In partnership with the
Saudi Tourism Authority
Pristine nature and novel adventures
The Arabian Gulf has popular long-distance hiking trails, there are sweeping beaches that beg visitors to linger, and five UNESCO World Heritage Sites offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Saudi Arabia is also great for watersports. You can swim year-round on the Red Sea coast, and dive sites are always full of life. Boiler Wreck is famous for its sunken ship, which is covered with swaying corals and exotic fish. If you'd rather stay on land, you can also spot plenty of marine mammals, like bottlenose dolphins and dugong, playing in the water.
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2020 / VisitSaudi
Fancy sliding down sandy dunes on a snowboard, riding a camel through vast red deserts, or picnicking in a real oasis? These are just a sample of the unique activities you can find in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
the treasures of an ancient desert kingdom
beyond "1001 nights"
exotic flavours and delicacies
Shops, souks, and souvenirs
In autumn, 2019, Saudi Arabia opened its doors to international tourists — a new era for an extraordinary and complex country.
The kingdom is the historic heart of Islam, and is committed to preserving its deeply religious culture, but is also full of surprising beauty that its government and people are keen to share.
Intrepid tourists will discover diverse, beautiful landscapes, ancient customs that have shaped the land for thousands of years, and an impressive five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous is Mecca, the holiest city in the Islamic world, while hidden gems include Mada-in Saleh, a maze-like desert city often compared to Jordan's Petra; the Hail Region, which has stirring rock art from the world's oldest civilisations; and Al-Hasa Oasis, which is the world's largest palm oasis, with over a million palm trees and the tastiest dates.
Jeddah, on the country’s Red Sea coast, encapsulates how the past can live alongside the future. The city is the principal gateway for religious pilgrimages to Mecca, an important port on the ancient spice trading route, and the final resting place of the Biblical Eve.
But there are also plenty of bustling modern souks and chic quayside restaurants, plus the highest water fountain in the world, and open-air sculptures by modern artists like Henry Moore and Joan Miró. The city boasts some of the world's finest seafood, too, and you can savour the catch of the day al fresco, with sunset views.
Saudi Arabia is living history. A morning stroll around the kingdom's historic markets, mosques, and ports can feel like taking a trip back in time — you'll encounter traditions, scents, and flavours that have defined the kingdom for thousands of years.
Beyond "1001 Nights": the real Arabia
Super modern, high-end shopping boutiques are surrounded by open-air souks selling carpets, oils, spices, and vintage goods. Gold is a Saudi speciality — you'll find spectacular creations made of gold and diamonds in the traditional markets, which look especially beautiful in the evening, when the crowds start to thin out.
Roses are also very important to the Saudi economy. Taif, the City of Roses, is famous for 30-petal wonders that have an intense fragrance rarely found in Western varieties. You can visit the city's antique weighing scales, look inside the huge copper pots that distil the scents, and see factory floors covered with carpets of fragrant petals. Pick up high-quality souvenirs including rose oil and rose water, then treat yourself to a rose tea in the surrounding gardens, which are carpeted by pink and red blooms.
Saudi is a major shopping destination. International designers such as Alexander McQueen, Burberry, and Cartier have impressive flagship stores in the capital, Riyadh.
Shops, souks, and souvenirs
There are five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Saudi. You'll find a desert city carved from rock, just like Petra in Jordan, as well as fascinating petroglyphs from some of the world's oldest civilisations.
Find out what else there is to discover about Saudi Arabia by taking our quiz:
Saudi Arabia is a conservative country, but its laws are constantly evolving. Tourists do not need to be married to share a hotel room, all genders can rent and drive cars, and women do not need to wear a headscarf.
Exotic flavours and delicacies
Coffee is also hugely important in Saudi culture. Coffee made from arabica beans is called qahwa, and it is prepared a little differently in every region of the country. Dessert coffee is a special treat, and is often enjoyed late into the night with pistacchios, saffron, or dates.
Packed with fresh spices and hyper-local ingredients, modern Saudi cuisine blends seamlessly with the culinary traditions of nomadic life.
Dates have been grown in the region for over 9000 years. In the past they were mainly used locally — as a traditional food for pilgrims on their way to Mecca — but today, Saudi is one of the largest producers of dates for the global market. Some varities of date palms can live for 100 years, and grow well over 100 feet.
Arabic, European, Japanese: Saudi Arabia is a first-class destination for lovers of haute cuisine. In 2021, star chef Nobu Matsuhisa will open a restaurant in Riyadh.
Thanks to apps like Uber, it is no longer necessary to negotiate with taxi drivers and other service providers. If you are looking to haggle for a bargain, visit a traditional market, where you might make the deal of a lifetime.
Saudi Arabia can transform into a winter wonderland in the colder months. It snows heavily in the mountainous regions of the north — watching camels trudge through the snow is one of many unique Saudi moments.
Auch über die hochmoderne Centria Mall legt die untrennbare Verbindung zwischen Vergangenheit und Gegenwart ihren ganz besonderen Zauber. Denn gleich nebenan besuchen Sie im Taibah Souq einen Markt für traditionelle arabische Waren von Kleidung bis Kosmetik, vor allem aber für Gold. Hier werden spektakuläre Kreationen aus Gold und Diamanten feilgeboten. Besuchen Sie den Markt am besten am Abend, wenn das Treiben besonders bunt ist.
Ein wichtiger Wirtschaftsfaktor Saudis ist die Rose. In der Stadt Taif erleben Sie ihre Faszination hautnah. Beliebte Mitbringsel sind Rosenöl und Rosenwasser, die Sie auf einer Besichtigung der Produktionsanlagen oder auf dem zentralen Markt der Stadt erwerben. Anschließend gönnen Sie sich einen aromatischen Rosentee im Rosengarten, knietief in den prächtigen rosa-roten Blumen.