Saudi Arabia’s second city is the country’s commercial capital. Historically an important port servicing the Middle East, it is now focused on developing capital investment in scientific and engineering areas.
There are numerous major international hotel brands represented in Jeddah including Crowne Plaza, Movenpick, Hilton and Holiday Inn. Popular business hotels in the city include the Centro Shahheen by Rotana and the InterContinental Hotel Jeddah.
Eating out is a big part of the city’s culture and there are plenty of great restaurants to visit. Al Nakheel restaurant is a popular Middle Eastern option styled like a tent with open sides to let in the sea breezes.
Al Khayal is heralded as one of the best Turkish restaurants in the city and is reasonably priced. For traditional fare with a modern twist visit Maison De Zaid, a popular breakfast destination in the city.
Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia so there are no bars or pubs. Visitors should be aware that punishments for consuming alcohol are harsh. Eating out is the primary option for nightlife, although several cafes serving coffee also serve hookahs – the traditional Middle Eastern flavoured tobacco pipe – until late.
King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) is located about 19km from Jeddah. The best way to reach the city is by taxi with fares from SR60- SR130 (around £12-£26), but it is best to negotiate a rate beforehand. There are also buses, but these can be crowded and uncomfortable. Car hire is available, although driving conditions can be dangerous. Women will finally be allowed to drive in the country from June 2018.
Al-Balad old town is one of the top sights in the city. Here, you’ll find ancient buildings and traditional souqs and Jeddah’s famous coral houses. The bustling Souq al-Alawi is located in the heart of the old town. Haggle with merchants and keep an eye out for genuine Arabian finds.
Jeddah is served by King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED). There are two non-stop flights a day from London Heathrow, one operated by British Airways and the other by Saudia. Several other airlines offer flights from the UK via their hubs, including Kuwait Airlines, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Egyptair, Pegasus Airlines and Gulf Air.