Jeddah is 80km from Makkah, about a one-hour drive – longer during Ramadan and Hajj. The commercial capital of Saudi Arabia is known for its laid-back atmosphere and cosmopolitan offerings.

You can find historical markets and glitzy malls, white-coral buildings and gleaming skyscrapers, and cuisine from all over the world. Shoppers tend to agree that the prices in Jeddah are lower than elsewhere in the Kingdom, which is why many pilgrims purchase dates, abayas, jewelry and perfumes in the city.

Travelers and traders have long journeyed to this bustling port city along the Red Sea. A gateway for millions of Hajj and Umrah performers, Jeddah is automatically on the itineraries of pilgrims who arrive by air and sea.

Start your visit in Al Balad to take in centuries-old architecture, buzzing bazaars and historic monuments. To the north, the Corniche area has sandy beaches, charming shops and the striking King Fahd’s Fountain. It is a popular place for families. Just west of the Jeddah airport lies Masjid Al Rahma, known as the Floating Mosque because it appears to rest on the Red Sea at high tide.


Taif is about 100km east of Makkah. The roughly two-hour drive offers stunning vistas on an ascension from an elevation of 280m to 1880m.

Famed for fruits and flowers, Taif is a wonderful place to pick up peaches, grapes, dates and pomegranates, as well as rose oil and honey. Visitors often relish the city’s signature dish of saleeg, a savory rice pudding topped with meat.

Nestled high in Al Sarawat Mountains east of Makkah, Taif (also written as Ta’if) is a verdant city that abounds with green grass, lush trees and blooming flowers. Cool spring rains and dry mild summers help make Taif a top destination for both foreign visitors and Saudis – including the royal family.

This resort town has a number of inviting attractions. Visit Taif’s rose fields, which produce exquisite rose water and rose oil. Parks and nature reserves are ideal for strolling, picnicking and seeing wildlife. Museums exhibit excellent assortments of artifacts. In the nearby Al Hada region, cable cars stop at Al Kar Tourist Village, known for its water parks.

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