Jeddah, the commercial center of Saudi Arabia. A cultural crossroads and a vibrant hub combining heritage and modernity.
Visitors can travel back in time walking through the streets of Al Balad, Jeddah’s UNESCO World Heritage recognized Hijazi style old town, or enjoy the modern landmarks of the city, strolling down the waterfront corniche and taking time to admire the world’s tallest fountain.
With a population of about 3.5 million people, Jeddah is the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia and the eighth largest in the Middle East.
Jeddah is the principal gateway to Makkah, the holiest city in Islam, located just 65 km to the east, while Madinah, the second-holiest city, is located 360 km to the north. Situated on the Red Sea, Jeddah Islamic Port is the thirty-sixth largest seaport in the world and the second largest and second-busiest seaport in the Middle East.
King Abdullah Economic City, 100 kilometers north of Jeddah along the coast of the Red Sea, is a modern metropolis and booming tourist destination. Though it was conceived in 2005 to attract international business, leisure is also a big part of KAEC’s appeal. International tournaments are played at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, one of the most renowned golf clubs in the Middle East, and a motorsports park is being built as part of the recently developed Lagoona leisure area. The expansive waterfront — which can be enjoyed year-round, as the desert climate in KAEC averages 28 degrees C — is another major draw, from the bike-friendly Beach Walk to soft-sand Yam Beach, which offers a range of watersports.
Yanbu’s history dates back at least 2,500 years, when it was a staging point on the spice and incense route from Yemen to Egypt and the Mediterranean region. The city was built around its port, where most of its people made their living.
Presently, Yanbu is considered a major industrial city, known for its oil refineries and petrochemical plants. Hence, it has a unique cultural mix, with many of its 220,000 residents expatriates from around the world.
With this fusion of history and modernity, visitors can enjoy a stroll in the streets of Yanbu’s old town or enjoy under water discoveries when diving along the beautiful Red Sea coast.
Along with its proximity to major cities in the Kingdom, Yanbu is also the gateway to AlUla, famous for its red-sand desert landscapes and haunting Nabatean monuments, such as Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest preserved site of the famous ancient Arab civilization south of Petra.
Boasting endless views of the tranquil Arabian Gulf, Dammam, the capital of Saudi Arabia’s eastern province, is a modern metropolis that thrives on its coastal location. It is known for its airy waterfronts and sandy beaches and has a growing reputation as an arts, sports and entertainment destination.
The city’s cuisine has an international flavor owing to the heavy influence of frequent travelers, and its urban landscape is marked by a striking contrast of modern and historic architecture.
Dammam is also the coastal gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Al Ahsa, home to one of the world’s largest natural oases and an intricate cave system.