Saudi Arabia Tour
Small Group Tour

Saudi Arabia Tour. The Saudi Arabia Discovery tour is a 14 day Small Group Tour from £3975 per person.

Saudi Arabia opened its doors to tourism in late 2019 and now welcomes intrepid visitors to its vast land.

The country was strategically positioned on the trading routes across the Arabian Peninsula and pilgrims’ routes having been running crisscross through the country for centuries, all leading to Mecca and Medina in the southwestern part of the country, leaving us today archaeological sites to visit and marvel at.

Join us on this voyage of discovery and unearth the secrets of Saudi Arabia, for so long just a tantalising wanderlust, but now very much a travellers reality.

There is much to discover on this Saudi Arabia tour!

The capital Riyadh and the coastal city of Jeddah on the Red Sea are where any discovery of the country starts or ends. The country’s first capital Dir’iyah built in traditional mud architecture has been fully restored and is integral to any visit to Riyadh.

The natural beauty of its deserts with high dunes and rock formations and of course the Nabatean site of Mada’in Saleh (Al Hegra) – a sister city to Petra in Jordan – and which was a major trading hub on the caravan routes across the Arabian Peninsula, Dedan and the rock art of Jubbah.

The Hejaz Railway, forever made famous by Lawrence of Arabia, runs across the country to Medina and several of the stations have been restored and can be visited. When one thinks desert, one thinks camels; this Saudi Arabia tour itinerary will take you through the Al Nefud Al Kebir desert toward Sakaka.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture 
  • History 
  • Wildlife 

Tour pace

Busy

Tour style

Traveller

Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.

Itinerary

Arrive in Riyadh and transfer to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival, there may be time to explore the city at leisure. No meals or guided services are provided today. Overnight at Centro Olaya by Rotana, or similar. (Overall driving time today is approx. 30-45 min)

This morning, we take in old Riyadh at the King Abdul Aziz Historical Area with the national museum and the Murabba Palace. Continue to Masmak Fortress, which was converted into a museum in the 1990’s. In modern Riyadh Al Faisaliah and Kingdom Towers tower above the city. A view from one of the towers offers a panorama across the whole city. This afternoon visit the old walled city of Al Dir’iyah, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site (optional visit). The city was the first capital of the Saudi kingdom in the 18th century and abandoned after the siege of the Ottomans in the 19th century. A new capital was then built, which was Riyadh. Overnight at Centro Olaya by Rotana, or similar. (B)

Departing Riyadh we travel to Ushayqer Heritage Village, a mud village dating back around 1,000 years. It has been impressively restored and allows a glimpse into Saudi Arabia’s ancient lifestyle. Ushayqir was an important point on the pilgrimage route to Mecca. Continue to Buraidah. Overnight at Best Western Plus Hotel, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 4.5 hours)

Early this morning, visit the camel market followed by a visit to a date farm outside of Buraidah. Drive to Ha’il. The city was an important trading centre for the traditional camel caravans until the construction of the Hejaz Railway. Visit Al-Qashalal fortress and Al ‘Arif Fort, built with mud and clay, on the top of a hill providing a nice view over the city. Overnight at Aronani Hotel, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 3 hours)

Departure towards Jubbah, UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its impressive rock carvings that are believed to date back to 5500 BC. The rock engravings feature a variety of animals, such as elephants, buffalo and then from a later period camels and other domesticated animals. Continue to Sakaka. Overnight at Raoum Inn, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 1.5 hours)

Our first stop today is Rajajil, an ancient burial site. The standing stones are monoliths, some over 3 metres tall. Continue to Dawmat Al Jandal, which was an important point on the trading routes of Arabia, because of the presence of water. This afternoon, visit the fortress of Marid, which lies on a hill above the oasis, which is dotted with ancient villages. Through the Nefud Al Kebir desert, the large sand desert with its hilly dunes and bush vegetation, presenting itself in different colours, to Tabuk.

Upon arrival, time permitting, visit the old Hejaz railway station in Tabuk which houses the Tabuk provincial museum, holding artefacts of the past but also a glimpse into the future with the plans of Neom City, a new city under construction on the Red Sea. Overnight at OYO 358 Garden View Hotel, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 6.5 hours)

Your guide today will choose one of two possible excursions showcasing superb Arabian scenery. The first option is a 4WD excursion to Al Shuwaq and Wadi Disah, also known as Wadi Qaraqir. Wadi Disah is one of the most famous valleys in the kingdom. The valley is surrounded by red mountains and contains a wide variety of trees and plants. Al Shuwaq is wide canyon, locally also nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Saudi Arabia.

The second option is a full day excursion to Jebel Al Lawz, Wadi Damm and Jebel Hisma. Jebel Al Lawz, The Almond Mountain in Arabic, dominates the landscape and offers great views over the surrounding areas from a viewpoint at about 2000 m. The mountain can be covered in snow during wintertime. Wadi Damm and Jebel Hisma are the extension of Wadi Rum in Saudi Arabia. The desert, dotted with rock formations, offers a great sight and exploration. Return to Tabuk. Overnight at OYO 358 Garden View Hotel, or similar. (B, Picnic Lunch)

Drive through the desert to the oasis of Tayma, located on the incense trading route. Tayma is one of the oldest settlements in Saudi Arabia where human activity dates back an incredible 90,000 years. Visit the museum and Haddaj Well, which dates back to 6th century BC and noted as an archaeological masterpiece.

The well has a diameter of over 15 metres and had a number of pulleys attached to it that were operated by numerous camels to extract the water. The water was then directed to farmlands via small canals. Nowadays, the well still provides water for irrigation, albeit via a more modern system. Continue to Al Ula. Upon arrival, time permitting visit Al ‘Ula old town. Overnight at Sahary Resort Al Ula, or similar. (BD) (Overall driving time today is approx. 5 hours)

Visit Elephant Rock and continue to Mada’in Saleh (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the second city of the Nabateans after Petra in Jordan, on the caravan route between Mecca and Petra. The structure of the city has influences from Mesopotamia, Egypt as well as Greek-Roman. The remains of the city include over 90 tombs that were carved out in the rocks.

Mada’in Saleh lost its importance on the caravan routes, once the naval route to Yemen had been established by the Romans. Only 4% of the biblical site of Dedan has been excavated, but the organised structure of the city is clearly visible and the inscriptions found document the political and societal organisation of the kingdom. Back to Al ‘Ula for overnight. Overnight at Sahary Resort Al Ula, or similar. (BLD) (Overall driving distance today is approx. 100 kms)

Depart this morning towards Medina. Travel partly via the old Hejaz Railway, originally built by the Ottomans to reduce the travel time for pilgrims from Damascus to Mecca, but the line was never finished beyond Medina. The construction of the line was a controversial project with the Arabs suspecting the Ottomans of using the transportation of pilgrims as a pretext for more political and military purposes. The railway was forever made famous by TE Lawrence by his attacks and sabotage during WWI.

Several stations can be visited today, among them the station of Al ‘Ula, which was the last one where fresh water could be taken before reaching Medina. Upon arrival in Medina, walk through the city. Later this afternoon, drive to Mt Uhud for wonderful views over the city of Medina. Overnight at Delights Inn, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 3.5 hours)

Departure to Al Wahba Crater, northeast of Ta’if. The crater is 250m deep and 2km wide. Descend down into the crater or if you prefer just walk a part of the rim. Picnic lunch. Continue to Ta’if. We end the day with a visit through the busy and atmospheric souk where you can haggle for a bargain. Overnight at Tulip Inn, or similar. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 5.5 hours)

Ta’if is known for its beautiful rose plantations. The rose that is grown here, is used in all kinds of perfumes and is celebrated during the Rose festival each spring. Ta’if is a popular summer resort, with its cooler climate and mountainous area. Visit Shubra Palace, the city’s museum, and a beautiful 20th century house. Continue towards Jeddah, driving around Mecca. The winding road leads via Al Hada, with its hairpin bends and spectacular views. Overnight at Centro Shaheen by Rotana, or similar. (B)

This morning visit Al Balad, the old and historic part of Jeddah, which is registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site; with its narrow lanes and merchant houses, Naseef House and Souq Al Alawi. Later in the afternoon, we head over to the coastal road, the Corniche, that is lined with sculptures over a length of 30 kms. Visit (from the outside) to Fatima-Al-Zahra Mosque, which is built in the sea and is nicknamed the Floating Mosque. Farewell dinner in Jeddah. Overnight at Centro Shaheen by Rotana, or similar. (BD)

The day is at leisure until your transfer to the airport and your onward flight. End of services. (B) (Overall driving time today is approx. 30-45 min)

Dates & Price.

The first scheduled departure for our new Saudi Arabia tour is 1st October 2022. Dates for 2023 will also be added soon. Please contact us to book or to register interest.

The tour price is £3975 plus a single supplement of £745. 

Tour Notes

This group tour operates subject to a minimum group size of 4 travellers.

Open jaw return flights from London to Riyadh/Jeddah start at £400.  Contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included if you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation at the hotel mentioned in our tour dossier.

Single Supplement from £745 on the main small group tour.

Please contact us for a quote for extra nights accommodation pre and/or post tour in Saudi Arabia.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with us so we can tailor your perfect tour to Saudi Arabia.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • All accommodation as per the itinerary, or similar
  • Land transportation in SUV/minivan/minibus depending on group size
  • Services of an English-speaking guide/tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Visa if applicable
  • Drinks
  • Tips (discretionary)

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour…seeing Oman and meeting with locals was an amazing experience. It is a country of such differences….mountains one minute…desert the next. The local people are so friendly and welcoming and eager to speak about their country and culture. With a private guide we went to places that we never would have on our own…including some great places to eat…where the locals go..always a good sign. Highlights for us were seeing the turtles, and a great living museum which is an old Omani house where you see local ladies making bread, sandlewood oil etc and get to learn about Omani life. We also had a great time in the desert..what an experience. We would highly recommend this tour. Chilling for five days in a lovely hotel was the perfect end!

 

Mrs. J Rees, UK