There are two main steps to prepare a successful trip to Saudi Arabia: first, to understand for yourself what exactly you want to see – for this, read travel guides and destination descriptions. Secondly, refer to a travel professional who will assist in designing your journey in the most effective way.
Saudi Arabia is a fairly closed state, but its tourism potential is based on the unique nature of the desert, a fantastic blend of ancient traditions and modern economy, as well as numerous places of worship of the Islamic world. Islamic way of life is the reason for more than 94% of foreign visitors to come to the country.
The modern city of Riyadh is approximately translated as ‘gardens’. The city is based on the location of the first town captured by Ibn Saud. Besides the fort and several traditional palaces around Deera square, not much is left from the old part of the city. The tourists will only find fragments of the typical winding streets and traditional houses with the facades facing the courtyard, a fortified palace and bazaars. Al-Bata is the best known district of Riyadh, which contains virtually all the historic buildings of the city, a bus station and a post office, which are surrounded by the numerous coffee shops and cafes. Old Riyadh citadel is the fortress built around Masmak in 1865. The fortress has preserved a carefully restored hotel with an open courtyard, carved walls and three columns that support the wooden roof. The fortress itself is turned into a large museum devoted to Abdul Aziz and his role in the formation of the kingdom.
One of the landmarks of the city is the Kingdom Centre, the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. Being a property of the Saudi prince and built on a rather unusual project, it includes apartments, offices, the Four Seasons hotel, a three-level shopping mall and a lot of first-class international restaurants. The building of the municipality of Riyadh is marked by the striking mixture of architectural styles.
The first capital of the kingdom is Dirayya, the most popular archaeological site with heavily restored ruins of several palaces, mosques and the old city wall. Dammam is the administrative center and the last station of the country’s only railroad. Its sights include a modern business center and an impressive coastal cliff, which is the city’s landmark. The nearby islands of Taruta and Darin are considered some of the most interesting historical sites in the kingdom. In the islands, one can even find the old forts, whose date of construction is totally unknown.
The city of El Hafuf is the center of the huge oasis, which is considered one of the largest in the world. The city has preserved the old fort and one of the most interesting markets in the Kingdom, which specialize, among other things, in the products of decorative and applied arts. The greenery of the oasis and an abundance of picturesque local villages make the region one of the most interesting places in Saudi Arabia.
Mecca is the spiritual center and the holy city for Muslims of the world. It is one of the three holy cities of Islam (along with Medina and Jerusalem). Mecca is the city closed to representatives of other faiths, but for every Muslim it is a sacred duty to come here at least once in his life. Nowadays Mecca is visited by about two million people only during the Hajj. Therefore, virtually all the life in the city is associated with servicing pilgrims. Medina is the second holy city of Islam, whose center is dominated by the Prophet Mosque. Here is the sacred place for every Muslim – the tomb of the prophet.
Abha is known for majestic mountains with an abundance of greenery and beautiful scenery. It is a popular resort and a favorite place for the weekend. Madayn Salih is the most famous and most spectacular archaeological site of Saudi Arabia. It used to be on the way of many caravan routes from southern Arabia to Syria, Egypt, Byzantium, and Europe.