Get acquainted with an Arabian land that has long been the fascination of the most adventurous explorers, from determined mountain climbers to brave desert trekkers. While it may not be among the most accessible destinations on the planet, don’t the challenges make it even more worth while of discovering?
Get ready to discover the Middle East’s cultural heart on Saudi Arabia holidays. From the contemporary business metropolis that is Riyadh to the sacred holy Muslim cities of Medina and Mecca, Saudi Arabia offers a diverse range of cultural and historical experiences. Approximately, the country is divided into five historic regions, from Hejaz, situated on the coast of the Red Sea, the city from where the most commerce and trade takes place, through to the Eastern Province.
Excluding the Asir province on Saudi Arabia’s western coast, the country experiences a desert climate with extreme heat by day followed by a sudden and profound drop in temperatures by night. Saudi Arabia has very low rainfall annually and due to a subtropical high-pressure system’s influence, there can be considerable variations in humidity and temperatures. The two primary differences in Saudi Arabia’s climate can best be felt going from coastal areas to the interior.
In summer the average temperature is scorching - about 45 degrees Celsius, however it is not unusual to see the mercury climb up to 54 degrees Celsius. The heat becomes very intense soon after sunrise and is unrelenting until sunset, but is followed by remarkably cool nights. In winter, temperatures seldom drop below 0 degrees Celsius, however there is an almost total lack of humidity and that, coupled with high wind-chill factors, make for quite a cold atmosphere. In spring and autumn the heat is more tempered with temperatures averaging about 29 degrees Celsius.
The largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, the cities and sands of Saudi Arabia encompass the scorching Red Sea shores to the west and extend across to the Persian Gulf in the eastern part of the country. However to cross the country, you have to navigate the Empty Quarter – or Rub' al-Khali – the world’s largest sand desert. Entry to Saudi Arabia may be notoriously difficult, but those who are granted it for holidays in Saudi Arabia are in for the adventure of their lives.
This country has been called home by countless different civilizations over its long history, although it’s best known for being the spiritual home of Islam. The pilgrim's ultimate destination, the holy city of Mecca, which is off limits to non-Muslims, welcomes visitors in their millions who flock to the city for the hajj (pilgrimage) period to see Muhammad’s birthplace, the site where he experienced his first revelation and the huge Abraj Al Bait – which is also called the Makkah Clock Royal Tower - which stands at 601 meters tall and is the world’s fourth tallest freestanding structure.
Even if this city is off-limits to you, Saudi Arabia has a wealth of other treasures, from the splendid sites of the old Nabataean tombs at Jeddah and Najran, to the Asir Mountains in the west of the country with their fresh temperatures and clean air. However, the title of main attraction on Saudi Arabia holidays can arguably be given to Mada’in Saleh, an ancient city with incredibly well-preserved tombs carved from the rock and largely undisturbed pathways.
The Asir Mountains in the west run to the Red Sea shores before reaching the giddying heights of Jabal Sawda, some 3,000 meters above sea level. The extensive national park that surrounds the mountain is home to leopards, gazelles and even baboons, and is scattered with the ruins of villages and old fortresses that date back to the period pre-Islam and, to the north of the park you can find cave paintings that are 5,000 years old.
Once you have been from mountain to desert, the stunning Red Sea coast is waiting to welcome you on holidays in Saudi Arabia. A haven for divers, this coast features some of the world’s best dive spots. You are able to opt to leave the mainland behind by taking a trip to the Farasan Islands – more than 80 coral islands and islets just over 30 kilometers off the coast from Jizan. These islands are home to a huge diversity of marine life, including the strange sea mammal, the dugong, which is related to the manatee.
At the edges of the vast stretches of desert, you will find ultra-modern cities set around green areas of oases. Situated in Saudi Arabia’s heart, Riyadh, the capital offers a captivating mix of old and new. The ancient old town is largely untouched to this day and sits next to the country’s modern capital of hotels, cafes and restaurants and shopping centers.
Saudi Arabia's commercial hub, Jeddah also offers an intoxicating blend of modern and ancient styles. Explore the traditional souk markets at al-Balad, the coral houses or enjoy Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast.
Medina, just like Mecca, is off limits to non-Muslim visitors but neighboring Jeddah is open to all on holidays to Saudi Arabia with its 18th century tower-houses and souks packed with fascinating artifacts and souvenirs.
In Riyadh, four and five-star hotels dominate, making the city one of the most expensive places in Saudi Arabia to stay on Saudi Arabia holidays. You can find two and three-starred hotels but you are likely to find they are located further from the main attractions of the capital.
In Jeddah you will find the accommodation options range from high-rise hotel chains to more modest and more affordable choices. Some self-catered apartments are also to be found here.
Najran is a good place to stay if you look for modern conveniences in a traditional setting, and this city has multiple accommodation options. The city is archaeologically significant so you have plenty of historic sites to explore in the area.
Saudi Arabia possesses a desert climate. In Jeddah by the seaside it remains warm for almost all of the year, although the winter probably offers the most pleasant temperatures for a visit. Riyadh, is inland, is much hotter in summer and colder in winter and occasionally heavy rainstorms can occur then. The early spring and the late autumn are ideal times to visit this capital city in the desert on holidays to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has international airports at Riyadh, Medina, Jeddah and Dammam .
The national airline is Saudi Arabian Airlines, which is often referred to by its Arabic name Saudia. Almost all Gulf airlines and most of the major European airlines fly into Saudi Arabia. During the period of the Hajj, many charter flights supplement scheduled airlines.
Impenetrable and mysterious, Saudi Arabia can be both wondrous and a worrisome, so it pays to be well-prepared. To travel into and around this Islamic state demands that you respect a people and culture that differs vastly from that of the Western world. Travelers need to be aware of strict sharia laws which govern the local population and visitors alike, this means ensuring you are covered to the ankle and you are respectful of the fasting period of Ramadan in public.
If you are not visiting Saudi Arabia on religious pilgrimage, try to avoid visiting at this time as it is likely to be difficult to find hotel rooms. Public places and shops close at prayer times and women are expected to cover their heads.
In a domain of religious pilgrims and business transactions, tourist visas simply do not exist in Saudi Arabia so be prepared to work hard to get one.
Saudi Arabia is the homeland both of the Arab people and of Islam. Nowadays its citizens identify strongly with both of these cultures. Merchants, farmers, Bedouins, travelling nomads, may be traditions that are dying out but they are still a massive part of this nation’s heritage and key to gaining an understanding of its inhabitants.
Discover this mysterious land on Saudi Arabia holidays with Booked.net.