From its picturesque mountain getaways to serene coastal retreats, Saudi Arabia boasts of a surprising array of cool spots that promise to beat the summer’s sweltering heat, making way for a refreshing and unforgettable vacation.
With uncertain global weather conditions raising concerns of a disruption in summer plans, the Kingdom offers domestic and international travelers a chance to explore cooler destinations.
Managing Director of luxury destination management company ROAM, Stuart McNair, described the Kingdom as a “gem” and an “ideal location for holidays.”
In a statement to Al Arabiya English, McNair said, “We know that Saudi Arabia is a gem, offering unique and authentic experiences and climates that vary from one city to the other, making it the ideal location for holidays all year round.”
He also encouraged domestic tourists to explore destinations within Saudi Arabia this summer.
“There’s simply too much beauty to be explored right here,” he said.
Whether travelers choose to go on a historical adventure through Jeddah’s Al Balad or to discover more than 300 species of marine life on board a yacht in the Red Sea, the country has a variety of adventures fit for everyone’s travel needs.
Boost for tourism
In May, travel data firm ForwardKeys reported that Saudi Arabia would see an enormous spike in tourism between June and August this year compared to last year, especially given how much the country has invested in the sector over the last few years.
The Kingdom has been investing heavily in tourism – by providing travelers from within the country and abroad bespoke adventure activities, among other things, to attract regional and international markets.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) Fahd Hamidaddin had told the Arabian Travel Market earlier this year that tourism would be “the new oil” for the Kingdom.
“The world in the 1920s came to Saudi for oil. Now, in the 2020s, the world will come for tourism – the new oil,” he had commented.
Here’s a curated guide to Saudi Arabia’s perfect summer destinations:
Jeddah – Al Balad:
Travelers can go on a historical adventure through one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, exploring what life was like before the modern city evolved.
This UNESCO Heritage Site was founded in the early 7th century and served as Jeddah’s commercial center before the 1970s oil boom.
The old city was an ancient trading port and the primary gateway to Mecca for Hajj and Umrah. Today, the town is famous for its ancient architecture and traditional buildings that were constructed using coral stone and decorated with beautiful wooden lattice windows.
ROAM recommends visiting Al Balad as part of a ‘Summer in Saudi’ package.
Children and adults alike can explore their artistic side with a private visit to a craftsmen’s studio where visitors can enjoy a day painting and learn about Islamic wood design.
Adrenaline lovers looking to escape the heat can explore the mountainous city of Taif – a true hidden gem in Saudi Arabia.
Taif is famous for producing citrus fruits and for its scented roses grown in more than 700 farms. The city is also full of historical monuments, markets, popular squares, unique gardens, and cultural sites. Families can visit local farms and learn the secrets of producing local ingredients, where the city grows its renowned citrus fruits such as grapes, berries, pomegranates, and figs.
Visitors can explore the area on a hike through the mountains and fields during the day and enjoy a stargazing experience at night organized through ROAM.
Abha is known to be one of Saudi Arabia’s coolest cities, making it the ultimate destination for summer holidays.
Families can enjoy a private climbing experience in Tanomah – just under a two-hour drive from Abha – or explore the magical Soudah Mountain.
Tourists can also sharpen their knowledge of the south of Saudi Arabia by learning about the traditional art forms of al-Qatt al-Asiri.
Traditionally a form of interior wall decoration, al-Qatt al-Asiri is an ancient female art form considered a key element of the Asir region’s identity. The technique involves adoring the houses’ internal walls with al-Qatt, or wall paintings.
ROAM can set up private tours with local women who explain the art form’s origins and teach guests about its historical significance.
The Red Sea
With more than 300 species of marine life – including mantas, turtles, fish, and dolphins – and shipwrecks, the Red Sea is the perfect place for curious travelers.