The uncharted landmarks in Saudi Arabia are what appeals to most vacationers in the Kingdom. Undoubtedly the largest of the Arabian countries in the region, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer with its attractive coral reefs, famous landmarks, rugged desert rock formations and mountain ranges.
To make the most out of your Saudi Arabia journey, you can check out reputable online travel portals such as Wego to find great prices on budget airlines such as Flynas as well as cheap Riyadh hotels.
That said, here are 7 things that will definitely impress first-time travellers to Saudi Arabia.
The expansive dunes and windswept valleys make for the best desert landscapes in the Kingdom. Tourist spots in these deserts are easily accessible, but there could be some that are difficult to reach. The desert weather in Saudi can be scorching during summer, with temperatures climbing up to 55° C and dropping to a freezing point during winter in some locations.
The Rub Al Khali or the Empty Quarter, Jubbah desert, Al Nufud Al Kabir and Ad Dahna desert are the most pristine golden sand stretches across the KSA. Desert activities, including camel rides, desert safaris, quad biking, camping and hiking, are Saudi’s most enjoyable activities.
Theme parks and family activities
KSA’s theme parks have unique, thrilling, fun rides for children and adults. Visitors can enjoy the entire day with their families at these theme parks and water parks. Al Shallal theme park is one of the most popular ones in Jeddah and houses exciting rides, a beautiful lake and a themed restaurant.
Al Hokair Land in Riyadh is another family-oriented amusement park having water slides, bumper cars, a mini Ferris wheel and a replica of the Eiffel Tower. To experience the jungle, visitors head to the Jungle Land theme park to watch the mini-circus, acrobats and clown performances.
Renowned museums and art collections
Saudi Arabia has preserved its 4,000-year-old cultural heritage by recognizing them in the present and considering them when planning for the future. If you wish to know more about the history of Saudi Arabia, then museums are the way to go. The National Museum of Saudi Arabia has interactive exhibits, neolithic rock art, manuscripts, antiques and centuries-old crafts. King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture is a cultural hub having a library with over 270,000 books, exhibition halls and an auditorium. You can also visit Tayebat Museum and Dar Al Madinah Museum to explore Islamic history and delve into the history and heritage of Medina.
Rugged mountains and historical sites
The stunning beauty of mountains and ancient historical sites in Saudi Arabia has attracted global tourists over the years. Al Souda is a part of the Asir Mountains range in Saudi and is surrounded by juniper-clad green valleys. Here, you will also find the 900-year-old heritage site Rijal Almaa featuring a number of forts and other historic structures.
Al Hada mountain in Taif city is also a popular spot among hikers and has a rocky terrain. Another mountain worth seeing is the Jabal Al Nour, which is not only part of the history of Islam but is also known for housing the Cave of Hira.
Being the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia boasts a rich history and the most prominent landmarks, some of which are the holy mosques. Every year, thousands of Muslim pilgrims from all over visit the Masjid Al Haram (Great Mosque of Makkah) to perform Hajj and Umrah. The mosque is the largest one in the world and can accommodate up to 1 million worshippers.
Masjid Al Haram holds tremendous religious significance as it houses ‘the holy Kaaba’ and the sacred Zamzam well that never dries. The Masjid Aisha, Al-Masjid an-Nabawi and Masjid Quba are also famous among Muslim pilgrims in Makkah and Madinah.
Riyadh and Jeddah are the best cities to go shopping in Saudi Arabia, but if you happen to visit Historic Jeddah, you will stumble upon traditional and distinctive markets, also known as souqs. Located in the heart of the city, most of these traditional souqs offer antique goods as well as modern items. Here you can discover old art and handicrafts and purchase antiques, perfumes, local artworks and souvenirs to take home. Some notable souqs are Souq Al Badu, Souq Qabil, Souq Nada, Souq Bab Al Makkah, Souq Al-Khaskeya, Souq Alawi and Souq Bab Shareef.
Saudi Arabia boasts some of the most mesmerizing blue waters and subtropical shores. You can find plenty of stunning beaches in the country, including Farasan Al Kabir Beach, Haql Shipwreck Beach, Half Moon Bay Beach, Uqair Beach and Umluj Beach, also known as the ‘Maldives of Saudi Arabia’. The clear azure waters are perfect for spotting numerous marine creatures in their natural habitat. The Farasan Islands are popular among visitors for water sports and diving.
Saudi Arabia is best known for having the most sacred cities in Islam, Makkah and Madinah. Most towns in Saudi are well connected, and it is convenient to move around. Besides being known for its historical sites of prime importance in Islam, the country also has numerous remarkable places to visit that are bound to impress first-time travellers to Saudi Arabia.