First-time visitors will want to spend at least a day or two exploring this vibrant coastal city known as the "Bride of the Red Sea and Saudi Arabia" oldest city. This commercial hub and seaport long served as a gateway for Muslim pilgrims travelling to the holy city of Makkah, and today it is known for its colourful souks, historic architecture, flavourful cuisine and beautiful coastline, as well as modern additions like theme parks and shopping malls.
Begin your journey in the Al-Balad historic district and wander cobblestone streets and winding alleyways to see traditional homes with intricately carved doorways and latticed windows. Marvel at the architecture of the Nassif House Museum: a 106-room Ottoman Turkish-inspired stone mansion that was originally home to a wealthy merchant and also served as a temporary royal residence for King Abdul Aziz, the first monarch of the third Saudi State, today known as Saudi or Arabia. Then, explore the Gabel Street Souk, where cosy shops are packed with hand-woven baskets, fragrant spices, jewel-coloured fabrics and traditional clothing. Cool off with a refreshing drink of freshly pressed sugar cane juice from a street vendor.
Continue learning about local history and culture at GAl Tayebat City Museum, a sprawling 18-wing museum featuring ancient architecture, Islamic art, traditional clothing, antique weaponry and other exhibits detailing the city’s rich past.
To explore the new developments, stroll through the waterfront district of Jeddah Corniche, where dazzling skyscrapers, palm tree-lined walkways, sculptures by international artists, amusement park rides and the Fakieh Aquarium, provide plenty to see and do. Nearby, Al Rahma mosque is a turquoise-domed beauty, suspended over the Red Sea on white stilts, giving it a floating appearance.
When the sun goes down, don’t miss King Fahd’s Fountain, the highest fountain in the world with its majestic column of seawater illuminated against the night sky.