The exquisite Red Sea coast city of Jeddah is more accessible than many other parts of Saudi Arabia, and as well as being a gateway to pilgrims heading to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina during Hajj season, it is a magnificent destination in its own right. The city is famous for historic coral houses in its al-Balad or old town district, the world’s highest fountain – the King Fahd Fountain, and the spectacular floating mosque. The Corniche and terrific scuba diving sites in the Red Sea are other great reasons to visit, and Jeddah is also a haven for shoppers with malls such as Al Seraifi featuring the top designer and luxury brands.
The ancient walled city of Jeddah was historically one of the most important sites in the Arab world, and you’ll certainly want to see the towering coral houses that were the home of some of the most prominent traders. Naseef House is one of the best preserved and has been transformed into a museum.
Visit the bustling Souq al-Alawi market right in the heart of the old city to haggle for bargains, or take a stroll to the beach. The beautiful sculpture-lined Corniche stretches for 22 miles along the Red Sea coast and the promenade is where local people gather to chat or enjoy family picnics and gatherings. Scuba diving is a major reason for a visit to Jeddah and divers comes from all over the world to take advantage of some of the top Red Sea dive sites.
The most popular times to visit are during the winter months for Hajj or during summer for the festival. Winter, from October till March, sees average temperatures of between 70-80 degrees, with sunny days and cooler nights. Be aware that the city is extremely busy from October onwards as the Hajj pilgrimage season gets underway.
Summer is hot and humid, with July temperatures reaching 110 degrees by day and 85 degrees in the evenings. Thousands of visitors flock to the city for the Jeddah Summer Festival during this period, and over 250 events include exhibitions, shows, fairs, competitions and games.
The cheapest time to visit is during the low season period in March and April when temperatures are pleasant and the city is less crowded. Peak seasons from October till January for Hajj and during summer, particularly in July and August when the festival is on are more expensive as air fares rise accordingly.