HalalBooking guide to halal-friendly holidays in Saudi Arabia
Although Saudi Arabia, the country that every Muslim's heart desires to visit, needs no introduction, we will highlight all the subtleties to make your trip perfect. Upon entering the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, you will be rewarded for each worship performed.
As one of the few countries known for inspiring millions, you can see the potential impact that Saudi Arabia, steeped in spirituality and history, can have on your attitude and character. Imagine just one of the many beautiful and meaningful sights, such as the Holy Kaaba, surrounded by the many pilgrims who all share the common goal of pleasing their Lord. Outside the holy cities there is a wealth of sites to visit for the halal-conscious traveller including in the capital Riyadh, in Jeddah, in the desert of Najd and in Al Ula. What better place for your halal holiday than where halal originated?
Practical information before visiting Saudi Arabia
Flights to cities across Saudi Arabia including Madinah, Riyadh, Dammam and Abha are available from most major airports around the world. Visas are required to enter the country, and only Muslims are allowed to enter the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Luxury buses are available from the airport to city centres and other major cities.
July is the hottest month in Saudi Arabia with highs of 44°C and January is the coolest. The best time to travel in terms of weather and travel costs is October to March. Note that prices may increase around Hajj times.
Saudi Arabia for the halal-conscious traveller
Since the two holiest sites in Islam are located in Saudi Arabia, visiting the kingdom is given a lot of prominence and importance for Muslims. As the birthplace of Islam, the religion is represented in the country itself and it is the first place that comes to mind when thinking of Islam and Muslims. As the origin of Islam and the birthplace of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), the holy land of Saudi Arabia holds a special place in the hearts of most Muslims and most will participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca if they have the means.
Not only will you be fulfilling one of the five pillars of Islam when you visit the holy cities for pilgrimage, but the benefits of the visit will also be manifested in greater things to come. Take the opportunity to see the holy Kaaba in all its glory, drink from the ZamZam fountain and trek between the mountains of Safa and Marwah as Hajar (AS) did. Visit the famous caves and spend time in the land where the foundation of Islam was laid and walk in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), leaving a prayer as you visit the shrines of his family and companions. Feel how all this adds to the aura of peace and tranquillity you will experience amidst the hustle and thousands of people who will also be visiting. If you are visiting the country for the first time, you will probably feel overwhelmed yet satisfied with the feeling of belonging to the spiritual land.
All cities in Saudi Arabia have beautiful mosques that will enchant you, including the mosques in Jeddah which are set against the backdrop of the sea and the sound of the call to prayer. One of the best things about visiting a Muslim country is the seamless transition between enjoying your holiday and performing your obligatory prayers, and this can be experienced first hand in Saudi Arabia - a feeling that is simply unmatched.
Sites to visit in Saudi Arabia
The beautiful and holy city of Makkah has great religious significance for the Islamic world and Muslims in general. Welcoming Muslims from far and wide, there is no better place for a halal holiday to perform your religious duties. Any visit to Mecca should begin with the mighty Al Haram Mosque with the Kaaba at its centre - pay your respects to the historic Qibla which has so much importance to Muslims. Outside of the Al-Haram, visit the Abraj Al-Bait - the complex of seven skyscrapers containing some of the tallest buildings in the world, including the famous Clock Tower, which houses restaurants, shopping malls and even an observation deck. Enjoy shopping at Makkah Mall with luxury boutiques selling Saudi abayas and thobs, children's entertainment and dining options.
Explore the Islamic sites of Cave Hire on top of Jabal al-Nour and other mountains including Jabal-e-Rehmat (Mountain of Mercy) and Jabal Thawr (Mountain of Thawr). A unique experience is the Kiswa Factory, where the Kiswa, the textile covering of the Kaaba, is made by more than 200 Saudi craftsmen.
The beloved city of Medina offers unlimited amounts of serenity and tranquillity. Start your visit by praying at the Al-Nabawi Mosque - the second mosque built by Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Also visit the other mosques including Quba Mosque, Al-Qiblatayn Mosque* and **Dhul Hulaifa Miqat Mosque. Take the spiritual journey along the Uhud Mountain and the cemetery of Al-Baqi' where some of the Prophet's (PBUH) family members and friends are buried. Every Muslim must try to visit the Dar Al Madinah Museum to gain important knowledge about the city’s history and other Islamic history. You will be welcomed with serenity in Medina and have the privilege of praying and contemplating in one of the most beautiful mosques in the world.
The city of Riyadh is home to many attractions suitable for the whole family, including the famous shopping malls Al Nakheel Mall, Hayat Mall and Riyadh Gallery Mall. With everything you could possibly want under one roof, malls alone can take a whole day out of your itinerary as Saudi malls are all inclusive and world class, taking luxury to another level. Visit the National Museum and Al Masmak Fort for Saudi history and Riyadh Zoo to keep the kids entertained. Be sure to pray in the beautiful mosques, particularly the impressive Al Rajhi Grand Mosque, and end your day in the picturesque King Abdullah Park – full of green lawns, colourful bushes and fountains. Tours to Rubʿal-Khali ("Empty Quarter"), the largest sand desert in the world, are offered from Riyadh. Drive through as part of the group or even spend a night in the desert.
In the port city of Jeddah, families will enjoy the excitement and fun at the Al-Shallal Theme Park, the Atallah Happy Land Park (which also offers women-only nights) and the Fakieh Aquarium. Visit the beautiful seaside Al-Rahma Mosque, an amazing and fascinating place to perform your prayers. Explore culture and history at the museums of Al Tayebat International City, Nassif House, Hafez Gallery and the archaeological site Mother Eve Cemetery. Located near Jeddah is the city of Taif, known as the city of roses. The name comes from the smell of the city that attracts tourists with the scent of roses in the street. Taif's other attractions also include museums displaying Islamic artefacts.
Halal food and restaurants in Saudi Arabia
Food in Saudi Arabia is authentic, comforting, traditional and unique. Whatever your mood and where you are from, you will find something to enjoy. The expat communities settled in Saudi Arabia have made it their home in more ways than one – the diverse cuisine is accessible to everyone and caters to many cultures. Be it western food chains, African, Kashmiri or traditional Arabic flavours. Many catering companies also offer homemade Indian cuisine in your hotel room.
When you need a caffeine pick-me-up, you have your choice of a homemade chai or a thin cappuccino to go. The variety of street snacks and restaurants caters to all budgets and palettes. Our recommendations are to try the numerous falafel and hummus stands: perfect for travelling light, joining in the worship, and packing in a dose of flavour at the same time. The fresh fruit juices are also definitely worth a try, as are the markets and farms for fresh dates. Try the restaurant Mado for sweet treats like kunafa and enjoy all those fast food chains that we can not enjoy in our home country because of halal dietary requirements.
Halal-friendly properties in Saudi Arabia
With over 1,000 properties to choose from on HalalBooking and the filter options for halal-friendly amenities, there is no better place to book your halal holiday. Make sure your meals are covered and check for hotels that serve halal food on-site or nearby. Guarantee your Muslim-friendly holiday with alcohol-free stays and discover luxury with a range of 4 and 5 star properties. Discover the possibilities of mixed or private pools to make your halal holiday the best possible experience. While Saudi Arabia itself offers the ultimate in tranquillity, complement your relaxing stay with spa and wellness facilities. With HalalBooking's ‘Free Cancellation’ and ‘Book Now Pay Later’ options, you can ensure your stay is tailored to you so you are prepared for whatever happens.