Jeddah Travel Guide by Christina Lammey
Updated: Jan 5
After living as an expat in Jeddah for two years , here is my travel guide of the city that is Saudi's coastal gem.
Jeddah was my first home in Saudi Arabia and even after visiting many other places in Saudi, it still holds the title of 'my favorite city in KSA'. Situated on the coast of the Red Sea, the crystal clear water brings a tranquil vibe to an otherwise busy city. Over the past few years, Jeddah has hosted large sporting events such as Formula 1 and world renowned boxing matches, and music icons such as Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, and David Guetta. The charm of Jeddah serene, yet energetic energy, nurturing a sense of calm anticipation.
This travel blog is an all encompassing guide of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I've sprinkled these travel tips with my personal opinions, but kept fluff to a bare minimum (just like my AP biology teacher taught me in high school, keep it clear, concise, and complete).
What to eat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
When to visit Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Saudi tourism is unique in that the country allocates certain periods of the year to different cities for them to host an increased number of events and activities: this is called a "season". A season usually coordinates with a time of year that is also enjoyable weather wise. Of course, Jeddah season is the best time to visit Jeddah. In 2022 Jeddah season was May-June, but exact dates may vary each year. If unable to visit during Jeddah season, consider your intention for visiting. Winter (Dec-Feb) in Jeddah is often the coolest time of year and very comfortable- the best weather for non-water outdoor activities such as hiking and biking. End of summer (Aug-Sept) is often unbearably hot and humid, but may be nice for water activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling.
What to do in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
City Walk: A recreational zone during Jeddah season with activities, restaurants, and shops.
Al Balad: Essential to visit this historical district. Good place for souvenirs.
Beaches: For how stunning the coast of Saudi Arabia is, beach access is often hard to come by. Beaches for swimming can be found in Obhur and KAEC.
Fakieh Aquarium: overall a pretty normal aquarium w/ dolphin show
Water activities: Snorkeling and Scuba Diving. During Jeddah season there is increased access to water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, and kayaking.
Rent a bike or bring your roller blades at the corniche.
Hiking in Jeddah can be a bit underwhelming since the terrain is dessert rather than tall mountains and lush greenery often associated with hiking. However, Saudi hiking events are quite fun and usually encompass a 1-2hr hike, then hangout in the desert with music, games, food, shisha/hookah, and Arabic coffee. *Rahim proposed to me during a hiking event like this 😊.
King Fahad Fountain: The highest fountain in the world! Very beautiful at night.
Malls: Saudi has a booming mall culture, which makes sense considering how extremely hot the temperature is. Malls, such as Red Sea Mall and Mall of Arabia offer shopping, restaurants, and movie theaters. Some have indoor amusement park rides!
Attend a soccer (football) game: With Saudi Arabia's win against Argentina in the World Cup and the addition of Ronaldo to the Saudi Pro League, it's worth checking out a game. Jeddah is home to Al-Ittihad, a favored team in Saudi, who play at King Abdullah Sport City Stadium
Self-care activities: Saudi has many high end beauty saloons such as Oriana (best view), Lamasat, and Evania spa (w/ pool) for massages, nails, hair, and if you're brave, a moroccan bath. Anyone else like to get a workout in while traveling? My favorite place for fitness classes is Pulse studios (for females only)
What to eat in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
After writing this and realizing how much I've eaten out in the past 2 years, I wondered "why am I not a food blogger?" It is impossible to list all the places worth eating at, but these are some my favorites.
Saudi Food: طوفرية
Shawarma: Anywhere you see rotating meat in the window. Also N9 Darzan
Al Baik is a local Saudi fast food chain. Not something I'd suggest eating everyday, but worth a try while you are visiting.
Turkish food: Khayal Restaurant
Lebanese food: Zaytonay Bay
Seaside dining: Blue Ocean Restaurant located in Fakeih Aquarium (you do not need to go to the aquarium to enter the restaurant). Angelina restaurant next to the Aquarium. *my pro tip is to consider a seaside coffee instead at Overdose's corniche location to fulfill your urge for seaside indulgence.
Brunch: Fatoor Faris (spelled F6or Faris), Maison de Zaid or Abu Zaid for traditional Saudi breakfast of shokshuka, foul, & tamees. Kooz karak is one of my favorite places for breakfast (my order: shokshuka paratha wrap spicy with cheese & hot karak tea), though not my recommendation for a sit-down, aesthetic brunch. For a nice, sit down brunch I recommend Maison de Zaid, Meez, Urth Cafe, Siblings, Brioche, Black Cardamom, and Iknead. *my top choice: Maison de Zaid or Meez. Meez offers a modern twist on traditional Saudi dishes. Also their acai bowl is one of my favs. Speaking of acai bowls, Moonshell is a place that specialized in smoothie bowls.
Seafood: Twina seafood, Blue Ocean Restaurant. Restaurants like Shrimp Zone or Shrimp Anatomy serve you a bag of shrimp mixed in lots of buttery sauce with spices that you have to eat with gloves on. For sushi, Maki House is good and affordable. Gold's sushi is a bit pricer and very delicious. Myazu is through the roof expensive and therefore I assume it is also very delicious though cannot tell you from personal experience 🤣
Chinese food: Baytoti. Wok to Walk for noodles.
Burgers: Section B
Mexican: Firegrill (similar to Chipotle)
Indonesian: Podo Moro
Indian: Holidays restaurant (unassuming and very delicious in Al-Balad), Shezan.
Dessert: For Saudi dessert, try Kunafa Factory (كنافة فاكتوري), Bsbosati (بسبوستي). Maison de Zaid has great ice cream (I recommend the pistachio flavor, with pistachio syrup😳). Got Cookie, Biscotti Cookie Shop, Penguins ice cream (*located in a small neighborhood. Fun fact: Me and Rahim's first apartment was next to this place)
Where to stay in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Staying at hotels such as The Hilton, The Sheraton, and Radisson Blu guarantee you will have a clean stay and be close to the sea. There is also the Ritz-Carlton, Part Hyatt and Shangri-La for the people that eat at Myazu 🤣
My top choice is Shada Hotel Al Shati (Shada hotel Shatea) because it does not break the bank but is clean, aesthetically appealing, close to the coast (though not seaside), with a cafe and small rooftop pool.
A "furnished apartment" is a good option for those traveling in a group as there are options for family style living with multiple rooms, a living room, and kitchen. Smaller furnished apartments exist as well and may be a good option for someone staying for an extended period of time in Jeddah.
Comment below any questions, thoughts, or additional travel tips you have for Jeddah after you visit!