Best Places and Activities in the Saudi Arabian Red Sea

Places in Red Sea

5 Best Places to Visit in the Red Sea

1. Visit Jeddah: The Bride of the Red Sea

Located in the middle of the eastern coast of the Red Sea, Jeddah is known as the Bride of the Red Sea for its beauty and charm. On one hand, the city boasts the historic Al Balad district showcasing its cultural heritage, with its maze of alleyways, old souks, and traditional buildings. On the flip side, the Jeddah Corniche offers a modern seafront experience, complete with sculptures, parks, and a spectacular view of the iconic King Fahd Fountain.

Jeddah in Red Sea

Visit our Jeddah Travel Guide for more!

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2. Explore Yanbu: The Country’s Diving Capital

Yanbu, often hailed as Saudi Arabia’s diving capital, stands out as a unique mix of stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and thriving industry on the western coast. This coastal city masterfully blends its past with its present by embracing three distinct areas: Yanbu Al Bahr, Yanbu Al Nakhal, and Yanbu Industrial.

Yanbu Al Bahr is known for its architectural wonders and historical landmarks. Ancient mud and stone structures, like Souq Al Layl and Senussi Mosque, can be discovered while wandering through the streets.

It also offers various water-based activities such as water skiing and boat rides. Divers can explore the vibrant underwater world in the Red Sea’s azure depths, filled with colorful corals and diverse marine life.

Yanbu Al Nakhal has a rich history, serving as an important stopover for caravans traversing between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Lastly, the Yanbu Industrial Lake in Saudi Arabia’s bustling oil hub of Yanbu is a serene oasis amidst the industrial landscape, showcasing the country’s modern advancements.

 Yanbu in Red Sea

Also read: Getting Around the Red Sea of Saudi Arabia: Know Before You Go

3. Discover Umluj: The Maldives of Saudi Arabia

Often compared to the “Maldives of Saudi Arabia,” this coastal paradise offers pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters that invite travelers seeking a tropical retreat.

Maldives of Saudi Arabia

Umluj is home to nearly 100 islands collectively known as the Umluj Islands. This archipelago boasts lush mangroves, diverse bird species, and thriving marine life, creating an enchanting haven for nature enthusiasts.

Umluj’s beaches are the main attraction. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, go on various water sports activities, and explore untouched coral reefs through diving. Watching dolphins playing in the waves is also a favorite activity for many tourists.

4. Explore Al Wajh: The Historic Port City

Al Wajh is a city known for its beautiful beaches and rich history. Situated in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia, it serves as a captivating destination just a short drive away from the famous archaeological sites of Al Ula and Hegra. With deep connections to the Arab Revolt during World War I, Al Wajh carries an air of historical significance that adds to its allure.

Al Wajh in Red Sea

Al Wajh is not only attractive because of its historical sites, but also for the peace and tranquility offered by its coastal area. Visitors can enjoy moments of relaxation in beachside parks with their families.

5. Uncover Jazan & the Farasan Islands: The Red Sea’s Southern Charm

Nestled along the southern coastline of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia, Jazan is a captivating destination that combines cultural heritage with breathtaking natural landscapes. 

Jazan and the Farasan Islands in Red Sea

With its extensive 200 km stretch, this coastal paradise offers thrilling diving experiences and opportunities for mountain climbing at Al Qahr and Fifa Mountains. Visitors can also marvel at the scenic Farasan Islands, which have been recognized by UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Program.

While showcasing an abundance of tropical fruits and ancient monuments dating back to 8,000 BC, the region seamlessly blends old traditions with modernity. In Jazan, every experience unveils a vibrant portrait of Southern Saudi Arabia’s charm.

Top activities to do at the Red Sea

With cities like Jeddah, Yanbu, and Umluj serving as major gateways, the Red Sea is a popular destination for both marine enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Here’s a list of popular activities to enjoy the Red Sea to the fullest.

  1. Island hopping: With numerous untouched islands, travelers have the opportunity to explore pristine beaches and turquoise waters such as the Tiran Islands in the north and the Farasan Islands in the south.
  2. Cultural exploration: From ancient Hejazi architecture to modern developments, the Red Sea coast offers a mix of old and new.
  3. Shopping: Popular coastal cities like Jeddah and Yanbu offer a variety of shopping options, from traditional markets to modern malls.
  4. Scuba diving and snorkeling: The coastline is teeming with coral reefs, shipwrecks, and diverse marine life. We recommend visiting the “Maldives of Saudi Arabia”, Umluj, for an unforgettable underwater experience.
  5. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, and parasailing: The consistent wind conditions make certain parts of the Red Sea perfect for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Jeddah is quite popular for these kinds of activities.
  6. Deep sea fishing: Fishing enthusiasts can embark on trips to deeper waters to catch larger species of fish.
  7. Beach relaxation: Many Red Sea destinations, especially those in resort areas, offer pristine beaches perfect for relaxation and sunbathing such as Jeddah and Yanbu.
  8. Boat and yacht tours: Guided tours on boats or luxury yachts can be used to explore the Red Sea’s islands or simply enjoy the vastness of the sea. You can check with your hotel for the best deals and packages.
  9. Dolphin and whale watching: Go farther away into the Red Sea, especially near the expansive Farasan Bank in the south of Jeddah, to spot playful dolphins and, on occasion, majestic whale sharks, which are mostly seen in spring and early summer.
  10. Camel rides: While not directly on the water, camel rides are often available along the beaches, offering a traditional way to explore the coastline.

Upcoming mega projects in the Red Sea

The Red Sea coastline of Saudi Arabia is undergoing a transformation, with several mega projects slated for completion in the next few years and offering travelers an exciting opportunity to explore this unique destination.

Here are three projects that are worth keeping an eye on:

  1. Red Sea Global
    • An ambitious initiative by the Saudi government, this project aims to transform more than 90 untouched islands into a luxury tourism destination, beaming with luxurious hotels, residences, and entertainment hubs. Boasting sustainable and conservation-driven infrastructure, it promises to be a haven for luxury seekers and nature enthusiasts alike, with the first phase anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023.
  2. NEOM
    • NEOM is a planned mega-city. It’s expected to cost $500 billion and is located on the northeastern coast of the Red Sea. It will spread over 26,500 sq km and be a center for tourism and innovation. It will have advanced technologies, big entertainment facilities, and resorts.
  3. Amaala
    • Derived from the Arabic word for ‘hope’, AMAALA is an ultra-high-end project spearheaded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. With its focus on luxury and sustainability, AMAALA is poised to cater to affluent adventurers seeking unique wellness and arts experiences along the pristine Red Sea coast.

These bold developments signify that the Red Sea coastline is preparing itself to become a world-renowned hub for luxury tourism, inventive growth, and eco-friendly lifestyles. As Saudi Arabia welcomes more international visitors, these projects represent its pledge to provide unparalleled experiences for tourists worldwide. If you’re looking for travel packages to Saudi Arabia, head over to our website and explore some of the best Umrah + Holiday packages at unbeatable prices.