Jeddah City Guide
Jeddah is one of Saudi Arabia’s largest cities so it’s not surprising that it’s full of cultural interests for you to explore. Old Jeddah is heady mixture of winding souqs and the famous coral buildings that you will find mentioned in any Jeddah city guide. The city looks out onto the Red Sea, as a centuries old trading port, Jeddah’s inhabitants are diverse and its culture reflects this. For many Jeddah is the Saudi Arabian starting point for the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Due to this Jeddah has always had the feel of a travelling town, a place that is used to playing host to millions of visitors each year. You just need to take a look at Jeddah’s tourist information to see that there is plenty here for visitors, from the beautiful coastline to the hustle and bustle of the Bedouin Souq Al-Bado.
Things to do in Jeddah
There are many sights to see in the Al-Balad (old town), and one of the most famous is the Souq al-Alawi. A visit to the souq is one of the key things to do in Jeddah if you want to experience a traditional Saudi Arabian market firsthand. It’s also home to some of Jeddah’s famous coral houses. Many of these are in disrepair, but the Naseef House has been restored and is open to visitors in the evenings. If you want a feel for the modern side of Jeddah, a walk along the Corniche is recommended. Many of Jeddah’s residents choose the Corniche as a place to walk and socialise, while looking at the ocean. Jeddah’s Corniche is famous for its many open air sculptures.
Things to see in Jeddah
One of the things to see in Jeddah that shouldn’t be missed is the Jeddah Regional Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, which is held in the lavish Khuzam palace. There are many interesting artefacts from Jeddah’s historic past held here. Shallaby Museum of Traditional Handicrafts & Hejazi Heritage is also well-worth a visit, with an interesting collection of coins and Bedouin clothes. Jeddah is obviously a very hot city so if you need to cool off why not head to Sail Island? A picturesque water park created on one of Jeddah’s man made peninsulas. Its large white canopies will keep you well shaded on a hot day.
The King Abdul Aziz International Airport is well connected to most countries and is the best way to fly into Jeddah. A taxi can then be caught into the city centre. There are ferries into Jeddah’s main port from Egypt and Sudan. Once you’re in Jeddah, transport around the city is mostly accomplished by taxi. Taxis in Jeddah are relatively inexpensive and can often be found in connection with hotels. For something less practical but very scenic a boat tour on the Red Sea is recommended.
A visit to Jeddah during the period of the Hajj is recommended as the city really comes to life with the pilgrims. The Jeddah Summer Festival takes place every June and offers a range of cultural activities to visitors. The Jeddah Shopping Festival takes place over 30 days in January and February, bringing the Corniche’s various outlets to life with attractive promotions and live entertainment. One of the yearly Jeddah events, that is also celebrated across Saudi Arabia, is The Birthday of the Prophet. Often on this changeable date there are parades and other events going on in the city.
Restaurants in Jeddah
There are many delightful restaurants in Jeddah as it has a rich food culture. Keep your eyes peeled for the traditional succulent shawarma dish which is served across the city. There is an international food culture in the city with many Thai, Asian and fast food restaurants available. There are many beautiful restaurants in Jeddah along the Corniche, and eating out with a view of the Red Sea is a memorable experience. A visit to Jeddah’s colourful fish market is an exhilarating experience with almost every fish imaginable on display!