From breathtaking, expansive desert landscapes, to fascinating historical sites, impressive forts, thriving cities and more, Saudi Arabia has a lot to offer.

Situated in Western Asia and encompassing a major portion of the Arab Peninsula is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Shaped by its distinguished position as a historic trade hub and the birthplace of Islam, the country is steeped in rich culture, heritage and tradition.

In recent years, following the announcement of the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030 and having undergone significant growth and transformation, the Kingdom has opened its doors to the world since 2019.

So, pack up and get ready for a unique experience. We’ve rounded up a few places that might interest you.


An extraordinary desert landscape like no other, AlUla is an open-air archaeological, cultural and touristic area that has come to be recognised among the most notable places to visit in Saudi Arabia. Situated towards the northwestern side of the Kingdom, AlUla is a paradise for explorers, history buffs and archaeology enthusiasts.

Home to Hegra, the first Saudi Arabian site to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List, AlUla is an ancient land where cultures met and many civilisations were built. Once a thriving international trade hub, the archaeological site of Hegra (also known as Mada’in Saleh) looks similar to its more famous sister site of Petra, a few hundred miles to the north in Jordan. It was the second city of the Nabataean kingdom – one of the most enigmatic and intriguing civilisations. Among its historical landmarks, you will discover hidden stories, as its rocks are full of obscure symbols, exquisite inscriptions and texts dating back to the first century BC. Then, there are more than 100 awe-inspiring, carefully carved tombs, of which the Tomb of Lihyan Son of Kuza is the tallest and most famous.

AlUla also has a wealth of natural wonders that are a must-visit, including the dramatic rock formations, such as Jabal AlFil (Elephant Rock), the Rainbow Rock, the Raqasat (Dancing Rocks) and the famous Face Rock. Venture to Gharameel for a rare view of the Milky Way, free from light pollution. You can camp in a traditional Bedouin setup, with an expert guide on hand to tell you about the stars and constellations.

Then, on the other hand, you can also experience luxury living and fine dining like no other with properties such as Our Habitas AlUla, Banyan Tree AlUla and others, that offer Arabian opulence at its finest.

But it doesn’t stop there, AlUla regularly hosts exciting events like the ongoing Desert X AlUla 2024, the upcoming AlUla Skies Festival 2024 and sensational concerts by some of the best musical artists from around the globe at the Maraya Concert Hall.


Al-Ahsa, in the Eastern Province, is home to the largest palm oasis in the world. Spread across an area of more than 85.4sq/km, this picturesque desert escape boasts more than 2.5 million palm trees, including date palms, which receive water from a huge underground aquifer. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s an ideal choice for visitors looking to delight in the oasis’ lush greenery and indulge in its famous Khalas dates, considered among the best in the world.

Next, explore the wonderful Souq Al Qaisariya and grab a souvenir from the wares that reflect the region’s rich trading legacy. Then, continue roaming Al-Ahsa’s major urban city, Al-Hofuf, and visit the famous King Abdullah Environmental Park that has playgrounds, a football field, mazes and a theatre – sure to keep the entire family entertained.

The Al-Ahsa Archaeological and Heritage Museum houses more than 1,400 antiquities, coins, photographs, manuscripts and other archaeological treasures from the oasis’ long and storied history.

Then, take a quick 30-minute drive to the majestic Al Qarah mountains that are perfect for hiking or camping trips. Step into the stunning limestone caves that were formed by subaerial weathering processes. Nestled within these caves on the western elevation is the Dougha Handmade Pottery Factory. One of the oldest of its kind, local potters have been plying their trade for generations. Here you can also try your hand at creating something of your own at the wheel or pick up a souvenir to take home. Finally, located on the city’s outskirts, is the Al-Asfar Lake (also known as Yellow Lake). An outstanding landmark and an ideal picnic spot, the contrast between the blue lake and golden dunes is breathtaking.


Offering a perfect blend of tradition and modernity is the ‘Bride of the Red Sea’ – Jeddah. This beautiful port city is a commercial centre and the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, Jeddah is derived from Jaddah, the Arabic word for grandmother. Legend has it, it’s the burial place of the first woman – Eve. Her remains are at the Cemetery of Eve in central Jeddah.

Then, take a step into the incredible Al Balad district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that was established in the seventh century and served as a gateway for Muslims making the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah, as well as a significant trading destination. From the remarkable mosques to the gorgeous houses built with coral stone and decorated with intricate latticed windows, Al Balad is a living homage to Jeddah’s history.

For the art aficionados, the Athr Gallery is a leading contemporary art spot that regularly hosts engaging exhibitions and events. Get the kids ready for a fun-filled, exciting day at the Al Shallal Theme Park, which offers some of the most thrilling rides. Also, the Fakieh Aquarium boasts sprawling tunnels and vast tanks that house more than 200 species of fish, with around 85% being native to Jeddah’s undisturbed coral reefs. Moreover, the beautiful Jeddah Waterfront and Jeddah Corniche are great spots for a sunset stroll. Relax and enjoy the wondrous views of the Red Sea or take the time to explore and dive into the excellent local cuisine.

For the more adventurous, take a cruise out into the sea and go snorkelling or scuba diving to discover colourful coral reefs and the vibrant marine life.


Visit the ever-evolving and flourishing capital of Saudi Arabia – Riyadh. Once a humble desert village to now being the largest city in the Kingdom, Riyadh has come a long way. First, how about getting the best view of the city? You can do that by visiting the Sky Bridge at the top of the Kingdom Centre that’s located 300m above the city. Learn about the storied history at places like the National Museum, Diriyah Museum and Al Masmak Palace Museum. Visit one of Riyadh’s oldest traditional markets that carries 100 years of history – Souk Al-Zal, found in the Al-Dirah neighbourhood. Or indulge in the growing finedining scene in Riyadh that’s seeing globally renowned restaurants opening across the city.

Take a drive some 100km away from Riyadh and visit The Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn), an unexpected and dramatic geological wonder in the rocky desert, northwest of the city. While the aforementioned places could serve as a delightful start to exploring Saudi Arabia, there are numerous other destinations that also deserve your attention. These include Damman, which boasts some of the most scenic beaches, and the abundantly beautiful hill stations of Taif and Abha. Yes, you heard us right! The Kingdom is full of surprises just waiting to be discovered. ✤