Riyadh, also known as Al-Riyāḍ in Arabic, is the capital city of Saudi Arabia. The city’s name is derived from the plural form of the Arabic word “rawḍah,” which means gardens or meadows. The captivating view of Riyadh from the air, especially in the evening when the city lights up, resembles its namesake meadows. The illuminated city appears like a vibrant sea of lights, resembling fluorescent flower gardens that have suddenly blossomed amidst the dark contours of the desert.
The city is in the region of Al-Riyāḍ, one of the country’s 13 provinces, and is situated in the central portions of both the country and the larger Arabian Peninsula. Few of the world’s cities have transformed as rapidly as Riyadh, which grew from a small, fortified desert village in the 17th century into a modern metropolis of several million inhabitants in the 20th century. Area city, 600 square miles (1,550 square km).
The city of Riyadh is located approximately 1,950 feet (600 meters) above sea level in eastern Najd, a region dominated by a rocky plateau landscape—in the center of the Arabian Peninsula. Najd’s broad, mountain-studded plateau gives way in the center and east to a series of escarpments arching from north to south. With a length of some 800 miles (1,300 km), the Ṭuwayq Mountains constitute the backbone of the most densely settled part of Najd, of which Riyadh is a part; the topography of Riyadh itself, however, is relatively flat.
Riyadh features a vibrant cultural life that reflects the rich heritage and modern aspirations of Saudi Arabia. The city is home to numerous cultural institutions, including museums, art galleries, theaters, and libraries, which highlight the country’s history, art, and traditions.
One of the prominent cultural attractions in Riyadh is the King Abdulaziz Historical Center, which houses a museum dedicated to the history and legacy of the Saudi royal family. The National Museum of Saudi Arabia is another must-visit destination, offering a comprehensive journey through the nation’s past, from prehistoric times to the present.
Art enthusiasts can explore the contemporary art scene at galleries like the Naila Art Gallery and Athr Gallery, which exhibit works by local and international artists. The Riyadh International Book Fair, held annually, attracts book lovers from around the world, featuring a wide range of literary works and cultural events.
The city also hosts various cultural festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Riyadh Season, which showcases music concerts, theatrical performances, art installations, and culinary experiences. These events provide a platform for artists, musicians, and performers to share their talents and celebrate the diversity of Saudi culture.
As Riyadh’s cultural life extends to its cuisine, with a plethora of traditional and international dining options available. From local street food to upscale restaurants, visitors can savor the flavors of Saudi Arabia and indulge in a culinary journey.
Riyadh’s cultural life is a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing modernity. It offers a dynamic and engaging environment for locals and tourists alike to immerse themselves in the arts, history, and traditions of Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh has a well-developed transportation system that caters to the needs of its residents and visitors. The city offers various modes of transportation to ensure convenient and efficient travel within and around Riyadh.
One of the primary modes of transportation in Riyadh is the extensive road network. The city has a well-maintained system of highways and roads, including major expressways like King Fahd Road and King Salman Road, which connect various parts of the city. Taxis and ride-hailing services are widely available, providing a convenient option for getting around Riyadh.
Public transportation in Riyadh is facilitated by the Riyadh Metro, a state-of-the-art metro system that began operations in 2019. The metro network consists of six lines, covering a total distance of over 176 kilometers and serving various areas of the city. The metro offers a comfortable and efficient way to travel, with modern stations equipped with amenities and services.
In addition to the metro, Riyadh has an extensive bus network operated by the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO). The buses cover a wide range of routes within the city and connect Riyadh to other major cities in Saudi Arabia. The bus system provides an affordable and accessible option for both residents and tourists.
Taxis & Rental Cars
For those who prefer to drive, car rental services are available in Riyadh, from the King Khaled International Airport, where you will find international car rental companies such as Avis and Budget. allowing visitors to explore the city at their own pace. However, it is important to note that driving in Riyadh can be challenging due to heavy traffic, especially during peak hours.
There are also several transportation apps that are widely utilized for convenient and on-demand travel. These transportation apps provide a convenient and efficient way to navigate Riyadh, whether it is for getting around the city, ordering food, or sending packages. They offer ease of use, real-time tracking, and secure payment options, enhancing the overall transportation experience in Riyadh.
Some of the popular transportation apps in Riyadh include:
Careem: Careem is a ride-hailing app that operates in several cities across the Middle East, including Riyadh. It offers options for booking taxis, private cars, and even larger vehicles for group travel.
Uber: Uber is another well-known ride-hailing app available in Riyadh. It allows users to book rides with private cars and offers various vehicle options to suit different needs and budgets.
Saudi Taxi: Saudi Taxi is a local ride-hailing app specifically designed for Saudi Arabia. It provides a convenient way to book taxis in Riyadh and other cities in the country.
Jahez: Jahez is a popular food delivery app in Riyadh. It allows users to order food from a wide range of restaurants and have it delivered to their doorstep.
Wssel: Wssel is a delivery app that offers not only food delivery but also courier services. It enables users to send packages and documents conveniently within Riyadh.
Arriving & Departing
The King Khaled International Airport (RUH) is the major airport that serves Riyadh and the surrounding area. Most major international airlines provide service to Riyadh. Travel within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Famous historical places to visit in Riyadh?
Al Murabba Palace – Visit this enthralling tourist attraction which was the residence of Riyadh’s royal family up until 1932. This palace has marble courtyards with intricate details and designs as well as royal chambers and official quarters. Tourists can find an impressive museum with intriguing ancient artifacts on display best highlighting Riyadh’s significant customs and cultures.
Diriyah – If you want to delve into the sacred Riyadh’s traditions and customs, then it is advised to visit this enthralling and top-notch tourist attraction called Diriyah. It is a well-recognized UNESCO heritage site with mud wall houses and tribe settlements and verdant and lush wilderness attracting extrinsic birds and animals promising a relaxing nature excursion.
Masmak fortress – If you want to explore Riyadh’s history best then giving this fortress and admiring its flamboyant architecture and interiors is a must. Masmak fortress has a myriad of luxurious apartments, with massive courtyards and complaint seating areas promising a fun afternoon.
The adventure activities to do in Riyadh.
- Hiking: Saudi Arabia offers a wide range of hiking options for hiking experience on the highest mountains. You can take a hike through many magnificent terrains, exotic rock formations and enjoy an amazing social-time post-hike, and even set a BBQ dinner around the fire.
- People from all around the world visit the city for outdoor activities around Riyadh city. One of the best hiking spots is The Edge of the World.
- Dune Bashing: Riyadh’s endless golden desert will let you experience yet another interesting outdoor activity, which is dune bashing! You would definitely love to experience one of the unique kinds of activities with four-wheel motorbikes in the dune.
- Al Thumama Desert is wholly dedicated to organizing such amazing desert activities where you will be playing, enjoying, and bashing in the dunes with a thrilling adventure of quad biking. Drive to Red Sand Riyadh, an area of red desert sand dunes where you can experience the absolute Desert Safari
Get Saudi Visa
Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to the world through its new tourist visa. Visitor will have the chance to discover and experience the warm hospitality of the Saudi people, the rich heritage, the vibrant culture, and Saudi Arabia’s diverse and breathtaking landscapes.
The eVisa will be a one-year, multiple entry visa, allowing tourists to spend up to 90 days in the country.
Tourists can apply for the tourist visa in one of the following ways:
Tourists from eligible countries can apply for a tourist visa online through the e-Visa portal ahead of their trip.
Visa on Arrival
Tourist can apply for Visa on Arrival* at one of Saudi Arabia’s entry points if any of the following conditions apply:
- The tourist is from one of the countries in the eligible countries list.
- The tourist is holding USA, United Kingdom, or Schengen visas. The following requirements must apply:
- The visa is valid.
- The visa type is either tourist or business.
- The visa must be used at least once and have an entry stamp of the issuing country.
- Holders of permanent residence from (US, UK or EU) after ensuring presence of the resident. This includes first-degree relatives of the visa holders coming with them.