Saudi Arabia is well-known for its diverse landscape, rich history, vibrant heritage, delectable cuisines, grand cultural events/festivals and vast deserts, which makes it worth adding to every traveller’s bucket list. Top tourist places to visit in Saudi Arabia present a perfect blend of the old and new. As a result, this Middle East country attracts a large number of visitors annually, be it pilgrims, photography enthusiasts, nature aficionados or history lovers. From azure blue waters of the Red Sea to majestic forts to soul-stirring mosques to wonderful museums, Saudi Arabia is home to an innumerable range of attractive tourist spots. Below-mentioned are some of the top attractions in Saudi Arabia, which are sure to leave visitors spellbound.
15 Most Popular Places to visit in Saudi Arabia
1. The Two Holy Mosques, Makkah & Madinah – The holiest religious sites in the world
Masjid al-Haram and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi are the two holiest sites for Muslims located in the sacred twin cities of Makkah and Madinah respectively. Also known as the Great Mosque, Masjid al-Haram is the largest mosque in the world. This sacred mosque surrounds the holy Kaaba or the house of Allah. It is the main site for two pilgrimages, Hajj and Umrah. Al-Masjid an-Nabawi was established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself. The second-largest mosque in the world, the Prophet’s Mosque not only houses the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but also of two main Islamic leaders, namely Umar and Abu Bakr.
2. Abraj Al-Bait Towers, Makkah – The grand complex near the Grand Mosque
Located in Makkah, Abraj Al-Bait Towers is a government-owned complex, comprising seven magnificent skyscraper hotels. This building complex is situated in the vicinity of Masjid al-Haram and has a four-faced clock, which is known to be the highest in the world. It is home to residential apartments, shopping centres, hotels and a vast prayer area that can accommodate a large number of devotees.
3. Kingdom Centre – A must-see attraction in Riyadh
The Kingdom Centre Tower is an iconic structure based in Riyadh. Enjoying a strategic location in the capital city, this skyscraper is nearly 300 metres tall and is considered to be an iconic structure in the country. It is one of the ultimate tourist attractions in Riyadh and is home to different offices, eating joints, entertainment options, luxury brands, a five-star hotel and lavish apartments. Atop this architectural marvel is the SkyBridge, which is a 300-ton steel structure that overlooks the entire capital city.
4. Al Balad – One of the best tourist places to visit in Saudi Arabia
Al Balad is Jeddah’s historical area, well-known for its traditional markets, tight-knit lanes, intricately designed mosques and traditional houses. It is a UNESCO-listed world heritage site and was once the meeting point for pilgrims heading to Makkah. Al Balad is home to the historic Bab Makkah gate, which is located at the starting of the Makkah al-Mukkarramah road that leads to Makkah, the holiest city in Islam. This is why Al Balad is also known as the gateway to Makkah.
5. Al Baqi – The oldest Islamic cemetery in Madinah
Jannat Al-Baqi is known to be the foremost and oldest Islamic cemetery of the holy city of Madinah. It is located in Saudi Arabia’s Hejaz region and holds great importance amongst Muslims as it is said to be the resting place of many companions and relatives of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Jannat Al-Baqi is one of the holiest sites in Islamic tradition, located in close proximity to the Prophet’s Mosque.
6. Al Rahma Mosque – The most popular attraction in Jeddah
One of the best places to see in Jeddah, Al Rahma Mosque is situated on the northern coast of the city’s waterfront. It features a turquoise-domed structure and contemporary Islamic architecture. It is built on stilts, due to which it appears floating on the Red Sea, and hence the name ‘Floating Mosque’.
7. Masmak Fortress – Also, a palace and a museum
The Masmak Fortress is an architectural wonder and a must-visit tourist attraction in Saudi Arabia. Situated in the old city of Riyadh, this fortress was constructed using clay and mud-brick. As per popular beliefs, in 1902, this fortress was raided and regained by Emir ‘Abdulaziz ibn Saud Al Saud from the House of Rasheed. This event, which is known as the Battle of Riyadh, played an important role in restoring the control of Saudis over the capital city. In 1995, Masmak Palace was converted into a museum that gives an insight into the roots of Saudi Arabia.
8. King Abdulaziz Historical Centre – Now the National Museum
Amongst the famous tourist places in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Historical Centre is a well-developed urban project, which is home to diverse museums. One of the main attractions of this place is the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, which is located in the midst of this historical centre. This museum features eight halls and showcases human life in the early days, Arabian kingdoms in the pre-Islamic era, family and lineage of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the birth of Islam and the importance of Hajj and the two holy mosques.
9. Elephant Rock – A spell-binding natural wonder
Jabal AlFil or the elephant rock is amongst the many must-visit tourist attractions in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the most impressive geological marvels across the world and is located in Al-‘Ula area of Mada’in Salih, a UNESCO world heritage site. You can spot it amidst a golden sandy desert, surrounded by huge rock outcrops of different shapes and sizes. As per archaeologists, the body and trunk of this monolithic structure was a result of wind and water erosion over centuries.
10. Edge of the World – Also, known as Jebel Fihrayn
Jebel Fihrayn is a geological marvel in a rocky golden desert located northwest of Riyadh and one of the top tourist attractions in the country. Ideally named ‘Edge of the World’, this spectacular spot offers panoramic vistas of the below landscape and uninterrupted, stunning views of the endless horizon from the top of this escarpment.
11. Diriyah – One of the best tourist places to visit in Saudi Arabia
Diriyah is a beautiful town situated on the periphery of Riyadh. It has become a popular tourist destination in Saudi Arabia over a period of time. It is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif district, which is said to be the seat of the royal family of Al Saud. Diriyah is quite renowned for mud-brick houses and tight-knit alleys.
12. World Sights Park – A great family destination in Saudi
A well-known site among tourist places in Riyadh, World Sights Park is sure to leave visitors spellbound. It features small-sized replicas of world-famous architectural marvels, including the Taj Mahal, iconic Eiffel Tower, Petronas Tower, the Prophet’s Mosque and Al Masjid al-Haram. This tourist attraction is a must-visit during a trip to Saudi Arabia.
13. Rijal Almaa – One of the most beautiful tourist places in Saudi Arabia
A village situated in Saudi Arabia’s Asir region, Rijal Almaa was once considered to be a natural passage linking Makkah, Madinah, Yemen and Levant, thus making it a regional trade centre. The village features approximately 60 multi-storey buildings constructed using wood, clay and stone. It is home to a number of old fortresses and In 1985, a museum was established here by locals in order to preserve the village’s heritage.
14. Fakieh Aquarium – A must visit place for kids
The one and only aquarium open to the public in Saudi Arabia is the Fakieh Aquarium. It is situated on Jeddah’s north Corniche and is truly unique and worth visiting. Home to over 200 marvellous species of the underwater environment, which have been brought from oceans and seas from across the globe, Fakieh Aquarium is truly a sight to behold. Every day, sea lion and dolphin shows are organised as well, which are quite popular amongst families.
15. Makkah Museum – Take a trip through Makkah’s history
Located in the holy city of Makkah, this historical museum showcases the city’s history through various exhibits, in addition to depicting diverse epochs of Islamic history. It is made in a typical Islamic architectural style and displays the history of the Grand Mosque and the holy Kaaba. A wonderful tourist attraction in Saudi Arabia, this museum beautifully depicts and preserves the culture and values of Islamic society.
15 Awesome Places to Visit in Saudi Arabia : In Pictures
16. King Fahd’s Fountain – The iconic fountain of Jeddah
17. King Abdullah Park – For a family outing in Riyadh
18. Riyadh Zoo – A must visit attraction for kids
19. Yanbu Lake – A serene getaway
20. Yanbu Beach – For an evening of leisure
21. Jeddah Lighthouse – One of the popular tourist attractions in Saudi
Suggested Read: Top 24 Tourist Places To Visit In Jeddah
22. Al Fanateer Beach – One of the best places to visit in Jubail
23. Umluj Beach – Try some adventure sports here
24. Jeddah Waterfront, Corniche – One of the best family places to visit in Saudi
25. Red Sea Mall – For those who absolutely love shopping
26. Hejaz Locomotive & Ruins – Rail route ruins in Tabuk
27. Al Qarah Caves – A must visit natural wonder in Al Ahsa
28. Tabuk Castle – Ruins of an important Ottoman fort
29. Wahbah Crater – A must visit for photographers
30. Khalil Museum – A beautiful museum in Jeddah
Whether it is about getting a glimpse of Islamic history or enjoying architectural and natural wonders or even relishing mouth-watering foods, this Middle East country never disappoints. Being home to a host of diverse attractions and tourist spots, Saudi Arabia ensures a memorable and enchanting vacation.
Tourist Attractions in Saudi Arabia FAQs
What is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia?
Being an extremely dry country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia witnesses harsh summers between April and October, which makes it difficult to explore the country. However, from November to March, Saudi Arabia experiences pleasant weather, thus making these months absolutely suitable to visit this Middle East country.
Does Saudi Arabia have any world heritage sites?
Yes, the country is home to some of the most amazing world heritage sites. These include Al-Ahsa Oasis, Al-Hijr (Madain Salih), At-Turaif District, Historic Jeddah and Rock Art in the Hail Region.
Is there any amusement or theme park in Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has something for everyone, which includes kids as well. Some well-known amusement parks in the country are Al-Shallal Theme Park, Al Hokair Land and Lavera Theme Park.
Which are the most beautiful beaches in Saudi Arabia?
Some of the most beautiful beaches in Saudi Arabia are Yanbu beach, Fanateer beach, Obhur beach, Umluj beach.
Are there any tourist places for kids in Saudi Arabia?
Yes, there are zoos, theme parks and many amusement parks for kids in Saudi Arabia.