Golden deserts, mist-cloaked mountains and turquoise beaches await in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is a complex and multifaceted destination, with ancient UNESCO World Heritage Sites standing alongside modern cities. Get lost in bustling souqs, escape to a palm-filled oasis and savour some of the best cuisines in the Middle East.
Things to do in Saudi Arabia
In Jeddah, it’s easy to get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets of the Al Balad historic district. The enclave is famous for the beautiful and heritage-listed buildings constructed from Red Sea corals. Souq Al Alawi is one of the largest markets in the Kingdom and is filled with colourful spices, jewellery and clothing.
Nestled in the south-west corner of the Kingdom, the Asir Mountains are covered with lush juniper forests. Hikes in the area take you deep into the forest and offer a chance to spot wild Hamadryas baboons, blue-throated agama lizards and African Grey hornbills. A cable car whisks you up to the village of Rijal al-Ma' where you can enjoy stunning views over the mountains.
Surrounded by millions of date palms, Al-Ahsa Oasis is a vision of lush gardens and crystalline springs. Just outside Al Hofuf is Al Qarah Mountain, a flat-topped peak that commands sweeping views over the oasis. The mountain is honeycombed with beautiful caves you can explore on foot.
The Red Sea coast is dotted with gorgeous beaches fringed by vibrant coral reefs. Check into a luxury resort or escape to hidden gems such as Al Sharim Beach, a secluded stretch of sand with water so clear you can spot parrotfish swimming in the shallows. Crescent-shaped Bir Al Mashy Beach is backed by rugged mountains and features a coral-covered shipwreck just offshore. It’s not unusual to see wild camels wandering along the sand.
Getting around Saudi Arabia
Rental cars are a comfortable and efficient way to get around Saudi Arabia. Hiring a private driver is also a good option, while taxis are the best way to get around major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah. The country is serviced by multiple international airports, including King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.