15 Must-Visit Places in Saudi Arabia in 2024

Welcome to Saudi Arabia, a fascinating country rooted in vibrant history, rich culture, and beautiful landscapes. From the Al Ula heritage village and the Qamari island to the multicultural and vibrant cities of Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia provides a tapestry of unforgettable experiences and memories to every tourist. You can explore the UNESCO World Heritage cited sites in Saudi Arabia as well such as The Ibrahim Palace and the marvels of Al-Hijr.   

Saudi Arabia is significant for Muslims as the two holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina are situated in Saudi Arabia where millions of Muslims from different parts of the world come throughout the year and perform their religious rituals. Follow this blog to learn more about the must-visit places in Saudi Arabia.

Top 15 Places In Saudi Arabia

  • Great Mosque of Mecca
  • Al-Masjid An Nabwi
  • Mount Uhud
  • Al Balad
  • Dammam Corniche
  • Quba Mosque
  • King Abdul Aziz Historical Center
  • Qasr-al- Farid Hegra
  • Aseer National Park
  • Half Moon Beach 
  • Al- Qarah Mountain
  • Al Ula Heritage Village 
  • Jeddah Floating Mosque
  • The Cave of Hira 
  • The Ibraheem Palace

1) Great Mosque of Mecca

Masjid al-Haram, known as the Great Mosque of Mecca is the mosque that surrounds the Kaaba ( the Holiest Shrine / House of God) which is the most sacred site for Muslims and in the Islamic World. It is situated in the Mecca province of Saudi Arabia. Every year millions of Muslims come to perform Hajj ( annual pilgrimage). This is one of the five pillars of Islamic belief which Muslims (financially able) must perform once in their lifetime. Furthermore, Muslims from different parts of the world come to perform Umrah throughout the year. The Grand Mosque has 210 gates that provide access to the different internal areas of the mosque. 

The mosque comprises a rectangular central courtyard bounded by covered prayer areas.  Pilgrims perform tawāf which is a ritual circumambulation of the Kaaba in the courtyard. In the courtyard, there are two more sacred sites: Maqam Ibrahim ( a station of Abraham), a stone which is believed to have Abraham’s foot imprints and it is placed in a crystal dome next to Kaaba.  and the Zamzam well, a sacred water spring near Kaaba. There are twin hills of Safa Al Marwaa at the sacred mosque. Pilgrimage walk between these two hills in a ritual. So, if you are planning to visit Saudi Arabia, you should visit Masjid Al-Haram and experience the beauty of the Islamic Belief. 

Also, Read: 10 Beautiful Countries in the World You Must Visit

2) Al-Masjid An Nabwi

Masjid An Nabwi which is also known as the Mosque of the Prophet is the second biggest mosque after the Al-Haram Mosque. It was built by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after the Masjid e Quba. It is situated in the holiest city of Saudi Arabia, Medina, which is also known as the City of the Prophet (PBUH). Inside the mosque, there is a grave of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) along with his two companions, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Umar ibn al-Khattab, making it the second holiest place for Muslims. 

At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), it served as a place of education and learning where teachers would impart holy knowledge to students across many generations. To keep the public updated, public announcements were made there in the mosque. It was also used as a place for diplomatic negotiations between two parties, providing a safe place for the needy and poor. Masjid An Nabwi provides more of a community center rather than just a place to pray.

3) Mount Uhud

Mount Uhud is located in the north of Medina. It is one of the largest mountains and is significant for Muslims. The second most important battle between the people of Makkah and the Muslims of Medina took place on Mount Uhud in 625 CE. 70 beloved companions of Prophet Muhammad are buried there including Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib and Musab bin Omair.  

In current times, Muslims climb Mount Uhud and pray at the mosque which is located at its base. Mount Uhud has historical significance, people go there and the best time to hike is to experience the sunset on Mount Uhud. 

4) Al Balad

There is a historic quarter in many cities of Saudi Arabia which is often known as Al-Balad. It is marked by the intoxicating scent of exotic spices and the beautiful sound of the call to prayer. Among all, the Al-Balad in Jeddah is the most popular of all.  It comprises a series of narrow alleyways between the houses of ancient coral-stone merchants, home to oud sellers, traditional bakeries smelling clove, and the glowing, vast Souq Al Alawi. In 2014, Al-Balad made a place on the list of a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Many of the tremendous and old mansions of the area have been meticulously restored. For example, the grand 106-room Nasseef House is now a cultural center and museum displaying arts and organizing academic lectures and photography exhibitions.  

5) Dammam Corniche

The Dammam Corniche is a popular leisure destination in Saudi Arabia and is the top attraction in the city without any doubt. Other than foreigners, the corniche is a favorite spot for the local people from nearby cities such as Dhahran, Alkhobar, and Jubail. There are many activities to do including bonfires, carnival rides, watching seagulls diving into the waters of the Persian Gulf,  food trucks, bookstores, and manicured gardens which offer a family-friendly atmosphere to tourists coming from different parts of the world. Visitors can take a cruise around Marjan Island or sit on a restaurant terrace with a cup of the region’s famous Arabic coffee and watch the sunset over the Persian Gulf. 

6) Quba Mosque

The Quba Mosque is believed to be the first built mosque in the world during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is located in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia, in the City of the Prophet(PBUH), Medina. The Prophet (PBUH) laid the foundation by laying down its first stone and the rest was completed by his followers and companions. It was recently reconstructed in 1984 with many new changes including 4 parallel minarets, 7 main entrances, and the 56 mini domes. It is 3.5 kilometers from the Masjid An Nabwi. Visitors are allowed to visit anytime as it is open 24/7. 

7) King Abdul Aziz Historical Center

King Abdul-Aziz Historical Center (KAHC)  is a cross-district cultural heritage complex inaugurated by King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz in 1999 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It covers north of al-Futah and south of al-Murabba.  It has many buildings such as the al-Murabba Palace, King Abdul-Aziz Public Library, the National Museum, King Abdul-Aziz Auditorium, King Abdul-Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives, Red Palace, and Riyadh Water Tower aside from six municipal gardens and parks namely the al-Watan Park, the Palm Oasis National Museum Park,  and al-Yamamah Park. This is the main driver in paving the way to the start of modern Saudi Arabia, particularly the Emirates of Riyadh.

Besides this, it has old courtyard houses, green fields, conference buildings, mosques, and water showers. Its themed park attracts the tourists as well as the locals. It provides the culture with the modern touch of Saudi Arabia in one place. Tourists mostly have fantastic experiences visiting such rich culture and historical centers.

8) Qasr-al-Farid Hegra

Qasr-al-Farid is “The Lonely Castle of the Nabataeans” located in the Hegra or Hijr or the Madâin Sâlih (north of Saudi Arabia). It is an archeological site attracting tourists from all over the world. The Qasr al-Farid, despite being called a castle, was a tomb built in the first century AD. The Madâin Sâlih is the site of 111 monumental tombs, of which the Qasr al-Farid is a single example. 

The site was chosen as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2008. Qasr-al-Farid is completely isolated from the other tombs in the vicinity and is regarded as one of the most well-known tombs in Madâin Sâlih. Considering that most of the enormous tombs in Madâin Sâlih were discovered to have been put together in groups, this is unique. Among them are the tombs of Qasr al-Bint and Qasr al-Sani. It is visited by a number of tourists every year along with other mesmerizing places of Saudi Arabia

9)  Aseer National Park

Aseer National Park is one of the most natural and first national parks of Saudi Arabia covering an area of 1,600 sq. kilometers. It includes both marine and mainland areas stretching from the coast of the Red Sea to the mountains. The park has foothills with granite and gneiss and a part of the Tihamah coastal plain.  The Asir escarpment is divided by deep wadis (canyons),  and the mountain altitude is up to 3200 meters.

It provides many fun activities such as jeep safari, hiking trails, nature paths, camping sites, and much more. Furthermore, over 300 different species of animals and colorful and exotic birds reside there. It is one of the best sites from where one can get knowledge of the local flora, ecosystem, and fauna of the region. 

10) Half Moon Beach

The Half Moon Beech is a crescent-shaped beach and one of the most attractive places for the people of Saudi Arabia and tourists. It offers many activities including boating, swimming, parasailing, people playing in the water, and much more. There are luxury resorts and delicious barbeque places nearby. The soft white sand and the mesmerizing view of sunset attract families on weekends to go there and enjoy with their loved ones.

11) Al-Qarah Mountain

Qarah, despite its raw beauty, could be a more well-known place among tourists that borders the eastern side of the Shadqam plateau.  Al-Qarah Mountain rises 670 feet above sea level, offering a majestic view of canyons sculpted over millennia and a magnificent stretch of sand-blasted caves. It is also known as Al Shabaab Mountain. 

Some caves such as Al Nashab cave are particularly popular in Al Qarah Mountain, offering moderately constant temperatures all year long. Some caves organize workshops for traditional pottery. Moreover, the caves contain 28 tall linear passageways, a total of 1.5 kilometers in length.

12)  Al Ula Heritage Village

Al Ula is a small town in the breathtaking desert valley of Medina.  It is the crowning jewel of the tourism ambitions of Saudi Arabia with its many tourist attraction sights including the the rock faces of Jabal Ikmah,  900 mudbrick antique homes of Al Ula Old Village,  the Nabataean tombs of Hegra, the lion tombs of Dadan, and the two million Date palm in the Oasis. Besides historical significance, Al Ula offers fun activities and events including hiking and the hot air balloon ride. 

Elephant Rock is one of the most visited and famous places of Al-Ula also known as Jabal Alfil. It is a natural rock shaped like an elephant due to the changes in the wind and the weather. It is most attractive close to the time of sunset. You can easily find hotels and resorts nearby for your comfortable stay. 

13)  Jeddah Floating Mosque

Jeddah’s renowned Floating Mosque, also known as Al Rahma Mosque, is situated on the Serene Coast of the Red Sea. It was constructed over 2,400 square meters in 1985. Its all-white structure and turquoise dome make it unique and one of the most beautiful holy places to visit in Saudi Arabia. The architecture is a blend of classic Islamic components and the contemporary-modern style. When the sun sets, the reflection of the mosque appears on the water making it one of the most beautiful places in the capital of Saudi Arabia. 

Inside the mosque, there is a tranquil space for praying and contemplation. The exquisitely designed domes and the elaborate calligraphy on the walls are the testaments of the creativity and care of the Mosque. It has an advanced sound and lighting system and can accommodate 2,300 people. The extreme beauty and the serenity of the place make it distinguishable from others. 

14) Cave of Hira

The Mount of Hira also known as Jabal al Nour ( Mountain of the Light or Hill of Illumination) and Jabal al Hira ( Mount Hira) is popular for the Cave of Hira. In this place, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received the first revelation of the Quran from Allah through Hazrat Jibrael (AS) during the month of Ramadan. There is great spiritual and theological value to the Cave of Hira. It makes a cornerstone of the Islamic religion and signifies the divine start of prophethood and the revelation of the Quran verses. There is great spiritual and theological value to the Cave of Hira. It makes a cornerstone of the Islamic religion and signifies the divine start of prophethood and the revelation of the Quran verses. 

The cave of Hira is a place of major significance to Muslims worldwide. It is 12 feet ( less than 4 meters) and 5 feet 3 inches (more than 1.5 meters) in width. People visit the Cave of Hira during the time of Umrah and Hajj. During the days of Hajj, approximately 5000 pilgrims trek up to the cave in a day and perform prayers there. The top of the Jabal al Nour shows a beautiful panoramic view of Mecca City after the sunset. 

15)  The Ibraheem Palace

The Ibraheem Palace has historical significance and is situated in the old district of Kut, Hofuf, Al Ahsa. Its old name was Al-Kut. It was built by Ali Ibn Ahmed Ibn Lawand Al-Burayki in 1556 who was the Ottoman Governor of that time. During the Ottoman Rule of Al-Ahsa, the palace served as the military base for the Ottoman Army. However, it was restored recently by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage in 2019 and has become a must-visit sight for tourists. 

The architecture of the Ibraheem Place shows two styles; Islamic and Military. The Islamic domes, semi-circular arches, and the mihrab present the Islamic style. The minaret is influenced by the Turkish style which has a spiritual staircase. The huge towers that surround the palace, soldier barracks, and horse stables represent the military touch in the architecture of the palace. The Ibraheem Palace is among the 12 popular sites of Al-Ahsa Oasis which is registered in the UNESCO World Heritage. 

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Conclusion

Lastly, Saudi Arabia offers tourists a kaleidoscope of wonderful experiences and memories blending modern marvels with ancient heritage. Saudi Arabia is a religiously significant country for Muslims because the two holiest places Mecca and Medina, attract millions of Muslims every year for their spiritual practices. From the serene Red Sea coastlines to the bursting energy of Riyadh and the mystical landscapes of Al-Hijr, this country offers a calm and lasting impression on the minds and hearts of visitors.

FAQs

What is the best place for shopping in Saudi Arabia? 

For shopping, tourists should visit Deerah Souq, a famous shopping place. It has beautiful gold antique sections. Some traditional Arab jewel designs are also available. You can find a range of souvenirs and other handicraft pieces or items such as traditional props or dresses, carpets, and furniture. 

Why is Al- Rahma mosque called a floating mosque? 

Al-Rahma mosque is called a floating mosque because it is enclosed by the Red Sea. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Saudi Arabia. Its suspended white silts make it look like floating on the water and the turquoise dome and the mesmerizing architecture attract millions of tourists every year. 

What is the biggest airport in Saudi Arabia?

Among twenty-five major airports in Saudi Arabia, King Fahd International Airport is the biggest one. This airport operates many international flights daily.

Do we find islands in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, many islands in Saudi Arabia are artificially made to attract tourists. They have increased the infrastructure and the beauty of Saudi Arabia. Some are Sanafir Island, Umm Al-Qamari Island, Farasan, and more. 

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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