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Things to do in Saudi Arabia

  • Riyadh

Explore the Treasures of Hegra

This Nabataean settlement near AlUla is the southern counterpart to Petra and one of the most intricate and beautiful treasures in the Middle East. Carved into red sandstone cliffs, the series of tombs and façades showcase the extensive architectural skill of this civilization from over 2,000 years ago.

See Elephant Rock at Sundown

When the sun goes down, this massive rock monument outside AlUla looks like a stone elephant against the blazing sun of the desert. The archway is gorgeous in the daytime too, but it’s most magical at dawn and twilight.

Visit Al Balad, the Old Town of Jeddah

If you want to see what life was like during the heights of the Islamic Empire, head to Al Balad, the UNESCO-listed Old Town of Jeddah. Constructed in the 7th century, Al Balad is filled with shops, restaurants, and traditional crafters in mudbrick structures that recall a medieval marketplace and serves as something of a time capsule in otherwise modern Jeddah.

Snorkel in the Red Sea

Sitting on the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia is blessed with one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. From Jeddah, it’s common to spend a day exploring the sunken wrecks and coral reefs off the shore and enjoying the Mediterranean climate.

Tour Quba Mosque in Madinah

Quba Mosque or Masjid Quba is possibly oldest mosque in the world. Founded by the Prophet Muhammad in 622, who laid the first stones of the mosque, Quba was the prophet’s first home when he moved to Madinah during the h ijra. Today, it’s a significant religious site and historic monument, which offers insight into a formative moment in religious history.

Explore Al Masmak Palace in Riyadh

Originally constructed in the 14th century and rebuilt in the 19th century, Al Masmak became a symbol of Saudi reunification after King Saud captured the fortress in 1902. Today, it’s an important national landmark as well as a fascinating fortification with thick walls and massive turrets overlooking modern Riyadh.

Visit the National Museum in Riyadh

If you want to learn about the nation’s geological and political history, there are few better places to provide an overview than the National Museum. Located in a modernist building in the capital’s downtown, its exhibitions and galleries showcase everything from ancient meteorites to surviving copies of religious texts.

See the home of the Saudi Royal Family in Diriyah

Prior to the creation of Saudi Arabia, there was the state of Diriyah, the home of the Saudi Royal Family and the capital of the emirate between 1727 and 1818. The collection of mudbrick homes, old palaces, and ruins offers fascinating insight into the transitional periods of the nation.

Enjoy The Line Experience in Riyadh

No development defines the diversification of Saudi Arabia more than Neom, the futuristic city set to be completed by 2039. While Neom is currently under construction, you can enjoy a taste of its potential at The Line Experience in Riyadh, an interactive exhibit showcasing its conception and development.

Visit Tabuk Castle

The Ottomans controlled much of Arabia during the Early Modern Era up to the Arab Revolt of World War I. You can learn about the Ottoman influence over the nation at Tabuk Castle in the country’s north. The well-preserved fortifications are fascinating to explore, even if history isn’t your thing.

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