The Top 13 Things To See In Saudi’s 13 Provinces


Saudi Arabia’s thirteen provinces are a testament to how vast, varied, beautiful and cultured the kingdom truly is. There are so many things to see in Saudi’s provinces than you can imagine in this country of vast deserts, like gorgeous beaches, historic architecture and archaeological marvels.

Here are 13 of the best things to see in Saudi’s 13 provinces:

13. Najran Province

Located in the very south of Saudi Arabia, Najran is known for its rich culture which is still preserved by the many bedouin tribes inhabiting it as well as the Rub Al Khali desert. Check out Emara Palace in Najran city, which was built in the early 1900s. The thick, mud walls were built high for protection with watch towers at each corner. It’s a beautiful, well-preserved example of old Saudi architecture and can be visited by tourists. Be sure to check out the nearby souk, which is known for selling traditional handicrafts, to grab a souvenir.


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12. Qassim Province

This province is known for its date farms, which produce hundreds of thousands of tons of dates each year to be sold. Qassim is home to the largest date festival in the world. Make a visit to a date farm and see hundreds if not thousands of lush date palms. See how dates are farmed and harvested and perhaps get a chance to pick and taste some of your own– you can have them with a traditional cup of arabic coffee or qahwa.


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11. Ha’il Region

The ancient rock art at Jubbah is one of Saudi’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. These inscriptions and carvings are believed to be anywhere from 7,000 to 9,000 years old! The carvings can give researchers clues as to how life was thousands of years ago, with images of animals, people and tools of the time.


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10. Al Jouf Region

To the very north of Saudi Arabia is Al Jouf Region. It’s home to Zaabal Castle, a rock fortress which was made about 200 years ago although some of its roots go back over a thousand years to the Nabatean civilization. Located atop a hill, not only does it stand out in the sky, it also offers some great views if you are willing to make the climb. The castle sits atop a well system which has provided the area with water for hundreds of years. P.S. Al Jouf is also known for its olive farms, so make sure to taste some olives and take home some fresh pressed olive oil with you.


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9. Northern Borders

The northern borders province is the least inhabited of the 13 provinces but it has very fertile pasture lands and thus lots of camel and sheep herds with herders. So animal lovers and photography buffs alike will find lots to appreciate here!


8. Makkah Province

Jeddah is the gateway to the Makkah Province. It’s an absolute must-see for any visit to Saudi. This metropolitan city has everything to offer, from arts, shopping, dining and entertainment, to history and culture. While Jeddah has lots of modern malls and restaurants, it’s recommended to visit Jeddah’s Al-Balad historic district. This area has museums depicting life hundreds of years ago when Jeddah was along a major trade route on the Red Sea. The architecture is simply stunning and you can sample some traditional street foods as well as shop for antiques and souvenirs in the many souks.


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7. Eastern Province

Head over to Saudi’s eastern most coast, bordering the Arabian Gulf and you’ll find the beautiful historic city of Al Ahsa. Al Ahsa is a must-see on any trip to the Eastern Province. The crowning jewel of Al Ahsa are the Qarah Mountain Caves, which are stunning mountainous rock formations seemingly rising up out of the huge Al Ahsa oasis. The caves are home to the Land of Civilization museum which explain the regions rich history and how the caves were formed over time. Al Ahsa has so much more to see, from rice and date farms to an old souk as well.



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6. Riyadh Province

Located in the heart of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh Province’s city of Ad Diriyah takes you back to the kingdom’s roots. The Turaif district in particular was the seat of power of the ruling Al-Saud family and once used to be the capital. Diriyah is a UNESCO World Heritage site where you’ll find old mud brick houses and ruins. It’s truly a sight to behold.


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5. Al Baha Province

Al Baha’s Dhee Ayn village rises up atop a mountain, surrounded by lush vegetation and palm trees. The way the village rises gives it a gleaming appearance which is how it got its nickname of the “marble village.” The village is about 400 years old but hasn’t been inhabited for the past few decades. The village is super charming and makes for beautiful photos.


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4. Jazan Province

Bordering the Red Sea, Jazan is home to the very tropical Farasan Islands. This hidden gem off the cost is an archipelago made up of several dozen islands with coral reefs and gorgeous beaches. The islands have been known for years to locals but aren’t super touristy yet so are a serene getaway. You can take a scenic boat ride, go snorkelling or diving, or indulge in a spot of the areas famous birdwatching.


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3. Asir Province

The jewel of the Asir province is without a doubt the popular town of Rijal Alma. Located a short drive from the city of Abha, Rijal Almaa is built next to steep hills and has buildings of varying height. The buildings are actually “mini fortresses” with colourful windows and is sometimes known as the “gingerbread village” due to its unique look.


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2. Madinah Province

Al Ula has without a doubt been a visitor hot spot the last several years with a huge push for tourism and various concerts and events. But even without the glitz and glamour, Al Ula is truly one place you shouldn’t leave Saudi without seeing. The historic carved ruins at Madain Saleh are fascinating, as are the various famous rock formations like the Elephant Rock.

1. Tabuk Region

There’s so much to see in Tabuk region, it’s hard to choose one must-see place but the winning spot has to go to Umluj. This beautiful beachfront town are one of the prime examples of Saudi Arabia’s unmistakable beauty. They turquoise waters are surreal, and make it the perfect place for a spot of snorkelling or diving. The boat rides are also stunning just to catch a view of the palm trees and white sand along with potentially spotting some dolphins.

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