If you ever journey to Saudi Arabia, then a visit to the commercial hub, Jeddah, is a must. Located in the middle of the eastern coast of the Red Sea, Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia and is famous for being the Gateway to Mecca.
With its beaches, resorts, shopping malls, restaurants, and not to forget the unique sculptures lining the Corniche and its historic old city, there’s plenty for tourists to explore in Jeddah.
- Best Time to Visit Jeddah
- How to Get to Jeddah
- 8 Best Places to Visit in Jeddah with Family
- How Long Will You Need in Jeddah?
- Best Places to Stay in Jeddah
Best Time to Visit Jeddah
Like most Saudi cities, Jeddah also experiences extreme summers with hot and humid weather. Therefore, if you’re looking for the best time to visit Jeddah, we suggest visiting from November through to March.
During these months, the weather cools down to some extent, with temperatures as low as 21 degrees C at night. However, November is also the month when Jeddah faces downpours, making the weather a bit chillier and more unpredictable than usual.
But if a bit of heat isn’t a deal breaker for you, visiting during June is also not too bad. Just make sure you carry water and an umbrella with you (for the sun)!
How to Get to Jeddah
Getting to Jeddah depends on where you’re travelling from.
For instance, if you’re going to or from Mecca* (for example, performing Umrah), it will take only around 1 hour to reach by road. However, from Madinah*, it takes almost 5 hours by road and 1 hour by air.
There is currently only a rail connection from Jeddah Airport to Mecca and Medinah, not to other parts of the country.
From Riyadh to Jeddah is a short domestic flight of just under 2 hours or a rather lengthy drive of over 900 kilometres – nearly 10 hours.
If you’re travelling from outside Saudi Arabia, we recommend flying directly to King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED).
Another option is to include a one-day stopover in Jeddah on a cruise through the Red Sea, such as MSC Orchestra.
(*The religious sites of Mecca and Madinah are only open to Muslim pilgrims holding the right Visa)
How to Get Around Jeddah
The public transport options in Jeddah are only buses; therefore, a rental car could be the best way to get around the city if you’re a confident driver.
You can also get from one place to another via taxi, as they are readily available and have negotiable rates. Uber is another option for tourists to use, and Blacklane is a premium option that many of our Dubai readers may be familiar with.
Your other option is to join an organised tour where you’ll be driven to each of the highlights, and commentary is included. This can be a great way to get acquainted with a city such as Jeddah without the traffic hassles:
With that sorted, let’s move on to the best places to visit in Jeddah.
8 Best Places to Visit in Jeddah with Family
Here are eight of the best Jeddah attractions for your whole family:
1. Masjid Al Rahma (Floating Mosque)
When in Jeddah, the first place you should visit is Masjid Al Rahma or Fatima Al Zahra Mosque, famously known as the Floating Mosque. It is located on the edge of Jeddah Corniche and is built in such a way that it appears to be floating on water.
Masjid Al Rahma was constructed in 1985 and is intricately decorated with traditional Islamic art and architecture, making it a famous Jeddah tourist attraction. During days when the water level is low, the supporting pillars of the mosque are visible; however, when the tide is high, the mosque gives an optical illusion of floating on water, which appears even more beautiful at night when its reflection is visible in the water.
2. Fakieh Aquarium
If you are travelling with kids, then your next place to visit in Jeddah is the Fakieh Aquarium. The aquarium has a Caribbean theme and has several exotic sea creatures, including stonefish, jellyfish, dolphins, sharks, and turtles.
Apart from viewing the marine creatures in their natural habitats, you can also enjoy the dolphin show and grab a bite from the on-site cafe.
3. Mall of Arabia
While visiting new places and checking out attractions in a city is the main reason most people plan trips, the second reason is shopping!
The Mall of Arabia is the biggest mall in Jeddah, spread over an expanse of 261,000 square meters. It has over 408 shops and stores, ranging from famous international brands to local stores offering unique items.
The mall is a family-favourite destination because it offers several children’s entertainment options. From Kidzania, the largest indoor play village, to Sparkies and Billy Bees, numerous options exist to cater to kids of all ages.
There’s also a cinema, restaurants and cafes where you can chill after a busy day of shopping!
4. Al Balad
If you’re up to learning some interesting facts about Saudi culture and heritage, you should definitely visit Al Balad.
It is one of the oldest and largest cities in Saudi Arabia and holds a lot of historical significance. It was built in the 7th century and has some of the oldest houses preserved. This UNESCO-listed site includes Al Nassif House and Al Jamjoon house, which take you all the way back to the early days of Saudi Arabia with their unique architecture and construction.
Other interesting places in Al Balad include an ancient Christian cemetery with almost 400 graves and a sarcophagus for the famous French explorer Charles Huber. Then there’s the Al Qabal Mosque, with its intricate artwork and several ruins of buildings as old as 500 years.
Therefore, if you want to take a stroll through Saudi Arabia’s past, Al Balad is the place to go!
5. Atallah Happy Land Park
If you’re done visiting ancient buildings and state-of-the-art malls, it’s time to go for some adventurous fun!
The Atallah Happy Land Park is one of the first amusement parks in Saudi Arabia and is a great place to hang out with your family. It has more than 26 adult rides, including Surfrider, Terminator, and Pirate. There’s also a section dedicated to the younger lot with rides such as the Samba Balloon, Saltomato, Apple Coaster, and a soft play area for toddlers.
The park’s main highlight is the Musical Dancing Fountain, which has 94 choreographed music and lighting effects.
Indoor activities include a skating rink, 6D cinema, bowling alley, climbing wall, and an arcade games area.
In short, the Atallah Happy Land Park has something for every family member!
6. Silver Sands Beach
It won’t be fair if you visit the coastal city of Jeddah and don’t go to the beach!
Silver Sands Beach is the ultimate getaway from the swarming crowds of Jeddah. Located on Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Street, Al Lulu, it is a private beach along the Red Sea coast that offers visitors a serene and relaxing experience.
The shore is lined with comfortable sunbeds and lounging chairs, from where you can have a spectacular view of the glistening white sand and the calm turquoise water.
And, if you’d like to indulge in some water activities, the beach offers snorkelling, parasailing, jet skiing, and swimming. You can also request a deepsea diving adventure, where you can get a chance to see the marine life up close and have a look at the beautiful coral reefs.
There’s also a beachside play area for the kids to jump on the trampoline and build sand castles to their heart’s content. This is one of the best relaxing family activities in Jeddah.
7. Al Tayebat International City
Al Teyebat International City is a museum in Jeddah dedicated to history, science, and technology. It has four floors, 18 wings, 300 rooms, and over 60,000 Islamic artefacts from around the globe, dating back 2500 years.
The building is constructed based on the intricate Hijazi architecture of the old city, complete with bay window styles, wooden latticework, and coral-embellished masonry. The museum contains information and artifacts from the time earlier civilizations settled in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the wider Arabian Peninsula.
From ancient coins to modern furniture and artwork from around the Middle East, you will find Al Tayebat International City full of interesting facts, rich historical information, and items dating back to the foundation days of the Arabic settlements.
8. Souq Shatee
If going to malls is not your thing, you will definitely enjoy shopping in the local souqs of Jeddah, the best place to visit in Jeddah and the most famous being Souq Shatee.
It is a small place that is well-known among locals and tourists for offering unique clothing items, jewellery, footwear, abayas, toys, accessories, and souvenirs at a reasonable price.
So, if you’re looking to take back a thoughtful little gift for your loved ones back home, Souq Shatee is the perfect place to find something exclusive to remind you of your time in Saudi Arabia.
How Long Will You Need in Jeddah?
While Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia and has plenty of attractions, you can easily cover the whole city in 3 to 4 days. This includes beaches, mosques, amusement parks, museums, and other historical places.
Best Places to Stay in Jeddah
The city of Jeddah is a place where tourists can be seen all year round. Whether it’s pilgrims from Mecca or people just wanting to check out Jeddah attractions, the city is swarming with people. Therefore, it has several accommodation options suitable for families with different budgets.
We have put together a list of the best places to stay in Jeddah, ranging from 5-star hotels to mid-range and budget-friendly options.
Best Luxury Stay in Jeddah: Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr-Al-Sharq
If you are looking for a luxury 5-star hotel in Jeddah, we recommend staying at the Waldorf Astoria Jeddah – Qasr-Al-Sharq.
Located on North Corniche Road, the hotel offers world-class service to guests. The suites are decorated with gold accents and crystal decor and have state-of-the-art Italian furniture. Each room is designed by professional interior designers and is equipped with central air conditioning, a satellite TV, a mini bar, and plush sofas for comfortable lounging.
Other amenities include a wellness spa for the ladies that offers high-quality organic beauty treatments, an aqua medic pool, and a well-equipped gym.
It has several on-premise restaurants that offer Italian and Lebanese cuisine that you can enjoy while taking in the scenic views of the Red Sea.
Perfect Mid-Range Hotel in Jeddah: Emerald Hotel
If you’re looking for a hotel that offers comfortable rooms, amazing service, and has all the features for a divine stay, but is reasonably priced, book a room at the Emerald Hotel.
It is a 4-star hotel that offers intricately decorated rooms with comfortable beds equipped with air conditioning, a mini bar, a fridge, a work desk, a flat-screen TV, and a private bathroom. Some upscale rooms even offer breathtaking views of the city skyline.
The guests can enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast every morning, while an on-site restaurant and coffee shop has a kids’ menu and provides meals for special diets on request.
Other amenities include an outdoor swimming pool complete with beach chairs, loungers, and towels. The best part is that the guests can access the pool free of cost. The hotel also has a well-equipped fitness centre for guests.
Therefore, Emerald Hotel is the perfect kid-friendly mid-range hotel in Jeddah if you’re travelling with kids.
Great Budget Choice in Jeddah: Taj Al Worood Hotel
If you’re in Jeddah for a short trip and looking for a budget-friendly hotel, we recommend the Taj Al Worood Hotel.
The 3-star hotel offers Executive suites which can sleep a family of 4, as well as King and Deluxe rooms.
The hotel has an on-site restaurant offering complimentary breakfast each morning, as well as in-room coffee maker and refrigerator. All rooms are air-conditioned, and many also offer city views. Specialised baby equipment, such as high chairs and baby safety gates, can also be ordered.
It’s a great pick for those looking at family-sized rooms around the $100 USD a night mark.
You can check out further Jeddah accommodation options here:
Ready to Visit Jeddah?
Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, and as it is located on the coast of the Red Sea, it is a popular tourist attraction and stopover for the pilgrims of Mecca.
While it did not have many places in the beginning, in recent years, the city has developed at a fantastic pace, and now there are several places to visit in Jeddah with family. From amusement parks to mosques with beautiful architecture, historical sites, museums, beaches, and restaurants, you will find lots of things to do in Jeddah.
So, plan a short trip to Jeddah and enjoy the culture-rich city and its attractions for a vacation different from the regular one.
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