The city of Makkah itself is only accessible to Muslims. Each year, it bears witness to the Hajj pilgrimage, a religious duty that must be performed by every able Muslim at least once in their lifetime, and which draws millions each year. Holy sites in the city include the sacred Ka’aba, located in the heart of the Masjid al-Haram, or Grand Mosque, while the circling mountains house the historic Cave of Thawr, where the Prophet sought refuge from the Quraysh tribe, and the revered Jabal Rahmah, where he delivered his last sermon.
In Jeddah, immerse yourself in Saudi Arabia’s oldest and liveliest city, where bustling souks, old-world architecture and world-class cuisine draw throngs of visitors each year. Discover the pristine Red Sea coastline that is home to white-sand beaches and spectacular dive sites, or glimpse the past in Jeddah’s Al Balad historical district.
For a weekend getaway, head to the southwestern city of Taif, where the combination of fresh mountain breezes and dense, cool greenery have earned it the unofficial title of Saudi’s summer capital. Explore the souks, picnic in the garden parks, and keep an eye out for the wild baboons that gather at the sides of its highways.
With its long stretches of sandy beach and cool walkways, Jeddah Corniche has always been one of the city’s main draws. Following a major revamp in 2017, which added three new swimming bays, a pier and lush parklands, the area is now a must-see destination, blending in seamlessly with Jeddah’s cosmopolitan appeal.