Saudi Arabia – المملكة العربية السعودية
Although most tourism in Saudi Arabia still largely involves religious pilgrimages, there is growth in the leisure tourism sector as well. Tourism is an important component of the Saudi Vision 2030 and both religious and non-religious tourism have significant potential for expansion.
Saudi Arabia is considered the birthplace of Arabian culture and traditions. From the generous hospitality of its people to the majestic beauty of the Arabian Equestrian. Saudi Arabian life has been shaped by its unique heritage over the centuries.
The kingdoms diverse landscapes, the bustling cities, abundance of sporting activities and treasured historical sites make it an unique tourist destination. Every region of the country offers you different experiences to suit your desires and interests.
Visit International Sport and Music Events
Since December 2018, the kingdom offers an electronic visa for foreign visitors to attend certain international sport events and concerts. The sharek visa process started with 15 December, Saudia Ad Diriyah E Prix race.
The tickets allow for entrance to the events and free mobility within specific Saudi territories.
Visit Saudi Arabia. Meet the people and see who they really are. Understand the culture, the tradition and their background.
Complete your personal details online, upload a photograph and a copy of your passport. Confirmation will then be send within seconds. After payment, the visa will be emailed to you and can be printed and used to enter Saudi Arabia.
Get your tourist visa now!
Saudi Arabia has formally announced the launch of tourist visas for international visitors from 49 countries at a historic event held in Riyadh’s Diriyah on Friday, 27.09.2019.
Apply for visas now at Saudi embassies and consulates across the world.
Citizens from 49 countries will also be able to apply for an e-visa online or get a visa on arrival into Saudi Arabia. A dedicated online portal at visitsaudi.com has been launched.
Stay with the tourist visa up to 90 days per entry. You will be able to stay up to 90 days a year. The visa is valid for one year with multiple entries.
The cost for an e-visa or visa on arrival is 440 riyals (approx. 117 $) plus VAT.
Please click on below link to find information’s about all kind of available visas for KSA:
What to wear and how to act as a tourist
With the announcement of new Saudi tourist visas KSA has also given the go-ahead to implement new regulations related to female dress code.
Women are no longer expected to wear an abaya and headscarf. The country also passed new rules related to Saudi Arabia public decency.
So, if you are planning to visit Saudi Arabia here is what you need to know:
Men and women are required to dress modestly, refrain from public displays of affection, and avoid using profane language or gestures.
Women have to cover their shoulders and knees, don’t wear sleeveless shirts or short dresses.
Female tourists are allowed to stay in hotel accommodation without male guardian. Foreign men and women are permitted to share hotel rooms without proving they are related. Original passports have to be presented at check in. Women without ID will not be provided with accommodation, unless they are accompanied by male relatives with valid ID.
Discover Saudi Arabia’s tourist attractions
Let below five UNESCO World Heritage Sites surprise you:
- Mada’en Saleh in Al Ula, the largest conserved site of the civilisation of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan
- Al Tarif District in Diriyah, the first capital of the Saudi state
- Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Mecca, characterized by a distinctive architectural tradition
- Rock Art in the Hail Region, showing 10,000-year old inscriptions of human and animal figures
- Al Ahsa Oasis, with 2.5 million date palms the largest oasis in the world
Discover thirteen regions with a distinctive cultural history and culinary tradition.
Explore a modern culture scene like the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture in Dhahran, sculpture parks, art galleries, fashion shows and the first Red Sea International Film Festival in March 2020.
Enjoy various untouched landscapes, including the green mountains of Aseer, the crystal waters of the Red Sea, the snow-covered Louz Mountain of Tabouk and the shifting sands of Rub Al Khali – the Empty Quarter.
Dream about the new destinations under construction, including NEOM – the city of future, the Qiddiyah entertainment city near Riyadh and a range of luxury destinations by the Red Sea.
10 of the best Hotels
Al Waha Palace Hotel Riyadh 4*
The deluxe Al Waha Palace Hotel is located next to King Fahad Library, just 4 km from the city center of Riyadh.
Spoil yourself with a massage and relax in the steam room.
Al Faisaliah Hotel Riyadh 5*
Stay at one of the finest properties in Saudi Arabia. The hotel is located on Olaya Street, within a first-class retail and entertainment complex that includes the lavish Al Faisaliah Mall.
Four Seasons Riyadh at Kingdom Centre 5*
Enjoy exceptional views of Riyadh from the higher floors of the hotel. Dine on the bridge that spans the tips of Riyadh’s Kingdom Centre, 300 metres up.
Let an expert guide show you the treasures of the Arabian Desert. Get access to the UNESCO World Heritage City of Ad’Diriyah and the incredible cliffs ‘The Edge of the World’.
The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh 5*
Le Meridien Al Khobar 5*
The hotel is located near the sea, with convenient access to the Corniche and a short drive to many attractions.
Enjoy a morning walk in the hotel garden and refresh yourself in the outdoor swimming pool. Relax on your balcony with spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf. Spoil yourself at three distinct dining venues.
Mövenpick Beach Resort Al Khobar
Crown Plaza Al Khobar 5*
Intercontinental Dar Al Tawhid 5*, Mecca
Enjoy privacy and premium service close to Al Masjid Al Haram. Lavish interiors feature ornate ceilings, chandeliers and polished marble floors.
Dine at elegant restaurants that serve exquisite international cuisine.
Raffles Makkah Palace 5*, Mecca
Madina Oberoi 5*, Medina
Madina Oberoi is located in walking distance from the Prophet’s Mosque Al-Masjid an-Nabawi. Enjoy unforgettable views of the mosque’s green dome and the courtyards of pilgrims at prayer.
Quba Mosque, the oldest in the world, is 7 km and the historic Mount Uhud 10 km from the hotel.
Explore the historical attractions in KSA
Saudi Arabia possesses thousands of antique sites that have attracted millions of visitors over the years. Those sites date back to prehistoric eras, passing through ancient historical eras, the Islamic era and the modern historical eras. The discoveries are evidence that show the Kingdoms historic depth and authenticity.
In Saudi Arabia are several historical sites located, that have been added to UNESCO’s world heritage site list.
Every region is blessed with unique archeological and urban heritage such as museums, historical sites and ancient architecture. Each province in Saudi Arabia has its own rich heritage of handicrafts, local cuisine and traditional souks.
Explore Historical Diriyah, it is your gateway to the past. Diriyah is located on the north western outskirts of Riyadh. It was the original home of the royal family and the capital of the first Saudi state. Saudi Arabia was established here.
Begin your tour from the Tarif neighborhood and see the ruling family houses. Then visit the Ghusaibah neighborhood. It was the first capital of Dir’iyah. End the tour at the Buhairih neighborhood and see the mosque, school and home of Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abd Al Wahhab.
Ula is one of the most important heritage sites in Saudi Arabia. Archeological antiquities, which date back to the Nabataean State, and other sites dating back to the two Dadanian and Lahyanian Kingdoms, are located there.
Mada’en Saleh is classified within UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites list and is among the most prominent global monuments.
Al Feel Mountain is a huge rock. The mountain is more than 50 meters higher than the surrounding area. It has an unique elephant-like shape and is located 20 kilometers from Al-Ola on the road to Ula / Hail. The rock is surrounded by mountains and a wide open landscape covered with golden sand.
Participate in desert sports and climbing. Enjoy the unique mountain formations.
Visit the Heritage Village in Ula. The village is home to ancient buildings made from rocks and mud. Main tourist spots have been renovated and welcome visitors today.
Enjoy the unique urban design and traditional Hijaz style of the old town Jeddah! You must see the Rawshan Houses, which show how the people of Hijaz were a step above of others at the time.
Visit the Khuzam Palace in the Yemini Quarter! It is the first building constructed of cement and iron.
The most prominent historical and archeological sites are found in Al Asha. The history of Al Asha goes back more than 4,000 years BC.
Al-Aqeer city was established during the Islamic Era, and flourished in the Ottoman Period. During the times of the first Saudi state, Al-Aqeer was invaded. It was later restored in the late second Ottoman period, and at the beginning of the the third Saudi state.
The historical port gained importance since the time, as it remained the main port for trading goods and merchandise.
You should visit Ibrahim Palace, if you admire the Ottoman architecture. The site is one of the most important in Al Ahsa. The palace is also known as the Kout or Dome palace.
Alqaysaria Souk is one of the oldest and most popular markets in the region.
The Joatha Mosque is the first mosque to host Friday prayer after the Prophet’s Holy Mosque. It is distinguished for its location in the center of Al Asha National Park.
Explore Najran, which is located in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia. The province has over 34 heritage villages. They are situated along the northern and southern banks of the Najran Valley. Every village has between 7 – 10 wonderful, authentic mud buildings. The buildings are pieces of art.
Don’t miss Al Emarah Historical Palace , which is located in Aba Saud city!
Saudi Vision 2030
Amaala, NEOM and the Red Sea Project are major projects of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Amaala – Riviera of the Middle East
Experience transformative personal journeys at the Riviera of the Middle East! The destination will become a new uber-luxury place focusing on wellness, healthy living and meditation.
Amaala is located on the pristine north-western coast of Saudi Arabia, within the Prince Mohammed bin Salman natural reserve. It encompasses three bays, an island and white sandy coast.
Amaala will add 2,500 luxury hotel keys, 700 luxury residences and 200 retail outlets.
The Riviera of the Middle East will have its own dedicated VIP airport, art center, marinas and yacht club.
The development will span across 3,800 square kilometers.
Track progress on Amaala and the other mega projects on www.bncnetwork.net.
Neom – land of the future
Neom is the land of the future, that great minds and talents create through inspired imagination.
Diverse untouched landscapes, sheltered by mountains and cooled by Red Sea breezes. A temperate Mediterranean climate. 468 km of coastline with beaches and coral reefs, as well as mountains up to 2,500 m high.
A strategic location on one of the world’s most prominent economic regions will make NEOM a global hub for trade, innovation and knowledge.
NEOM will operate as an independent economic zone with own laws, taxes and regulations.
The world will soon realize NEOM’s unique culture that exceeds all expectations.
A destination where smart technology makes new discoveries effortlessly accessible. NEOM’s sensitive development of the area with its pristine reefs and abundant marine life is enchanting. The region’s rich and welcoming cultural history combined with a cooler climate, spectacular desert and beautiful mountain ranges will draw tourists from all corners of the globe.
Passionate sports enthusiasts looking for a healthy lifestyle can train with state-of-the-art smart facilities and sports fans will experience a new generation of world leading sporting events, set in arenas beyond imagination.
NEOM will arouse your passion for sport and healthy living. Smart facilities designed to meet every athlete’s training requirements will take them to peak performance. Fans from every country will come and celebrate the very best of international sports. Together they will witness the top competitions performed in unprecedented arenas with amenities of greatest comfort.
Future of Mobility
NEOM will become a global hub connected by land, air and sea.
The land will harness progressive, automated and 100% green transport methods that will glide smoothly and safely along efficient and scenic routes.
An inspiring new bridge will connect Asia with Africa.
The Red Sea Project
If you are well travelled, there are not many places on the planet left to discover. The Red Sea Project might be the place you seek. Its an unique luxury tourism destination set within a pristine 28,000 square kilometer area on Saudi Arabia’s western Red Sea coast.
The Red Sea Project is located between the cities Umluj and Al Wajh. The landscape varies from miles of sweeping desert to dramatic canyons, volcanoes and desert oases.
The destination will offer you a diverse range of experiences, from island getaways to resort holidays, mountain retreats and desert adventures.
A special emphasis on environmental sustainability will ensure that the natural beauty of the destination will excite visitors for generations to come.
Served by its own airport, the Red Sea Project will make some of the world’s most stunning natural wonders accessible to you. With temperate climate, an average summer temperature of 32 degrees and 360 days of sunshine, the Red Sea Project will be a year-round destination offering to immerse yourselves in a pristine natural environment.
The Red Sea Project will offer you the exclusive opportunity to explore a uniquely diverse region of the world, when completed. It includes experiences for nature lovers, outdoor adventurers, cultural explorers and wellness seekers.
Few destinations have such diversity and wealth of treasures located close to each other. It offers more than 200km of untouched coastline, more than 90 unspoiled islands, dormant volcanoes, rich nature and marine habitats, and ancient archaeological sites.
Electrical current outlets
The electrical current outlets are 110 and 220 Volt. There are different kinds of AC power plugs and sockets used in Saudi Arabia. Use an AC adaptor and a voltage converter to protect your devices.
Saudi Arabia is located within one time zone, which is + 3 GMT.
Saudi Arabia has four international airports, which are: King Khaled Airport in Riyadh, King Abdel Aziz Airport in Jeddah, King Fahd Airport in Damam, King Muhammed Ibn Abdel Aziz Airport in Madinah and 22 local airports.
There are railroads in KSA connecting Riyadh to Damam, Riyadh/Al Qassim/Hail/Sakaka and Jeddah/Makkah/Al Madinah.
Saudi Arabia is linked by modern highways and road networks. Saudi Public Transport Company, www.saptco.com, provides excellent public bus service, and several taxi companies operate in major cities. Fares are based on the distance. Negotiate prior to services.
International car rental companies provide services at airports and hotels. Initiate rental arrangements already abroad. Male and female visitors holding a valid driving license from another country, or an international driving license, may drive a car in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom uses the left driving system in which the driver’s seat is on the left side of the vehicle.
Weekends and working hours
The official weekend for the public and some private sectors is on Friday and on Saturday.
Working hours for the public sectors are from 7:30am till 2:30pm. Working hours for private companies are usually from 8:30am till 4pm.
Commercial markets work on two shifts. The first shift starts from 10am till 12:00pm.The second from 4pm till 11pm.
The official currency is the Saudi Riyal, which is gold-plated, convertible and divided into 100 Halalas.The denominations of the Saudi Riyal are banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 100, 200 and 500 and coins, 5, 10, 25 and 50. It has a fixed value at SR 3.75 = US $ 1.
In all the commercial centers of the kingdom, credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. ATM’s are available everywhere in the cities as well.
You can find public and private hospitals and other health centers everywhere easily. Highly experienced physicians and specialists are available at your service.
You don’t need compulsory vaccination when you visit KSA.
Photography in public areas
Take photos everywhere, except where a ‘Photography Prohibited’ sign is displayed.
Below materials are prohibited for religious purposes or local systems:
- alcoholic drinks
- pork products
- illegal drugs
- sharp weapons
- pornographic materials
Your luggage, bags and other personal belongings are subject to inspection at airports and ports.
Magazines, newspapers, books, videos and CD’s are also subject to examination. They will be confiscated, if they contain any offensive or pornographic information.
Enjoy internet, long distance calls, fax and mobile. High speed internet is available by mobile phone service providers. Dial 905 for directory inquiries to request any number in Saudi Arabia.
The country code for Saudi Arabia is +966.
Saudi Telecom, mobily and zain are mobile network operators.
Find events in KSA
Click on below link to find the events calendar for festivals, exhibitions, conferences and others in Saudi Arabia.