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Riyadh Travel Guide

Riyadh, the country with the largest surface area of the Arabian Peninsula, is the capital of Saudi Arabia. Surrounded by vast deserts, Riyadh attracts all the attention in the desert with its huge skyscrapers. Riyadh is also developing thanks to the ever-growing economy. Despite its strict rules for life, Riyadh is like an oasis in the middle of the desert with its palaces worth visiting, modern museums and natural parks.

General Information

Country: Saudi Arabia
Region: West Asia
Area: 1913 km²
Language: Arabic
Average temperature: 25 °C
Climate: Desert climate
Vegetation: Xerophytic plant
The difference between GMT: GMT+3
Telephone Code: +966-1
Currency: Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR)
Socket Type: Type A, B, C, G 220 V/60Hz (three or two pin)


Location

Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, is located in the central part of the Arabian Peninsula. In addition, it is the cultural and political center of the Riyadh region. There are fifteen municipalities in the city and the region has a 7 million population (2018, source: wikipedia).

Best Time to Visit Riyadh

The desert climate is dominant in Riyadh. High temperatures can be expected throughout the year. It is difficult to tour the streets of Riyadh between 12.00 and 16.00 due to the high temperature. There is no rainfall in June. For this reason, the driest time of the year is observed in this period. The most rainy month of the year is March. The average annual temperature in Riyadh is about 26°C and the desert climate prevails.

Therefore, you can travel to Riyadh at any time of the year. During summer, the temperature can reach 50°C in Riyadh. For this reason, you may consider going to Riyadh in the winter months in order not to be exposed to the dry weather in the summertime. One of the prominent features of the desert climate is that the temperature is high during the day and cold during the night. No matter how high the temperature is in Riyadh, you may encounter a serious cold weather at night.

How Many Days are Enough for the Visit?

Three days are enough to visit Riyadh. On your first day, you can visit all the places around the Old City. If you have time, you can go to the Sky Bridge for the sunset. The city of Ad'Diriyah will be a good choice for the second day. For dinner, you may choose the restaurants on the Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road. As the route of the third day, you can go to the historical and cultural places in the southwest of Riyadh.

Travel to Riyadh

The distance between Riyadh and İstanbul is 3861 km by road and 2558 km by air. The most effective way to go to Riyadh from İstanbul is to use air transportation. You can prefer direct İstanbul-Riyadh flights to reach Riyadh King Khaled International Airport. These flights take in total about 4 hours and 20 minutes. You may follow campaigns for Riyadh flights and travel between two cities at charming prices.

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Transportation in Riyadh

Since oil is very cheap in Riyadh, almost everyone provides their transportation with their own car. Apart from this, there are buses and taxis serving in urban transportation. In Riyadh, you can use public transportation to provide your city transportation or you can rent your own car. Roads in Riyadh are very organized. Gasoline is also cheaper than water. So renting a car can be a good choice.

Transportation to Riyadh Airports

Riyadh King Khalid International Airport (RUH) is located 35 kilometers north of the city center. You can use buses and services to go to Riyadh city center from the airport. If you want to prefer a faster transportation, you can also take a taxi or rent a car.


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Places to Visit in Riyadh

Riyadh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Saudi Arabia. There are many places you can visit and see in the city, which draws attention with its historical atmosphere and modern buildings.

Al Faisaliyah Center

Al Faisaliyah Center, which is the second largest building in Saudi Arabia after the Kingdom Center, attracts attention with its golden ball on top. This ball, inspired by the ballpoint pen, contains a restaurant and a shopping center. It is a unique place to watch the view of Riyadh.

Masmak Citadel

Masmak Citadel, one of the most important symbols of the city, played an important role in the history of the kingdom. The castle, which draws attention with its watchtower and thick walls, took its current form after passing through a series of restoration works in 1980.

Riyadh Museum of History and Archeology

History and Archeology Museum, one of the impressive museums of Riyadh, attracts attention with its modern appearance. In the museum, which exhibits the mystical history of the Arab kingdoms, you can view many artistic, religious and cultural works. It is also possible to see clothing, weapons, jewelery and musical instruments in the exhibition halls, tracing back to the Stone Age.

Kingdom Center

Consisting of 99 floors, Kingdom Center is one of the most beautiful places in the city. You can spend a pleasant time with your family in the building that has famous shopping centers and restaurants. In addition, the Kingdom Center has a beautiful and colorful city view at night.

King Abdullah Park

King Abdullah Park is one of the places where you can spend peaceful times with your family. At the big pool in the middle of the park, musical fountain shows are held after 18.30 in the evening. The park that has playgrounds for children and roller skates platforms for young people is more preferred at night because it is hot during the day.

Royal Saudi Air Force Museum

Royal Saudi Air Force Museum should also be on the list of things to see in Riyadh travel. The collections containing interesting aircraft began to be exhibited after 1920. The museum, which displays different models of aircraft, weapons, uniforms, RSAF history and national symbols, is one of the most preferred museums for those who interested in aviation.

Al-Hamdan Heritage Museum

Alhmdan Heritage Museum, known for its masjid, green areas, amusement park and museum, offers nice opportunities for those who want to know the history. The place, which becomes crowded after the evening hours, is one of the relaxation areas of the people of Riyadh with its lighting and artificial pools. The museum also hosts international tour exhibitions throughout the year.

Where to Stay in Riyadh?

Al Olayya district is the main commercial center of the city. You can find many hotels close to Al Faisaliyah Center. If you want to stay in the traditional Old Town of the city, you can stay in hotels around Masmak Castle, which has been largely modernized over the years. If you do not want to give up comfort and luxury, you may choose famous luxury hotels in Riyadh such as Vivienda Hotel Villas, Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, Rosh Rayhaan by Rotana or Burj Rafal Hotel.


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What to Eat in Riyadh?

In Saudi Arabian food culture, where eating by hand is very normal; rice and meat are among the indispensable flavors of people. Undoubtedly, the need for a large amount of protein in the desert climate has shaped the eating habits. Grilled food covers a very important part of people's daily eating routines. There are also world-famous fast food restaurants across the country. It is possible to taste the most exclusive flavors of the Arab cuisine in the local restaurants of the Riyadh.

Riyadh Cuisine

Do not return without tasting these flavors in Riyadh;

  • Harees
  • Aseedah
  • Saleeg
  • Daghabees
  • Gursan
  • Masoob
  • Hininy

Riyadh Restaurants;

  • Al Orjouan
  • The Globe
  • Azure Restaurant
  • Zafran Indian Bistro
  • Al-Najdiyah Village

Shopping in Riyadh: Best Souvenirs to Buy

Saudi Arabia is one step ahead of other countries about shopping. There are more than 50 shopping malls in Riyadh. Thanks to modern shopping centers, a very active shopping life is experienced in the city. Al-Jazeera shopping center, which is established on an area of 22 thousand square meters, is among the most famous and popular shopping centers of the city.

Apart from shopping centers, traditional shops, markets and bazaars are also frequently preferred. Hurma, rosary, electronic products, local clothes and handicrafts are among the main souvenirs. The fact that there are many shopping centers in Riyadh makes this place have a lively shopping life. But it is worth noting that single men cannot enter every shopping center in this city.

Nightlife in Riyadh 

Religious cops known as mutawa are very effective in the city. Alcohol consumption is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. Nightlife in Riyadh is also very limited. People usually spend the evenings in parks and open shopping malls.

Things to Know Before Visiting Riyadh

  • Hot weather conditions affect daily life. Because of the overwhelming heat between 12:00 and 16:00, many businesses are closed and life stops in Riyadh between these hours.
  • Riyadh is a city where Islamic rules are strictly enforced. In this city, Muslim women have to cover their heads and dress conservatively.
  • No one usually walks on the streets during prayer time. Everyone goes to pray during this time.

What are the emergency numbers in Riyadh?

General Emergency: 112

Ambulance: 997

Police: 999

Fire Department: 998

Traffic Police: 993

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