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The best destinations in Saudi Arabia

12 May 2022

Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country known for being one of themost prominent tourist destinations in the Middle East. With its diverselandscapes and immense religious significance, Saudi Arabia tourism attractsmillions of tourists and pilgrims all year round. It is home to majesticmountains, far-reaching deserts, dynamic cities, and vast waters. Saudi Arabiais just as naturally and geographically gifted as it is culturally rich andhistorically fascinating. Additionally, the Kingdom is strictly following the‘Vision 2030’ to promote tourism in the coming years.

Why visit Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is an incredible country. It is best known forbeing home to two of the most sacred cities in Islam, Makkah and Madinah.Millions of pilgrims visit KSA to perform the obligatory Hajj andnon-obligatory yet highly rewarding pilgrimage of Umrah. They are also themajor contributors to the Saudi Arabia tourism. The Kingdom is heavilyinvesting in its infrastructure and tourism industry to give a memorableexperience to all the tourists visiting the country. The cities in Saudi arewell connected and traveling around the country is greatly convenient.

Top tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia

The most well-known destinations in Saudi are the two HolyMosques in Makkah and Madinah. The country is full of historical sites that areof prime importance in Islam. But besides them, there are numerous remarkableplaces to visit in Saudi Arabia.  It is a mix bag of adventures rangingfrom ancient mosques and serene villages to bustling cities and magnificentarchitectural wonders. Some top Saudi natural destinations include JebelFihrayn, Al Souda mountains, Al Nafud Desert, Elephant Rock and wadi Al Disah.It has numerous heritage sites such as Rijal Almaa, Hima Cultural Arena, andDiriyah. The beautiful beaches of Saudi are a pleasant surprise for those whothought this gulf nation is just desert and arid mountains. Saudi Arabia ishome to stunning beaches including Al Nakheel Beach, Umluj Beach, Indigo Beach,Al Fanateer Beach, etc.

Popular things to do in Saudi Arabia

Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia can look forward to many excitingactivities, from the thrill of scuba diving to quad biking in the dunes. Scubaand snorkeling can be done at any of the incredible diving sites near Jeddah.One can also go on a desert safari and enjoy dune surfing across the expansivesands of the Arabian Desert. In addition, tourists can participate in an unforgettablecamping trip to the gorgeous reserve called Rawdat Tinhat.

Saudi Tourism: Key Information

Best time for Saudi Arabia tourism

The best time to visit Saudi Arabia are spring, autumn andwinters. Spring lasts from mid-March to mid-June. During these months, thetemperatures can drop below 15°C in the north and 20°C in the south and centralregion. While summers are long and hot; hence, tourism narrows down from June toSeptember. The tourist activities during summers include water sports, hiking,and camping. Saudi Arabia experiences autumn in October and November which isalso a good month for tourism just like springs. Winters last from December tomid-March, offering varied winter tourism activities. Snowfall is rare butthere are some cities that witness beautiful snowy winters.

Ideal trip duration

Saudi Arabia is a massive country with so much to see and do.Therefore, it is highly advisable to plan a long trip to fully explore all thedelights it has to offer. Ideally, a trip to Saudi Arabia should be 15-20 dayslong.

International airports in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s tourism is enhanced by its numerousinternational, domestic, and regional airports. The country is home to fourinternational airports, including:

1. King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh
2. King Fahd International Airport in Dammam
3. King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah
4. Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah

Intercity connectivity

Internally, different regions and cities in Saudi Arabia areconveniently linked to each other via regular flights, trains, and buses. Inaddition to the four international airports, it also has nine regional andfourteen domestic airports. Furthermore, it has three major railway lines:Riyadh-Dammam Line, The North Train, and Haramain Railway. These railway lineseffectively connect various cities in the Kingdom. Moreover, the Saudi PublicTransport Company (SAPTCO) runs a comprehensive network of buses across thecountry, linking all its major cities, towns, and villages.

 

Saudi Arabia travel itinerary: Top KSA Cities

The country’s marvelous cities are significant highlights ofSaudi Arabia’s tourism. Some of the best destinations you should certainly addto your Saudi Arabia travel itinerary include:

1.     Jeddah– A vibrant cultural hub

Counted amongst the country’s major cosmopolitan hubs, Jeddahplays a vital role in Saudi Arabia’s tourism. The beautiful city has manypristine reefs, gorgeous beaches, ancient ports, and offers mouth-wateringseafood and breathtaking views of the vast Red Sea. Despite being home toglamorous malls, towering skyscrapers, and luxurious resorts, the city ofJeddah effectively preserves its historical past.

 

Popular attractions in Jeddah:

·       Explore Jeddah’s historical center Al Balad,which is listed amongst the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

·       Discover the swimming bays, piers, andrestaurants lining the gorgeous Jeddah Corniche.

·       Dive deep into the history of fishing tribesat Tayebat City Museum.

·       Witness King Fahd’s Fountain, known for beingthe world’s tallest fountain.

 

2.     Taif– An ideal summer getaway

Situated in the Makkah Province, Taif lies at an elevation of1,879 m on the Hejaz Mountains. The city also finds its indirect reference inthe Holy Quran. It is believed that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) visited the city inthe 7th century. It is the unofficial summer capital of the Kingdom because ofits moderate climate in the summer season. Taif is famous for perfumes andagricultural products. The city is also popular for its historical landmarksand museums.

How to reach Taif: Taif Regional Airport hosts bothdomestic and international flights. The city is also well connected via road.Cabs from various Saudi cities are a popular mode of transport here.

Tourist places in Taif: Jabal Dakka, Taif Zoo, Tera Mall, RoseFactory, Al Shareef Museum, Al Rudaf Park, Dolphin and Sea Lion Show, SouqOkaz, Bird Park, Strawberry Farm

3.    ?Abha – The heart of theAsir region

Servingas the capital of the beautiful Asir region, Abha is a culturally rich citysituated at the Red Sea coast’s southern end. Surrounded by the country’smountainous areas, this lovely city has a plethora of attractions ranging fromarchitectural gems and natural wonders to bustling markets and historicneighborhoods. In addition, the city is an excellent destination for historylovers with its age-old traditions and lively culture.

Popular attractions inAbha:

·       Admire the spectacular architecture of RijalAlmaa.

·       Enjoy an exciting cable car ride between thetowering mountains.

·       Go trekking across one of the many hikingtrails in Soudah.

·       Take in the mesmerizing views at Jabal Thera.

·       Witness the grandeur and magnificence ofShada Palace.

·       Delve deep into the area’s history at theancient Al Muftaha Village.

4.     Tabuk– A historical gem

Featuringvibrant culture, notable heritage, and storied history, Tabuk is the capitalcity of the Tabuk region, which lies in northwestern Saudi Arabia. For manydecades, it has served as a resting point for Egyptian and Jordanian pilgrims.The city is home to gorgeous beaches and idyllic coastal towns, making it anexcellent destination for nature lovers. Also, it is a perfect place forhistory and adventure enthusiasts.

 

Popular attractions inTabuk:

·       Learn more about the city’s history at Tabuk Castle.

·       Enjoy awe-striking views of the sunset at thestunning Al Disah Valley.

·       Explore Maghaer Shuaib to discover theancient tombs built into sandstone rocks.

·       Shop for the famous goat-hair tent covers andpatterned rugs at Souq Twaheen.

·       Spend a day at the beautiful Haql and Sharmabeaches.

 

5.     .Riyadh – The dynamic capital

Servingas the country’s capital city and central financial hub, Riyadh forms asignificant part of Saudi Arabia’s tourism. This city features a charmingcombination of the old and the new with a storied past, rich cultural heritage,and an urban landscape. Home to bustling markets, fascinating museums, andspectacular architecture, Riyadh is a paradise for travelers from all walks oflife. The city attracts tourists all year round owing to its dynamic lifestyleand wealth of tourist attractions.

 

Popular attractions inRiyadh:

·       Explore Saudi Arabia’s history at Diriyah.

·       Understand the history of the ancient AlMasmak Fortress.

·       Check out the extensive collection ofantiquities at the Saudi National Museum.

·       Go on a shopping spree at the vibrant Souk AlZal.

·       Attend a show at the famous King FahdInternational Stadium.

6.     Dammam– A popular tourist destination

Ranking as the sixth most populous city in Saudi Arabia, Dammamis the capital of the Eastern Province. The Al Dawasir tribe founded Dammam in1923. The community migrated from Bahrain, settled near Khobar, and formed thecity. It has oil fields that form a significant chunk of the city’s economy.

How to reach Dammam: Listed among the major cities in SaudiArabia, Dammam is connected to the rest of the kingdom by King FahdInternational Airport. It also features a seaport and has well-maintained roadand railway networks.

Places to visit in Dammam: Dolphin Village, Adventure World, HeritageVillage, Al Othaim Mall, Paintball Battle, Marjan Island, Water Island, KingFahad Park

 

7.     Khobar– An important commercial center

Located on the coast of the Persian Gulf, Khobar is the newestcity in the Dammam Metropolitan area. It features a 16 km long Corniche Road,and it is famous as a resort town among the locals. It hosts many beaches andresorts, allowing tourists to enjoy panoramic views and relish local cuisine.Khobar has several shopping malls and lifestyle centers where travelers can shopfor essentials. It even has local chains of restaurants that serve deliciousmeals.

Tourist attractions in Khobar: Loopagoon, Al Rashid Mall, Half MoonBeach, Escape the Room, Dhahran Hills Park, Gravity Trampoline Park, SciTechTechnology Centre

 

 

Saudi Arabia Travel Requirements

Saudi Arabia tourism is open to tourists from anywhere in theworld. Therefore, anyone who wishes to explore the country can plan a trip. Theonly condition is to meet all the Saudi Arabia entry requirements. The firstand foremost of Saudi entry requirement is to obtain a visa. Tourists can applyfor a multiple-entry visa, which remains valid for a year and allows them tostay in Saudi for a maximum of 90 days. This type of visa is only granted tothose looking to visit the country for tourism-related activities or Umrah.Tourists belonging to 49 eligible countries can easily apply for the visaonline. While those from the rest of the world can obtain their visas throughSaudi embassies and consulates.

Do’s and don’ts for tourists visiting Saudi Arabia

Here are some important tips to keep in mind during the trip toSaudi Arabia:

·  Foul language and loud behavior is adisrespectful act. Therefore, it is advisable to maintain respectful publicdecorum.

·  Keep the prayer timings in mind as certainshops remain closed during those periods, especially during Ramadan.

·  The consumption, purchase, or sale ofalcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited in the country.

·  Make sure to follow the dress code ofindividual establishments.

·  While visiting a place of worship, take careto dress modestly.

 

Saudi Arabia is a great place to plan a trip to visit one of theholiest places on Earth and explore beautiful destinations. Saudi Arabiatourism has grown leaps and bounds due to the country’s amiable cities,picturesque landscapes, rich culture, and new tourism policies. Tourists canvisit Saudi Arabia and experience the incredible tourist destinations in theKingdom.

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