Beat the Heat: Must-Visit Summer Destinations in Saudi Arabia

Must-Visit Summer Destinations in Saudi Arabia

Summer in Saudi Arabia is a season of transformation. The kingdom's vast landscapes—from the shimmering sands of its deserts to the lush, green heights of its mountain ranges—offer a range of spectacular escapes from the heat. Whether you're a history buff, adventure seeker, or someone looking to relax, Saudi Arabia has something to offer. Ready to explore? Here’s your ultimate guide to summer in this dynamic country.

Jeddah: Gateway to the Red Sea

Jeddah: Gateway to the Red Sea

Saudi Arabia's commercial centre, Jeddah, serves as both a summertime tourist destination and a point of entry for pilgrims travelling to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The city's coastline is lined with resorts and beaches that are perfect for escaping the summer heat. Imagine scuba diving in the refreshingly clear Red Sea, where vibrant coral reefs beckon the adventurous.

Taif: The City of Roses

Taif: The City of Roses

In the mountains near Mecca, Taif is known as the "City of Roses" for its lush rose gardens that bloom spectacularly each spring and summer. The mild climate makes Taif a perfect summer retreat where one can wander through rose gardens or explore the local bazaars scented with the fresh aroma of roses. It's like stepping into a floral wonderland!

Abha: A Heaven in the Clouds

Abha: A Heaven in the Clouds

Abha sits over 2,200 meters above sea level in the Asir Province and offers a respite from the scorching desert heat. The region is famed for its dense juniper forests and terraced farms, making it a great spot for trekking and enjoying panoramic views over the mountains. The cool climate feels as if summer has taken a refreshing breath of air.

Al Ula: Echoes of Ancient Civilizations

Al Ula: Echoes of Ancient Civilizations

Al Ula, an archaeological treasure, is home to the ancient Nabatean city of Hegra, Saudi Arabia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploring these well-preserved ruins and stunning desert landscapes in the milder summer weather is like walking through pages of history.

Riyadh: A Modern Oasis

Riyadh: A Modern Oasis

The capital city, Riyadh, offers a blend of modernity and tradition. Visit the National Museum, stroll through the King Abdulaziz Historical Center, or explore the vibrant food scene. Summer nights are ideal for dining with the stars or catching a glimpse of the city's illuminated skyline.

The Edge of the World

An apt metaphor for the breathtaking views over the Tuwaiq cliffs, the Edge of the World offers a dramatic panorama that stretches the horizon. It’s a popular spot for hiking and overnight camping, providing a stark but beautiful contrast to bustling city life.

Dammam: Coastal Delights

In the Eastern Province, Dammam features beautiful coastal views and is a starting point for trips into the Arabian Gulf. Its Corniche is lively, and families gather to enjoy the waterfront and cooler sea breezes.

Al Khobar: Family Fun by the Sea

Al Khobar: Family Fun by the Sea

Al Khobar features beautiful beaches and a variety of water sports, making it ideal for family vacations. The city’s corniche is delightful for evening walks, and the nearby amusement parks offer fun for kids and adults alike.

Najran: A Journey Back in Time

Najran: A Journey Back in Time

Discover Najran, where ancient ruins meet modern city life. This region offers a rich history to explore, from ancient forts to unique mud-brick architecture, all nestled in a lush agricultural valley that thrives in the summer.

The Rub' al Khali: The Empty Quarter

The Rub' al Khali: The Empty Quarter

For the intrepid explorer, The Rub' al Khali or 'Empty Quarter' offers one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. This vast desert, one of the largest sand deserts in the world, transforms into a surprisingly calm and mystical landscape at night.

Explore more!

Whether navigating social customs, exploring the gastronomic landscape, or seeking thrilling adventures, this guide will help you delve deeper into what makes Saudi Arabia a unique and captivating destination. Ready to explore more? Let’s dive into the details!

Cultural Etiquette and Customs

  • Dress and Conduct: When going out in public, dress modestly. For women, this means covering your knees and shoulders.Men should refrain from donning sleeveless shirts and shorts in conservative areas.
  • Interactions: Use polite greetings such as "As-salaam alaykum" (Peace be upon you). Be mindful of gestures like shaking hands, which may not always be appropriate for the opposite sex.

Local Cuisine Highlights

  • Must-Try Dishes: Indulge in Kabsa, a fragrant rice and meat dish, and Mandi, known for its unique preparation method.
  • Where to Eat: Explore street food in Jeddah for authentic flavours, or visit high-end restaurants in Riyadh for a luxury dining experience.

Festivals and Events

  • Taif Rose Festival: Experience the blooming rose gardens and cultural shows typically held from March to April.
  • Jeddah Summer Festival: Enjoy concerts, sales, and traditional dances during this lively summer event.

Tips for Beating the Heat

  • Stay Cool: Plan outdoor activities for the early hours of the day or the late hours of the night to
  • Hydration: Drink plenty of water and traditional juices like Qamar al-Din to stay hydrated.

Adventure and Sports Activities

  • Scuba Diving: Dive into the Red Sea to explore vibrant coral reefs and marine life.
  • Sandboarding and Rock Climbing: Visit the Rub' al Khali for sandboarding or Al Ula for rock climbing adventures.

Essential Travel Information

  • Visa and Health: Check visa requirements and recommended vaccinations well in advance of your trip.
  • Local Transportation: Familiarize yourself with local transportation options such as taxis, buses, and, in some cities, metro systems.

Photography Tips

  • Best Times for Photos: Capture early morning or late afternoon shots for the best light and shadows, especially in desert regions.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Always ask for permission before photographing local people or religious sites.

Conclusion

Saudi Arabia's summer destinations offer a compelling blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and cultural richness. Every place has its own distinctive experiences that promise to enrich your travels. From the tranquil beaches of Jeddah to the historical echoes of Al Ula, the kingdom is ready to unveil its treasures to you this summer.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia in the summer?

The best time is from late May to the beginning of September, when the temperatures tend to be lower, especially in the highland areas.

Are there family-friendly activities in these summer destinations?

Yes, destinations like Jeddah, Al Khobar, and Riyadh offer plenty of family-friendly activities, including beaches, parks, and cultural sites.

What should I pack for a summer trip to Saudi Arabia?

Lightweight, breathable clothing, a good pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat are essential. Also, modest clothing should be considered to respect local customs.

Is travelling to Saudi Arabia safe during summer?

Yes, Saudi Arabia is safe for tourists, and visiting during summer offers the chance to see its destinations without the usual crowds.

Can I find budget-friendly accommodations in these areas?

Absolutely, there are options ranging from luxury resorts to budget hotels, ensuring that every traveller finds something to suit their needs.