See and Do in Jeddah

Diving in Jeddah - a great way to spend a weekend in Jeddah
The old city on the Red Sea has a rich history and is typically seen as Saudi Arabia’s most cosmopolitan metropolis – so there’s plenty to see and do in Jeddah.

Expats will be surrounded by remnants of the cultures that have passed through the city, and they can experience its past just by wandering around the Old Town.
 
New arrivals are often taken aback by the city’s greenery and a shoreline promenade that gives way to white beaches. The Corniche sweeping along the coast is one of the most popular attractions in Jeddah, but it isn’t the only way to spend time.
 

Shopping in Jeddah

 
Widely believed to be the number one Saudi pastime, there’s a multifaceted realm of shopping in Jeddah.  
 
Traders hawk jewellery, clothes, fabrics, oriental foods at the bustling old souqs of the Balad. It can be frantic, but it’s a good place for expats to have a local experience and try out their bartering skills. 
 
The gold souqs, where clusters of shops sell gold by weight, shouldn’t be missed either. These special bazaars can be found in the Al-Balad area and several shopping malls. Most traders are honest because they want repeat business – so expats can haggle hard and enjoy the experience.
 

Red Sea activities in Jeddah

 
Weekends in Jeddah are often spent around the Red Sea Coast. Picnicking is a popular activity and in winter the Corniche and the city’s parks are filled with families. Expats should go early in the day to avoid evening congestion.
 
There are beaches just to the north of Jeddah where expats can hire boats and jet skis and men are allowed to swim. About 12 miles (19km) from the city centre are a number of private beach clubs with swimming areas, restaurants and cafés. They are family-friendly and expats can access them by buying a day pass or becoming a member.
 

Diving

Diving is one of the most popular activities for expats living in Jeddah. The Red Sea is one of the world’s premier dive locations and its warm water is home to numerous fish, turtles, sharks and octopuses.
 
Even those wary of underwater life will find it hard to resist the draw of the deep, and inexperienced new arrivals can learn at one of the city’s diving schools. Expats can dive at most beach clubs and dive boat operators regularly run trips to offshore reefs.
 
For those who don't have the disposition for deeper water, snorkelling allows for fantastic insight into this underwater world from just under the surface. Snorkelling gear can be rented or bought at dive shops or most beach clubs.
 

Sailing

An active sailing club operates out of the Silver Sands beach club and hosts weekend races. Unfortunately, expats can’t rent boats at the club, but there are vessels available with a little hunting around. Silver Sands is also a centre for wind surfing and expats can hire boards locally.
 

Fishing

Fishing is a popular activity and the city has numerous fishing boat operators. 
 

Sightseeing in Jeddah

 
Expats living in Jeddah have access to a wealth of history. The city was born out of the Al-Balad area, which still houses centuries-old coral buildings, and its ancient alleyways are a great way to get immersed in its character.

Jeddah Fountain

The Jeddah Fountains sprays a parabola of seawater 853 feet (260m) into the Saudi skyline, while the Salam Palace acts as a beautiful backdrop. It looks especially stunning when illuminated at night.
 

Al-Balad

The old quarter’s labyrinth of alleys gives visitors a glimpse into the towns and villages of the Arabian past. Its coral and limestone architecture also houses numerous retail outlets and street vendors, making it a popular shopping destination. 
 

Floating Mosque

Jeddah’s Floating Mosque is a must-see attraction and one of its most sacred sites. Adjacent to the shoreline, when the tide comes in, it appears to float whimsically on the water below. It’s only made more marvellous by its décor and architectural beauty.