Quick Guide to Riyadh

Photo credit: pixabay 

Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and as such is brimming with culture, sites, good food and kind people. 

Personally, I was put off travelling to Saudi Arabia for a long time, mostly because as a female I wasn't allowed to travel there without a male guardian. And although I always did travel with a male, as a feminist kickboxer I found it kind of offensive that I had to. HOWEVER, Saudi Arabia has just announced that women older than 25 (yey me) can now travel to Saudi Arabia without a male guardian, and, Saudi Arabia has a new 2030 project which aims to encourage tourism to SA. This project is for many reasons, but the one I'm most interested in is their want to reduce their dependency on oil, yes Saudi Arabia!! 

A country that's aiming to be more environmental and more feminist? That's a growing country I'm interested in seeing, hence why I'm writing this blog post:

A quick guide to Riyadh

How to get to Riyadh

First things first, how do you even get to Riyadh? As an advocate of the environment (see above), I usually recommend over-landing: buses, trains, hitchhiking, biking etc. But, a) the borders can be a bit dodge in the Middle East and b) the Middle East is so large, thus I recommend flying in. There are options on طيران أديل which is the latest low-cost airline and serves six destinations. In economy class there are even female only seats (on a first come, first serve basis). Once in Riyadh you can take a cheap taxi, and uber, or (if it's not the middle of summer), walk! 

Things to do in Riyadh 

Photo credit: pixabay
There are so many cool things to do in Riyadh that this quick guide couldn't possibly cover them all, so let's just look at the highlights: 

I highly recommend feasting on Saudi Arabian food: Mutabbaq - a folded pancake stuffed with vegetables, Falafel (of course), and Maamul - small breads with dates inside. Yum. As a vegan, I love Middle Eastern cuisine because a) lots of their traditional dishes (like hummus) are accidentally vegan; dairy is nowhere near as imperative as it is in Europe (and meat is so much easier to remove than dairy). And b) as many Muslims have (for want of a better phrase) dietary restrictions themselves, they pay much more attention to your own dietary restrictions than the average European/American. 

What else must you do in Riyadh? The National Museum of course, established in 1999 and with a heavy focus on the history of Islam and, um, cars, it's probably going to be one of the most fascinating and unique museums you ever visit - can't say fairer than that!

I further recommend Salam Park to reconnect with nature and for some mindfulness, before heading to Masmak Fortress for some history. 

Where to stay in Riyadh

Photo credit: almosafer

Generally, my where to stay options have a vast range, I'm one part fancy hotels, one part couchsurfing. I successfully couchsurfed (and successfully stayed in fancy hotels) in Dubai, so you don't necessarily need to be overly cautious just because it's the Middle East. In fact, in my experience, Muslims are gracious, kind hosts. However, it's always a good idea to book a hotel too, e.g. here فنادق الرياض is a list of trusted hotels with a range of prices suitable for every budget. 


All in all, we've just touched on the wonder that is Riyadh, but I've hoped it's inspired you to take your own trip there. Let me know how it goes! 

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Travelling through the kyriarchy and weaselling our way out of the rat race - a female travel blogger writing about socially and politically conscious travelling.


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