Mecca (Makkah in Arabic) is the center of the Islamic world and the birthplace of both the Prophet Muhammad and the religion he founded. Located in the Sirat Mountains of central Saudi Arabia and 45 miles inland from the Red Sea port of Jidda (Jeddah), ancient Mecca was an oasis on the old caravan trade route that linked the Mediterranean world with South Arabia, East Africa, and South Asia. By Roman and Byzantine times it had developed into an important trade and religious center, and was known as Macoraba. The sacred land in which Mecca and Medina are located, known as the Hijaz, is the western region of the Arabian peninsula, a narrow tract of land about 875 miles long east of the Red Sea with the Tropic of Cancer running through its center. The land is called Hijaz, meaning barrier, because its backbone, the Sarat Mountains consist of volcanic peaks and natural depressions creating a stark and rugged environment dominated by intense sunlight and little rain fall.
Read also Holy City Makkah – Mecca
Medina is a city in western Saudi Arabia. In the city center, the vast Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (Prophet’s Mosque) is a major Islamic pilgrimage site. Its striking Green Dome rises above the tombs of the Prophet Muhammad and early Islamic leaders Abu Bakr and Umar. The Masjid al-Qiblatain (Qiblatain Mosque) is known as the site where the Prophet Muhammad received the command to change the direction of prayer to Mecca.
Madain Saleh If you visit only one place in Saudi-Arabia, let it be Madain Saleh. The other-worldly scenery, breath taking nature, and rich history make it a destination worth exploring for many days. Madain Saleh is not only the tombs of the ancient Nabatean people, but it offers much more for the tourist to explore. The Hejaz railway built Ottomans runs through it. Nearby the town of Al-Ula boasts a beautiful oasis, museums, an old mud village and ruins and tombs of Khuraibah.
Read also Holy City Medina – Madina
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and main financial hub, is on a desert plateau in the country’s center. Business district landmarks include the 302m-high Kingdom Centre, with a sky bridge connecting 2 towers, and 267m-high Al Faisaliah Centre, with a glass-globe summit. In the historical Deira district, Masmak Fort marks the site of the 1902 raid that gave the Al Sauds control of Riyadh.
Forty years ago the population of Arriyadh was just 100,000. Now it is 6.5 million. 64 percent are Saudi citizens. The greatest number of the expatriates living and working in the city are from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Philippines. There are also workers from Arab countries that include Yemen, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon and Syria. European, North American, South Africans, Russian, Antipodeans and Chinese foreign personnels are engaged with vast range of new infrastructural projects. Arriyadh has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Arab world. Wide range of cuisines can be found in the city’s many eateries. Riyadh has two national English language newspapers, the Saudi Gazette and Arab News.
Read also Riyadh modern desert city in the world
Dammam is the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province, plus several government departments, are located in the city. Our first destination is the Dammam Regional Museum, where we will look at the history and the heritage of the region. Then we will continue on to the traditional market, Souk Al Hob (Love Market), where many of the shops sell popular men’s and women’s clothing and traditional fragrances, and specialty shops sell gold and jewelry that is distinctive to the Arabian Gulf region. From here, we will move to a set of shopping malls to enjoy shopping or relaxing until lunch, when you can choose a favorite meal from many diverse restaurants. Then, it is off to the Dammam Corniche, which offers spectacular direct marine views, and an excellent fishing location for amateurs and professionals. From here we will go to the Dolphin Village and watch dolphin shows and presentations. Then, a visit to the Coral Island (Jazirat Al Marjan) to enjoy sea views in all directions, relax by the sparkling water and breathe in the fresh sea air. There will also be an opportunity to enjoy a short boat ride. After the boat ride, roam along the pier that extends to Dammam. Dinner can be enjoyed in one of the restaurants specializing in delicious fish and seafood. The tour will conclude as you sit back and appreciate the sea views on the shores of the Arabian Gulf. More interesting places to visit Half Moon Beach, Dhahran and Al Khobar, Qatif, Hafouf Center and Al Waha (Oasis)
A favorite diving destination of Jacques Cousteau, Farasan Islands have more than just private beaches and sand for every visitor to enjoy. The Islands are a bird watchers paradise and also have mangroves and endemic Gazelle species in addition to the numerous historical sites on the main island.
Empty Quarter It is not empty, it is full of beauty, silence, wildlife and tranquility.
The city of Abha, located in the Asir Province, is a very popular holiday destination during the summer months due its beautiful scenery, the famous misty mountain tops and cooling breezes. Tourists from all over the GCC flock here to escape the sweltering summer heat. At an elevation of 2200m above the Red Sea level, the mountainous Abha region enjoys pleasant weather year round. Asir region has plenty of attractions to do and it might be a challenge to decide between all of the fun and interesting activities.
Al Soudah The Asir National Park and the Al-Soudah area near Abha are a lush, breezy paradise best visited in the hot summer months. The park offers trekking, camping sites, cable cars, and plenty of other outdoor activities in addition to interesting architecture and friendly people.
The mountain city of Taif is famous for its roses and rosewater. In the spring the flowers and the whole area are in full bloom. Taif is an excellent area for trekking and mountain climbing as well. Taif’s parks attract visitors because they are ideal for outdoor entertainment due to the city’s salubrious climate. Thamala, Bani Saad, Al-Sahen, Shaqsan, Hadad and Qiya in the southern part of the governorate also attract a large number of tourists. Hotel occupancy in Taif reaches 95 percent around this time of the year because of the large number of visitors coming from all parts of the Kingdom and neighboring countries. Al-Hada Mountain is another favorite destination because of the nice weather and many amusement parks. Tourists love to visit the mountain and enjoy the scenic view from the top.
Wahba Crater This volcanic crater lies 700km from Riyadh towards Taif. It has amazing scenery including lava fields, an oasis and salt pans and can easily be explored by foot. The site makes for an unforgettable camp out experience.
Al Lith is a small town about 275 km south of Jeddah. It is the port of departure for diving the Farasan Banks eco system.This is Saudi-Arabia’s best diving destination, with incredibly clear waters, amazing wrecks and abundant marine life. Edge of the World One of the most spectacular views in Saudi-Arabia can be experienced from the Edge of the World which is part of the 800km long Jebel Tuwaiq Escarpment. When looking to the horizon from the edge it appears as if the plains continue endlessly.
The northern towns of Buraidah and Unaizah in the Qassim region offer rich cultural heritage and history. Unaizah has ancient farmlands, beautiful unique mosques, historical sites and an excellent traditional marketplace.
The colorful city of Najran on the Yemeni border offers an unforgettable experience for travelers. Its unique history, architecture and culture blends in with the neighboring Yemen. Najran is the most tourist friendly destination in Saudi-Arabia that pleases even the most experienced traveler.