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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital city, is one of the largest and most populated cities, with a population of nearly 7.4 million people. Riyadh is also a popular tourist destination with five million visitors every year – and that number is always growing.
The city is a financial hub for the region with many businesses establishing headquarters here and many people who live here are working here and originally come from other countries. Nearly 40% of Riyadh’s population consists of expats. The city is full of historic and culturally significant landmarks you can visit, and there are many architectural marvels as well. The city is home to over 4,000 beautifully designed mosques.
The weather in Riyadh is typically hot and dry as the city is located in a desert climate. There is generally very little rain throughout the year with the exception of some precipitation that falls in March and April. The city occasionally sees dust storms as well.
The best time to visit Riyadh is between October and March. This part of the year will give you the best weather for exploring the city. The summers tend to be hot and dry with sand storms, or just sand blowing around the city. The summer months are especially scorching.
Riyadh is a social, cultural, and culinary hub with a lot to offer. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be able to try some traditional food but also indulge in some interesting fusion options and meals from other cuisines. One of Riyadh’s most popular local dishes is Kabsa, a meal made from rice, vegetables, and meat that is often served on a communal platter so you would be sharing the food with the rest of your group. You can also get single servings of this meal at many restaurants. Shawarma is also a popular dish here and throughout the rest of the world. If you haven’t tried this roasted meat dish, you’ll want to try it here.
Venture outside and explore the Red Sand Dunes for a truly unique experience. You can traverse the dunes with a quad bike or on the back of a camel for a slower experience. If you are visiting Riyadh for the first time, or haven’t spent much time here, the sand dunes are a can’t-miss experience.
Another outdoor attraction is the Edge of the World, a hiking destination that can only be reached by foot. The view point offers stunning views that make you feel like you really are at the edge of the world.
Flights in and out of Riyadh pass through the King Khalid International Airport (RUH). The airport serves about 17 million people annually and expansion plans are in progress. The structure is architecturally impressive as well. For example, the center of the airport is the Royal Mosque which was carefully constructed with a beautiful stained glass interior.