One of the best things about Saudi is that the kingdom is full of surprises. Discover something unexpected, from sandfalls and snowfall to beekeeping, or embark on a unique adventure, like trying to keep up with the world’s fastest fish when scuba diving in the Red Sea or visiting a mirrored art installation in the middle of the desert.
Each year, 800 tons of honey come from 125,000 beehives in Al Baha, in southwest Saudi Arabia. Al Baha’s varied trees and flowers make it an ideal spot for beekeeping. Enjoy the region’s annual Honey Festival in July, or pick up honey to bring home as a gift or souvenir.
Imagine a waterfall made out of sand —that’s what a sandfall looks like. The natural phenomenon is rare, but it has been reported in Saudi, in Aflaj and outside Riyadh, usually after heavy rain.
The largest open-air museum in Saudi, Al Hamraa is a hub for art and culture in Jeddah. Take advantage of the city’s mild winter weather and spend an afternoon admiring more than 20 sculptures, including works by prominent artists Henry Moore, Joan Miró, Maha Malluh and Alexander Calder, in this 7-square-kilometer park on the Corniche.
Visitors and locals can go horseback riding along the sea in KAEC. In 2020, King Abdullah Economic City began hosting the annual World of Moments Festival, where you can enjoy riding or camping on the shore, plus concerts, stage performances and desert buggy adventures.
Camels are historically important across the Arabian Peninsula for their role in transporting goods along famous trade routes, including the Silk Road and the Incense Route. Head 70 kilometers west of Riyadh to Reem Reserve to meet these animals up close. Book a camel caravan tour there, then check out the reserve’s falconry and Bedouin camping experiences.
In the middle of the Saudi desert sits Maraya, which translates to “mirror” in Arabic. The 5,000-square-meter cube reflects impressive views of the surrounding desertscapes. Built in the AlUla region, the art installation is also used for cultural events such as concerts, immersive theater and interactive exhibitions.
If you want to see snow in Saudi, set your sights on Jabal Al Lawz, which means “almond mountain” in Arabic. The tallest mountain in the Tabuk Province, Jabal Al Lawz is the only place in the kingdom where it snows almost every year. Go for a hike and explore the 2,549-meter mountain’s historic rock drawings of now-extinct cattle.
The world’s tallest fountain is visible across Jeddah. Shooting a plume of water 312 meters into the air at nearly 375 kilometers per hour, King Fahd Fountain is recognized by the Guinness World Records. Stroll through the Corniche at night to see this saltwater fountain illuminated by more than 500 lights.
Surround yourself with a record-breaking number of flowers at the Yanbu Flower Festival, held annually in late winter through early spring in Yanbu. Winner of two Guinness World Records (in 2014 and 2017 for largest flower carpet), the festival also boasts family-friendly activities, which have included a butterfly exhibit, a mini strawberry farm, rides, food and fireworks.
Saudi is one of the few destinations where scuba divers can spot the world’s fastest fish: the solitary sailfish. The extremely rare fish can swim more than 109 kilometers per hour. It’s one of more than 1,200 fish species that call the Red Sea home. Whether you’re visiting Jeddah, KAEC or Yanbu, it’s easy to find a scuba diving or snorkeling tour.