The Best 22 Things to Do in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia is a land of rich heritage, stunning landscapes, and modern wonders. From the ancient ruins of Mada’in Saleh to the bustling streets of Riyadh, the Kingdom offers a plethora of activities for every traveler. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the best 22 things to do in Saudi Arabia, each promising an unforgettable experience.

Exploring Historical Sites in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia boasts a treasure trove of historical sites that narrate tales of bygone eras. These sites not only offer a glimpse into the country’s storied past but also showcase the architectural brilliance of ancient civilizations.

Visiting Mada’in Saleh: A Nabatean Marvel

Mada’in Saleh, also known as Al-Hijr, is a UNESCO World Heritage site renowned for its well-preserved Nabatean tombs. Carved out of sandstone mountains, these structures are a testament to the architectural prowess of the Nabatean civilization. Walking through Mada’in Saleh feels like stepping back in time, offering a profound connection to ancient history.

a desert scene with a building in the middle of the desert—Things to Do in Saudi Arabia

Discovering Diriyah: The Birthplace of the Saudi State

Diriyah, located on the outskirts of Riyadh, is a historical gem that marks the birthplace of the first Saudi state. The Al-Turaif District, a UNESCO World Heritage site, features mud-brick structures and narrow alleys that evoke the spirit of old Arabia. Diriyah’s transformation into a cultural and tourist hub makes it a must-visit.

Exploring Al-Balad: The Historic Jeddah

Al-Balad, the old town of Jeddah, is famous for its traditional coral houses and bustling souks. This historic district reflects Jeddah’s rich trading history and offers a unique cultural experience. Wandering through Al-Balad’s narrow streets provides a sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells.

a tall building with lots of balconies on the balconies. Al Balad, Jeddah

Natural Wonders of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s natural landscape is as diverse as it is stunning. From vast deserts to verdant valleys, the Kingdom’s natural beauty is sure to captivate any nature enthusiast.

Hiking in the Asir Mountains: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

The Asir Mountains, located in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia, offer a refreshing escape from the desert heat. The region is known for its cool climate, lush greenery, and dramatic landscapes. Hiking trails in the Asir Mountains provide breathtaking views and a chance to explore the rich biodiversity of the area.

Exploring the Farasan Islands: A Marine Wonderland

The Farasan Islands, located in the Red Sea, are a haven for marine life enthusiasts. These islands boast pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. Snorkeling and diving in the Farasan Islands offer an unforgettable underwater adventure, showcasing the rich marine biodiversity of the Red Sea.

Experiencing the Edge of the World: A Breathtaking Escapade

The Edge of the World, located near Riyadh, is a geological wonder that offers stunning panoramic views. Standing atop the towering cliffs and gazing out at the endless horizon is a surreal experience. This natural marvel is a popular destination for hiking and picnicking, providing a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility.

Cultural Experiences in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s cultural experiences are deeply rooted in its traditions and customs. From traditional markets to contemporary art scenes, the Kingdom offers a rich cultural tapestry for visitors to explore.

Strolling Through Souq Al-Thumairi: A Shopper’s Delight

Souq Al-Thumairi, located in Riyadh, is one of the oldest and most famous traditional markets in Saudi Arabia. The souq is a vibrant hub of activity, offering a wide array of goods ranging from spices and perfumes to traditional garments and antiques. Strolling through the bustling alleys of Souq Al-Thumairi is a sensory delight and a chance to immerse oneself in local culture.

Visiting the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture: Ithra

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, is a beacon of cultural and artistic innovation. Located in Dhahran, Ithra features museums, galleries, theaters, and libraries, making it a cultural hub that celebrates creativity and knowledge. A visit to Ithra offers a deep dive into Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene.

Experiencing the Janadriyah Festival: A Cultural Extravaganza

The Janadriyah Festival, held annually near Riyadh, is a celebration of Saudi Arabian culture and heritage. The festival features traditional music, dance, crafts, and cuisine, providing a comprehensive cultural experience. Attending the Janadriyah Festival is a unique opportunity to witness the rich traditions and vibrant spirit of Saudi Arabia.

Modern Attractions in Saudi Arabia

While steeped in history and tradition, Saudi Arabia is also home to modern attractions that reflect its rapid development and innovation.

Exploring Riyadh’s Kingdom Centre: A Modern Marvel

The Kingdom Centre, one of Riyadh’s most iconic skyscrapers, is a symbol of modern Saudi Arabia. The tower features a sky bridge that offers panoramic views of the city, a luxurious shopping mall, and fine dining restaurants. A visit to the Kingdom Centre provides a taste of Riyadh’s contemporary lifestyle and architectural grandeur.

Enjoying the Entertainment Boulevard: Al Qiddiya

Al Qiddiya, an entertainment megaproject near Riyadh, is set to become one of the world’s largest entertainment hubs. The project includes theme parks, sports facilities, cultural venues, and nature reserves. Al Qiddiya promises an array of activities and experiences, making it a must-visit destination for thrill-seekers and families alike.

Relaxing at the Red Sea Project: A Luxury Escape

The Red Sea Project is an ambitious luxury tourism development along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. The project aims to offer high-end resorts, pristine beaches, and unique marine experiences. A stay at the Red Sea Project provides a perfect blend of luxury, relaxation, and natural beauty.

Adventure Activities in Saudi Arabia

For adventure enthusiasts, Saudi Arabia offers a wide range of activities that cater to thrill-seekers and outdoor lovers.

Dune Bashing in the Empty Quarter: An Adrenaline Rush

The Rub’ al Khali, or Empty Quarter, is the largest continuous sand desert in the world. Dune bashing in the vast expanse of the Empty Quarter offers an exhilarating experience. The thrill of navigating the towering sand dunes in a 4×4 vehicle is an adventure like no other.

where is the empty quarter - Things to Do in Saudi Arabia

Exploring the Red Sea by Scuba Diving: An Underwater Adventure

The Red Sea is renowned for its clear waters and vibrant marine life, making it a top destination for scuba diving. Exploring the underwater world of the Red Sea reveals a stunning array of coral reefs, fish, and other marine creatures. Scuba diving in the Red Sea is an unforgettable adventure that showcases the rich biodiversity of this unique marine ecosystem.

Rock Climbing in Al Ula: A Climber’s Dream

Al Ula, with its dramatic rock formations and scenic landscapes, is a prime destination for rock climbing. The region offers a variety of climbing routes that cater to different skill levels. Climbing in Al Ula provides not only an adrenaline-pumping adventure but also breathtaking views of the surrounding desert landscape.

Saudi Arabia’s Culinary Delights

Saudi Arabian cuisine is a rich tapestry of flavors and traditions. From traditional dishes to modern culinary experiences, the Kingdom offers a diverse and delectable food scene.

Tasting Traditional Saudi Dishes: A Culinary Journey

Traditional Saudi dishes such as kabsa, a spiced rice dish, and jareesh, a cracked wheat porridge, are must-tries for any visitor. These dishes reflect the rich culinary heritage of Saudi Arabia and offer a taste of the country’s diverse regional flavors. Experiencing traditional Saudi cuisine is a culinary journey that delights the senses.

Dining at Fine Restaurants in Riyadh: A Gourmet Experience

Riyadh boasts a plethora of fine dining restaurants that offer a range of international and local cuisines. From luxurious steakhouses to gourmet Arabic restaurants, Riyadh’s dining scene caters to discerning palates. Dining at one of Riyadh’s top restaurants promises a gourmet experience that combines exquisite food with elegant ambiance.

Savoring Street Food in Jeddah: A Flavorful Adventure

Jeddah’s street food scene is a vibrant and flavorful adventure. The city’s food stalls and small eateries offer a variety of delicious snacks and dishes, from falafel and shawarma to fresh seafood. Savoring Jeddah’s street food provides a unique culinary experience that reflects the city’s diverse cultural influences.

Saudi Arabia’s Festivals and Events

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hosts a variety of festivals and events that celebrate its rich culture and heritage. These events offer a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant spirit of Saudi Arabia.

Participating in the Riyadh Season: A Spectacular Event

Riyadh Season is an annual entertainment festival that features concerts, sporting events, and cultural performances. The festival transforms Riyadh into a bustling hub of activity, attracting visitors from around the world. Participating in Riyadh Season offers a spectacular experience that showcases the best of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment and culture.

Celebrating the Saudi National Day: A Patriotic Celebration

Saudi National Day, celebrated on September 23rd, marks the unification of the Kingdom. The day is marked by patriotic celebrations, fireworks, and cultural events across the country. Celebrating Saudi National Day offers a chance to witness the national pride and unity of the Saudi people.

Enjoying the Jeddah Festival: A Coastal Extravaganza

The Jeddah Festival is a summer event that features a variety of activities, including concerts, cultural performances, and sports competitions. The festival takes place along Jeddah’s beautiful coastline, providing a lively and festive atmosphere. Enjoying the Jeddah Festival offers a fun and memorable experience that highlights the city’s vibrant culture and entertainment scene.

Read more: Top 10 Luxury Hotels in Jeddah: Prices & Perks Revealed

Saudi Arabia’s Modern Innovations

Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of modern innovations and technological advancements. The Kingdom’s ambitious projects and developments reflect its vision for the future.

Exploring NEOM: A Visionary Megacity

NEOM is an ambitious project that aims to create a futuristic megacity in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The project focuses on sustainability, innovation, and cutting-edge technology. Exploring NEOM offers a glimpse into the future of urban living and showcases Saudi Arabia’s commitment to innovation and progress.

Experiencing the Riyadh Metro: A Modern Transit System

The Riyadh Metro, currently under construction, is set to revolutionize public transportation in the capital city. The metro system will feature modern trains, efficient routes, and state-of-the-art facilities. Experiencing the Riyadh Metro offers a convenient and futuristic mode of transportation that reflects the city’s rapid development.

Visiting the King Salman Energy Park: A Hub of Innovation

The King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) is an industrial city dedicated to energy and technology. The park aims to become a global hub for energy innovation and manufacturing. Visiting SPARK provides an insight into Saudi Arabia’s industrial capabilities and its vision for a sustainable and innovative future.

This picture of King Salman Energy Park is from the vision2030.gov.sa website
This picture of King Salman Energy Park is from the vision2030.gov.sa website

FAQs

What are the best historical sites to visit in Saudi Arabia?

The best historical sites to visit in Saudi Arabia include Mada’in Saleh, Diriyah, and Al-Balad. These sites offer a glimpse into the Kingdom’s rich history and architectural heritage.

What natural attractions can I explore in Saudi Arabia?

Natural attractions in Saudi Arabia include the Asir Mountains, Farasan Islands, and the Edge of the World. These destinations offer stunning landscapes and diverse outdoor activities.

What cultural experiences can I enjoy in Saudi Arabia?

Cultural experiences in Saudi Arabia include visiting Souq Al-Thumairi, the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), and attending the Janadriyah Festival. These experiences showcase the Kingdom’s rich traditions and vibrant cultural scene.

What modern attractions are there in Saudi Arabia?

Modern attractions in Saudi Arabia include the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh, Al Qiddiya entertainment hub, and the Red Sea Project. These destinations highlight the Kingdom’s rapid development and contemporary lifestyle.

What adventure activities are available in Saudi Arabia?

Adventure activities in Saudi Arabia include dune bashing in the Empty Quarter, scuba diving in the Red Sea, and rock climbing in Al Ula. These activities cater to thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.

What are some must-try dishes in Saudi Arabia?

Must-try dishes in Saudi Arabia include traditional dishes such as kabsa and jareesh, as well as modern culinary experiences in fine dining restaurants in Riyadh and street food in Jeddah.

Conclusion

Saudi Arabia is a land of diverse experiences, offering a perfect blend of history, culture, nature, and modernity. Whether you are exploring ancient ruins, enjoying breathtaking landscapes, or immersing yourself in vibrant cultural events, the Kingdom promises an unforgettable journey. The best 22 things to do in Saudi Arabia provide a comprehensive guide to the myriad activities and attractions that await you in this fascinating country.

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