Escape To A Tropical Paradise This Winter At This Luxurious Getaway In The Middle East

When looking for a winter getaway, you probably narrow your search to places with warm temperatures and plenty of sunlight. European destinations like Spain and Portugal and Caribbean countries like Jamaica and the Bahamas are popular and brilliant places to visit. However, they're not the only ones worth packing up and traveling to. Underrated but just as worthy destinations that offer unique adventures are certainly out there. The city of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates is a great example of an overlooked place filled with amazing possibilities.

Everything from food to architecture is compelling in the affordable destination of Sharjah. You can learn about the country's history and tour ancient ruins, relax in luxurious spas, enjoy the beach, or go on a desert safari. Sharjah has this and so much more in store for its visitors. This city of approximately 1.8 million was once the UAE's most popular destination; however, it banned alcohol, leading to a decline in Western tourists. Despite this, the city remains an interesting and beautiful place worth visiting. See for yourself why so many people once flocked to it.

Plenty to do, plenty to see

In the winter months, the temperatures pretty much stay between 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning you'll be able to enjoy the sunlight comfortably on all of your adventures. An intriguing place to start is the Mleiha Archaeological Centre, a UNESCO-nominated World Heritage Site. You can learn about Bedouin culture, paleontology, and archeology through various interactive exhibits and experiences here.

Consider expanding your exploration to the surrounding landscapes. For example, you can visit the Time Machine, an immersive exhibit where you can see ancient sea beds and learn how to cast fossils. You can also go on a horseback riding tour for 140 AED per person, which is about $38.12. For a private tour, the price is 180 AED, approximately $49.01 per person.

You'll find an abundance of museums and nature centers in Sharjah. Museums include the Sharjah Science Museum and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. For nature lovers, you can visit the Butterfly Aviary, where you'll find a beautiful, uniquely designed space filled with plants and butterflies. There's also the Wasit Nature Reserve, home to over 200 species of birds.

Beaches, hotels, and laws

Since it's winter and you're looking for an escape, you likely want to visit a beach. Luckily, Sharjah has a couple to choose from. There's Al Heera Beach, the longest beach in the city; AL Khan Beach, for water activities like kayaking, parasailing, and flyboarding; and Al Mamzar Beach, which has a large selection of cafés around it.

While Sharjah isn't known for luxury like its neighbor Dubai, you can still indulge. Hotels like the 5-star Chedi Al Bait once served as a cluster of homes for wealthy families, and The Act Hotel is another 5-star hotel that offers celebrity treatment for all. If this is your first time in the UAE, or if it's been a while since your last visit, be sure to familiarize yourself with its laws. Be especially mindful of the modest clothing dress code and picture-taking policies. Don't let these laws intimidate you; rather, inform yourself by doing proper research and planning accordingly before visiting the affordable destination that just happens to be the cultural capital of the UAE.