Getting Around Makkah: Best Travel Options
- For international pilgrims
Jeddah is the primary gateway to reach Makkah. The King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) in Jeddah is one of the largest airports in the world and serves many international carriers such as Emirates, Saudia, Air Arabia, etc.
After arriving in Jeddah, international pilgrims have convenient transportation options to reach Makkah. The Al Haramain Train Station is well-connected to the airport and is recommended for travelers by Umrahme. Once you’ve reached Makkah, a taxi can be booked to reach the hotel. You can check the information on train timings and schedules on their official website. Alternatively, buses are available outside the airport, or one can choose to rent a car or book a taxi to reach their hotel.
- Distance from Jeddah to Makkah: Approx. 90 km
- Average airport taxi cost to reach Makkah: SAR 100 to SAR 300 (Prices may vary)
- Travel time: Approx. 1 – 1.5 hrs
If traveling directly to Masjid Al Haram, rented or personal cars should be parked upon entering the city, and public buses or taxis can then be used to reach the Grand Mosque. You can even hop on the Makkah buses to reach the holy city. For more information, you can visit their website for their route timings.
- For domestic pilgrims or GCC residents
There are 3 airport options to reach Makkah. You can choose to arrive at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Medina, or Taif International Airport in Taif and then proceed to Makkah via road or train.
For a more adventurous trip, you can opt to reach Makkah by road, either through the cities of Jeddah, Medina, or Taif. Saudi Arabia now offers eVisas with multi-entry options for visitors. You can opt for this route and make your way to the country.
Once you arrive, be sure to have all the required documents such as a valid passport (with at least 6 months’ validity) and visa papers ready for entry. To reach Makkah, you can take either Prince Mohammed bin Salman Road, Huda Al Sham Road, or the old Makkah-Jeddah Road.
Upon arrival in Makkah, please note that personal or rented cars are not permitted within the city limits. You will need to park your car at designated entrances and rely on public buses or taxis for transportation within Makkah. There are green taxis available through services like Careem and Uber which you can opt for during your stay.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway connects Makkah to Madinah via Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC). This provides a convenient and efficient transportation option, particularly for travelers coming from Madinah.
The cost of a single journey ticket between Jeddah and Makkah ranges from SAR 20 to SAR 75 and takes about 30 – 35 mins to reach.
For more information on route timings, check out their schedule here.
Jeddah Islamic Port is approximately 100 km from Makkah. Though many travel by air, there are a few percentages of pilgrims who come from the Red Sea countries and reach the country through cruise ships.
After docking in Jeddah, pilgrims must take a road trip, approximately an hour, to reach Makkah. Kindly note that non-Muslims onboard can’t proceed to Makkah.
- Regular Season vs. Peak Season: Hajj and Ramadan are considered peak seasons when visiting the holy city. Airfare prices tend to rise significantly during this time.
If you’re planning to book your Umrah trip, consider booking during the off-season when hotel and flight prices may be more affordable. Keep an eye on fare alerts and use flight comparison tools to find the best deals available.
- Advance Booking: It is often more cost-effective to make bookings several months in advance. Check out our Umrahme platform for the best deals.
- Location: Hotels in proximity to Masjid Al-Haram tend to be pricier. To save money, you might want to consider staying a bit further away and utilizing public transportation. The prices of 5-star hotels may vary, but they start from SAR 200.
- Booking Platforms: Take advantage of sale periods or compare prices with 3rd party sites. Get in touch with us for a tailored plan.
- Public buses & taxis: Makkah is well connected with public buses. You can check out their SAPTCO website to learn about the bus timings or book a taxi using Careem or Uber.
- Haramain Train: Another cost-effective mode of transportation when commuting between cities is the Al Haramain rail.
- Hotel Dining Options: Most hotels in Makkah provide a range of dining packages to cater to the guests’ various preferences:
- Breakfast Included: Only breakfast is provided.
- Half-Board: This includes breakfast and one main meal, either lunch or dinner.
- Full-Board: Guests are offered three main meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- All-Inclusive: This encompasses all three main meals, supplemented with beverages and snacks throughout the day.
For those visiting during peak seasons, it’s advisable to choose the full-board or all-inclusive options. These not only offer value for money but also save guests the hassle of searching for meals during busy times.
- Fine dining restaurants: If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, there are several fine dining restaurants in Makkah—most of them located in the Abraj Al Bait tower or the nearby shopping malls. The prices start from SAR 100+ per person per meal.
- Local eateries & cafes: Local eateries and food stalls provide delectable meals at more affordable prices compared to high-end restaurants. Additionally, this is the best way to enjoy the authentic flavors of Arabian cuisine and get a first-hand experience of the marketplace.
Sightseeing & tours
A visit to Makkah is incomplete without visiting the Ziyarat places and other significant sites known in Islamic history.
- Guided Group Trips: Participating in organized group excursions for sightseeing can be a cost-effective alternative to private tours.
- Free entries: Take advantage of religious sites and historical landmarks that offer free entry.
- Local markets: The best way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Makkah is to walk and shop around the local markets. They are usually open during non-prayer times and offer exciting souvenirs to shop. But make sure to bargain a lot before buying them.
- Avoid traps: When visiting popular tourist attractions, it is common for souvenir shops to charge higher prices. To find better deals, consider exploring local marketplaces in the area.
- Local SIM: Make sure to buy local SIM cards rather than international roaming packages to save on mobile costs.
- Package deals: Instead of booking hotels, flights, and tours separately, look for packages which cost already include flight tickets, hotels, select meals, tours, and transfers.
These packages can often offer more favorable pricing compared to booking them individually.
At Umrahme, we excel in tailoring packages to suit your budget and preferences, ensuring you receive the best deal available. Book your trip today.
Shopping in Makkah
The top malls in Makkah include:
1. Makkah Mall
Known for its mix of international brands, local shops, and diverse dining options, this mall is beloved by both tourists and locals alike.
- Location: Located on King Abdul Aziz Road and is easily accessible from Mecca city center.
- How to get there: You can book a taxi or hop on a public bus
- Popular shops: Gap, Zara, Nike
2. Abraj Al Bait Mall
This is a popular shopping destination among locals and pilgrims due to its location. Situated at the base of the iconic Clock Tower, this mall offers a wide range of international and local brands.
- Location: Adjacent to Masjid Al Haram, part of the Clock Tower buildings
- How to get there: Since it’s quite close to Masjid Al Haram, many people walk to visit the mall.
- Popular shops: Paris Gallery, Bin Dawood, The Body Shop etc.
3. Souk Al Diyafa
A multi-level shopping center with various retail shops and dining establishments, Al Diyafa Mall provides a comprehensive experience for many visitors looking for convenience.
- Location: Al Hujoon St, AZ Zahir, Mecca
- How to get there: Many taxis & buses can take you there
- Popular shops: Traditional shops with local retailers
4. Souk Al Khalil
This vibrant marketplace showcases an array of goods while providing an immersive cultural experience. It’s an ideal place to explore traditional items while embracing local culture.
- Location: Close to Clock Tower
- How to get there: Walking is an option if you’re staying nearby. Taxis and public transport are also available.
- Popular Shops/Stalls: Numerous stalls selling traditional clothing, prayer items, and various souvenirs.
Want to know what are the best things to shop in Makkah? Here’s the complete list to shop for yourself and your friends and family when visiting Makkah.