Discover Riyadh: Why now is the time to visit Saudi Arabia’s futuristic capital

Saudi Arabia's futuristic capital, Riyadh, is a major commercial and financial hub set on a desert plateau in the centre of the country.
Saudi Arabia's futuristic capital, Riyadh, is a major commercial and financial hub set on a desert plateau in the centre of the country. Copyright Canva
By Portia Jones
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

With a new airline flying in 2025, now is the time to visit.

ADVERTISEMENT

Saudi Arabia's futuristic capital, Riyadh, is a major commercial and financial hub set on a desert plateau in the centre of the country.

The city is the birthplace of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSI), blending historical treasures hidden in old palaces with modern skyscrapers, shopping malls, and fine-dining restaurants.

Riyadh's golden sand dunes offer plenty of activities too, including sandboarding, dune bashing and quad biking over undulating ridges. .

As KSI and Riyadh expand their tourism offerings, the world's wealthiest city is rapidly adding new hotels, attractions, and infrastructure.

Introducing a new international airline - Riyadh Air - shows how seriously Saudi Arabia is taking tourism and global connectivity.

Introducing a new international airline - Riyadh Air - shows how seriously Saudi Arabia is taking tourism and global connectivity.
Introducing a new international airline - Riyadh Air - shows how seriously Saudi Arabia is taking tourism and global connectivity.Riyadh Air

With headquarters in Saudi Arabia's capital, the new airline has partnered with Lufthansa Systems. Using technology to make fuel and carbon savings, it is set to be at the cutting edge of digital aviation when it takes to the skies.

"It's not just going to be a traditional travel or airline experience… it's a full end-to-end digital journey management solution," says Adam Boukadida, Riyadh Air's CFO.

Boukadida explains that the airline will use technology at every touchpoint, from interactive flight planning tools to digitised crew management, to achieve 'maximum operational efficiency, safety, and stability'.

With Riyadh Air's maiden flight slated for 2025, now is the time to start planning your trip to the Saudi capital. Here are five essential travel experiences to have in Riyadh.

The Sky Bridge: A thrilling panoramic adventure

Perched 300m above scorching Riyadh, the curved Sky Bridge offers visitors a bird's-eye view of the city's sprawling landscape.

This architectural marvel is suspended between the iconic Kingdom Centre's two towers, providing an exhilarating experience in the capital.

As you step onto the glass-floored bridge, you can see panoramic views of Riyadh's ever-evolving skyline - from the shimmering skyscrapers to the vast expanse of the Arabian desert.

National Museum of Saudi Arabia: Dive into history

Housed within a striking modernist building, this museum showcases artefacts and exhibits that trace the kingdom's heritage from ancient civilisations to the present. 

Wander through the museum's halls and marvel at the intricately crafted artefacts, including ancient pottery, intricate textiles, and priceless works of art. Check out the evocative rock carvings, models and full-scale reconstruction of a Nabataean tomb from Madain Saleh.

Explore the museum's outdoor exhibits for insights into Saudi Arabia's natural landscape and archaeological wonders.

Al Masmak Palace: Discover Saudi heritage

Discover Saudi Arabia's royal past at Al Masmak Palace, a historic fortress in the heart of Riyadh.

Built-in the 19th century and surrounded by sand, this mud-brick palace was the backdrop for pivotal moments in the kingdom's history, including daring a raid against the Rashīds in 1902 by Ibn Saʿūd, who recaptured Riyadh.

As you explore the palace's intricately decorated rooms and towering battlements, look for captivating photographs of Saudi Arabia dating from 1912 to 1937.

ADVERTISEMENT

Remember to visit the museum housed within the palace grounds, which offers insight into the life and times of Saudi Arabia's founders.

Discover Saudi Arabia's royal past at Al Masmak Palace, a historic fortress in the heart of Riyadh.
Discover Saudi Arabia's royal past at Al Masmak Palace, a historic fortress in the heart of Riyadh.Canva

Wadi Namar: An oasis in the desert

Escape the city and head to the oasis of Wadi Namar, a lush green area built beside the 2 km Namar Dam.

The park features an industrial lake and dam, and you can walk or bike along the paths that extend over 2,000m.

Food stalls and picnic areas are also available to unwind and escape the urban sprawl. For the kids, there are play areas and opportunities to feed resident ducks.

Boulevard Riyadh City: Where culture meets commerce

Experience the fizzing energy of Riyadh's boulevard, the city's largest entertainment centre, where culture and commerce converge in a dazzling display of lights and sounds.

ADVERTISEMENT

Stretching across the city's central business district, Boulevard Riyadh City offers designer shopping, fine dining, and entertainment options - including theatre shows at the Bakr Al-Sheddi Theater, go-karting, and skiing in the 'snow zone'.

There's also a colourful dancing fountain surrounded by outdoor and indoor seats where you can watch the impressive water show.

Share this articleComments

You might also like