Saudi Arabia

Copyright: Gimas/Shutterstock.com
DESTINATIONS saudi-arabia

Saudi Arabia

There has never been a better time to visit Saudi Arabia, and with the eVisa now quick and easy to obtain, planning a trip is finally within the realm of possibility. Going to Saudi Arabia means adventures in the desert, staggeringly pretty beaches, dazzling metropolises, internationally known holy sites and sky-high snowy mountain peaks. Though it is the cradle of Islam and the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad, Saudi Arabia is far from being only a pilgrimage destination. The capital city, Riyadh, nicknamed ‘Queen of the Desert’, is like a polished diamond in a vast sea of rough pebbles. Its futuristic and sophisticated buildings make for a truly interesting contrast with the traditional ways the city is rooted in. Jeddah, the country’s second largest city, boasts an idyllic position on the coast of the Red Sea. Visit Masjid Al Rahma (Jeddah’s floating mosque), admire the old city gates and stroll along the Jeddah Corniche, a 30-km long promenade bordering the seafront, where King Fahd’s Fountain jet the height of a skyscraper shoots up into the warm Saudi air.
Al-Jawf Copyright: Gimas/Shutterstock.com

Al-Jawf

One of Saudi Arabia's northernmost regions, Al-Jawf (also spelt Al-Jouf) is a treasure ground of historic artefacts and natural beauty. The province's two major tourist routes lie through its rural capital of Sakakah and the ancient town of Dumat Al-Jandal, where most of Al-Jawf's ruins and ancient relics are concentrated. Endless opportunities for exploration, rich cultural heritage, and exotic desert adventures await visitors to Al-Jawf at every turn.
Dammam Copyright: AFZALKHAN M/Shutterstock.com

Dammam

Though it might get overlooked in favour of larger, more glamorous cities, like Riyadh or nearby Doha, the discerning traveller will not want to pass up the opportunity to visit Dammam. As if the stunning desert scenery alone was not enough to enchant visitors, the city also offers heaps of fine dining, great shopping, and some of the most pleasant green spaces, parks and seaside walkways you are likely to find at a desert destination.
Riyadh Copyright: wajedram/Shutterstock.com

Riyadh

Shimmering like a precious stone in the fierce desert sun, the city of Riyadh--Saudi Arabia's capital and main financial hub--is a complex mix of dualisms that will intrigue the intrepid traveller. A modern cutting-edge metropolis that boldly strides towards the future, yet a city firmly rooted in the traditions of its historical past. Known as the "Queen of the Desert", Riyadh will captivate every suitor with its desert landscapes and lush green oases, its ancient monuments, and the renowned Arabic hospitality of its residents.
Taif Copyright: Osama Ahmed Mansour/Shutterstock.com

Taif

Rose fragrance fills the air in Taif, a scenic Saudi town whose fertile lands are dotted with abundant rose and fruit orchards. Nestled amidst the Shafa Mountain range not far from Mecca, Taif historically used to be a major commercial hub for countries of the Arabian Peninsula but has now transformed into a popular summer holiday destination with well-developed infrastructure, magnificent natural beauty, and a mild climate, in pleasant contrast to much of the country.
Yanbu Copyright: Farhan Artist/Shutterstock.com

Yanbu

Yanbu has long been known as little more than an industrial centre with a busy port, but with some of the country's best diving spots and ever more luxury resorts in the area, it is quickly transforming into a coveted vacation destination. The desert beaches are beautiful, captivating, and solitary enough to make your visit a unique experience. There has never been a better time to visit, as the crowds have not yet caught on to this emerging city, and travellers can still have huge expanses of pristine beaches all to themselves.
Tabuk Copyright: Mario Micklisch/Flickr

Tabuk

From snowy mountains to the deep blue sea, the province of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia is home to some of the most varied natural landscapes in the country, offering possibilities for beach holidays, island hopping, Red Sea diving, mountaineering and, of course, sightseeing. The region holds some of the nation’s highly treasured historical and archaeological sites, a rich heritage left behind by ancient civilisations of foregone eras.
Jizan Copyright: saisnaps/Shutterstock.com

Jizan

Though Jizan (Jazan, Gizan or Gazan) may be the smallest province of Saudi Arabia, it boasts an astounding natural and geographical diversity that few other regions can match. From scorching desert sands to deep green forests, grassy plains to rocky mountain tops, fertile land to tropical islands and colourful coral reefs, Jizan has it all. But the province is not limited to natural beauty, for it also boasts interesting archaeological sites, a historic harbour that bustles with life, and a huge variety of tropical fruit.
Jeddah Copyright: Rahul D'silva/Shutterstock.com

Jeddah

For centuries, Jeddah has been a meeting point for traders, travellers, and pilgrims in the Red Sea. It is a major port, an important commercial centre and the second-largest city in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — famous for its wealth of restaurants, cafes and shopping districts, as well as for its comparatively liberal social life. But to many, the city is more important because it is a gateway for millions of pilgrims on their way to the holiest places in Islam: Mecca and Medina. It is a grand city with history, personality, and tons of opportunity.
Mecca Copyright: Orhan Durgut/Shutterstock.com

Mecca

For more than one billion of the world's population, Mecca is the holiest of sites, being the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad and the city of the revelation. Due to its religious importance, millions of pilgrims come here year after year from every corner of the planet, making it one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse cities in the Muslim world, a true melting pot of peoples and cultures.
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Hofuf

Nestled within the lush Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the city of Al Hofuf (also known as Al-Ahsa or Al-Hasa) sprawls over the palm-tree covered lands inhabited since prehistoric times. Al Hofuf is packed with historic sites, architectural monuments, and natural wonders, from forts and palaces to the whimsical Qara Mountain Caves and natural springs.
Qassim Copyright: Richard Mortel/cc by 2.0/Flickr

Qassim

The region of Al-Qassim is a land of palm trees and festivals, the fertile land plentiful agriculture, particularly dates — the cornerstone of the province's economy and culture. The yearly date festival, which takes place in the autumn, is a sight to behold. No matter the time of year, you are sure to find a festival underway. Rich in nature, heritage and handicrafts, Al-Qassim makes for a wonderful visit, whether you are looking for delicious fruit in the countryside or culture and shopping in the cities.
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