Weekend Getaways: Exploring Riyadh’s Surrounding Cities and Towns

Drone view of Antara

There’s no denying that Riyadh has a lot to offer, in terms of activities, entertainment, and accommodation, such as uber-luxurious hotels or organized domestic compounds tailored to expats, such as Antara.

There is a myriad of things to do within said compounds, especially Antara, and even more to do in the surrounding area. But as we all know, routine is a sneaky adversary, and by the time it sets in, it will have already brought your mood down. Although routine would have a hard time reaching you in Riyadh, it’s not impossible.

What makes it impossible are the even wider surroundings, outside of Riyadh, with all the excursions, road trips, and getaways your heart desires. Cities, towns, world heritage sites, and more await you all over Saudi Arabia.

Beyond Riyadh

Starting with one example, let us take a trip to Al Khobar, a beautiful seaside city with a vibrant energy. In Al Khobar, you can switch gears and visit some of the best beaches in Saudi Arabia, or take a stroll through the city’s markets, have lunch or dinner by the sea, or visit the diverse and vast amusement park of Al Khobar. Or, you could do almost everything you could do in Riyadh as well!

If history and archaeology are more your style, you might want to visit Diriyah or Al-Ula. Diriyah is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the heart of the Saudi state. You get the chance to explore the historic Al-Turaif district, find your way through the labyrinthine Al Bujairi to some of the best coffees and sweets you can imagine, or simply marvel at the native wildlife in the Ad Dir’yah Wildlife Park. On the other hand, the luxurious Al-Ula is a must-see destination, standing in the same spot as the former ancient city of Madain Saleh (or Al-Hijr). Tombs, elaborate and majestic rock facades, and 200,000 years of history are waiting for you.

Hidden Gems

Or, you could go another direction and visit the Al-Ahsa Oasis and Hofuf in its centre, with its famous date palm groves, the King Abdullah Environmental Park, hike the Al-Qarah Mountain or explore the nooks and crannies of the many sights on offer.

Similar, but different, is Buraydah, the capital of the Qassim Province. Also located within an oasis, Buraydah is a larger city that combines the exotic options of Hofuf with the amenities of Riyadh or Al Khobar with its rich history, cultural sites such as museums, date palms, orange, and lemon fruit tree groves, the Buraydah Public Park with its flowing waters and courts, or all the stores around it.

But if, instead, you feel like shifting down a gear or two and having a quieter outing, the town of Al Zulfi offers a little bit of everything: parks, archaeological sites, castles, unique stores, museums, comfortable accommodation, and great food, as well outdoor activities like hiking. If you need a mellow intermission of relaxation, Al Zulfi is the ideal destination for you.

No matter what you are after, the whole of Saudi Arabia is waiting for you and your family to explore. Go ahead. You’ve earned it.