10 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia

The first things that come to mind when we hear someone talk about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are most likely oil, Sheikhs, Muslim pilgrimages, and of course, the desert.

Beautiful Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia text imposed over an image from Al-Ulla KSA

To be honest, Saudi Arabia might be the last country on one’s mind when it comes to planning a vacation, mainly because it wasn’t open for tourists until 2019.

Whilst COVID restrictions put a hiccup in tourism opening plans, international borders are again open for travellers looking to visit the country for other than religious reasons; we are here to guide you about all the most beautiful places in Saudi Arabia.

So, if you’ve had enough of your Europe and US trips and are looking for a change, it’s time to explore the hidden gems of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

The Best Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia

Although Saudi Arabia is a desert country, it has plenty of major attractions worth visiting. They are widely spread around the country, making a trip to Saudi Arabia challenging without needing to take domestic flights at some point.

We’ve helped you with the guide below, providing the closest airport as well if you’d like to plot out your adventure in Saudi Arabia.

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1. Hegra (Mada’in Saleh)

We can’t help but start in the north of KSA with Hegra (Mada’in Saleh), among the most beautiful places in Saudi Arabia and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What’s so special about Hegra? Well, it was once a thriving international trading hub with people bustling about. However, as the trading hub moved towards the Arabian Peninsula, Hegra’s trading began to decline, and eventually, it was abandoned.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - Madina Saleh

The trading hub’s remains were abandoned and untouched for more than 2000 years; however, in 2019, the Saudi government opened it for tourists. The ancient city, once inhabited by the Nabataeans, now has remains of boulders as big as buildings carved with classical columns and pediments.

One of the country’s most significant archaeological sites, it has 109 tombs decorated with mudbrick architecture and carved with eagles, snakes, sphinxes, and other mythological figures. 30 of these tombs bear inscriptions in Nabataean script, giving the name and role of the owners. The area also has 130 wells in good condition, telling us about the water management of the people who lived here.

In short, if you want to take a stroll back in time, Hegra is just the place to be. The remains of the buildings, the tombs, the inscriptions, and other architecture speak of wealth and a lavish lifestyle.

How to Get There?

The easiest way to reach Hegra (Mada’in Saleh) is by taking a flight to Prince Abdul Majeed bin Abdulaziz (ULH) domestic airport in AlUla. From here, you can take a cab to Hegra. You can also travel via bus to Hegra from major cities in Saudi Arabia.

2. Umluj and Al Wajh Islands

Umluj and Al Wajh Islands in the Tabuk Region of Saudia Arabia are known as the “Maldives of Saudi Arabia.” These islands have beautiful turquoise waters with 1200 fish species and more than 300 coral reefs that are a sight to behold.

The water is shallow enough for you to go snorkelling, swimming, or fishing. And if you would like to explore the area a bit more, you can hire a local boatman to take you on a trip towards the deep region of the Red Sea. If you visit during the winter and get lucky, you might spot a dolphin or two in the water.

How to Get There?

The best way to get to Umluj and A Wajh is by flying to Yanbu. From there, you can take a 3-hour car ride to Umluj and Al Wajh.

3. Al Masmak Fort

Al Masmak Fort is situated in the bustling city of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. The fort has been around since 1865 and is a manmade structure constructed purely from mudbricks and clay. It stands in stark contrast to the modern cities of KSA.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - Al masmak fort

So, why should you visit a fort from centuries ago? Because Al Masmak Fort is no ordinary fort! It tells us about the rich history of the kings and emperors who ruled the area. And the best part is that the fort houses many artefacts that date back to the 18th century so that we can have an insight into the lifestyle and culture of the rulers.

Inside the Fort, you’ll find a mosque and a large stately room called “Diwan,” which is intricately decorated, complete with a throne. The interior reflects the luxury and lavish lifestyle of the people who resided there centuries ago.

How to Get There

Al Masmak Fort is situated in Riyadh, and the best way to get there is via the King Khaled International Airport (RUH).

4. Wadi Al Disah

While exploring the North-West coast of Saudi Arabia while you are in the Tabuk Region, take some time to visit Wadi Al Disah. Now, if you’ve ever seen the Grand Canyon, you’ll know why we suggest this place.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - Wadi Al Disah

Wadi Al Disah comprises vast hollows, a surreal combination of sandstone, tall swaying grass, and palm trees! It is truly a sight to behold as the desert and greenery harmonize in the same place. Make sure to get there while the sun’s out to catch the light dancing over the sculptural rock formations for an awe-inspiring experience.

How to Get There?

To get to Wadi Al Disah, you’ll first have to take a flight to Tabuk Regional Airport (TUU), and from there, you can take a 2-hour car ride to the small town of Al Disah. You will reach the valley’s entrance a few minutes further along the road.

5. Jeddah Floating Mosque

You haven’t seen anything if you miss the floating mosque in Jeddah! Known initially as Al Rahmah Mosque, this magnificent piece of architecture is constructed in such a way that it gives the illusion of floating on the sea.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia -Floating Mosque in Jeddah

Apart from this, the intricately decorated interior of the mosque and the spacious courtyard add to its beauty. You can spend time in the courtyard, admiring the beautiful exterior and taking in the mesmerizing view of the sea.

How to Get There?

To visit the Al Rahmah Floating Mosque, you can fly directly to King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED), Jeddah, Saudi’s second largest city.

6. Asir

If you want to experience green mountains amid the desert, head toward the South of Saudi Arabia to the Asir Region and the Asir National Park

The mountainous region of Asir blooms like heaven during the summer rainstorms, and you’ll find scenic mountain views and fresh flowers everywhere. It is the perfect summer getaway from the rusty desert of Riyadh.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - Rijal Almaa Asir Region

The locals of Asir wear leis around their heads, and you can get one too as a souvenir. The mountains of this region are great for hiking, camping, and scenic pictures. You can also tour the 900-year-old village of Rijal Alma, which has beautiful stone-built castles with quartz exteriors, colourful buildings made of basalt rocks, and intricate artwork embellishing the interiors.

How to Get There?

To get to Rijal Alma, you’ll have to take a flight to Abha International Airport (AHB), and drive towards the village via Aqabat Sama, which connects Abha and Rijal Alma.

7. The Edge of the World

Now that’s a place one should plan a visit to at any cost!

The Edge of the World, also known as Jebel Fihrayn, is towards the West of Riyadh. It is one of the world’s most impressive and unique geological wonders, with a steep sandstone cliff that drops 1000 feet into an ancient ocean bed.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - Edge of the World

From atop, you can have an uninterrupted view of the horizon, dried rivers paths winding across the land, and wild camels roaming about the well-trodden caravan route from the past.

The Edge of the World is a mesmerizing scenic spot with several hiking trails that take you to the lower plateau. You might stumble upon fossils during your expedition, but we suggest wearing some rugged shoes to help keep your balance on sharp and loose rocks.

How to Get There?

Once you land in Riyadh (RUH), you’ll need an SUV to reach the Edge of the World, as the roads are rocky and have many portholes. It takes almost 2 hours to get there.

It is one of the most popular tourist places and makes for an easy day trip from Riyadh, so you will find many tour services now operating to this incredible destination.

8. Half Moon Bay

If you visit Saudi Arabia in the summer, we suggest heading over to Al Khobar in Dammam and visiting Half Moon Bay.

Dammam is famous for its pristine beaches, and Half Moon Bay is one of them. With its white sand and clear turquoise waters, the beach is one of the best places in Saudi Arabia that attracts thousands of tourists.

The beach has an amusement park for added fun and enjoyment. It also has an artificial reef that is abundant in aquatic life and a haven for divers. The average depth of Half Moon Bay is 22 feet, so it’s a safe place for people of all ages to enjoy water activities and sports.

How to Get There?

To get to Dammam, you can get a flight to King Fahd International Airport, which is a 40-minute distance from Al-Khobar. From Al-Khobar, Half Moon Bay is at a distance of 50 km, which you can cover by car.

9. Al Balad (Old City Jeddah)

If you’re a fan of old buildings with intricate architecture, you should visit Al Balad (Old City Jeddah).

A UNESCO-listed site, this area in Jeddah has been around since the 7th century and has served as a commercial centre. Later on, it was used as an ancient port by pilgrims headed toward Makkah.

Currently, the old city is still there and serves as a tourist attraction for people who love to see the ancient coral stone buildings with beautiful wooden lattice windows.

Beautiful Places Saudi Arabia - old Town Jeddah

It has narrow alleyways and dusty streets that take you back to the olden days when the city was bustling with people. Most of the buildings that stand in Al Balad are almost 500 years old. Still, due to their unique architecture, the government has preserved them and continues to work to make them look new and attractive.

Another major attraction in Al Balad is shopping! You can find unique jewellery, clothes, shoes, and other souvenir items at a great bargain. The items available in these souks are something you won’t find anywhere in the world!

How to Get There?

The best way to get to Al Balad (Old City Jeddah) is to take a flight to King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED). You can take a bus, taxi, or car to Al Balad. The distance takes hardly 20 minutes by car and 30 minutes by bus.

10. The Holy City of Makkah

We’ll wrap up this article with the best place to be in Saudi Arabia: The holy city of Makkah.

Makkah is the main city where Muslims go for pilgrimage. Most places to visit in the city have some sort of historical significance. The main attraction of this city is the Holy Kaaba inside Masjid Al Haram. That’s the first place everyone heads toward as soon as they set foot in Makkah, for Umrah or Tawaaf.

Kaaba in Makkah

Other places include Masjid Ayesha, one of the largest mosques in the city, where people go for ziyarah and to assume “Ahram” for Umrah. Then there’s the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which has been turned into a library and is within walking distance of Haram.

Another place of much significance is Jabal-e-Noor, or the Cave of Hira. This is the place where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spent countless days in worship and received his first revelation. Jabal-e-Rahma is also located in Makkah and holds a lot of significance for the Muslims because Prophet Adam and Hawa reunited at this very place.

However, do note that the holy city of Makkah is out of bounds for non-Muslims. So, this is one thing you should consider before heading towards it for tourism purposes.

How to Get There?

The easiest and most convenient way to get to Makkah is via Jeddah. You will have to get a flight to King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah and take a car or bus to Makkah. The drive from Jeddah to Makkah takes anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes.


More Inspiration for Visiting Saudi Arabia

We hope you’ve found this guide to Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful destination helpful in planning your potential trip to KSA. Wherever you visit, you’ll be sure to find that a fascinating cultural experience awaits.

You may also find useful in planning a trip to KSA:

Don’t forget to sign up to our Family Travel Middle East Facebook Group. Many of our members live in KSA and can help you with more personal guidance on the country.


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Pictures from the Edge of the World in KSA and Old Town Jeddah, text overly Beautiful Places in Saudi Arabia
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