Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by gregor
Saudi Arabia is a land of contrasts and surprises. A place where ancient history and traditions sit side by side with modern, bustling cities. While some may think that Saudi Arabia is nothing but an oil-rich desert country, there is actually much more to see and do here than meets the eye. From exploring the majestic deserts to diving in the sparkling coastal waters, there’s something for everyone in Saudi Arabia!
If you’re visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time, or even if you’re a returning visitor, here are 14 of the best things to do in this fascinating country.
14 Best Things to Do in Saudi Arabia
The Al Wahbah Salt Crater
This massive natural salt crater measures 4km wide and over 250 meters deep. It’s one of the most unique geological formations in Saudi Arabia, and you can even see it from space! It looks like something straight out of a sci-fi movie, and it’s a great place to take some fun photos.
The Al Wahbah Salt Crater is located in the central region of Saudi Arabia, about 3 hours from Riyadh. You can reach it by taking a half-day trip from the capital, or by spending a night or two in the nearby town of Al Ula. The Salt Crater is a must-see Saudi Arabia attraction for any nature lover or anyone interested in unique landscapes.
Mada’in Saleh is an ancient ruins site that was once the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom. The kingdom was a major trading center in the region, and the Nabataeans were famous for their engineering and architecture. Mada’in Saleh consists of over a hundred tombs and temples carved into the sandstone rocks. It’s one of the largest ancient ruins sites in Saudi Arabia, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mada’in Saleh is located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, about 4 hours from Riyadh. You can reach it by taking a day trip from the capital, or by spending a night or two in the nearby town of Al Ula.
The Camel Market in Riyadh
If you want to experience a slice of traditional Saudi culture, then you need to visit the camel market in Riyadh. This is where locals come to buy and sell camels, and it’s a great place to learn about the important role that these animals play in Saudi Arabia. Here, you can see buyers and sellers haggling over prices, and you can even try some camel milk if you’re brave enough!
The camel market is located just outside Riyadh, about 30 km from the center of the city. You can reach it by taking a half-day trip from the city center. It’s open every day from dawn until dusk, but it’s best to visit in the morning when the market is at its busiest. Prepare yourself for the strong smells – camel urine and dung are used as fertilizer in the market!
Ride ATVs in the Desert
For adventurers visiting Saudi Arabia, one of the best things to do is go for an ATV ride in the desert. There are plenty of tour operators offering ATV rides, and you can even go on a multi-day safari if you’re feeling brave. This is a great way to see the desert landscapes and experience the thrill of riding across sand dunes.
ATV rides are available in different desert locations around Saudi Arabia. The most popular spot for ATV tours is Al Ula, which is located in the northwest of the country. You can also find tour operators in Riyadh and other major cities.
Explore Eve’s Tomb in Jeddah
Eve’s Tomb is a holy site for Muslims, as it’s believed to be the final resting place of Eve, the mother of all mankind. The tomb is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, and it’s a popular pilgrimage site for Muslim pilgrims worldwide. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the tomb, but you can still see it from outside.
Eve’s Tomb is located in Jeddah Old Town, about 2 hours from Riyadh by car. You can visit it as part of a day trip from the capital, or you can spend a night or two in Jeddah to explore the city.
Visit Al Rahma, the floating Mosque in Jeddah
The Floating Mosque is one of Jeddah’s most iconic landmarks. It’s located in the middle of a man-made lagoon, and it’s one of the largest mosques in Saudi Arabia. The mosque is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Jeddah. It’s one of the most prominent mosques in Saudi Arabia and definitely the most well-known mosque in Jeddah. The interior is just as beautiful as the exterior and is definitely worth a visit even if you’re not Muslim. Just remember to dress appropriately! It’s best to wear loose, long clothing that covers your arms and legs.
The Floating Mosque is located in Al Rahma Lagoon, about 2 hours from Riyadh by car. You can visit it as part of a day trip from the capital, or you can spend a night or two in Jeddah to explore the city.
Go on an Arabian food tour
If you’re like me, you love to try the food when you travel. And Saudi Arabia has some delicious food! From traditional Arabian dishes to street food, there’s something for everyone. One of the best ways to try a variety of Saudi foods is to go on a food tour. These tours are offered in major cities like Riyadh and Jeddah, and they’re a great way to learn about the local cuisine and try some new foods.
Food tours are available in different cities around Saudi Arabia. The most popular spot for food tours is Riyadh, but you can also find tour operators in Jeddah and other major cities. Be sure to try the local dishes like kabsa, mandi, and shawarma. And don’t forget to wash it all down with a cup of Arabian coffee!
Visit the Saudi Arabia National Museum
The Saudi Arabia National Museum is located in Riyadh, and it’s a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture. The museum was established in 1999 and has exhibits on topics like the Saudi Arabian Desert, traditional life in Saudi Arabia, and the history of Islam. Art and history lovers in Saudi Arabia will definitely enjoy a visit to this museum. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, and admission is free for all visitors. I recommend visiting on a weekday to avoid crowds, as the museum can get quite busy on weekends.
Shop in the local Souqs of Riyadh
The best part of any trip to Saudi Arabia is the shopping! You can find everything from traditional handicrafts to modern fashion in the markets and shops of Riyadh. The most famous market in Riyadh is the souq, which is a covered market with stalls selling everything from spices to clothes. Make sure to bargain with the shopkeepers for the best price! Some of the most popular items visitors like to buy here are traditional Arabian perfumes, hand-embroidered thobes, and camel milk soap. The souq is located in the Old Town of Riyadh, about 1 hour from the airport by car. It’s open daily from 9 am to 9pm, and it’s a great place to spend an afternoon shopping for souvenirs.
Visit the Wadi Hanifa Wetlands
The Wadi Hanifa Wetlands are located just outside of Riyadh, and they’re a great place to escape the city for a day. These massive wetlands stretch over 120 kilometers, and they’re home to a variety of plant and animal species. You can go for a hike, go birdwatching, or just enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. The wetlands are home to over 200 species of plants and animals and are the perfect location for a day of hiking, bird watching, or picnicking in the park. The best time to visit is in the winter, when the weather is cool and the park is less crowded, but the wetlands are truly a cool sight to see any time of year!
Hike to the Edge of the World
If you’re looking for an adventure, consider hiking to the Edge of the World. This popular hiking trail is located in Asir National Park, about 3 hours from Riyadh by car. The trail takes you to the top of a 300-meter-high cliff with breathtaking views of the valley below. It’s a moderate hike, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water! The best time to hike is in the winter when the weather is cooler. This hike is truly a unique experience and one of the best things to do in Saudi Arabia.
Asir National Park is located in Asir Province, about 90 minutes from Riyadh by car. The park is home to a variety of plant and animal species, and it’s a great place for hiking, camping, and birdwatching. There is a paved road that takes you directly to the start of the Edge of the World hike.
Visit historic monuments at AlUla
AlUla is an archaeological site located in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, about 5 hours from Riyadh by car. The site includes a number of ancient monuments and ruins, including the ancient city of Hegra, the Tombs of Mada’in Saleh, and the Al-Khuraybah Mosque. AlUla is a great place to learn about the history of Saudi Arabia and see some of the country’s most amazing ancient monuments. AlUla is located in Al-Ula Governorate, about 5 hours from Riyadh by car. The best time to visit is between October and March when the weather is cooler. There are a number of hotels and resorts in AlUla, so you can easily spend a few days exploring the area.
Go glamping in the desert
One of the most recent trends in Saudi Arabia is glamping or glamorous camping. There are a number of companies that offer luxury camping experiences in the desert, complete with air-conditioned tents, private bathrooms, and gourmet meals. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, consider spending a night or two in the desert! Glamping is available in a number of locations in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, Jeddah, and Al-Ula. Prices start at around $200 per night but can be more depending on the company and the amenities included. The Caravan by Habitas offers glamping experiences in the desert near Riyadh in an individual caravan and is a popular choice for tourists looking for glamping experiences in Saudi Arabia.
Swim in the Red Sea
Saudi Arabia’s coastline on the Red Sea is stunning, with crystal clear water, coral reefs, and beautiful beaches. There are plenty of great places to go snorkeling and diving, and you can even go whale watching if you’re lucky!
The Red Sea is located in the west of Saudi Arabia and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. There are a number of great beaches to visit, including Coral Beach, Al-Waa’lah Beach, and King Fahd’s Fountain. The Red Sea is also home to a number of coral reefs, making it a great place for snorkeling and diving. If you’re looking for an adventure, consider going parasailing! The best time to visit the Red Sea is between October and May when the weather is cooler. The water temperature is also more comfortable during this time of year. There are a number of resorts located along the Red Sea, so you can easily find a place to stay nearby and enjoy spending a few days here.
So there you have it – a list of some of the best things to do in Saudi Arabia! Whether you’re looking for adventure, culture, or just a relaxing beach vacation, Saudi Arabia has something to offer everyone. Just be sure to dress modestly and respect local customs, and you’re sure to have a great time!