Discover Saudi: Top Saudi Arabia Tourism DestinationsHeader Image Source
With an eye towards diminishing their economy’s dependence on oil, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently opened its borders by allowing a massive increase in tourism from 49 new countries. It is now a simple matter of applying for a tourist visa online via APVI.com, and you could be on your way to this beautiful and spiritual country.
Saudi Arabia has a staggering number of tourist-friendly areas that include incredible desert exploration, the unforgettable Red Sea coastline, deeply religious and spiritual artifacts and connections, and a shopping and dining experience to match. Listed below are just some of the must-see areas of the Kingdom.
The capital city of Saudi Arabia lies in the center of the country. Riyadh is a bustling metropolis that remains steeped in tradition, so while all tourists are free to enjoy the area, they should be aware of cultural restrictions, particularly women. Visitors can easily spend their entire trip exploring this area, but there are a few must-visit spots highlighted below.
Edge of the World and the Red Sand DunesOne of the most popular tourist destinations in the country is the Edge of the World, or Jebel Fihrayn. The stunning cliffs overlook the impressive desert which should only be traversed with experienced guides. Hiking trails vary in difficulty, but the breathtaking views make this a sight to see.
The Red Sand Dunes are located closer to the center of the city for a quicker escape into nature. Among the most popular activities among locals and tourists alike is dune bashing with quad bikes which can be rented for an exhilarating ride.
The National Museum
The rich history of Saudi Arabia has been put on display at the National Museum in Riyadh. The birth of the first Arabian Kingdom, early Stone Age ancestors, and a history of the pilgrimages in Mecca are among the highlighted exhibits which include artifacts dating to around 5300 BC and older.
The birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located at Masmak Fort in downtown Riyadh, where King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud stormed the fortress to seize control of the city in 1902. The victory led to the unification of a number of tribes in the area that formed modern-day Saudi Arabia. The fort is now a scenic museum that lays out paintings, photographs, and antiquities that tell the story of the Kingdom’s formation.
Likely best known as the gateway to Mecca, one may assume that Jeddah is a city that leans more closely to traditional values. However, visitors marvel at the balance the city has struck between historic cultural ties and a more modern lifestyle. In fact, the city boasts a number of resorts, several malls, Al-Shallal Theme Park, and plenty of quaint cafes, in addition to some must-see attractions.
The Waterfront along the Red Sea has been a popular tourist destination that was recently built up to include beach access, restaurants, mosques, and parks. Concerts are now legal, and weekend festivals are plentiful.
While not actually floating, Fatima Al Zahra Mosque is nonetheless a gorgeous site to behold that attracts millions of visitors each year. The tranquil scene includes the reflection of the mosque in the sea as it stands on pillars just above the waterline. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful and spiritual picnic, photos, and religious reflection.
The beauty of the Red Sea and its creatures are on full display at Fakieh Aquarium. This is an ideal family destination for a fun and educational day. With more than 200 species including Sharks, Groupies, String Rays, Napoleon Wrasse, Sea Horses, Murrays amongst others, the Fakieh Aquarium aims to continue expanding the sea world life with the introduction of the unique Sea Dragon very soon this year.
Largely underdeveloped until recently, Al- ‘Ula is quickly becoming a major tourist area in Saudi Arabia. It is building itself up around the popular UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mada’in Saleh, a fascinating area consisting of gorgeous tombs carved into rocks. The inscriptions and drawings were inspired by ancient peoples of the area in addition to Egyptian and Greek influences.
Al- ‘Ula is building on the area’s deep cultural roots and creating a tourist area that includes plenty of festivals, shopping, and restaurants, with more aggressive development planned in the coming years. This is a fantastic area to visit while it remains a bit off the beaten path for the time being.
Take advantage of the fast-growing tourist destination of Saudi Arabia. Begin your journey by visiting APVI.com. You can get this visa in as fast as 2 hours for a multi-entry visa valid for up to 1 year.