Exploring the Gem of the Middle East

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East, and fourth most populous in the MENA region with its 2020 population estimated at approximately 35 million people.
80% of Saudi residents live in ten major urban centres – Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Medina, Hofuf, Taif, Khobar, Yanbu, Dhahran, Dammam.
The country is also home to a large community of expatriate residents, including those from Western markets, India and Asia who live in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Yanbu and Dhahran.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is divided into 13 administrative regions, or Provinces, each characterised by their own unique traditions and cultures. The Kingdom is home to the Makkah Region, Riyadh Region, Eastern Province, Asir Region, Jizan Region, Medina Region, Qasim Region, Tabuk Region, Hail Region, Najran Region, Al Jouf Region, Al Baha Region, and the Northern Borders Region.
Islam is the state religion in Saudi Arabia, and the country is home to the two holiest cities in Islam, Makkah and Medina. Each year, the country attracts millions of Muslims who perform the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the cities of Makkah and Medina.
In September 2019, Saudi Arabia opened its doors to leisure tourists from around the world. This historic milestone is a key step in the implementation of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s economic diversification program, aiming to connect Saudi to the world.

Saudi offers awe-inspiring natural phenomena and exciting, unique ways to explore its diverse terrain, making the kingdom worthy of a spot on any outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list. The kingdom boasts quite an itinerary, from desert and water adventures to camping and hiking through caves and craters.

Desert Adventures

Part of what’s special about the Arabian Peninsula — and specifically Saudi — is its desert. In fact, Saudi Arabia is home to the largest sand desert on earth. From adrenaline packed excursions like dune bashing and sand boarding to more serene, history-inspired activities such as camel riding and Arabian camping, the desert in Saudi serves as a canvas for more than just adventure travellers.

Dune bashing – Camel riding – Arabian camping.

Hiking Adventures

Saudi’s diverse topography is a delight for hiking enthusiasts. With striking lookout points atop cliffs and an oasis in the desert, there are plenty of adventures to embark upon on foot.

Edge of the World – Al Ahsa Oasis – Jabal Abyad.

Water Adventures

Saudi is bordered by the Red Sea to the west and the Arabian Gulf to the east — making an adventure on or in the water an ideal way to explore.

Red Sea Scuba Diving and Snorkeling – Visiting a Desert Lake – Exploring on boats and cruises.

Culture

Saudi culture is as rich as it is diverse. Visit the Kingdom’s many mosques and traditional markets to experience a rhythm of life that has little changed over the centuries. Explore the different regions to experience the multicultural variety of foods, lifestyles and customs. And, for a taste of modern Saudi, don’t miss the urban districts and entertainment centres where people meet to shop, dine or just spend time with friends.

From traditional dances and handicrafts to gleaming skyscrapers and thriving cities, Saudi is a destination in which history and modernity are inextricably linked and endlessly beguiling.

Mosques and Spirituality

While Saudi is home to the holy cities of Makkah and Medina, a pilgrimage route around the country doesn’t have to stop there. Travellers can venture to other holy — and less crowded — spots to enjoy the mosques’ calm atmosphere or pray in peace and to check out other sites of historical significance. Makkah and parts of Medina are accessible only to Muslims; however, other architecturally noteworthy mosques and historic sites across the country are accessible and can provide a first-hand glimpse into the intriguing religious roots of Saudi.

Al Rajhi Mosque – Al Rajhi Grand Mosque – Al Rahma Mosque

Museums and History

With such a rich history, it’s no surprise that Saudi is home to a plethora of museums, castles and cultural institutions around the country. Visitors can immerse themselves in
exhibitions and displays that not only highlight the ancient past but also bring to light more contemporary works by local and international artists.

The National Museum in Riyadh – The Antiquities Museum – King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture

Souqs and Shopping

From old-world souqs to modern malls to boutique concept stores, Saudi has a wealth of shopping options, offering everything from traditional wares to designer items to creative collections and offbeat décor.

Share Al Hob market – Souq Al Qaisariya – Personage

Heritage

Experience a land where the past comes to life. From the labyrinthine streets of ancient cities, to the intricate rock carvings of early civilizations, the kingdom’s rich history is written large across the landscape.

When you explore the ancient ruins and rock-carven tombs of Nabatean Hegra or walk the narrow winding streets of Al-Turaif, surrounded by beautiful Najd architecture, you are opening a doorway into Saudi’s rich and fascinating history.

Since the days of antiquity, Saudi has occupied a pivotal position at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Today, there are more than 11,000 archaeological sites throughout the Kingdom, telling the story of the civilisations that lived over the years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is proud to have five UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
• Al Ahsa Oasis
• Al-Hijr Archaeological Site (Hegra)
• Al-Turaif District in Diriyah
• Historic Jeddah
• Rock art in the Hail region

Nature

Whether you are sailing the crystalline waters of the Saudi Red Sea, exploring one the country’s many national parks or hiking through the green hills of Al Baha, Saudi will surprise and delight you with a wealth of natural treasures.

From seas teeming with exotic fish, rare marine animals and thriving corals to lush oases, verdant farmlands and even desert areas that are rich with life and raw natural beauty, Saudi is a kaleidoscope of unique natural experiences.

Desert

Saudi is made up of a predominantly desert landscape, with desert tourism possible over three seasons of the year and varying from region to region. The desert experience is the perfect starting place to discover the culture, customs and nomadic way of life.

Empty Quarter – Hail – Al Jouf – AlUla

Mountains

Saudi has no shortage of mountainous landscapes and breathtaking views. From the highland region of Asir, known for its abundance of heritage sites and outdoor thrills to the north-western city of Tabuk, perfect for travellers looking for old ruins to inspect and new places to explore, there is something for everyone.

Asir – Tabuk – Taif

Coastal

With a coastline stretching more than 2,000 kilometres, Saudi offers some of the world’s most stunning stretches of golden sand and tranquil blue waters, mostly untouched oastline and rich nature and marine habitats, perfect for swimming, diving and water sport activities.

Umluj – Yanbu – Jeddah

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