Saudi Arabia has been described as the “final frontier” of tourism by Lonely Planet. Previously shrouded in mystery, there was not a lot known about the domestic wonders hidden with this vast desert country. However, it has recently opened up to tourism and as a result, the opportunities for exploration & discovery have grown. From the coastline of the Red Sea, to the mountainous ranges of Hijaz, the ancient archaeology of Mada’in Saleh, the religious birthplace of Mecca or the cosmopolitan city of Riyadh – there is so much to see and explore in this beautiful country.
Cosmopolitan City Life
Look no further than the capital city of Riyadh, located in the heart of the country. The city is comprised of soaring architectural stunning towers in the centre of a sweeping desert. Here you’ll find 5 star Michelin restaurants, designer shopping malls, lively festivals and a thriving cosmopolitan atmosphere. Our top pics
- High tea at the Globe: you’ll be served the finest of foods with sweeping views of the city.
- Sky Bridge: be rocketed to the 99thfloor of Kingdom tower and take the perfect selfie
- Masmak Fortress: delve into the history or modern Saudi
- Al Diraiyah: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, an oasis within the city
The city of Jeddah is located on the coast of the Red Sea. Home to fantastic dive sites, bustling souq’s and stunning coastline it’s often the first city that travellers visit upon arrival in the country. Our top picks:
- The Corniche: take a walk along the coastline. There’s children’s parks, cafes, a pulsing local atmosphere not to be missed.
- Al Balad: A UNESCO listed heritage site where the old world meets the new
- Diving day trips: Relatively untouched by tourism, Jeddah is the perfect place to explore what’s under the sea. Be amazed by the variety of sea life and colorful corals as you explore the natural beauty of the Red Sea. Don’t miss theFarasan Islands
- Al Wahba Crater: a day trip from Jeddah, the crater is believed to have been caused by a meteorite and is perfect for those up for an adventure
Madain Saleh is not to be missed. Full of history and archaeological wonders, the area dates back to ancient civilization of the Nabatean. Beautifully carved stone tombs with ancient texts invaluable to historians. Unlike its sister city of Petra, Jordan, Madain Saleh is relatively untouched by tourism allowing its ancient and fragile beauty to remain intact. Do not miss Madain Saleh!
For more ancient wonders, the Jubbah rock carvings located in Central Najd date back to 5500BC. Here you’ll find some of the most impressive petroglyphs you’ll ever see.
Popular with campers and hikers, the Asir National Park encompasses mountain ranges nearly 3000m above sea level. Mt Soudah is famous for misty cold weather and boasts stunning views. It’s not for the faint-hearted though, there are no marked hiking or trekking trails, the routes can be tricky and mist or thick fog is common. Having said that, if you want to go off the beaten track, where better than the mountains.
Our top pic:
- The Hanging Village of Habala: An ancient village accessible only by ropes and situated half way down a cliff face.
- Paraglide down form the mountain tops: what better place for stunning views than from the sky itself?
- The City of Abha: located in the Asir province there’s a lot to explore in this region and so much local wonder to discover
The above is just a taste of what Saudi has to offer. There’s so much to explore and discover in this unknown part of the world. We encourage you to take full advantage of your item there, hit the road and explore!