In 2019, Saudi Arabia made the historic decision of opening its doors to tourists for the first time. Quickly celebrated, the Kingdom issued over 400,000 visas in the months that followed, only to close again due to the pandemic.
But as of August 1, Saudi Arabia’s borders will finally re-open, only to those who are fully vaccinated though. Those who have completed their second dose will no longer be required to isolate upon arrival; making for perfect opportunity to go visit the Gulf this summer.
As long as a vaccination certificate can be provided through borders, entry procedures remain as per usual granting you a pass key to the monarchy’s historically rich scenery.
In a statement made earlier this month, officials have also announced that they will only be accepting government certified vaccines providers, namely Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Moderna. Visitors will also need to register their own personal data online through an electronic portal as well as carry the “Tawakkalna” application in order to enter public places too.
With this sudden easing of restrictions, it’s the perfect opportunity to visit the once closed-off Kingdom, especially considering that the nation doesn’t fail in providing us with a chockfull of must-visit sites and cities.
For that reason, we’ve rounded up our top five places to absolutely visit in Saudi Arabia.
Al Balad, Jeddah
Often referred to as the historical quarter of the kingdom’s capital, the neighbourhood was established over 1,300 years ago and is believed to have been a rite of passage for Muslims heading to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the colourful facades and vibrant energy in Jeddah’s Balad are to be made sure not to miss at all. What are you waiting for ?
Marjan Island, Dammam
Built in 2013, Marjan Island is a man-made cluster of four coral-shaped, artificial archipelagos containing luxury resorts and hotels as well as paradise-looking beaches. Ideal spot for fishing or taking a breather from your weekly habits, Marjan Island is the perfect place to enjoy sea, sand and sun all year round.
The Red Sea Mall, Jeddah
The Red Sea Mall is definitely one of those shopping centres that lives up to the beauty and expectation of its name. As one of Jeddah’s biggest and most popular retail complexes, the 2,600,000 square foot building hosts over hundreds of brands to not say that it accommodates all labels from high-end to mainstream under one roof. Luxurious and aesthetic, the food court has also managed to make a name for itself through its ambiance as well as its rich selection of cross-continental cuisine.
Kingdom Centre Tower, Riyadh
Located in the country’s capital, Riyadh, the Kingdom Centre Tower is the tallest skyscraper of the city. Modern and stylish in its architecture, the views from within and outside the building are definitely some to make sure to not miss.
Al Qarah Mountain, Al-ahsa
Located on the Eastern side of the kingdom, the mountain which was named after a nearby village is a site that can cater for all. From tourist attractions to natural wonders, the mountain is one of the country’s most-visited places, and to be honest it really is no surprise. Famous for its caves and also recognised for its dazzling views, amateur adventurers and regular visitors can both enjoy the landscape and day-long hikes.
Crystal clear beaches, white sand and fresh sea-food – is there really much more that you can ask for? Al-Wajh harbours one of Saudi Arabia’s oldest coastal cities and there’s enough to cater for everyone. From historical mosques established hundreds of years ago to unspoiled beaches and magnificent decors for you to explore at your own pace, Al-Wajh is definitely one of the kingdom’s places to be in this summer.
Located at the south of the kingdom, the province is known for its unique and precious wildlife as well as its mind-blowing scenery. From the coniferous forest to the Shada Mountain caves passing by the hanging village of Al Habala, believe us when we tell you that there’s enough to jam your Instagram feed with incredibly compelling stories and stunning posts.
Main image: Al Qarah Mountain, Al-ahsa