Visualise this: After a long day of exploring historical quarters, cafes and earthy souqs, you are now sitting adjacent to the world’s fastest street racing track, marvelling at a dazzling fountain shooting towards the sky. Yes, it is a travel experience like no other because Jeddah is ghair, it is different.
Given its location by the sea and its proximity to Makkah, Jeddah has seen influences of various cultures for millennia. This influx has been responsible for shaping the overall persona of the city that pays homage to the past and raises a toast to the future, all at the same time. There is a lot to explore and experience in this seaside city, that will keep the globetrotter in you satiated for days. And while you are at it, Visit Saudi will serve as the best guide for your trip!
Here are 6 reasons why Tripoto and Visit Saudi recommend that you pay a visit to Jeddah in 2022.
Wander through the historical quarters of Jeddah, Al Balad.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a live, interactive open-air museum of sorts. The architecture, bazaars, alleyways and the streetfood of Al Balad are sure to enchant all travellers. Watch the day and night bring out distinctive characteristics of this place. While the morning reverberates with sounds of the bustling bazaars, the nights gently sway to the architecture of the alleys, doors and roshans (windows). To make your palate sing at Al Balad, you must try the kebabs at Naji AlHarbi and the freshly baked rusks at Al Saidi Bakery.
Immerse in the Souq experience and a memorable shopping spree
While in Al Balad, you should not miss stepping into the Souq Al Alawi. The largest souq in Saudi, this is where you will find top notch local fabrics and dresses, Arabian jewellery, incense, spices, Islamic art and more! For those of you who are looking to accentuate your homes, head into old antique shops that this souq is famous for.
However, if you are a shopper who enjoys keeping up with the latest trends, you are sure to find a haven in the concept stores of Jeddah. Hub 27.1, Grey Collective or the Crate are must visits for the best of urban wear and stationery. You must also explore the gigantic Mall of Arabia that is a favourite among travellers for its food court and the high street “The Boulevard”. The Boulevard boasts flagship International designer stores, the best of which is the cube-like Gucci store.
Experience Jeddah’s rich culture
Jeddah is also the cultural hub of Saudi, where tradition blossoms alongside modernity. You can begin your cultural exploration at the Naseef House in Al Balad. This is a restored coral house that was once the royal residence for King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud in 1925 after he conquered Jeddah. You will be stunned to see massive ramps inside the house that were built to allow camels to reach up to the terrace!
The burgeoning art scene in Jeddah is exemplified in the number of art galleries that dot the city, the sculptures on the corniche or the open air cultural extravaganza of Al Balad and the souqs. Contemporary arts and artists find a place of expression in Athr Gallery, the Saudi Centre for Fine Arts, Hafez Gallery, the Darat Safeya Binzagr Gallery, the Adham Art Centre or the Hisham Binjabi studio. The statues on the corniche created by Joan Miro and Henry Moore will leave you stunned with their beauty and stories.
Mix work and play
The proof of the fact that Jeddah keeps pace with the time is obvious from the number of concept stores and new age work-friendly cafes that have come in the city. Catering to the digital nomad generation, Work & Co, Ash Cafe, One Fifteenth or several other neighbourhood cafes are equipped with necessary technological paraphernalia and the best of coffees to ensure that you have a smooth work-from-home experience.
Indulge in a gastronomic adventure like no other
When in Jeddah, you get the best of all worlds. Street food lovers can head to the alleys and souqs of Al Balad. For those in quest of authentic Hejazi cuisine, there are a multitude of options. Maqadeer serves some of the best comfort food with a modern touch, while Twina is famed for its aquatic Hejazi cuisine, the focal point of which is the abundant seafood from the Red Sea. To begin your day with a full tummy, the Hejazi breakfast options at Taibat Al Hijaz are a great idea. You will also find Asian bao buns, Mexican tacos, Lebanese falafels and Italian lattes in cosmopolitan Jeddah.
Dive into the Red Sea
The Red Sea plays an integral part in the lives of the citizens of Jeddah. The corniche is lined with restaurants and stores that are always thronged with tourists and locals alike. An aquarium, exercise arenas and the Central Fish Market where you will find treasures of the Red Sea, are other places of interest. The biggest attraction of the corniche, however, remains the King Fahd Fountain. This is the highest fountain in the world, and shoots water as high as 30 meters! Accompanied by an elaborate light and sound performance, this fountain is a major crowd puller.
The most fantastic experience is reserved for those who brave the depths of the Red Sea. That’s right! Adventure seekers can head to Jeddah’s popular scuba diving sites Sharm Obhur or the shipwrecks at Abu Tair and Abu Faramish. These dive sites are bound to leave you amazed with the wondrous marine life in the Red Sea.
So, when is a good time to travel to Jeddah?
Like all desert cities and destinations, the best time to travel to Jeddah is during winters and early spring. Hence, September to April is an ideal time to visit. If you are visiting in September, you are in for a special treat since Saudi National Day is celebrated during this month and the entire Kingdom bursts into celebration. June to August are particularly hot, and hence best avoided.
How to reach Jeddah?
Being the principal city connecting Makkah, Jeddah is very well connected with global cities via flights that land at the King Abdulaziz International Airport.
Jeddah, with its plethora of offerings, multi dimensional culture, art and food, has something in store for all types of travelers. This Saudi city is a must visit if you want to make 2022 a memorable year for you and your family! So don’t delay your plans anymore, Jeddah is calling!
In association with Visit Saudi
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