Saudi Arabia Cultural Discovery

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. In 2022, you can 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 Empty Quarter. Stargaze in the vast desert, 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. See Saudi for yourself!

  • 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

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Arrive:

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Depart:

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Price: from $8,895

Duration:

13 Days

Departures:

See Dates

Group Size:

6-15 Guests

Min Age:

16 yrs

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 here.

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed 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: Roshan Hotel

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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: Roshan Hotel

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

    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.

    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

Saudi Arabia Cultural Discovery

Download Detailed Itinerary

Click here to download the Detailed Itinerary.

What to Expect

 

Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek has been leading immersive cultural adventures across the globe for more than 50 years and we have decades of experience in the Middle East.

Reason #02

We work with professional local guides who are experts at leading adventures in Saudi Arabia.

Reason #03

We know because we go. This trip has been extensively scouted first-hand by MT Sobek staff, including MT Sobek President & CEO Massimo Prioreschi.

Meet your guides

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.

Activities

Cultural touring of historic sites and ancient towns and villages. Authentic insider experience and interactions with local people.

Lodging

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

Climate

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.

FAQ

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.

  • 2022
  • 2023
  • Go Custom

2022

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

Scheduled Dates

  • Oct 28 - Nov 09, 2022
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available
  • Nov 30 - Dec 12, 2022
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available

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.

2023

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

Scheduled Dates

  • Jan 03 - 15, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available
  • Jan 31 - Feb 12, 2023
    $8,895 price per person dbl occ
    +$735 internal airfare+$850 single supplement
    Available
  • 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

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.

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.

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