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Saudi Arabia Cultural Discovery Tour

From Vibrant Riyadh to Historic AlUla & the Empty Quarter


MT Sobek is known for epic, insider adventures that go deep into the heart of a destination. Explore Saudi Arabia on our new cultural discovery adventure that travels from modern, vibrant Riyadh, through the juniper-covered mountains of the Asir region, and into the magical desert of the Empty Quarter. Stargaze in the vast dunes, see ancient petroglyphs at Jubbah, explore villages and souks, and enjoy authentic interactions with local people. Experience a stunning blend of modern and ancient, and enjoy warm hospitality along the way.

13 Days

From: $8,895

MT Sobek is known for epic, insider adventures that go deep into the heart of a destination. Explore Saudi Arabia on our new cultural discovery adventure that travels from modern, vibrant Riyadh, through the juniper-covered mountains of the Asir region, and into the magical desert of the Empty Quarter. Stargaze in the vast dunes, see ancient petroglyphs at Jubbah, explore villages and souks, and enjoy authentic interactions with local people. Experience a stunning blend of modern and ancient, and enjoy warm hospitality along the way.

Highlights


  • Explore the ancient wonders of Saudi Arabia, from UNESCO-listed rock art in Jubbah to mesmerizing citadels to the Nabatean wonder that is AlUla

  • Experience Saudi life with visits to souks, galleries, and villages, and enjoy engaging interactions with local people

  • Relax in the comfort of well-appointed hotels, then head to the Empty Quarter for two nights of desert camping

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Saudi Arabia Cultural Discovery

Start: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia   End: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Itinerary


  • Arrive in Riyadh

    Day 1

    Welcome to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's bustling capital city! Your guide will transport you from the airport to your hotel, where you'll enjoy a rest and a first-night dinner with the group.

    Accommodation: Rosh Rayhaan

    Meals: Dinner

  • Explore Riyadh & Journey to Abha

    Day 2

    Begin the day by exploring the sights of Riyadh, from the vast, mudbrick Masmak Fortress to the vibrant Al Zal souk. Next, visit the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center and marvel at the stunning modernist architecture of the National Museum, which beautifully showcases Arabian prehistory, history, culture, and art. After a traditional lunch in the city, you'll begin your journey to Abha, where your hotel for the night awaits.

    Accommodation: The Blue Inn, Abha

    Transportation: 2-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike in the Soudah Mountains

    Day 3

    Wake early for a drive to the Soudah Mountains, one of Saudi Arabia's top adventure destinations. Follow your guide on rugged hiking trails through juniper trees and marvel at spectacular mountain views. Then visit the traditional village of Rijal Almaa, dating back 900 years. After lunch in the mountains, explore Soudah's market and the Al Muftaha Art Center. Return to Abha for dinner and overnight this evening.

    Accommodation: The Blue Inn, Abha

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Cultural Village Touring & Travel to Najran

    Day 4

    Start the day with a drive to Tamniah cultural village and museum, then take a cable car up to the ancient mountain village of Al Habala — seemingly suspended in the sky! Enjoy lunch back at the hotel, before visiting a women-owned and operated art gallery. In the afternoon, journey to Najran with a stop at the Dahran Aljanoub cultural village on the way.

    Accommodation: Park Inn by Radisson

    Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Visit Traditional Markets & Ancient Alukhdood

    Day 5

    Rise today for a visit to Najran's traditional markets, then explore the governor's historical palace. After lunch and a rest, set off to explore the captivating ancient city of Alukhdood, which dates back more than 2,000 years! Enjoy dinner and your last night in Najran.

    Accommodation: Park Inn by Radisson

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • See Petroglyphs at Hima & Journey to the Empty Quarter

    Day 6

    After breakfast, start the day with a journey to the ancient wells of Hima, one of the most important historical sites in Saudi Arabia. See 3,000-year-old rock art, including depictions of humans, animals, and hunting tools. Then it's off to explore Qaryat al-Faw, a fascinating — and even older — ancient city. From there, journey to the Empty Quarter, where your guiding team will set up camp for the night. Your three-day desert adventure begins!

    Accommodation: Empty Quarter Camp

    Activity: Full-day cultural touring and journey to the Empty Quarter

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore the Empty Quarter

    Day 7

    Wake to sunrise over the desert and enjoy breakfast at camp. After a briefing on today's route from your guides, you'll begin venturing deeper into the Empty Quarter. Along the way, be wowed by the high dunes and spectacular valleys of Oroq Bani Maraith. Stargaze at your second camp tonight.

    Accommodation: Empty Quarter Camp

    Activity: Full-day exploration of the Empty Quarter

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Leave the Empty Quarter & Return to Riyadh

    Day 8

    Rise early for your last breakfast in the desert, then cross a dry lakebed and experience what it's like to be stuck in soft sand. A fun experience — really! After lunch at a well in the Empty Quarter, drive back to Riyadh to freshen up and enjoy an overnight stay at the Roshan Hotel.

    Accommodation: Rosh Rayhaan

    Activity: Full-day exploration of the Empty Quarter and return to Riyadh

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Experience Traditional Souks & Village Life

    Day 9

    Today, you'll set off north towards Qassim, stopping at Ushaiger Heritage Village on the way. Enjoy lunch in a traditional house, then visit the village of Almethnab and its antique souk. Have a rest and a coffee at a local farm, then continue to Almesoukaf and Qassim.

    Accommodation: Golden Tulip

    Activity: Full-day cultural touring and journey to Qassim

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Faid & Travel to Hail

    Day 10

    Start the day with a drive to the pre-Islamic historical city of Faid and see a volcanic crater. Around midday, you'll arrive at your hotel in Hail for lunch and a free afternoon to explore the city on your own before meeting back with the group for dinner.

    Accommodation: Holiday Villa

    Activity: Full-day cultural touring

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike Aja Mountain & Visit Enchanting AlUla

    Day 11

    Today you can stretch your legs on a hike in the Aja mountain range and enjoy a scenic picnic lunch. In the afternoon, drive to AlUla and visit the ancient city of Hegra along the way. AlUla is a living museum in the desert and one of the most significant archeological regions in the world, with history dating back 7,000 years!

    Accommodation: Shaden Resort

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Visit the Alrajajeel Standing Stones & Journey to Jeddah

    Day 12

    After breakfast, visit the ancient standing stones at Alrajajeel and the mountain-top castle Zabal. Depart for Jeddah this afternoon, and enjoy dinner and a talk with local women, who will discuss their lifestyle in this part of the country. Savor your final night in Saudi Arabia!

    Accommodation: Jeddah Movenpick

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Depart from Jeddah

    Day 13

    Start your final day in Saudi with a tour of old Jeddah and a tour of private museum, housing a collection of interesting finds from the region. After lunch, head to the airport for your homeward-bound flight and bid farewell.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Dates & Prices


  • 2023
  • Go Custom
  • Inclusions

2023

Scheduled Dates


The earlier you book, the more choice of available dates you’ll have and once you book, your price is guaranteed.

  • Jan 03 - 15, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Check for Availability
  • Jan 31 - Feb 12, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Check for Availability
  • Oct 28 - Nov 09, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available
  • Nov 30 - Dec 12, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure


Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.

Start Planning

Inclusions

Price Includes


  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include


  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Alcoholic beverages (MT Sobek provides wine at select events)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses

Contact An Expert


800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Your Guides


The best people to immerse you in a destination are the ones who live there, which is why we feature local Adventure Guides on our trips. Here are a few that you might meet on this adventure.

Local Tour Guide

Local Tour Guide

We work with only the most experienced and knowledgeable local tour guides on our trip extensions. While you will not be accompanied by an MT Sobek through guide on this tour, you will be in excellent hands with a fully licensed and accredited local guide who will share their expertise in everything from history and architecture, to culture and traditions, the best local cuisine, activities and crafts, or even shopping. Local guides live, breathe, and love their trips because as locals they are an integral part of their communities. Their connections run deep and pride in their piece of the world is contagious.

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Rise early for your last breakfast in the desert, then cross a dry lakebed and experience what it\'s like to be stuck in soft sand. A fun experience — really! After lunch at a well in the Empty Quarter, drive back to Riyadh to freshen up and enjoy an overnight stay at the Roshan Hotel.

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Start your final day in Saudi with a tour of old Jeddah and a tour of private museum, housing a collection of interesting finds from the region. After lunch, head to the airport for your homeward-bound flight and bid farewell.

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Activity Level


This trip is rated activity level 2. Expect 3 to 4 hours of cultural touring each day, visiting historic sites and villages. Be prepared for a few short hikes on rugged paths in the mountains and walking on sand in the Empty Quarter.
Learn more about activity levels here.

Activity Snapshot

Day 6

Full-day cultural touring and journey to the Empty Quarter

Day 7

Full-day exploration of the Empty Quarter

Day 8

Full-day exploration of the Empty Quarter and return to Riyadh

Day 9

Full-day cultural touring and journey to Qassim

Day 10

Full-day cultural touring

Accommodations


Stay at charming and comfortable accommodations, and enjoy two nights of desert camping in the Empty Quarter.

Rosh Rayhaan
Rosh Rayhaan

A luxurious behemoth with 236 sparkling rooms, the five-star Rosh Rayhaan by Rotana sits in the heart of Riyadh. It's right amidst the city's shopping districts, on the popular Olaya street and on the edge of Tahlia street, where you can find more shops and a wide array of eateries. Spacious rooms come with elegant design, creamy colors, stylish furniture and the full range of upscale amenities. The hotel features a range of restaurants to choose from, as well as a fitness and wellness club with a sauna, steam rooms and massages on request.

The Blue Inn, Abha
The Blue Inn, Abha

The Blue Inn is a modern boutique hotel in the heart of Abha. It's spacious rooms are clean and comfortable, and come well-appointed with modern amenities. There is a welcoming 24-hour front desk and the hotel has a restaurant, a fitness center, and shared lounge.

Park Inn by Radisson
Park Inn by Radisson

Enjoy a home away from home at the Park Inn by Radisson, located in Najran's city center. The hotel has 107 stylish rooms offer comfort and modern conveniences, and the onsite restaurant offers a variety of international dishes. The Park Inn has great views of Najran Football Stadium.

Empty Quarter Camp
Golden Tulip
Golden Tulip

The Golden Tulip hotel is sleek hotel with spacious accommodations and great hospitality. It 144 elegant rooms include air conditioning, satellite television, mini fridges, a safe, and a convenient internet connection. Guests may also enjoy the fitness center and on-site restaurant.

Holiday Villa
Holiday Villa

The modern and conveniently located Holiday Villa Ha'il dazzles with its soaring atrium and glass-fronted lifts. Its clean and spacious rooms are well-appointed with modern amenities, and have a fresh feel. There's also an onsite fitness center and a restaurant with an outside dining area — perfect for Saudi Arabian evenings.

Shaden Resort
Shaden Resort

Surrounded by AlUla's sandstone mountains, the Shaden Resort offers a tranquil escape. The resort's collection of 121 deluxe rooms and villas all have a private terrace or balcony, and come equipped with modern amenities. Guests also have access to a vast pool and lounge complex, perfect for unwinding.

Jeddah Movenpick
Jeddah Movenpick

The modern Movenpick is a relaxing hotel in just a short way from Jeddah's city center. Its rooms have an understated elegance and include all of the comforts of home. Outside you'll find a lagoon-style pool and a patio area for outdoor dining. There is also on on-site fitness center with sauna, hot tub and steam bath.

Weather


Climate of Saudi in general from November to the end of February ranges between a low of 50 F and a high of 77 F.

 
Jan
Oct
Nov
Jeddah 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Jeddah
83
66
95
74
91
71
Riyadh 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Riyadh
69
48
95
70
82
59

FAQs


Who will meet me on arrival?

Our MT Sobek representative will meet you on arrival and transfer you to your hotel in Riyadh.

Do I need a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia?

Yes, American citizens need a visa to travel to Saudi Arabia. You can obtain an e-visa online.

How do I get to Saudi Arabia?

There are several airlines that fly to Saudi from the US with one connection, including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar, Turkish and Lufthansa.

Download Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

Inspiration to Explore


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Guest Reviews


"We have traveled throughout the world, but never experienced a level of service and attention to detail as we did with MT Sobek."

Dennis G.
MT Sobek Guest

"I've taken six MT Sobek trips and they have all exceeded my expectations. The staff, the food, the logistics and the communications have always been exceptional. Thank you for being my "go to" adventure travel company!"

Margaret I.
MT Sobek Guest