Greetings, fellow explorers! As the dawn of a new year graces the world, Saudi Arabia unveils its captivating landscapes, rich history, and cultural allure. In this extensive guide, join me on a virtual odyssey through the Kingdom, as we explore 20 enchanting places to visit and suggest accommodations that promise both comfort and cultural immersion. From the vibrant cities to the serene desert oases, let’s unravel the Arabian charms that make Saudi Arabia a compelling destination to kickstart your year. So, fasten your seatbelts as we embark on this Arabian adventure!
Best Places to visit and stay at the beginning of the year in Saudi Arabia
As the dawn of a new year bathes the world in the glow of possibilities, Saudi Arabia stands as a land of enchantment waiting to be discovered. In this traveler’s guide, we’ll traverse the ancient landscapes, vibrant cities, and cultural gems that define the Kingdom. Join me as we uncover 20 captivating places to visit and suggest stays that promise a blend of comfort and cultural immersion. From the historical marvels of Al Ula to the contemporary allure of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia beckons with a tapestry of experiences to kickstart your year in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.
1. Historical Marvel: Al Ula
Commence your Saudi Arabian journey with a visit to Al Ula, a treasure trove of historical marvels. Explore the ancient rock formations of Madain Saleh, reminiscent of Petra, and witness the stunning beauty of the archaeological sites that date back to the Nabataean civilization.
2. Urban Oasis: Riyadh
Experience the dynamic fusion of modernity and tradition in the capital city, Riyadh. Visit the iconic Kingdom Centre Tower for panoramic views, explore the historic Masmak Fortress, and indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of Souq Al Zal.
3. Red Sea Bliss: Jeddah Corniche
Head to the picturesque Jeddah Corniche along the Red Sea for a relaxing seaside retreat. Stroll along the waterfront, enjoy the stunning views of the Red Sea, and explore the bustling markets and cafes that line this vibrant coastal area.
4. Ancient City Vibes: Diriyah, Riyadh
Immerse yourself in the rich history of Diriyah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Riyadh. Wander through the narrow lanes of At-Turaif, the historic core of Diriyah, and discover the palaces, mosques, and traditional mud-brick architecture that narrate the tales of Saudi Arabia’s past.
5. Desert Oasis: Al Hofuf
Venture into the Eastern Province to explore Al Hofuf, where the stunning Al Qara Mountain and its picturesque oasis await. Visit the Ibrahim Palace, stroll through the palm groves, and experience the charm of this desert oasis.
6. Seaside Heritage: Al Balad, Jeddah
Explore the historic district of Al Balad in Jeddah, where traditional coral houses and vibrant street art create a unique atmosphere. Dive into the heart of Saudi Arabian heritage, visit Al Masmak Fortress, and wander through the bustling Souq Al Alawi.
7. Spiritual Journey: Mecca
Embark on a spiritual journey to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam. Visit the Grand Mosque, home to the Kaaba, and partake in the rituals of Umrah. The spiritual significance of Mecca adds a profound layer to your beginning-of-the-year travels.
8. Mountain Escape: Abha
Escape to the mountainous region of Abha in the Asir Province. Explore the vibrant Asir National Park, stroll through the Asir Village, and enjoy the cool climate and breathtaking scenery of the mountains.
9. Coastal Charm: Farasan Islands
Indulge in the coastal charm of the Farasan Islands, located in the Red Sea. Discover pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and the historical village of Al Qassar. Consider staying in traditional fishermen’s huts for an authentic island experience.
10. Oasis of Serenity: Empty Quarter (Rub’ al Khali)
Discover the vastness of the Empty Quarter, the largest continuous sand desert in the world. Witness the mesmerizing landscapes of endless dunes and experience the solitude and serenity of this awe-inspiring desert. Stay in luxury desert resorts for an unforgettable desert experience.
11. Archaeological Marvel: Tayma
Uncover the archaeological wonders of Tayma, an ancient oasis city with historical significance dating back to the Babylonian and Assyrian periods. Explore the archaeological sites, including the Tayma Museum, and witness the unique blend of history and nature.
12. Contemporary Riyadh: King Abdullah Financial District
Experience the modern face of Riyadh at the King Abdullah Financial District. Marvel at the futuristic architecture, explore the luxurious shopping centers, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife. Stay in upscale hotels for a contemporary Riyadh experience.
13. Hidden Gem: Najran
Visit the hidden gem of Najran, known for its unique mud-brick forts, ancient ruins, and distinctive agricultural terraces. Explore the historical Al Uqair Fort, stroll through the Old Town, and immerse yourself in the cultural richness of this southern city.
14. Edge of the World: Jebel Fihrayn
Embark on an adventurous journey to the Edge of the World (Jebel Fihrayn). Witness the dramatic cliffs and expansive views that make this geological wonder a must-visit destination. Camping under the starlit sky adds a touch of magic to your experience.
15. Coastal Heritage: Qalhat
Explore the coastal heritage of Qalhat, an ancient port city along the Arabian Sea. Visit the Bibi Maryam Mausoleum, walk through the archaeological sites, and appreciate the historical significance of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
16. Traditional Souq Experience: Souq Okaz, Taif
Step into the rich heritage of Taif by exploring Souq Okaz. This traditional market comes alive with cultural events, poetry readings, and artistic displays. Dive into the vibrant atmosphere and stay in nearby guesthouses for an immersive experience.
17. Majestic Mountains: Al Soudah Park, Abha
Experience the majestic beauty of Al Soudah Park in Abha. Surrounded by the Asir Mountains, this park offers lush greenery, hiking trails, and breathtaking views. Consider staying in mountain resorts for a tranquil retreat.
18. Urban Oasis: King Fahd Fountain, Jeddah
Discover an urban oasis at the King Fahd Fountain in Jeddah, one of the tallest fountains in the world. Enjoy the mesmerizing water display against the backdrop of the Red Sea. Choose accommodations along the Jeddah Corniche for easy access to this iconic landmark.
19. Coral Reefs and Dunes: Dhahban Marine Protected Area
Experience the unique combination of coral reefs and coastal dunes at Dhahban Marine Protected Area. Snorkel in the clear waters, explore the diverse marine life, and relax on the pristine beaches. Consider eco-friendly resorts for a sustainable stay.
20. Architectural Marvel: King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran
Conclude your Saudi Arabian journey with a visit to the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture in Dhahran. Explore the cultural complex, designed by the renowned Snøhetta architecture firm. Immerse yourself in the arts and stay in nearby hotels for a cultural retreat.
Crafting Timeless Memories in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
As our Arabian journey comes to a close, the memories of ancient wonders, coastal charms, and vibrant cityscapes linger like the echoes of a cherished melody. May the recommendations shared here serve as a compass for crafting your own timeless memories in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Until our paths cross again in the realm of travel exploration, embrace the mystique of this captivating land, immerse yourself in its rich tapestry, and let the echoes of Arabia linger in your heart.