of Fujairah

Fujairah Museum.

This history and local history museum houses in its two ornate halls with baroque ceilings and suspended lights many important archaeological artefacts found nearby, in Bidia, Dibba and Kidfa. Particularly impressive are the soft stone vessels dating from the Bronze Age and the pot lids decorated with bizarre geometric patterns.

An ethnographic exhibit, literally squeezed into two crumbly rooms, showcases fine Bedouin jewelry and a variety of dioramas depicting traditional market stalls and scenes from the lives of Fujairah fishermen.

Address: Fujairah Museum – El Fujairah – UAE.

Opening hours: Sun – Thu: 8:00 – 18:30, Fri: 14:00 – 18:30.

Admission: adults – 5 Dhs, children – 1 Dhs.

Wadi Vuraia

Wadi Wuraya

Wadi Wuraya | Photo: Peachland Joe / Flickr

Hidden in the Hajar Mountains between Dibba, Khor Fakkan and Masafi, Wadi Wuraya Park (Wuraya Canyon) is a true natural treasure, one of the main natural attractions of the emirate of Fujairah, which in 2018 was designated a biosphere reserve by the UN.

Due to serious erosion processes, the entire wadi has been closed to the public for the past few years, but was due to reopen at the end of 2018, when all measures were organized to ensure the protection of the fragile ecosystem. Check back locally for news on the state of the park.

The 127-square-kilometer area boasts an extraordinary diversity of fauna, including such endemic mammals as the mountain gazelle, caracal, and Blanford fox. The park is home to 81 bird species, including the Omani owl.

Wadi is one of the few places in the country where there is a freshwater spring; under the shade of the forest are the ruins of structures dating as far back as 300 B.C. This is the first national park in the UAE to be designated a ‘protected mountain area’ by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2009.

The address is Wadi Wurayah – El Fujairah – UAE.

El Hefeyah Wildlife Conservation Center

Al Hefeya Wildlife Conservation Center

El Hefaya Wildlife Conservation Center.

In this small wildlife center, opened in 2016, you can see thirty species of mountain animals, including Arabian leopards and gazelles. A shuttle will take you past the open aviaries, providing convenient viewing, and information booths will tell you about the biodiversity of the mountain environment as well as the fauna and flora of these regions.

Address: Al Hefaiyah Mountain Conservation Centre – Al Fujairah – UAE.

Al Heyl Castle

Al Heyl Castle

Al Heyl Castle | Photo: Stephen Colebourne / Flickr.

Built around 1830, this small, well-preserved castle is situated between the spurs of the Hajar Mountains near the village of El Heyl, some 13 kilometres southwest of Fujairah. Built of mud brick and plaster, the structure is an example of traditional architecture.

The inside is not so interesting, but the surrounding views of palm-fringed valleys surrounded by mountains (best seen when the sun is low) are worth a visit. There is usually an employee on site who will give you a quick tour.

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To get there (usually possible even without a four-wheel drive vehicle), turn south off the Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayd highway near the Fujairah Mall and follow the signs.

Address: Al Hayl Castle – Al Fujairah – UAE.

Sheikh Zayd Mosque

Sheikh Zayd Mosque

Sheikh Zayd Mosque.

Fujairah’s main mosque is the second largest in the UAE after the Abu Dhabi Mosque. The building of white granite and marble, decorated with six minarets 100 meters high, can accommodate up to 28,000 worshippers. It is closed to non-Muslims, but just the view outside is worth seeing, especially at night, when the mosque is illuminated.

Address: Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Fujairah – Fujairah – UAE.

El-Bitna Fort.

El-Bitna Fort

El-Bitna Fort.

Just outside of Fujairah, 13 km along the main highway, is Fort Al-Bitna. It once served as an observation point from which to monitor the strategic trade routes crossing the Hajar Mountains through Wadi Ham.

Built in 1735, the fort was vital to the defense of the eastern borders of the United Arab Emirates. Thick walls of golden stone and a chunky round clock tower make this squat structure particularly photogenic, and the views from the ramparts to a rural pastoral setting among palm groves and the jagged chain of mountains behind them are spectacular.

Address: Al-Bithnah Fort – El Fujairah – UAE.

Masafi

Masafi

Masafi.

Masafi Village is located in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains near Fujairah. It was originally a trading post and gas station before modern highways were built in the region in the 1970s. Masafi is located on the border of two emirates: most of the settlement is located in Fujairah and the smaller one belongs to the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah.

Masafi is famous in the United Arab Emirates for its natural springs, and very nearby is the leading producer of mineral water in the region (named after the city). On the Dubai-Fujairah road, as you arrive in Masafi, there is a colourful local market – the best place to haggle for carpets, ceramics, antiques and local handicrafts.

Address: Masafi – Ras al Khaimah – UAE

Beaches

Umbrella Beach

Umbrella Beach.

Fujairah is the only emirate in the UAE whose shores do not face the Persian Gulf. Located along the eastern border of the United Arab Emirates, the beaches of Fujairah face the Gulf of Oman. Some of the best snorkelling and diving around the country are close to the shore, making this a must-visit for any scuba diving enthusiasts.

For less active guests, the beaches provide plenty of opportunities to bask in the sun. Most beaches have everything you need for a day trip, including umbrellas, sun loungers, cafes and restaurants.

Wadi

Wadi | Photo: Peachland Joe / Flickr.

Because of the topography of the region, the area around Fujairah is known for its wadis. In Arabic, “wadi” is essentially a dry riverbed (where water can appear after a heavy rain), but the term can also refer to any oasis.

Wadi bashing (driving or hiking along wadis in four-wheel-drive vehicles) is one of the main activities one can do on a trip to Fujairah. Some of the most beautiful wadis in the region are Wadi Siji, Wadi Saham and Wadi Meydak. Wadi Ham is the longest valley and Wadi El Teywan is also a beautiful mountain trail that takes you to the wadis.

Bullfighting

Bullfights

Bullfighting | Shazaan Hyder / Flickr

Bullfighting was introduced to the United Arab Emirates by Portuguese colonists. In Fujairah, the fights take place every Friday and are considered popular entertainment for the whole family. It all starts with 20 bulls fighting each other. Their number slowly decreases and the winners advance to the next round.

The prize for the winning bull is an increase in its value. There is an additional danger for tourists in the competition: despite the fact that the bulls are restrained and escorted, at times they break free; there have been cases when they attacked spectators.

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