Things to do in Saudi Arabia: Pick your favorites and enjoy!by Cristóbal Manjón | May 20, 2020
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a country of legendary deserts, spectacular beaches and cities that combine tradition and modernity. Located in Western Asia, it is the largest country of the Arabian Peninsula. This destination that is racing towards the future, while maintaining its conservative identity, has much to offer the curious traveler.
Until recently, most travelers to Saudi Arabia went there for religious reasons to visit the holy city of Mecca, the most important holy place in the Islamic religion, and Medina, the city where the Prophet Mohammed was born. Nowadays, the country expects to welcome more and more travelers attracted by its rich Arab-Muslim culture, its prestigious skyscrapers and its archaeological treasures.
The region is now attracting more and more tourists from all over the world. Indeed, the country has recently formalized its opening to the rest of the world by implementing an eVisa system, thus facilitating the entry of foreigners for tourist purposes. You can easily apply for the Saudi Arabia visa online with the help of Visagov.
To ensure you have all the information you need for your next adventure, this guide will explain everything you need to know about the things to do in Saudi Arabia.
Things to do in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia opened its doors to foreign tourists very recently. However, the things to do in Saudi Arabia let us see the historical importance of this Middle Eastern country, as well as its strong development in the modern age.
Here are some things to do in Saudi Arabia that all travelers should try to include in their itineraries.
Things to do in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
This commercial port located on the Red Sea offers the possibility to carry out a wide range of tourist and cultural activities. It is also the gateway to Mecca and Medina for the two million Muslims who make the pilgrimage every year.
One of the most popular things to do in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is visiting Eve’s Tomb (yes, the Biblical Eve). Her body supposedly came to rest in Jeddah, where she was thought to have lived. It’s located inside a cemetery in the Al-Balad neighborhood.
Did you know that Eve inspired the name of the city? Since Islam regards her as the “grandmother of humanity”, they named the town Jeddah, which means “grandmother” in Arabic.
It’s impossible to continue going over the things to do in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, without mentioning again Al-Balad, the historical area of the city. Learn about Historic Jeddah and what to see in this World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO here.
The Corniche is another of the favorite activities of tourists in Jeddah. Stroll along the Corniche to enjoy stunning views of the city and the Red Sea. While you’re there, pay a visit to the King Fahd’s Fountain, another important attraction.
Last but not least, every person traveling to Jeddah has to visit the Floating Mosque, built right on top of the sea. It’s one of the most famous images of Jeddah and Saudi Arabia as a whole.
Things to do in Medina, Saudi Arabia
Medina is one of the two holy cities of Islam located in Saudi Arabia alongside Mecca.
The city of Medina or Madinah was the home of the first Islamic settlement, built by the Prophet Muhammad. This place is also where he’s buried, as well as many of his companions and family members.
The most important things to do in Medina, Saudi Arabia, have huge ties to the Islamic faith. They are:
- Masjid Quba: it’s considered the first mosque built in the world. Its construction started on the day of the Prophet Muhammad’s first pilgrimage to Medina in the year 622.
- Al Masjid an Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque): on top of being the second mosque built by Prophet Muhammad, it also serves as his final resting place. It’s considered the second holiest site in Islam after the Grand Mosque of Mecca.
- Mount Uhud: this mountain was the site of a historic battle between the forces of the Prophet Muhammad and the polytheists of Mecca. It took place in the year 624. The Prophet’s uncle was killed in the battle and his tomb can be visited today.
Of course, if you’re not interested in learning about the history of Islam, you can still find many things to do in Medina, Saudi Arabia. For example, you can explore its shopping malls, restaurants and cafés or visit some of the city’s museums.
Thankfully, Medina is open for all tourists. This is a contrast to the holy city of Mecca: it can only be accessed by Muslims.
Fun things to do in Saudi Arabia
The Edge of the World
The starting point for the Edge of the World is Riyadh. Reach the top of the cliff for the views that give the attraction its name: it will feel like the Edge of the World is right there in the desert. This place is one of the must-do things in Saudi Arabia. It’s ideal for taking photographs and enjoying a perfect sunset.
Sometimes the area is closed, but most tours will take you to the Second Edge of the World if that happens. It’s still amazing!
Explore the Red Sea
The western coast of Saudi Arabia is bathed entirely by the Red Sea. Since the Saudi Arabia weather can get too intense, a visit to the beach is a good idea and another of the things to do in Saudi Arabia that almost every tourist tries to include.
Pack your snorkeling gear or book a scuba diving excursion to enjoy the underwater sights that Saudi Arabia has to offer! Not for you? You can book one of the cruises that explore the Red Sea, which mostly depart from the port of Jeddah.
If you’re just looking forward to relaxation on a sandy beach, there are many resorts available for you.
See a football/soccer match
This Kingdom is making huge investments into the Saudi Arabia Pro League. Football lovers might have heard of players such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar, both of them earning millions to join their respective Saudi clubs.
You can purchase tickets online here.
Tuwaiq Palace Heart Tent
This unique and beautiful attraction can be found in Riyadh. There are events for tourists held inside, but the beauty of the tent can be admired on its own. Made from stained glass, it’s loved by tourists and locals alike.
The palace is closed because it’s being turned into a hotel, but the tent is still accessible. However, since it’s located inside the Diplomatic Quarter (DQ), there are strict checkpoints at the entrance.
Other Saudi Arabian cities worth visiting
You can't visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without discovering its capital. Riyadh is a modern city that reflects the economic power of the country with high skyscrapers. The city was built on the ruins of the ancient city and the only remnants of this past is the Masmak fortress.
It is the most emblematic historic site in the kingdom and the first in the country to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site includes 131 rock-hewn tombs with decorated facades. Madain Saleh is an outstanding example of the architectural achievement and hydraulic expertise of the Nabataeans.
Just off the south-western coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea are the Farasan Islands, an archipelago of 84 islands with great tourist potential.
Located in the Asir province, it is a very popular vacation destination during the summer season because of its beautiful scenery and its famous misty mountains with refreshing breezes. The city is home to the Asir National Park which offers you the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities.