Cheap Holidays to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia Holidays & Hotels
Hotels in Saudi Arabia
From luxury resorts to serviced apartments, Saudi Arabia has accommodation options to suit every type of traveller. Many international hotel chains can be found in the main cities, offering a comfortable and a cheaper home-from-home.
Thanks to its wealth of historic sights and natural beauty, Saudi Arabia is fast becoming a popular holiday destination in the Middle East. Nestled between Egypt and Iran, Saudi Arabia boasts year-round warm temperatures and religious sites. From the modern cosmopolitan of Riyadh, the capital, to the untamed wilds of Rub’ al Khali desert, this is one country that offers it all.
Where to stay
Direct flights from London bring you to Jeddah’s eclectic mix of city sights in just 6 hours. Located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is home to spots that the entire family will love, including an aquarium and Al-Shallal Theme Park. It’s also home to Jeddah Tower, which is set to be the world’s tallest building when it opens in 2020. Close to Jeddah, you’ll also find a wealth of private beaches, as well as an assortment of 5-star hotels for a relaxing retreat.
Saudi Arabia’s capital is a modern city that welcomes thousands of business travellers and holidaymakers every year. The city itself has a host of sights up its sleeve, from the historic mud and clay-brick Masmak Fortress to the city oasis of Salam Park. From Riyadh, you can also take the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to camp in the Rub al Khali desert with an organised tour.
Situated on the Arabian Gulf, Dammam is a city that’s popular with outdoor holiday adventurers thanks to its luscious natural offerings. Divers can take a trip under water in the Persian Gulf to find coral reefs and marine life, while those who prefer to stay on dry land can take advantage of the city’s large shopping centres. From Dammam, you can also explore more of the Middle East’s secrets by heading over to other nearby countries including Qatar and Bahrain.
What to see
Known as the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia has two of the holiest sites in the culture. The first is the city of Mecca, which is home to the Masjid al-Haram mosque and the Kaaba, the destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. And then there’s Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi mosque, which is the burial site of the prophet Muhammad.
Owing to their religious status, both of these sites are only accessible by Muslims, but there’s still plenty of other things to see on your holiday - including Madain Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts historical remains dating back to the 2nd century BC. The National Museum of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh is also a great starting point for those interested in learning more about the culture - it covers everything from dinosaurs to the unification of Saudi Arabia in the early 20th century.
Saudi Arabia is a dry country, meaning that alcohol is completely banned. Locals may attend small gatherings to drink coffee and play snooker, but traditional nightlife opportunities for tourists are extremely limited. There are, however, a handful of cinemas that show blockbuster movies, while many shopping centres are open until around midnight, so you can shop as much as wish while on holiday.
What to eat
Lamb, rice, potatoes and seafood make up many of Saudi Arabia’s favourite dishes, and it’s recommended to get stuck in as soon as you arrive! Chicken or lamb on skewers (known as ‘kultra’) is something that’s lapped up by the locals while tabbouleh, a salad that’s made up of bulgur, garlic, tomatoes, parsley and lemon, provides a delicious side or main dish. Al Baik is a popular fast food chain that’s found throughout Saudi Arabia; head here for a taste of fried chicken and shrimp.
Saudi Arabia’s shopping centres are bold and flashy, with Jeddah and Riyadh offering a whole host of them. Al Nakheel Mall in Riyadh is huge - it’s home to coffee shops, local and international brands, plus a whole variety of restaurants in its food court. Split over two floors, the Granada Centre mall is smaller, but it’s still worth a visit for its entertainment facilities and huge supermarket.
Fast facts about Saudi Arabia
Direct flight time: 6 hours from London
Transfer time: Varies
Time zone: GMT+3
Currency: Saudi riyal
Average price of a domestic beer: N/A
Average price of a bottle of wine: N/A
Number of Brit tourists per year: 116,000