Take a stroll at Jeddah Corniche or visit the Al Balad district in Old Jeddah, to enjoy every bit of this city. With beautiful coral architecture buildings and lively souqs, Saudi Arabia’s Commercial Capital, Jeddah lies on the Red Sea and has been on the World Heritage list since 2014. It is considered to be a vital conjunction point for traders and pilgrims for centuries as it is the primary gateway for Mecca and Medina. Apart from attractive tourist spots, you will also be amazed to see modern, bustling cafes, restaurants, shopping districts and spend your time trying out delicious international dishes and seafood.
Best time to visit: January to March is the ideal time of the year to visit Jeddah.
Visa and Immigration requirement: If you are an Indian passport holder travelling to Saudi Arabia then you need to complete an online application form on www.mofa.gov.sa. Once the form gets submitted, you are required to take a print copy of the form along with the mofa number or reference number along with the necessary documents. According to the new rule, the visa fees need to be paid online and not as cash at the Embassy.
How to reach
By Air: King Abdulaziz International Airport or Jeddah Airport is situated 19km north of Jeddah and is the busiest one in Saudi Arabia.
IndiGo now offers direct connectivity between Jeddah and Mumbai along with seamless connectivity to other destinations in India.
Getting around: Public transportation in Jeddah is limited to buses. Taxis are the most common means of transportation, you can use public or private taxis or self-rental car to get around in the city.
It is Saudi Arabia’s most popular local fast food chain, and you can’t miss it for sure. Try their fried chicken with Al Baik’s special garlic sauce.
Yildizlar can be best described as a local institution in Jeddah, serving a delicious combination of Lebanese and Turkish food, amidst a friendly environment and attractive décor. They offer a wide variety of food that is worth trying such as boneless pigeon to caviar, grilled quail and excellent fish dishes. You can also try their falafel, tzatziki or Mediterranean mezze staples of hummus. It’s a great place to have great food at a reasonable price.
Take along your special one at Green Island to spend a romantic evening on the stilts housed on little chalets spread across the water. The translucent glass floor lets you see the swimming fishes below while having delicious seafood.
A perfect place for the meat lovers, offering classic Turkish cuisine to the Middle Eastern dishes immersed in the best of ingredients. They serve the longest kebabs and are counted among the most prominent Turkish restaurants in entire Saudi Arabia. Make sure you don’t leave the restaurant without trying their one of the best-selling dishes, Ottoman kunafa dessert.
If you are looking for a place to try the authentic taste of Jeddah, then come to Al Nakheel restaurant. Styled in the form of a traditional tent, they are widely popular for good food with seafood as their specialty.
Jeddah is known for its number of high-end shopping malls retailing most of the international brands and combination of local brands. Visiting all of them is not possible, so here are some of the best ones for you to explore.
Mall of Arabia: Touted as one of the largest malls in Jeddah, it boasts a lively food court, special entertainment zone for children and houses various international brands such Zara, H&M and more.
El-Khayyat Center: If you are looking to shop for luxury brands then this is it! Situated on Jeddah’s golden street, El-Khayyat Center houses brands such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci along with all other major luxury brands. The ground floors are for shops whereas the upper levels comprise offices.
Stars Avenue Mall: This mall also consists of luxury brands along with high-street brands and a majority of local brands. The top floor has several designer abaya stores. This unique mix of different kinds of shops makes Stars Avenue mall, among the most popular ones.
Red Sea Mall: It has a mix of local and international brands along with a play-land for kids with awesome rides. The mall also hosts a wide range of good restaurants, diners and cafes. You should try to visit them on the weekend as there is always something happening.
Tahlia Shopping Center: It’s a comparatively smaller mall but comprises many stores that you might like. An ideal destination to shop for beauty products, the mall has numerous beauty brands starting from Sephora, to MAC, The Body Shop, Makeup Forever and many more. It also has jewellery store, abaya shops and range of fast-food restaurants.
Al Basmah Coral Resort Set in the middle of lush greenery and palm trees, Al Basmah Coral Resort is just at a 10 minutes’ drive from the airport. The resort boasts a vast swimming pool, a kid’s pool, a fitness centre, a restaurant and a coffee shop. Hence, the guests can relax and enjoy within the resort.
Lavena Hotel Apartments Located close to the airport and Red Sea mall, the hotel is ideal for regular and solo travellers. It is well-equipped with all kinds of amenities such as air conditioner, minibar in the room, flat-screen TV, kitchen with microwave and refrigerator among others.
Mira Waterfront Hotel Jeddah Offering fully-serviced and spacious accommodations, it is close to principal business and corporate centres making it ideal for business travellers. The hotel also offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner at their restaurant.
Auris Alfanar Villa & Private Pool Close to several tourist spots such as Fakieh Aquarium, the villa features an outdoor pool, and some units even have terrace or balcony. Hence, you can stay at the villa and enjoy your time in the pool.
Makarem Annakheel Hotel & Resort Surrounded by palm trees, it’s a luxurious 5-star property, boasting of modern interiors, stylish rooms, tennis court, outdoor lap pool, hot tub along with a private beach and yacht jetty. So, the guests can chill and relax within the hotel premises.
Al Tayibat City Museum for International Civilisation: This privately-owned museum features an exclusive range of Islamic art, jewellery, pottery, weapons, furniture and traditional Saudi clothes. Try to reach early to get a private tour.
Scuba diving: Jeddah is one of the most sought-after spots by scuba divers. It is a major attraction among the expats in the kingdom. Its location on the Red Sea often gets compared to Egypt’s Red Sea by the tourists. With spectacular visibility, untouched corals there are plenty of sites to explore along the coastal line.
You must visit the floating mosque in Jeddah, also called Fatima Al Zahra Mosque. It’s a stunning white mosque, constructed on pillars that are established underwater that gives the impression of floating in the sea. Every year, it witnesses numerous visits, especially during high tides. So, do visit this serene structure and experience this one-of-its-kind architectural wonder.