Behind the curtain of the spiritual Islam: A glance of Saudi Arabia

Behind the curtain of the spiritual Islam: A glance of Saudi Arabia 1850 , 8 Days
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Saudi Arabia is one of the most enigmatic places to visit in the Middle East.

On this tour, you will discover some of the greatest treasures, hidden for Western travellers until just a few years ago. Known as the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia is a desert country, stretching through the Arabian Peninsula to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

The country’s citizens are required by law to be Muslim and there is ‘religious’ police force to look upon this. Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s two most sacred mosques: Masjid al-Haram in Mecca - destination of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, and Medina’s Masjid an-Nabawi -  burial site of the prophet Muhammad.

The capital Riyadh on the other hand, has an absolutely modern look – skyscraper-filled metropolis with luxury cars on the streets. Jeddah is a mix of ancient and modern style and hides within an old city, made of coral, while the Red Sea coast offers world-class diving. 

Highlights:
Jeddah - a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes in the 7th century
• Madain Saleh -  the largest conserved site of the civilization of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan 
• The natural rock formation Elephant Rock 


Itinerary:

Day 1. Arrival in Jeddah
Arrival in Jeddah and transfer to your hotel for check- in and overnight. -/-/-

Day 2. Jeddah
After breakfast at the hotel, we are headin towards Jeddah's  coastal area, known as New Corniche, known for its numerous recreation areas, pavilions and large-scale civic sculptures. King Fahd's Fountain - the highest fountain in the world is located in the area as well. We will visit the famed floating mosque Al Rahma, built in 1985.
After lunch, we contiune our sightseeing tour with historical quarter of Jeddah Al-Balad. Famous for its old Ottoman houses, mostly constructed from coral and reinforced with wood, the are is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 2014. The most beautiful & well-known house here is the Nasif House, or Baashen House, built during the 1850s by the well-known Nasif Family, one of the most influential trading families in the history of Jeddah. In the 19th and early 20th centuries the house was one of the most important buildings in Jeddah. Afterwards we will visit Altaybat Museum (Abdul Rauf Khalil Art Museum), which houses endless collections of arts, ethnography and archaeology artifacts. Overnight in a hotel in Jeddah. B/-/-

Day 3. Jeddah - Taif
After breakfast, we start our drive to Taif (170 Km). Here we will explore Shubra Palace - the most stunning vestige of old Taif, with latticework windows and balconies and interior marble from Carrara. King Abdul Aziz used to stay here and the palace was later the residence of King Faisal. A unique amalgamation of Arabic and Romanian architecture. It is impressive worth photographing. It is located on the northern side of Taif city center, and overlooks Shubra Street which is one of the most important pivotal streets in the city of Taif, Ali bin Abdullah bin Aoun Pasha has ordered the establishment of the Shubra Palace in 1905 AD. (as of May 13th the palace can be visited only outside due to  renovation work. Atferwards, we will proceed with a visit to Al Rudaf Park- a great place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. There are music fountains, small rock mountains and many playgrounds for children.  Our next stop is the old Souq in Taif city. Souq Okaz is a former largest and best known open air market in the Islamic world nowadays hosts thousands of tourists from around the world. The tradition of poetry recital competitions, arts and crafts exhibitions remain in the Souq today. In addition to that, you may want to explore ancient footprints of the market, flower orchids in Taif. Afterwards we will  go to the oldest shopping mall in Taif, Taif’s Heart Mall. It’s an exciting place, where you  can shop, play, eat and have a splendid time. Our tour continues with a visit to Al Shafa mountain and Al Hada mountain. It’s considered as one of the most beautiful and important mountain roads in the region. It connects Taif city with the other regions on the west and north.  It acquires enchanting and attractive views.  The climb up Shafa mountain is a relatively difficult walk / climb, but the views are fantastic and well worth the effort. A cable car at an extra ticket journey up to the Al-Hada Mountain starts down in Al-Kurr Village and takes you all the way up to the mountaintop, where an upscale restaurant and hotel are located. Overnight in Taif.B/-/-

Day 4. Taif – Jeddah – Al Ula
Early transfer to Jeddah airport for flight to Al Ula. After arrival in Al Ula, we will visit the awe-inspiring rock
formation Elephant Rock, also known as Jabal AlFil.  Overnight in a guest house nearby. B/-/-.B/-/-

Day 5.  Al Ula - Madain Saleh - Jabal Ikmah - Dadan - Riyadh
We start our day with a visit to the archaeological aite of Al-Hijr (Madain Saleh) -the first World Heritage property to be inscribed in Saudi Arabia. Formerly known as Hegra, it is the largest conserved site of the civilization of the Nabataeans south of Petra in Jordan. It features well-preserved monumental tombs with decorated facades dating back to the period between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.  Today you can choose to visit either only Madain Saleh (1,5 hours) or continue the tour with a visit Jabal Ikmah, one of Saudi Arabia’s most significant epigraphic sites, containing hundreds of etched and relief inscriptions and a tour of the ancient city of Dadan (4 hours). Afternoon flight to Riyadh. After arrival in Riyadh, you can join an optional tour to the 99th-floor Sky Bridge Kingdom Centre. Overnight in a hotel in Riyadh. B/-/-

Day 6. Riyadh
We start our way with a morning visit to Masmak Fort  - a fortress built from clay and mudbrick that played an important part in the battles for the unification of Saudi Arabia in the beginnig of the 20th century. Nowadays, the fortress is turned into a museum and is considered one of the most important landmarks of Saudi heritage. Afterwards we will visit the National Museum. The exhibitions in its eight galleries tell the complete story of Arabian History from their myths about the creation of the universe to our modern era. Our next stop is the Murabba Palace (next door to the museum) which was built by King Abdulaziz in 1937 A.D in  the local traditional Najid style. Built to accommodate his family, the palace was composed of a number of a presidential palaces, service buildings and King Abdulaziz Divan. Nowadays the palace serves as a monument to the city’s captivating past. Overnight in a hotel in Riyadh.B/-/-

Day 7. Riyadh/ Day tour to "the Edge of the world"(optional)
Today you have free time to explore Riyadh on your own. Afternatively, you can join a day trip to Jebel Fihrayn, also known as "The edge of the world'. With their hight of 300 metres, the towring cliffs offer an astounding view over the surrounding plains.  The cliffs are about 90-minutes drive away from Riyadh and the hike to the top is about 5 kilomtres. Here we will have some time to enjoy the breathtaking views,  have some tea and snacks at the campsite before heading back to Riyadh for overnight. B/-/-

Day 8. Departure
End of service or extension to Bahrain. B/-/-

Bahrain Extension:

Day 8. Tabuk - Dammam - Manama (Bahrain) 
Flight via Ryadh to Dammam. Bus transfer from Damman to Manama along the bridge King Fahd Causeway (25 km)
The bus journey takes about  two hours. Overnight in a hotel in Manama. B/-/-

Day 9. Manama
Free time for sightseeing and exploring Bahrain captal. B/-/-

Day 10.Departure
Transfer to the airport for departure.B/-/-

Saudi Arabia - the spiritual birthplace of Islam (tips for visiting the country)


Price Includes:
7 overnights (6 nights at 3-4 star hotels incl. breakfast and one night in a guest house in Al Ula)
domestic flights Jeddah-Riyadh-Al Ula
all airport transfers
all ground transport
entrance fees (except in AlUla)
English speaking local guides
local photo and tour permissions
tour leader from Penguin Travel at 8 people

Not Included:
international flights
insurance
tips and personal expenses
visa fee
Madain Saleh pass incl. Jabal Ikmah and Danan 95USD/365SAR
pass Madain Saleh only - 255SAR/70USD
Sky Bridge in Riyadh - 17USD/63SAR
optional tour to Jebel Fihrayn (The Edge of the world) on day 7- 75 USD
one way ticket Tabuk-Riyadh-80EUR
oneway ticket Tabuk-Jeddah-70EUR

Additional Services:
Bahrain Extension 3 days: 320 EUR; single room supplement 80 EUR
Price includes flight Riyadh-Dammam / private transfer Dammam-Manama / two nights at 4**** hotel in Manama incl. breakfast


Gallery


Behind the curtain of the spiritual Islam: A glance of Saudi Arabia (Rated 4.82 / 5 Based on 346 Reviews.)
Price
1850 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Single Supplement
350 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure
Price
1850 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Single Supplement
350 EUR
Status
Open for booking
Price
1850 EUR
Duration
8 Days
Single Supplement
350 EUR
Status
Guaranteed departure

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
6-12
Reservation System Code
SARUND
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