RIYADH 50ºF - 50ºF
Welcome to SAUDI ARABIA! A country of contrasts that will leave you with unforgettable memories! Transfer to your hotel. Free time.
RIYADH 50ºF - 50ºF - DAMMAM 50ºF - 50ºF - AL HOFUF
Early in the morning we move to the train station, Arabia’s railways are very modern. We travel to the coast of the Persian Gulf where we are surprised by the city of DAMMAM, provincial capital with almost a million inhabitants. Following its modern maritime strip we follow the Heritage Village, next to the sea, in the form of a fortress we´ll visit its small museum of ancient objects (including its collection of historical cars). Lunch included. We continue towards the impressive Ithra site and its very modern King Abdulaziz center for world Culture - an architecturally very striking place (being rock shaped), with its leisure areas, its museums, its library.Mid-afternoon continuation to the oasis of AL-AHSA, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Arrival at AL-HOFUF, the main city of the oasis. We will take a night walk through the King Abdullah Park, a pleasant park where its artificial lake and the fountains that dance to the rhythm of the music are a stand out.
AL HOFUF - RIYADH 50ºF - 50ºF
We visit the Oasis of AL AHSA, with its gardens, canals, wells. Inhabited since the Neolithic; it is considered the largest oasis in the world with its almost 3 million date palms. In the center of Al-Hofuf we visit the Ibrahim Palace, historical fortress (World Heritage Site) dominated by its white mosque, built in 1556 by the Ottomans. After that we visit the "House of Allegiance" that shows us a small palace characteristic of the oasis. Later we travel through the oasis, we go to AL QARA , a spectacular landscape area, labyrinth of mini-gorges-caves in the mountain, and a historical site; it will seem that "you penetrate the mountain", all year round the temperature is around 25 degrees. We also visit its museum "land of civilizations" that describes the history of the area. Lunch included. Note: At the time of writing this itinerary, the Ibrahim Palace was closed for restoration. During the period when it is closed, the palace will be visited from the outside and time will be given to the Qaisariah souk.In the afternoon we take a modern high-speed train, in two hours and 20 minutes we travel almost 350 kilometers of desert that separate us from Riyadh.- RIYADH, arrival. To end the day, we will include transfer and entrance to the Boulevard Riyadh, you will be surprised by its life and activity, the attractions, the numerous restaurants with specialties from numerous countries, its live shows, and -above all- the spectacle of colorful fountains. Time to stroll, dine (dinner not included) and enjoy this place. Return to the hotel.
RIYADH 50ºF - 50ºF
Today (the order of activities may vary depending on the time of year) we will visit the impressive capital of Saudi Arabia. We will include the climb to the tower of just over 300 m high, the "Kingdom Centre", with its beautiful design and its "bridge-shaped" viewpoint that offers spectacular views over the city. We will also visit, surrounded by a beautiful park, the National Museum, the largest museum in the country, where we will learn about the history, culture, and art of the Kingdom. After that we will visit the Masmak Fortress, the ancient fortress of the city, whose interior allows us to understand the incredible change that took place in this city during the last century. Afterwards, we will have time to stroll through the neighborhood, with its souks and commercial life. Lunch included. In the afternoon we will move to the district of Al Turaif DIRIYA, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This place - on the outskirts of Riyadh - was formerly the first capital of the Saudi dynasty, which we will be able to discover thanks to the vestiges of its numerous palaces and the urban complex at the edge of the oasis of Ad-Diriya. At the end of the day, we will visit the Al Rajhi Mosque, the largest mosque in Riyadh with its Andalusian style architecture, where we will witness a prayer and have an introduction to Islam that will surely make us learn something about this religion. Return to hotel.
RIYADH 50ºF - 50ºF - AL QASAB 64ºF - 64ºF - SHAQRA - USHAIQER - BURAIDAH 55ºF - 55ºF
Today we follow the ancient route of pilgrims traveling from Iraq to Mecca, with its many historic towns in small oases. AL QASAB was known since ancient times for its salt and wheat production, also for its poets. We will visit the walled city and the small salt ponds where 200,000 tons of salt are still produced each year. Desert landscapes of dunes lead us to SHAQRA, a city that is growing along with its university. We visit the well-fortified ancient city, with its picturesque old market and adobe alleys. Continue to USHAIQER. Lunch included before transferring to Ushaiqer Heritage Village, a village that was an important stop for pilgrims because of its springs and the beauty of its oasis. We will also visit its small museum and its Najdi architecture houses with its carved wooden doors, its beautiful windows and triangular roofs. Continuation to BURAYDAH, capital of the province of El Kasim with more than 600 000 inhabitants located in a large oasis. Arrival in the late afternoon and free time.
BURAIDAH 55ºF - 55ºF - MEDINA 66ºF - 66ºF
Early in the morning we will visit the largest Camel Market in the world, located in Buraydah - a city that also houses a camel hospital. The city´s economy is also based on agriculture of oasis products (dates, lemons, oranges, wheat), and annually, around August, holds a huge date market that attracts many people from different places to buy their date annual requirement. We will visit "the city of dates" -more or less active depending on the time of the year- and we will be able to taste this sweet fruit of the palm tree. Afterwards, we will have time to stroll through the city center, with its vegetable market, its great mosque, its jewelry souks and its activity. Lunch included. In the afternoon, we continue our route by an excellent highway through the desert. Arrival in the evening to the holy city of MEDINA, "the luminous city". We find ourselves in an outstanding historical and religious destination as it is one of the two most sacred cities of Islam. Medina is visited by millions of pilgrims every year and has been forbidden to non-Muslims until very recently. Respect its inhabitants and beliefs and remember to use the required mode of dress. In the evening, we will go to see - today from outside - the Al Masjid Mosque, built by the prophet himself and the place where he is buried. We will be touched to see the thousands of people who enter at prayer time. Dinner included.
MEDINA 66ºF - 66ºF - AL ULA
Note: The Al-’Ula region is one of the most beautiful areas in the world, however its hotel infrastructure is extremely limited. On some occasions we will spend two nights in Medina (visiting in this case in the afternoon the Al Madinah Museum) leaving very early for Al-’Ula on Tuesday.We will explore Medina. We will walk around the immense Prophet´s Mosque (Al Masjid an Nabawi), an amazing and luminous mosque of ten minarets with a capacity for one million visitors.. On the hill of UHUD, an important pilgrimage site, where the prophet´s forces clashed with Meccan troops. You can walk through its vast esplanade and climb the hill but remember to do so in silence and respecting the hundreds of pilgrims surrounding us at any given time. At the Mosque of Quba, in the year 622, the prophet and his followers laid the first stone of what was to be the first mosque in history, although the present building is more recent. We will also stroll through the nearby market where you can find dates, perfumes, and other local specialties. Lunch included. After lunch we will have some free time in the city center to stroll around the shopping areas or -if you wish- visit the Hejaz Railway Museum (in the former Ottoman railway station).In the afternoon we travel to one of the most spectacular places in the world: The region and oasis of AL-’ULA: an authentic open-air museum surrounded by nature, where you will find rock formations, canyons and ravines that compete with the majestic treasures carved by its ancient inhabitants. After arrival we will go to The Elephant Rock, "Jabal Al Fil" an impressive geomorphological phenomenon, a 52 meters high rock in the shape of an Elephant. Dinner included.
AL ULA - TABUK 66ºF - 66ºF
In the region of Al-’Ula we will visit the enclosure of HEGRA (Madain Saleh), declared World Heritage by UNESCO, of Nabataean culture "the Other Petra" amazes us with its tombs excavated in the rock in a desert environment full of mystery. Lunch included. We will have free time in "Al-’Ula Heritage Village", the old Al-’Ula, magnificently restored with its pleasant restaurants and shops. We will also have some time to walk in the magnificent Oasis. In the middle of the afternoon, we will leave for TABUK. Dinner included.
TABUK 66ºF - 66ºF
We visit Tabuk, a city over half a million inhabitants, active provincial capital and one of the oldest cities in the country. We will visit the castle whose origin is 3500 years before Christ, and inside it, a museum tells the history of the castle and the city, from the great explorers who visited it, such as Ibn Battuta, to the pilgrims who stopped to drink from the fountains on their way to Mecca or Medina. After the castle we walk through the active commercial area of the center and we reach the old train station, today a museum that preserves the steam machines that connected Damascus with Medina.End of the tour. Check the time of your flight in case you need an additional night.
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