Exploring Al Madinah Al Munawwarah: A Comprehensive Travel Guide to the Second Holiest City of Islam

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, commonly known as Medina, is a significant religious and historical city located in the western region of Saudi Arabia. It holds great importance for Muslims worldwide as the second holiest city after Mecca. This travel guide provides essential information and tips for visitors planning to explore the captivating city of Al Madinah Al Munawwarah. Foreign travelers visiting Saudi Arabia, including Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, need a visa to enter the country. Saudi Arabia has introduced an online electronic visa system called the "Saudi Arabia eVisa" for tourists from eligible countries. 

Exploring-Al Madinah Al Munawwarah

History and Significance:

  • Historical Significance: Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is renowned as the city where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) migrated from Mecca in 622 CE, establishing the first Islamic state.
  • Significance for Muslims: It is home to the Masjid al-Nabawi (Prophet's Mosque), which houses the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) tomb. Muslims consider it a blessed place and strive to visit it at least once in their lifetime.

Getting There:

  • By Air: Al Madinah Al Munawwarah has an international airport, Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Airport, with connections to major cities around the world. The airport is well-served by domestic and international airlines.
  • By Land: The city is well-connected by road networks, and buses operate from various cities in Saudi Arabia. Private cars or taxis are also popular options for traveling to Medina.

Places to Visit:

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, also known as Medina, is a city of immense religious and historical significance for Muslims around the world. As the second holiest city in Islam after Mecca, it attracts millions of pilgrims every year. Besides its religious significance, Al Madinah Al Munawwarah offers a wealth of attractions and landmarks that showcase its rich history and culture. Here are the top ten places to visit in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah:

1. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (The Prophet's Mosque):

Al-Masjid an-Nabawi is the most important and iconic landmark in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah. It is the final resting place of Prophet Muhammad and holds great spiritual significance for Muslims. The mosque's serene atmosphere and stunning architecture, including the famous Green Dome, make it a must-visit destination for all visitors.

2. Quba Mosque:

Quba Mosque holds the distinction of being the first mosque ever built by Prophet Muhammad upon his arrival in Al Madinah. It is located on the outskirts of the city and is revered for its historical and religious significance. Muslims often visit the Quba Mosque to pray and seek blessings.

Quba Mosque

3. Mount Uhud:

Mount Uhud is a significant historical site where the Battle of Uhud took place during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Visitors can explore the mountain's rugged terrain, visit the graves of the martyrs, and learn about the historical events that unfolded here.

4. Qiblatain Mosque:

Qiblatain Mosque is renowned for its unique feature of having two mihrabs (prayer niches). According to historical accounts, the direction of prayer (qibla) was changed from Jerusalem to Mecca while the Prophet Muhammad was leading prayers at this mosque. It is a fascinating site to visit and learn about this significant event.

5. Dates Market:

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is famous for its delicious dates, which are an integral part of the city's culture. The Dates Market offers a wide variety of dates, including Ajwa, Sukkary, and Safawi. Visitors can explore the market, sample different types of dates, and purchase them as souvenirs or gifts.

6. Al-Baqi Cemetery:

Al-Baqi Cemetery is an ancient graveyard that contains the graves of numerous companions of the Prophet Muhammad and other prominent figures from Islamic history. It holds immense religious significance for Muslims, who often visit to pay their respects and offer prayers for the deceased.

7. Qasr al-Haramain Museum:

Qasr al-Haramain Museum provides a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of Al Madinah Al Munawwarah. The museum showcases artifacts, manuscripts, and displays that highlight the city's role in the development of Islam. Visitors can learn about the Prophet's life, the early Islamic era, and the city's historical importance.

8. Al-Madina Museum:

Al-Madina Museum is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of artifacts and historical items related to the city of Al Madinah Al Munawwarah. It offers a comprehensive overview of the city's rich heritage, including archaeological finds, manuscripts, and religious artifacts.

Al Madina Museum

9. Jabal Uhud Park:

Jabal Uhud Park is a recreational area that surrounds Mount Uhud. It provides a serene environment for visitors to relax, enjoy picnics, and take in the natural beauty of the surroundings. The park also features playgrounds, walking trails, and facilities for sports activities.

10. Shopping in Old Bazaar:

Exploring the Old Bazaar in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is a delightful experience. This bustling marketplace offers a wide array of traditional goods, including handicrafts, perfumes, textiles, and souvenirs. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere, haggle for bargains, and experience the local culture.

Etiquette and Tips:

  • Dress Code: It is important to respect the local culture and Islamic traditions. Visitors, both men and women, should dress modestly, with women covering their heads inside the mosques. Men should wear long pants and avoid sleeveless shirts.
  • Photography: While photography is generally allowed in public areas, it is strictly prohibited inside the Prophet's Mosque and other holy sites. Respect the rules and guidelines. Always seek permission before taking photos of individuals.
  • Opening Hours: The Prophet's Mosque is open 24 hours a day for prayer, but certain sections may have restricted access during specific prayer times. Plan your visit accordingly. It is advisable to check the prayer timings to ensure you can experience the mosque's tranquility.
  • Ramadan: If visiting during the holy month of Ramadan, be aware of the fasting schedule and the increased number of worshippers. The city may be more crowded, but it offers a unique experience of Islamic traditions during this time. Respect the fasting customs and adhere to the local customs.
  • Language: Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia. While many people in the tourism sector can communicate in English, it is helpful to learn a few basic Arabic phrases to facilitate interactions and show respect for the local culture.

Accommodation and Facilities:

As a result, the city provides a wide range of accommodation options and facilities to cater to the needs of its visitors. Here is an overview of the accommodation and facilities available in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.

1. Hotels:

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is home to numerous hotels that offer a variety of services and amenities. These hotels range from luxurious five-star establishments to more affordable options. Many hotels are conveniently located near the Prophet's Mosque, making it easier for visitors to access the sacred site. Some of the top hotels in the city include the Anwar Al Madinah Mövenpick Hotel, the Crowne Plaza Madinah, and the Oberoi Madina.

2. Guesthouses:

In addition to hotels, there are also guesthouses available in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah. These guesthouses provide a more budget-friendly accommodation option for pilgrims and visitors. They are typically located in close proximity to the Prophet's Mosque, allowing easy access to the religious sites. Guesthouses often provide basic amenities and a comfortable stay for those on a tighter budget.

3. Services and Amenities:

Accommodation options in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah offer a range of services and amenities to ensure a pleasant stay for visitors. Most hotels provide comfortable and well-equipped rooms with facilities such as air conditioning, Wi-Fi, and television. Many hotels also offer 24-hour room service, laundry services, and concierge assistance. Some hotels even provide shuttle services to and from the Prophet's Mosque.

4. Proximity to the Prophet's Mosque:

One of the main advantages of staying in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is the proximity to the Prophet's Mosque. Many hotels are within walking distance of the mosque, allowing pilgrims and visitors to easily access the holy site for prayers and rituals. The convenience of being close to the mosque is a significant factor for many visitors, as it enhances their spiritual experience during their stay in the city.

5. Facilities for Worshipers:

Hotels and accommodations in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah often provide facilities to cater specifically to worshipers. Many hotels have prayer rooms or designated areas where visitors can perform their daily prayers. Some hotels even offer direct views of the Prophet's Mosque from their rooms, allowing guests to witness the serene atmosphere and engage in prayer without leaving their accommodation.

6. Dining Options:

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah boasts a wide array of dining options to cater to the diverse culinary preferences of its visitors. Most hotels have in-house restaurants that serve a variety of international and local cuisine. Additionally, the city is dotted with numerous restaurants and cafes that offer traditional Arabian dishes, as well as international favorites. Visitors can enjoy a range of dining experiences, from fine dining establishments to street food stalls offering local delicacies.

Local Cuisine:

  • Al Madinah Al Munawwarah boasts a diverse culinary scene. Visitors can savor traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine, such as Mandi (a spiced rice and meat dish), Kabsa (a fragrant rice and meat dish), and various Arabic sweets. Popular local restaurants offer a wide range of international cuisines as well.
  • Don't miss the opportunity to try local dates, which are known for their exceptional quality. Dates hold cultural and religious significance in Saudi Arabia, and they make for a delightful and healthy snack.

Best Time to Visit Al Madinah Al Munawwarah

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, also known as Medina, is a sacred city in Saudi Arabia and holds great significance for Muslims worldwide. It is the second holiest city in Islam after Makkah and is famous for being the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). When planning a visit to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah, it is important to consider the best time to make the journey. Here are some factors to consider when determining the ideal time to visit this holy city:

1. Weather Conditions

One crucial aspect to consider when planning a trip to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is the weather. The city experiences a desert climate characterized by extremely high temperatures during the summer months and mild winters. It is recommended to avoid visiting during the peak summer season (June to August) when temperatures can soar above 40°C (104°F). The best time to visit in terms of weather is during the cooler months, from November to March, when the temperatures are relatively mild and more comfortable for outdoor activities and exploration.

2. Crowds and Pilgrimage Seasons

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year, but certain periods witness a significant influx of pilgrims. It is important to consider these pilgrimage seasons to better plan your visit and avoid large crowds. The two main pilgrimage seasons in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah are:


The holy month of Ramadan holds special significance for Muslims, and many pilgrims choose to visit Al Madinah Al Munawwarah during this time. The city is particularly crowded in the last ten days of Ramadan when worshippers gather to seek spiritual blessings. While experiencing the Ramadan atmosphere in Medina can be an enriching experience, it is advisable to plan well in advance and make necessary arrangements due to increased demand.

Hajj and Umrah

Hajj and Umrah are two major Islamic pilgrimages that attract millions of Muslims from around the world. While Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is not a mandatory stop during Hajj, many pilgrims choose to visit the city either before or after performing Hajj in Makkah. Consequently, the city can be crowded during the Hajj season, which occurs in the Islamic month of Dhul-Hijjah (based on the lunar calendar). Umrah, a lesser pilgrimage, can be performed throughout the year, resulting in a steady stream of visitors to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.

Hajj and Umrah

To avoid large crowds, it is advisable to plan your visit during the off-peak seasons, such as after Ramadan or during the months when Hajj and Umrah are not taking place.

3. Islamic Festivals and Special Occasions

Al Madinah Al Munawwarah witnesses various Islamic festivals and special occasions that can enhance your visit and provide a unique cultural experience. One of the most notable celebrations is the Prophet Muhammad's birthday (Mawlid al-Nabi), which is marked by processions, religious gatherings, and illuminations. This event usually falls in the month of Rabi' al-Awwal (based on the lunar calendar). If you are interested in witnessing such celebrations, it is recommended to plan your visit during this time.

4. Personal Preferences

Ultimately, the best time to visit Al Madinah Al Munawwarah depends on your personal preferences and interests. Consider what you hope to experience during your trip, whether it is a serene and quiet visit or an opportunity to witness vibrant celebrations and spiritual gatherings. Additionally, take into account any specific travel requirements or constraints you may have, such as work or family obligations.

In conclusion, the ideal time to visit Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is during the cooler months from November to March, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities. However, it is important to consider factors such as weather, crowds during pilgrimage seasons, Islamic festivals, and your personal preferences when planning your visit to this sacred city. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure a fulfilling and memorable experience in Al Madinah Al Munawwarah.

Safety and Cultural Considerations:

  • Saudi Arabia follows strict Islamic laws and customs. It is important to familiarize yourself with the local customs and adhere to them throughout your visit. Respect the local culture, dress modestly, and avoid public displays of affection.
  • Follow all safety guidelines provided by authorities and be mindful of your belongings. Like any other tourist destination, it is advisable to take precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


A visit to Al Madinah Al Munawwarah is a remarkable experience for Muslims and those interested in Islamic history. Exploring the city's significant sites, soaking in its spiritual atmosphere, and immersing oneself in the rich culture and traditions make it a journey of a lifetime. By following the etiquette and guidelines, visitors can make the most of their time in this holy city, creating lasting memories and deepening their understanding of Islam.