How to Get to Saudi Arabia

How to Get to Saudi Arabia

King Khalid Airport is based 35 km north of Riyadh, but the largest in the country is the King Fadh international air hub in Ed Dammam. There is also an air gate in Jeddah, where most planes with pilgrims planning the Hajj land. See Citypopulationreview for weather information.

It is more convenient to fly from Moscow to Riyadh with the Pegasus carrier: departure from Domodedovo, transfer in Istanbul, tickets – from 390 USD round-trip, on the way from 10-12 hours. Pobeda and Nas Air have flights from Vnukovo for 490 USD round trip, on the road from 10 hours with a connection in Dubai. “Air Arabia” carries through Sharjah for 510 USD in both directions and 18-20 hours.

Taxis run from the airport to the center of the Arabian capital (70-80 SAR, drive about half an hour), and the metro will soon appear (yellow line L4).

From St. Petersburg you can get with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (from 600 USD round trip, from 13 hours), Lufthansa via Frankfurt (from 620 USD, the duration is similar), Aeroflot and Saudi Arabia via Rome (from 725 USD and 12 hours).

Pegasus is delivered from Moscow to Ed Dammam (from 10 hours from Domodedovo via Istanbul, from 345 USD round trip) and Gulf Air (from 10 hours via Manama, from 440 USD), from St. Petersburg – a tandem ” Gulf Air and Es Seven (from 11.5 hours via Moscow and Manama, from 590 USD).

Flights from the Russian capital to Jeddah are organized by Pegasus (from 365 USD in both directions, from 9.5 hours via Istanbul), Aeroflot and Aegean Airlines (start at Sheremetyevo, connections in Istanbul and Athens, from 20 hours and 470 USD), from the northern capital – Pobeda and Pegasus (tickets from 505 USD, on the way from 19 hours with transfers in Moscow and Istanbul).


There are several regional airlines in the country, the key ones are Saudi Arabia Airlines (Saudi), Nas Air and Al Maha. Almost all interregional flights are made through the capital, the planes are in excellent condition, the service is also on the level. From Riyadh to Ed Dammam you can fly for 175 SAR one way (an hour in the air), to Jeddah – for 470 SAR (1 hour 40 minutes).

Railway communication is poorly developed, trains connect Riyadh with Al-Hofuf, Harad and Ed-Dammam, in the future they plan to pave the way to Jeddah, Al-Jubail, Mecca and other cities. The cars are comfortable, tickets are sold at the stations and online (off site in English), the fare from the capital to Ed Dammam in the 2nd class is from 80 SAR.

The intercity buses are owned by the Saudi Public Transport Company and a fleet of 2,000 vehicles serves the capital, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and other major cities. Most buses are comfortable, air-conditioned, the front rows are for women and children, but foreigners rarely use this mode of transport, preferring to rent a car. The fare, by the way, is not cheap: a ticket from Riyadh to Jeddah costs from 175 SAR, to Abha – from 190 SAR.

Public transport within cities

The urban transport system in Saudi Arabia is still under development. The metropolitan metro of 6 lines and 85 stations will open in 2019-2020, there are also plans to build a metro in Jeddah, but in Mecca there is already an elevated metro, but it serves only pilgrims and works only during the Hajj period.

Bus networks are also in their infancy: in Riyadh and Jeddah there are 6 routes each, but buses run rarely and chaotically, the fare is 2 SAR. The best means of transportation in cities is taxis, they need to be booked by phone in advance. There are no meters, therefore, the price should be agreed upon before boarding: the average fare for 1 km is 5-6 SAR.

Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you will have to entrust the call and route discussion to an Arabic speaker. Women are prohibited from riding in taxis alone or accompanied by men who are not spouses or blood relatives.

Rent a Car

Saudi Arabia has both high-quality 8-lane highways and shabby rural narrow-gauge railways, which not everyone dares to ride. In Riyadh and the surrounding area, the canvas is new, capable of withstanding high temperatures and not reflecting sunlight. The highway between the coasts is slowly but surely being repaired, but only a quarter of all roads can still boast of a hard surface. Sidewalks in cities are a rarity, but almost every adult has a car – how could it be otherwise, if public transport is tight.

Until recently, women were forbidden to drive, but the rules have been relaxed, requiring them to be accompanied by brothers, fathers or husbands under the age of 30. But ladies still cannot rent a car, this service is available only to men over 21 years old. To rent from international offices (Avis, Sixt, Europcar) you need an international driver’s license, credit card and passport.

Economy class car will cost from 160 SAR, standard – from 185 SAR, SUV – from 285 SAR, premium – from 625 SAR per day. The cost of gasoline is 2 SAR per 1 liter.

The traffic is right-handed, most of the signs are in Arabic and English, the maximum speed on country roads is 120 km / h. The locals drive famously, not respecting the distance and speed limits: it is no wonder that almost every car has dents and scratches.

During rush hours in Riyadh, Jeddah and other major cities, many kilometers of traffic jams gather.

They park mainly on the roadsides, often in 2-3 rows, there are free places only in parking lots near shopping centers or in underground parking lots, most of which, by the way, are free. A fine for improper parking is up to 1000 SAR, drunk driving is fraught with imprisonment.

How to Get to Saudi Arabia