How to get around in Makkah: the best transport options for you
Are you planning a visit to Makkah and wondering how to get around? Here is an easy overview of the city’s excellent transport network, which covers all areas of the holy city and beyond.
Public transport is continually improving thanks to government initiatives. This makes it easier and quicker for visitors to access the Grand Mosque and other central areas and holy sites in Makkah, even during busy times like Ramadan and the Hajj season
Public buses: clean and efficient
Clean, regular public buses operated by the Saudi Public Transport Company, Saptco, run on specific routes within Makkah. Intercity buses also run between all cities in Saudi Arabia. You can check bus timetables here.
A more extensive network of bus routes into and around the city is planned as part of the Makkah Public Transportation Program.
Metro: ideal for Hajj
Opened in 2010, Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro line only runs during Hajj, transporting thousands of pilgrims quickly and easily between Makkah and Mount Arafat, Muzdalifah and Mina. The metro system is set to be expanded with new lines to serve residents and pilgrims all year round.
General Syndicate of Cars buses: a good Hajj option
Operating during the Hajj only, the General Syndicate of Cars runs several thousand buses transporting pilgrims between the various holy sites.
Al Haramain high-speed train
Also known as the Makkah-Medina high-speed railway, the brand new Al Haramain train starts operating in early 2018. It will shorten the journey from Makkah to Medina from 6 hours to 2.5 hours. The train runs via the cities of Jeddah and Rabigh.
Tickets are divided into three categories: business class, first class and tourist class.
Hail a taxi
You can hail taxis anywhere in Makkah. Drivers usually don’t use the meter, so the fare is negotiable. During the last ten days of Ramadan and the Hajj season, the fare may be three times higher due to the high demand and traffic congestion.
Private buses for pilgrims
High-quality, air-conditioned buses run by private companies (such as Dallah and Rawahel) operate specific routes during the Umrah and Hajj seasons.
Chauffeur and car-booking services
Uber and Careem provide private chauffeur services inside Makkah. You can order a car by calling the company or using a mobile app linked to a credit card. The price is higher than a regular taxi.
Renting a car in Makkah
GCC nationals and visitors with international driving licenses, as well as expatriates residing in the Kingdom, can rent cars from various rental offices in Makkah.
Walking: the best way to avoid congestion
Despite great improvements in Makkah transport options, walking is still the best way to get around the city during Ramadan and the Hajj season. This helps you avoid traffic congestion and overcrowding, as well as higher prices for taxi fares.