Jeddah Travel Guide Discover the Best of Saudi Arabia Hidden Gem

Jeddah, the largest city in Makkah Province and the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia, is a bustling metropolis on the coast of the Red Sea. Known as the "Bride of the Red Sea," it's home to over 3.5 million people and serves as a critical gateway for Muslims worldwide traveling to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Jeddah has a rich history dating back to the 7th century and has evolved into a modern city filled with stunning architecture, cultural landmarks, and vibrant markets. However, Saudi Arabia has introduced the eVisa for Saudi Arabia, which allows eligible travelers to obtain a visa electronically without visiting a Saudi embassy or consulate.

Jeddah Travel Guide Discover the Best of Saudi Arabia

A Brief History

Jeddah's historical significance flourished in 647 AD when the esteemed Caliph Uthman designated it as a crucial transit point catering to Muslim voyagers embarking on the Islamic pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca. Ever since this momentous decision, Jeddah has played a pivotal role as the primary entryway for countless pilgrims journeying to Saudi Arabia, traditionally arriving by sea and, in more recent times, by air.

The City Today

Jeddah, a vibrant city that experienced a remarkable metamorphosis throughout the 20th century, stands as a bustling metropolis today. Its rapid modernization did not compromise its historical essence, evident in the preservation of its old town, Al-Balad, which garnered recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014.

As of 2021, Jeddah boasts a population of approximately 4,697,000 inhabitants, solidifying its position as the largest city in Makkah Province, the premier city in Hejaz, and the second-largest urban center in Saudi Arabia, surpassed only by the capital, Riyadh. The city's thriving hub, the Jeddah Islamic Port, stands as the thirty-sixth largest seaport worldwide and holds the distinguished title of the second-largest and second-busiest seaport in the Middle East​​ region.

Geography and Climate

Jeddah is situated on the coast of the Red Sea, making it a crucial seaport for Saudi Arabia. The city experiences a hot desert climate, with temperature often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius during the summer. However, the city's coastal location provides a much-needed breeze that helps to moderate the heat.


i. Historic Architecture

The historic district of Al-Balad is a true testament to Jeddah's rich architectural heritage. Here, you can find traditional Hijazi buildings featuring Roshan, a distinct type of window crafted from intricate wooden latticework.

ii. Modern Architecture

Modern Jeddah is home to some of the world's most stunning contemporary architecture. The Jeddah Tower, upon its completion, will be the tallest building in the world. The city's Corniche is also dotted with sculptures from international artists, adding a unique artistic flair to the cityscape.

Culture of Jeddah

Culture of Jeddah

A. People and Society

Jeddah is a melting pot of cultures due to its role as a trading hub and gateway for Hajj pilgrims. It's known for being more liberal and diverse compared to other parts of Saudi Arabia.

B. Arts and Events

Jeddah is a city of festivals. Events like the Jeddah Season festival and the Jeddah International Book Fair attract visitors from around the world. The city is also home to numerous museums and art galleries, showcasing both traditional and contemporary art.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Jeddah is between November and April. During this period, the weather is relatively mild with temperatures ranging from 18°C (64°F) up to 25°C (77°F). The winter months tend to be the most popular among tourists due to pleasant temperatures and a wide range of activities available in the city​.

Where to Stay

The Corniche District is the best area to stay in Jeddah. This neighborhood offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxurious 5-star hotels to budget-friendly guesthouses. It also features some of the city’s best shopping and dining, as well as an array of attractions​.


i. Historic Sites

For history enthusiasts, a visit to the historic Al-Balad district is a must. Here, one can explore the beautifully restored Naseef House, the former residence of one of Jeddah's most influential trading families.

ii. Modern Attractions

Modern attractions in Jeddah include the mesmerizing King Fahd Fountain, the tallest of its kind in the world, and the Jeddah Corniche, where one can enjoy a relaxing walk along the Red Sea. For those looking for a bit of adventure, the city also boasts several amusement parks, including Al Shallal Theme Park and Fakieh Aquarium.

Must-See Attractions

1. Al Shallal Theme Park: 

Al Shallal Theme Park is a renowned amusement park located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Spanning over a vast area, the park offers a plethora of thrilling rides and attractions suitable for all ages. Visitors can enjoy exhilarating roller coasters, water slides, a ferris wheel, bumper cars, and much more. With its vibrant atmosphere, delightful food options, and entertaining shows, Al Shallal Theme Park guarantees a memorable experience for families and thrill-seekers alike.

2. The Corniche District

The Corniche District in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a vibrant waterfront area that stretches along the Red Sea coast. This picturesque district is known for its beautiful promenade lined with palm trees, pristine beaches, and stunning views of the sea. It offers a variety of recreational activities, including jogging, cycling, and picnicking. The Corniche District also features numerous cafes, restaurants, and entertainment options, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

3. Floating Mosque:

Floating Mosque

The Floating Mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is a captivating architectural marvel that sits on the Red Sea. It is renowned for its unique design, featuring a striking combination of traditional Islamic elements and modern aesthetics. With its picturesque location, the mosque appears to float above the water during high tide, creating a mesmerizing sight for visitors and worshippers alike. The serene atmosphere and panoramic views make it a popular destination for locals and tourists seeking spiritual solace and breathtaking vistas.

4. The King Fahd Fountain:

The King Fahd Fountain, also known as the Jeddah Fountain, is a remarkable landmark located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the tallest and most impressive water fountains in the world, reaching a height of approximately 312 meters (1,024 feet). The fountain was inaugurated in 1985 and uses seawater to create a stunning display, shooting water into the air at a speed of 375 kilometers per hour (233 miles per hour). Its mesmerizing spectacle is illuminated by 500 spotlights, adding to its enchanting beauty.

5. Al Balad Historic District:

Al Balad Historic District is a captivating neighborhood located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Renowned for its rich cultural heritage, it showcases traditional architecture, narrow alleys, and ancient coral stone buildings. The district's bustling souks offer a vibrant atmosphere filled with aromatic spices, textiles, and local crafts. Al Balad is a testament to Jeddah's past and serves as a cultural hub where visitors can immerse themselves in the city's history and vibrant Arabian charm.

6. Makkah Gate:

Makkah Gate

The Makkah Gate, also known as the Bab Makkah, is a grand entrance located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It serves as a significant landmark and the main gateway to the holy city of Makkah. This majestic structure features intricate Islamic architectural elements, including ornate calligraphy and geometric patterns. The gate provides a visually striking welcome to pilgrims and visitors traveling to Makkah for religious purposes.

7. Al Tayebat International City:

Al Tayebat International City is a cultural and educational complex located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Spread across an area of 23,000 square meters, it houses a museum, library, research center, and exhibition halls. The complex showcases the rich Islamic heritage and history through its diverse collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and interactive displays. It serves as a prominent hub for knowledge, research, and cultural exchange, attracting visitors from around the world.

8. The King Abdullah Sports City​​:

King Abdullah Sports City is a prominent multi-purpose sports complex located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Spread over an expansive area, it features a state-of-the-art stadium with a seating capacity of over 62,000 spectators. The facility also includes an indoor arena, athletics track, tennis courts, and training facilities. It has hosted various international sporting events, including football matches, concerts, and other entertainment shows, making it a significant hub for sports and entertainment in the region.

Food and Cuisine

i. Traditional Cuisine

Jeddah's diverse culture is perhaps most evident in its cuisine. Traditional dishes include Kabsa (a fragrant rice dish with meat), Mutabbaq (a stuffed pancake), and Samboosa (a savory pastry filled with meat or vegetables). Jeddah's coastal location also means seafood plays a significant role in local cuisine, with dishes like Sayadiyah (rice and fish dish) being very popular.

ii. Modern and International Cuisine

Given its status as a global city, Jeddah is home to a range of international restaurants. Whether you crave Italian pasta, American burgers, or Japanese sushi, Jeddah's culinary scene has something for everyone.

Where to Eat

1. Al Safi Restaurant:

Al Safi Restaurant is a renowned culinary establishment located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Known for its exquisite Middle Eastern cuisine, the restaurant offers a diverse menu of traditional Saudi dishes, expertly prepared with high-quality ingredients. With its inviting ambiance and attentive service, Al Safi Restaurant provides a memorable dining experience for locals and tourists alike, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of the region.

2. Al Dabouq Kitchen:

Al Dabouq Kitchen is a popular restaurant located in Jeddah. Known for its delectable cuisine and cozy ambiance, it offers a diverse menu of Middle Eastern and international dishes. From traditional Saudi Arabian delicacies to international favorites, Al Dabouq Kitchen caters to a wide range of palates. With its excellent service and warm hospitality, it has become a go-to dining destination for locals and tourists alike.

3. 7 Tea Lounge:

7 Tea Lounge in Jeddah is a charming and cozy establishment that offers a delightful tea experience. With its stylish and inviting ambiance, it provides a perfect setting for tea enthusiasts and those seeking a tranquil escape. The lounge offers an extensive selection of premium teas from around the world, complemented by a delectable array of pastries and light bites. Whether you're a tea connoisseur or simply looking for a relaxing atmosphere, 7 Tea Lounge is a must-visit destination in Jeddah.

4. Fume Restaurant & Cafe:

Fume Restaurant & Cafe in Jeddah is a culinary gem offering a delightful dining experience. With its contemporary ambiance and warm hospitality, Fume serves a diverse menu that combines international flavors with local ingredients. From succulent steaks and gourmet burgers to tantalizing pastas and indulgent desserts, Fume caters to all palates. Whether you're seeking a relaxed brunch or an elegant dinner, Fume is a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts in Jeddah.

5. The House Of Pastries:

The House of Pastries in Jeddah is a renowned bakery known for its delectable range of pastries and baked goods. Located in the heart of the city, it offers a wide variety of freshly baked treats, including cakes, cookies, croissants, and muffins. With their emphasis on quality ingredients and skilled craftsmanship, The House of Pastries has become a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike seeking indulgent and mouthwatering delights.

6. Birdie’s Burger & Grill:

Birdie's Burger & Grill is a popular eatery located in Jeddah. This vibrant restaurant offers a delectable range of burgers and grilled specialties. With a diverse menu featuring mouthwatering creations, Birdie's satisfies all taste buds. From classic cheeseburgers to unique gourmet options, every dish is prepared using high-quality ingredients. The cozy ambiance and friendly staff make it an ideal spot for a satisfying dining experience in Jeddah.

7. Al Karamah Restaurant:

Al Karamah Restaurant, located in Jeddah, is a popular dining destination known for its exquisite Middle Eastern cuisine. The restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it perfect for both casual dining and special occasions. With a diverse menu featuring traditional dishes like hummus, falafel, kebabs, and mouthwatering desserts, Al Karamah Restaurant ensures a memorable dining experience for food enthusiasts seeking authentic flavors of the region.

8. Hozami Restaurant & Coffee Shop​​:

Hozami Restaurant & Coffee Shop​​ is a popular dining destination located in Jeddah. Known for its inviting ambiance and delectable cuisine, Hozami offers a diverse menu that caters to a range of palates. From traditional Saudi Arabian dishes to international flavors, guests can indulge in a delightful culinary experience. The establishment also boasts a charming coffee shop, serving a variety of hot and cold beverages, making it an ideal spot for both dining and casual gatherings.


i. Public Transportation

Jeddah is served by a network of buses and taxis. The city is also planning a metro system, which will significantly improve public transportation upon completion.

ii. Air Travel

Jeddah's King Abdulaziz International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Middle East, connecting the city with numerous international destinations.

Tips for Visiting

When visiting Jeddah, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the local customs and adhere to Islamic law. Here are some tips to make your visit enjoyable and respectful:

  • Dress modestly: Saudi Arabia follows a conservative dress code, especially for women. Wear loose-fitting and non-revealing clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and legs. Women are also required to cover their hair with a scarf or hijab.

  • Respect local customs: Show respect for the local culture and customs. Avoid public displays of affection, especially between unmarried couples. Be mindful of your behavior in public places and follow social norms.

  • Prayer times: Jeddah, like the rest of Saudi Arabia, has designated prayer times throughout the day. Plan your activities accordingly, as shops, businesses, and some attractions may close temporarily during prayer times. Check the local prayer schedules or ask the locals for guidance.

  • Be cautious with photography: Seek permission before taking photographs of people, especially women. Some areas, such as military installations and government buildings, are off-limits for photography. Respect any signage or instructions regarding photography restrictions.

  • Follow alcohol and drug laws: Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits the consumption and possession of alcohol and drugs. Be aware that these substances are illegal, and violating the law can have severe consequences.

  • Be mindful of Ramadan: If your visit coincides with Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, show sensitivity to those observing it. Public eating, drinking, and smoking during daylight hours are not allowed. Many restaurants and cafes may have restricted operating hours during this time.

  • Respect sacred sites: Jeddah is home to significant Islamic landmarks and mosques. When visiting these sites, dress modestly and follow any instructions or guidelines provided. Show reverence and avoid any behavior that may be considered disrespectful.


As Saudi Arabia's primary port, Jeddah plays a vital role in the country's economy. In addition to its maritime trade, the city is a hub for commerce and industry, with a particular focus on tourism given its proximity to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Unique Aspects

What sets Jeddah apart is its unique blend of old and new. The city manages to preserve its rich history and traditions while embracing modernity and development. Whether it's the call to prayer echoing from historic mosques or the glittering skyline dominated by contemporary skyscrapers, Jeddah offers a unique and unforgettable experience.


Jeddah is a city that beautifully blends tradition and modernity. With its rich history, vibrant culture, stunning attractions, and delicious food, it's a destination that captivates all who visit. Whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or someone seeking a unique travel experience, Jedd