Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi
Classic Saudi

Classic Saudi

From: 
Regular price
$12,555.00
Sale price
$12,555.00

Ramadan: 10 March - 08 April 2024 and 28 February -31 March 2025
Hajj Season: 09 May 2024 - 20 July 2024
Rates on application
 
Private Holiday
8 Days ex Jeddah
Daily Departures
 
The birthplace and spiritual home of Islam, Saudi Arabia is rich in attractions and stirring symbolism. As rich as it is vast, the country's absorbing cities, remarkable culture, and breathtaking landscapes offer gloriously fresh experiences for adventurous travellers.
 
Highlights:
  • Catch the sea breeze at Jeddah: Saudi’s most liberal city offers ancient architecture, fresh seafood, and the latest luxuries
  • Follow the footsteps of prophet Mohammed to The Holy City of Medina
  • Discover ancient desert civilizations near AlUla: Explore remarkable rock formations with giant tombs from the Nabatean era carved into the cliff faces
  • Experience Riyadh’s contemporary culture: a showcase for modern Saudi Arabia, the capital city has the best hotels and restaurants in the country

Day 1:  Jeddah (D)

Welcome to Saudi Arabia. On arrival you will be met by a representative of our local operator and transferred to your reserved hotel for a two-night stay.

Jeddah, located on the Red Sea, serves as a bustling commercial hub with the Middle East's second busiest seaport. Recognized as the primary gateway to Mecca, it attracts over a million pilgrims annually for the Hajj. Despite its religious significance, Jeddah is considered the most liberal city in the country, making it a popular tourist destination.

Celebrate your arrival in the Kingdom with sunset drinks on the city’s attractive corniche. Take a stroll to admire the artworks in the ‘open air museum’ and spread out your carpet and your ‘takwa’, the smart Saudi picnic seat. Join the locals when the sun sets, the call for prayer sounds and the world's tallest fountain comes to life in front of the beach walk. Complete your first day in Saudi Arabia with a welcome dinner in modern style, befitting fast-paced Jeddah. Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 2: Jeddah (BL)

Start the day working on the Saudi bigger picture in the Tayebat museum to gain background about Islam, Saudi Arabia and Jeddah, the city to be explored first. The Tayebat museum is ideal for this, consisting of real-live, real-size examples of Saudi and especially Jeddahwi building styles, everyday tools and utensils, art and of course details about the Two Holy Cities; Mecca and Medina. which make a good base for a first talk about Islam. After visiting a selection of what is on display, you will head out into the real Saudi!

Jeddah’s proximity to the Red Sea puts local seafood at the forefront, unlike elsewhere in the country. The Central Fish Market is the hotspot where buyers and sellers come together. Squid, shrimp, lobster and a great variety of fish, some only native to the Red Sea, are all fresh and on display. Follow the flow of the market where customers first choose their pick. Next they move on to have it weighed and get a ticket for the cleaning section, All set? Now it can be prepared in the restaurant right in the market or taken home. To stay in style, experience a seafood lunch in a nearby restaurant.

Optional Program (supplement applies): For those who prefer a great half-day of snorkelling and swimming:
Hop on a private speedboat to experience the Red Sea! Snorkelling gear is packed to discover the wealth of underwater life the region is famous for. Different types of colourful coral, old sorts of exotic fish; snorkelling along the coral sites will impress. These shallow waters make it fun for all levels. The temperatures of the water are at least 21C and the high salinity is beneficial for your health. Top off the trip with a seafood barbeque, skilfully prepared by your skipper.

Find out that things are equally convivial on dry land in the atmospheric old town Al Balad, which achieved UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. Its traditional multi storey buildings and merchant houses are an architectural treasure trove. It is a step back in time with the buzz of trading, pilgrims shopping and the occasional tourist mixed in. The roshan or wooden window covers are the ancient way to create shade and cool in this hot and humid climate, and they make these alleys especially picturesque. Visiting Al Balad is like a dive back in time with the buzz of trading, pilgrims shopping and the occasional tourist mixed in. In a quickly modernizing Kingdom, this area might be the last one to find that ‘real Middle Eastern mix of sights and smells’ that you can find in the old souks across the region. Overnight in Jeddah.

Day 3: Jeddah - Medina (BL)

Today is for following the footsteps of prophet Mohammed to The Holy City of Medina. His early followers undertook this journey on foot and by camel. Present day pilgrims go by Haramain, Saudi Arabia’s state-of-the-art high-speed train system, which makes it a short (under two hours) hop to Medina, one of Islam’s holiest pilgrimage sites.

Medina is one of the two most sacred cities in Islam (the other is Mecca). Medina is centered around Al Masjid an Nabawi, also known as the Prophet’s Mosque, which was constructed by the Prophet himself and is also where he is buried. For a showstopping finale to a remarkable day, experience exterior views of the wonder of the Prophet’s Mosque: a 10-minaret giant that can accommodate one million people. Join the throngs of pilgrims, it is hard to describe the vibe. Non-Muslims are welcome to enjoy exterior views of the mosque from the edge of the square. When the sun sinks it is a great time to visit Mount Uhud, a major pilgrimage site and viewpoint across the Holy City. Overnight in Medina.

Day 4: Medina - AlUla (BL) 

There’s much more to Medina than its primary holy site. Today there will be an opportunity to visit the terminus station of the Hijaz or Ottoman railway, which once brought pilgrims to Medina from as far away as Damascus in Syria. Round out your time in Medina with time to browse at the city’s central market. Saudis are known for having a sweet tooth and the stalls at this bustling souk are ideal snaffling territory for goodies such as ma’amoul (butter cookies stuffed with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, or dates), luqaimat (hot, crispy dumplings drizzled in honey) and kunafa (a kind of sweet cheese pie made with semolina pastry and rose water syrup).

Later, depart on a fascinating road trip from Medina to AlUla, home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. These destinations sit deep in the desert in the northwestern region of the country. Don’t expect only sand dunes, this is a volcanic area with black lava stone and mountain vistas and rich in historical significance.

Arriving in AlUla before sunset leaves ample time for a pilgrimage to Elephant Rock. Set in golden desert sands and climbing into the blue Arabian skies, the rock (also known as Jabal Alfil) is one of AlUla’s most impressive geological marvels. Overnight in AlUla.

Day 5: AlUla (BL)

The draw to AlUla is its remarkable natural rock formations and canyons, extensive and varied pre-Arabic rock art, and immaculately preserved tombs built more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans. Being the day with a visit to the Nabataean site of Hegra, which was the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom, dating back to the first century BCE. Today, follow your ‘rawee’ or storyteller, to explore several of the more than 100 well-preserved monumental tombs, most with elaborate facades carved from rock formations scattered around the desert.

Next, head for the green zone that is AlUla oasis, and stop for a cup of coffee at The Pink Camel, situated beautifully amid the date farms. Take a stroll where lush palm trees sway gently and the smell of citrus fills the fresh air, adding to the oasis-feeling that AlUla still retains. Follow the winding, shaded Oasis Heritage Trail through the orange grove, hear birds and imagine how the nomads of the past found water and refuge from the desert here.

Exit the lush oasis at AlJadeeda, an area known also as ‘Art City’ which has a colourful vibe with street art and art exhibits spread out in its walking streets. Continue exploring AlUla historic city, often called ‘the Old Town,’ a charismatic place that once sat at the crossroads of the Silk Road and the Incense Route, and that rewards a leisurely stroll. Recent renovations have turned it into a magical mix of ancient alleys and trendy restaurants and upmarket souvenirs shops.

The remaining afternoon is at leisure to utilise the facilities of the hotel or continue your exploration of AlUla’s landscapes with an optional activity (surcharges apply) : Some of the optional experiences available include: view the sandstone mountains from above in a helicopter or hot air balloon (in season); op on a mountain bike and venture off the beaten path into desert dunes; climb the valley’s edge to better soak in AlUla’s expansive vistas. Overnight in AlUla.

Day 6: AlUla - Riyadh (BL) 

A leisurely start before a midmorning departure to AlUla Airport for your flight to Riyadh, the Kingdom’s modern capital.

Arriving in Riyadh you’ll immediately see how rapidly the city is modernizing. From towering skyscrapers to long boulevards, shopping centers, mosques and luxury hotels, this is a city that is set to surprise you. Put things in perspective by taking the high-speed lift to the 99th floor of the iconic Kingdom Center for access to Riyadh’s best urban panorama. Suspended 300 meters above the city, the tower's curved Sky Bridge offers spectacular views across the Riyadh skyline and beyond. Overnight in Riyadh.

Day 7:  Riyadh (BL)

Discover the wealth of contrasts that distinguish Riyadh. Historical highlights here include Masmak Fort, Souq al Zel, and cultural centres such as the National Museum and the Murabba palace. And of course, At Turaif in the Diriya area, once the heart and start of the Kingdom. Whilst making your way across the city you will note the contrast between these local marketplaces and the city’s sparkling highrise.

Begin the day with a visit to the Diriyah area, the birthplace of the first Saudi state called At-Turaif which ruled between 1744 and 1818. Discover all about the architecture and heritage at this UNESCO World Heritage site, which has recently been restored to its former glory. Find out how the mud-brick houses were built; how homes were cooled during the hot summer days; and how people lived without electricity and creature comforts

Continue to explore other pointers toward Saudi’s charismatic past. You will find Al Masmak Fortress in the heart of the old town. A large clay and mud-brick citadel that witnessed the birth of a kingdom, the 150-year-old edifice stands as a reminder of Saudi’s storied past. Justice Square is another reminder of the past. Roaming this ordinary neighbourhood on foot you discover mud houses, abandoned not long ago. You will also learn more about Saudi history at Murabba palace and at the fantastic National Museum of Saudi Arabia.

Towards the end of a busy day head for Souq al Zel and Souq Bisht, two of the most characteristic traditional marketplaces in town and uniquely atmospheric hubs of Arabian commerce. This is the ideal spot to acquire a memento for your journey back. Complete the Riaydh feeling by mingling with the locals in one of the city parks or squares that come alive with socializing activities once the sun rays disappear. Overnight in Riyadh.

Day 8: Riyadh (B)

At leisure until you check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  • Airport arrival and departure transfers during daytime hours (NOTE: for flights arriving before 6.00am and after 10.00pm and departures before 8.00am and after 11.00pm, surcharges will apply)
  • 7 night’s hotel accommodation in selected category with private facilities
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • All transfers and tours by private air-conditioned vehicles, unless otherwise mentioned
  • Domestic flight AlUla/Riyadh
  • English speaking local tour guides (often station guides: 1 guide per location)
  • Bottled drinking water totalling to 1lit/pax/day during touring days
  • All entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Exclusive corniche experience with soft drinks & local snacks in Jeddah
  • 15% VAT tax & up to 5% municipality tax are included for all services mentioned in the program
  • 24/7 support in Saudi Arabia
  • Assistance of local representatives
  • Saudi Arabia Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

  • International and domestic flights, unless specified otherwise
  • Meals other than mentioned above,
  • Camera/video entrance fees,
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, tips, visa
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above
  • Optional private boat trip on the Red Sea in Jeddah
    Other
  • Optional tours/activities mentioned in the program, for example helicopter tour, biking, hot air balloon ride etc.
Accommodation based on the following or similar.
The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only.

Jeddah

First Class: Shada Shate'a Boutique Hotel

Deluxe Class: Sheraton

Medina

First Class: Millenium Hotel

Deluxe Class: Le Meridien

AlUla

First Class: Shaden Resort AlUla

Deluxe Class: Habitas Resort AlUla

Riyadh

First Class: Joudyan Hotel by Elaf

Deluxe Class: Narcissus Hotel & Spa

Arrival and Departure Transfers
For flights arriving before 6.00am and after 10.00pm and departures before 8.00am and after 11.00pm, surcharges will apply (night transfer)

Dress Codes
Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia are expected to dress modestly and respect the country's conservative customs and traditions. The dress code for women is more strict, and it is important to be aware of the guidelines before traveling to the country.
Most Saudi men prefer to wear the thobe (or thawb) on both formal and informal occasions, but in most public places, shorts (below the knee) and short sleeved shirts worn by Saudi or tourist men are allowed, except in governmental offices and mosques. Men must not be shirtless under any circumstances.
Officially Saudi women only need to dress modestly and are not required to wear the abaya (traditional Saudi cloak), the hijab (hair covering veil) or niqab (face covering veil), yet in many parts of the country Saudi women are still expected or choose to wear them in public. Although tourist women are exempt from such rules, providing they dress modestly, it is highly appreciated that tourist women wear some type of abaya and hijab, particularly when entering mosques or other religious sites.
It's worth noting that the dress code is more relaxed in some areas, such as in Jeddah and other coastal cities, but it's always better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of caution.

Holiday periods
Surcharges or compulsory meals may apply for holiday periods such as Christmas, New Year, Water Festival etc.

Luggage
Includes 1 carry-on baggage (max. 5-10 kg depending on the airline) and 1 check-in baggage (max. 20 kg). Traveling light with smaller baggage sizes is more practical on the road and is recommended.

Ramadan
During the Holy Month of Ramadan Muslims fast, abstaining from eating, drinking & smoking during daylight hours (approx. 7am-6.30pm). As a sign of respect, tourists should also try to refrain eating in public during the fasting hours. Restaurants and Cafes in Hotels and Cruise boats will be open, however limited alcohol may be available over this time. In 2024, Ramadan is expected to begin on the evening of Sunday 10th March. After 30 days, or on sighting the full moon, Eid Al Fitr is celebrated & most public and private institutions close for at least three days.

Sightseeing
All sightseeing tours require a moderate amount of walking around historical / cultural sites. A good level of fitness will ensure you get a maximum enjoyment from your visit.

Vehicles
Outside the big cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, using a 4x4 vehicle adds to the Arabian experience so this is included for groups of 1-4passengers - the guide also acts as the driver. In the busy cities, a non-4x4 vehicle with separate driver and guide is provided for additional safety and convenience.

 

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. All featured tour itineraries and offers may be subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are available in some destinations for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.