Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is on a mission to draw in 100 million visitors annually by 2030, and they’re going all out to boost their tourism sector. While some grand projects like Neom and the Red Sea are still in progress, there are numerous other captivating spots to explore. From deserts and mountains to oases and unique underwater landscapes, Saudi Arabia offers a wealth of places to discover.

We’ve selected eight particularly fascinating places to visit in Saudi Arabia!

1. AlUla

Alula  Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

AlUla is unique. From the ancient Nabataean tombs in Hegra to the inscribed rock faces of Jabal Ikmah, the lion tombs in Dadan, the historic mudbrick houses of AlUla Old Town, the expansive oasis with two million date palms, and more – this small town stands as the pinnacle of Saudi Arabia’s tourism aspirations.

During the summer, heritage sites are less crowded, and even in winter, it’s not overly busy. This is the season for temporary restaurants, concerts in the stunning mirrored Maraya venue, hot air balloon rides, and hiking adventures.

2. Asir

Asir Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

The mountainous Asir province is a top summer destination in Saudi Arabia, offering a distinct culture, captivating castles, and intriguing museums. During this season, you’re more likely to experience cool temperatures, mist, and light rain instead of scorching heat. The province’s main city, Abha, is an ideal starting point for exploring the region.

A must-visit is the ancient village of Rijal Almaa, over 700 years old. Its multi-story stone houses boast interiors adorned with Al-Qatt Al-Asiri patterns, a unique art form primarily led by women. This tradition has earned recognition from UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage.

For an even more breathtaking experience, venture up to the Al-Dabab Walkway. This seven-kilometer path sits at an altitude of 2,200 meters and offers sweeping views of the Sarawat Mountains, picturesque waterfalls, stepped farms, and the highlight for many: ethereal clouds of mist.

3. Jeddah

Jeddah Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

The welcoming city of Jeddah by the Red Sea is an excellent starting point for those embarking on their first Saudi Arabian journey. You can join the locals for a calming sunset walk along the Corniche, explore the historic houses in the Al-Balad district, or indulge in the wonderful local cuisine. This cuisine has been shaped by generations of pilgrims who came by sea en route to Makkah. Many of them chose to stay and brought along their distinct flavors and cherished recipes.

Moreover, opportunities abound to experience the Red Sea. A beloved local diving spot is Abu Tair Island and the wreck of The Staphonos. Sharks and rays are also commonly spotted in the surrounding waters.

4. Khaybar

Khaybar Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

Khaybar, along with AlUla and Tayma, now welcomes visitors as part of a trio of newly accessible oases. The volcanic landscapes here are a natural attraction, showcasing unique geological formations including the kingdom’s longest lava tubes. Khaybar’s historical oasis is centered around freshwater springs and wadis, nurturing diverse plant and animal life, alongside thousands of years of human habitation. Recent archaeological findings of ancient burial sites are reshaping our understanding of the region’s early history.

During the winter season, you can experience the luxury tents of Khaybar Volcano Camp, take exhilarating hikes through striking scenery, explore ruins of fortresses, or gain a bird’s-eye view via helicopter tours or tethered balloon rides.

5. Taif

Taif  Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

Nestled in the mountains, Taif is renowned for its annual rose harvests. Over 700 farms cultivate these aromatic flowers, serving as the foundation for the region’s exceptional rosewater. From March to April during the harvest season, many of these farms welcome visitors, offering a delightful rose-infused experience. Pink petals abound and the air carries the pleasant fragrance of the blossoms.

However, Taif has more to offer than just flowers. While you’ll find some popular heritage villages that can be enjoyable for family trips, the genuine allure lies in the mountain vistas and opportunities for hiking. The captivating mountain views and hiking trails are the true reasons to explore this area!

6. Diriyah

Diriyah  Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

Diriyah, the latest monumental endeavor, has unlocked its doors to visitors, and it holds remarkable historical significance for the kingdom. This is where the First Saudi State was founded. The heart of Diriyah holds the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, along with the mudbrick Salwa Palace which showcases its history and evolution. In the upcoming years, Diriyah will host an array of offerings including 38 hotels, many built in the traditional Najdi style, along with retail spaces, residences, cultural attractions, and an expansive network of hiking and biking trails. However, the current focal point is the Bujairi Terrace – a lifestyle hub housing popular local and international restaurants spanning from upscale to casual. It also features a lineup of frequent events.

7. Dammam and Dhahran

Dammam And Dahran  Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

While Dammam is often recognized as the entry point to nearby Bahrain via the King Fahd Causeway, it’s also the starting point for various captivating destinations within Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Just a 90-minute drive away lies Al-Ahsa, featuring the world’s biggest self-contained oasis adorned with three million palm trees. Additionally, you’ll find natural springs and the limestone formations and caves of Jabal Al-Qarah.

Continuing to the neighboring city of Dhahran, you can explore the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, also known as Ithra. It houses five galleries dedicated to Middle Eastern art, Saudi culture, Islamic art, the natural history of the Arabian Peninsula, and archives. Moreover, a children’s museum, theatre, cinema, library, restaurants, and cafes are also part of this cultural haven. The unique architectural design, gives the building the appearance of colossal, smooth pebbles, making the journey to Ithra an experience in itself.

8. Tayma

Tayma  Places To Visit In Saudi Arabia

As the final oasis on the historic Incense Trade Route , Tayma continues to unveil its mysteries to archaeologists. The discoveries made here suggest early links with ancient Egypt, providing insights into a sophisticated society that prospered many millennia ago. Presently, their legacy is visible in the 3,000-year-old Iron Age Temple of Salm. Additionally, you can explore relatively “modern” heritage structures dating back around 300 and 100 years.

For those keen on exploration, you can rent a car in Medina or AlUla, enabling you to embark on a self-driven multi-day escapade to explore all three of these remarkable oases along the Incense Route.

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