Going on a vacation in a different country for the first time means visiting its popular attractions and trying out various activities that you can only do here.
However, the essence of travelling is discovering and exploring new places and seeking unique experiences. Because of this, you would do well to look for off the beaten path destinations and add them to your itinerary.
This is something that you have to remember when you’re visiting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia’s Hidden Treasures You Have to Uncover
The most popular, must-visit Saudi Arabia tourist places include Al-Balad, At-Turaif, Makkah, Masjid al-Haram, Masjid al-Qiblatain, and the Red Sea.
But if you want to discover the country’s hidden gems, make sure you visit these places:
Also known as Jizan, Jazan is a port city found on the southwestern edge of Saudi Arabia, along the southern coast of the Red Sea and north of Yemen.
Jazan is considered by locals and those in the know as “the Pearl of the South” due to its incredible island paradise vibe.
This port city has one of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in the country. It has lovely beaches, lush green forests, and rugged mountain peaks.
Two of the city’s must-visit beaches include Al Mawasem Beach and Al Shuqaiq Beach.
If you love snorkelling and scuba diving, you’ll get the chance to do these and explore an exotic underwater wonderland in the Farasan Islands, a protected group of islands and coral islets that serves as home to a diverse variety of marine species and wildlife.
You’ll also find Wadi Lajab in Jazan. It is a valley located between two mountains covered with lush greenery, which the locals call “heaven in the desert.”
Wadi Lajab has camping sites where you can spend the night in the midst of nature and under the clear skies. You can also try rock climbing here if you’re looking for another adventure in this city.
Whether you’re only exploring the area or trying out different activities, the cool water in the valley, which flows all year round, makes for an incredible backdrop.
Lastly, Jazan is an agricultural heartland as well. As such, you can enjoy a variety of fresh figs, mangos, and papaya and their by-products.
Another pearl you have to discover in Saudi Arabia is Duba, a small town in the Tabuk Province, which many call the “Pearl of the Red Sea.”
The primary attractions of Duba are the King Abdulaziz Fort and its several stunning beaches.
King Abdulaziz Fort is a fortress built during the reign of King Abdulaziz in 1933. It served as the town’s official government headquarters.
The city’s best beaches include Al-Khraiba Beach, Al-Muwailih Beach, Al-Sajdah Beach, Sharma Beach, and the Southern Beaches. These coastal areas are home to an exciting variety of wildlife and amazing spots for swimming, fishing, and diving.
Other places you have to visit here include Park Prince Fahd bin Sultan, the Southern Duba Corniche, Duba Castle, and the Port of Duba.
Duba is also home to many of the best restaurants in Saudi Arabia, some of which are also hidden gems that you have to discover.
Haql Shipwreck Beach
If you can’t get enough of Saudi Arabia’s coastal areas and water, you’ll love exploring another beach in the Tabuk Province – Al Bakhera.
This place is about 50 kilometres away from Haql City.
The beach, which has beautiful soft sands and calm, clear turquoise waters, has designated spots for swimming. However, the main attraction of this place is a shipwreck protruding from the water.
The ship, which is named Georgios G, is known among the locals as the Saudi Titanic or Safinat Haql, which is Arabic for “boat of Haql.” It is a Greek vessel that sank in the sea two decades ago.
Bring your snorkeling or scuba diving gear if you want to get near and explore the shipwreck.
The beach and shipwreck won’t fail to catch your eye; however, you will also be amazed by the picturesque Sinai Mountains, which you can see from a distance.
Al Bakhera is an off the beaten path destination, which means there are no nearby hotels, restaurants, and other facilities nearby. It is one of the top hidden gems you have to discover in Saudi Arabia.
Fifa, or Faifa, is a city around 100 kilometres from Jizan and 60 kilometres away from the Red Sea.
This city is famous among locals for its Fifa Mountains, which many call “The Hanging Gardens of Saudi Arabia” and “Heavens of the Earth.”
The peaks of the Fifa Mountains reach 11,000 feet above sea level. As such, they are the highest in the region.
The mountains have numerous terraces, which were carved centuries ago for agricultural purposes. Today, these landscapes remain lush, teeming with various foliage, edible plants, and herbs, making them a wonderful sight to see and truly Instagram-worthy.
Additionally, there are plenty of ancient fortresses located around the Fifa Mountains, all of which you have to explore.
Whether you see the mountains from a distance or at their bottom or peak, you’ll get stunning views that you won’t find anywhere else. The trek to the top is also an adventure you’ll never forget.
Al-Qasab is one of the oldest cities in Saudi Arabia. It is known for its salt and wheat production.
Since salt production is one of the leading industries here, there are several salt flats in this city, which you might find strange since it is in the middle of the desert.
The salt flats are a sight to see since they look like piles of snow on the desert sand.
While here, you can witness first-hand and learn about the extraction and production process of salt.
The Al Obaidi Market, Al Marqab Tower, and Al Oqdah Wall are other interesting places you also have to visit in Al-Qasab.
Lastly, take the time to visit Al Ekreshiya, which is 15 kilometres away from Al-Qasab. It is a stunning garden covering an area of 115,000 square metres. The lake is filled with rainwater during the rainy season, making it a standout and beautiful natural feature of the area.
The Columns of Rajajil
The Rajajil Columns consist of 50 groups of stone columns that look like men. The area is Saudi Arabia’s version of Stonehenge.
Locals call this area Al Rajajil, which is Arabic for “The Men.”
The rock formations come in different positions, with some looking like men standing upright and others appearing like they have fallen over. They also vary in size, with some higher than three metres. However, nearly all of them are about 60 centimetres thick.
Like Stonehenge, the columns are not arranged in any particular order.
There is no established purpose behind the formation of the Rajajil Columns. Based on some inscriptions, they are said to be around 5,000 years old.
The Columns of Rajajili are located in the Al Jawf Province.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is teeming with many hidden gems. Try to discover all of them when you visit this fascinating country.