Riyadh – One of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil cities

Riyadh Airport Directory (RUH)
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Once a walled region along the trading routes, Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia is not only a major financial, administrative and political hub but also one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Riyadh, literally translating to garden, boasts of a modern character with stunning high-rise structures dominating the desert and stylish automobiles crowding the highways. The city is deeply rooted in its culture and has over 4000 mosques. With opulent hotels, restaurants, high-end shopping centres, malls, and some of the most brilliant tourist attractions, Riyadh becomes a definite addition to your travel list. So, pack your bags and embark on a journey to explore Riyadh.

Best time to visit: October to March is the ideal time to explore Riyadh. Let us take a look at the various seasons round the year to help you plan your trip better.

  • Winter (November – March): The average temperature during winter ranges between 8 °C to 25 °C. Riyadh also receives a small amount of rainfall with occasional hailstorms during the winter season. This is the most suitable time to visit the city.
  • Summer (May to September): Summers in Riyadh are hot and dry with the temperature reaching up to 50°C and average temperature of 45°C. Most of the summer evenings witness thunderstorms resulting in cooler evenings and nights.

Most spoken languages in Riyadh

  • Arabic

How to Reach Riyadh

  • By Air: Riyadh King Khālid International Airport serves Riyadh and is located at 35 km north of the city. IndiGo now provides flights to Riyadh with direct connectivity between Riyadh and Delhi & Mumbai along with a seamless connection to other key destinations.

Getting around

  • By Bus: The national bus network, Saptco is the easiest and cheapest and most comfortable mode to get around Riyadh.
  • By Taxi: Taxis are known as ‘limousines’ and are available in larger towns. Remember to negotiate the fare first (like locals do) instead of using the meter.
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Places to visit in Riyadh

  • Kingdom Centre: A brilliant model of modern architecture, Kingdom Centre is a 99-story, 992 ft skyscraper in Riyadh. This spectacular structure comprises a shopping mall, apartments, the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, and parking for 3000 vehicles. Its most striking feature is the 300-ton, 184 ft steel-and-glass sky bridge on the 99th floor, offering a breathtaking view of the city. Don’t forget to click some amazing pictures from the top.
  • Masmak Fortress: Masmak Fortress looks like an ancient fort straight from an Arabic movie, representing an empire. Built with clay and mud-brick, this massive fort is a crucial part of the kingdom’s history, located at the centre of Riyadh. The highlights of the fort include galleries exhibiting an array of interesting photographs of Saudi Arabia from 1912 to 1937, roofs covered with painted palm-tree, ethel and taramic wood, adding an old-world charm to the structure.
  • Murabba Palace: If the beauty of Masmak Fortress wasn’t enough for you, then head to the second mud-brick palace - Murabba Palace. Built by King Abdulaziz, the Murabba Palace is located about half a mile from the Masmak Fort, and the two-story structure reflects traditional Najdi architecture.
  • National Museum: Touted as one of the must-visit museums in the Middle East, the two-floor National Museum boasts of eight well-designed and explanatory galleries exhibiting the Arabian history, art and culture. The displays include attractive models, rock carvings and reconstruction of a Nabataean tomb from Madain Saleh. 
  • Riyadh Zoo: The Riyadh Zoo is Saudi Arabia’s largest zoo and home to about 1500 animals, including the Houbara Bustard, a large bird on the verge of extinction. Initially, it was a small zoo, housing animals gifted to the Al Saud ruling clan. Later it was refurbished and opened to the public in 1987. The place is a must-visit, especially in the late afternoon, when the weather is cooler.

Places to eat in Riyadh

Najd Village
Najd Village

Designed like a central-region village, Najd Village is a unique place to visit for authentic Saudi food in a local setting. Try their kasba – meat with rice or hashi – baby camel, a specialty of the Najd region.

Lusin Restaurant
Lusin Restaurant

It is the first and only restaurant serving Armenian cuisine in the region. Their specialty includes, the traditional Armenian soborak, gapama - pumpkin stuffed with rice, meat, and nuts and then baked to perfection and pastry layers stuffed with cheese.

The Globe
The Globe

If you are looking for a romantic spot for dinner with your special one, then do visit the Globe restaurant in Al Faisaliah Tower. The stunning view and dimly lit cozy ambience makes it one of the most sought after and best restaurants in Riyadh.


Tuǧra is the first Turkish restaurant in Riyadh, serving delicious flavours dating back to the Ottoman era. It is famous for dishes like cokertme kebab – grilled meat on skewers and kuzu guvec firin - lamb stewed with artichokes in a clay pot.


Shopping in Riyadh

Almost all the streets in Riyadh are filled with markets, shopping malls, and boutiques. You will get to see some of the most beautiful malls in the city, including Al Faisaliah, Al Mamlaka, Granada Mall, Sahara Mall, to name a few. Along with the modern malls and shopping centres, Riyadh is also home for some of the traditional souks such as Souk al-Thumairi. Shop for some souvenirs from Riyadh, that includes leather goods, Persian rugs, and local jewellery. Remember shopping in Riyadh is tax-free, so, do look for good deals on high-end and luxury brands.

 Al Nakheel Mall: Riyadh has a lot of malls, Al Nakheel Mall is comparatively new and a favourite among the locals and tourists. You can shop for a wide range of products starting from affordable ones to high-end brands. The mall also includes an entertainment centre, several food courts as well as dining options.

Souq Al Thumairi: If you are looking to buy traditional handicrafts, then you should visit Souq Al Thumairi. The small lanes are full of shops selling ornate silver jewellery, silver daggers, coffee pots and beautiful carpets.

Owais Souq: From beautiful fabrics to gold jewellery, this souq is an ideal place to shop for traditional items. Brush up on your bargaining skills before you hit this market.


Where to stay in Riyadh


Riyadh Airport Marriott Hotel Located 5 mins away from the King Khalid International Airport, this 5-star property features an array of amenities starting from an outdoor pool to air-conditioned guestrooms. It is best suited for business travellers as it boasts of a high-end business centre and banquet facilities. It is also known for its poolside barbeques organised every evening.


Lavender al Narjes If you are looking for a place to stay where you can chill and relax, then this is it. With barbeque facility and a seasonal outdoor pool, this hotel makes for a comfortable and luxurious place to stay. It is also close to several tourist spots in the city.


Fairmont Riyadh Located at a 15 mins drive from the airport, Fairmont Riyadh is a stylish and well-designed hotel, equipped with modern amenities. All the rooms come with a private bathroom, flat-screen TV with satellite channels and the hotel boasts of a fitness centre, spa and five amazing restaurants.


Braira Qurtuba This hotel offers a comfortable stay to its guests with modern amenities such as, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, spa and wellness facilities. It is close to several tourist spots making it ideal for regular travellers.

More reasons to visit Riyadh

Here are some of the other places to check out on your trip to Riyadh.

  • King Abdullah Park: Considered as one of Riyadh’s well-maintained and cleanest parks, this place is an excellent spot for a picnic, jogging, cycling, and recreational activities. The park also features an artificial lake, auditorium to host events and an evening fountain show.
  • Wadi Namar: It’s a 2-km long dam surrounded by a waterfall, green spaces, rocky hills, and walkways. On your visit, you can take a stroll around the dam, ride a bike or relax by the lakeside with your dear ones.

Visa and Immigration

If you are an Indian passport holder travelling to Saudi Arabia, you are required complete an online application form on www.mofa.gov.sa. Once the form is submitted, please take a printed copy of the form along with the mofa number or reference number and submit along with the necessary documents. According to the new rule, the visa fee needs to be paid online and not in cash at the Embassy.

To ensure a hassle-free and seamless travel, here is a detailed information about the Saudi Arabia visa – www.goindigo.in/information/visa-information/saudi-arabia-sa-visa.html


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