Dammam is one of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's most beautiful cities and it enjoys a superb location on the Persian Gulf where crystal clear waters and sparkling white sand beaches, such as the aptly named Half Moon Beach, are a major attraction.
Join the locals and take a walk on the Corniche, where a popular designated walking track extends for 2 miles (4km) along the scenic shores of the Gulf. Beach sports are popular and there are kiosks for drinks and snacks as well as children's playgrounds, and the grassy spaces, gardens and sandy areas on the Corniche are beautiful.
Man-made Al-Marjan Island is an extension of the Corniche, and is connected by a bridge to the pier. Try one of the ferry or boat trips to the island to enjoy the well laid out children's playgrounds and to see the monument at its centre, or visit the Dolphin Centre at the entrance to the island where daily seal and dolphin shows and an amusement park are major attractions.
Be sure to visit King Abdullah Park while you're on the sea front. The park has a distinctive design which includes extensive grassy spaces, fountains, restaurants and playgrounds, as well as a theatre which is the venue for several festivals and celebrations.
Tarout Castle stands high on a hill at the centre of Tarout Island in the old town and was named after the ancient Phoenician God of love and beauty. This historical landmark was built in the 16th century, on the site of previous ancient settlements that date back over 5000 years. Today, visitors can see the Al-Basha bath and enjoy incredible views over the city from the island.
There is also exceptional shopping in the city, and the Ash-Shate'a mall and Marina mall have a range of designer and local stores, as well as several international franchise restaurants in their food courts areas.
When to fly to Dammam
November till March is considered the best time of year for a trip to the city, when temperatures generally don't exceed 29C and it is cooler and more pleasant. During the months of April to September it can be very hot and the temperature in the hottest month of July can reach highs of 45C on occasion. Eid-al-Fitr celebrations and holidays in July to August and Eid-al-Adha from September to October can mean that the city is busier than at other times as people come to celebrate with family and friends.
The cheapest time to visit is from April to June and October to November. Average flight costs are not as high as during the peak season months of November to March. There is a further increase in demand for flights and accommodation during the Eid celebrations, Saudi National Day in September and the Prophet's birthday in January which can also have an effect on prices.
Getting around Dammam
Unfortunately the city does not have a good public transport system. Taxis and 'dubbabs' are available in the market area and are seen as the province of low status foreign workers; so many travellers choose to hire a car for the duration of their stay. It's simple to hire a car at the airport, and all the major outlets are represented.