We check out some of the most beautiful beaches in Saudi Arabia which are helping to put the Kingdom on the map for expats and tourists alike.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of destinations for tropical beaches. However, the 2,000km of stunning coastline, pristine blue waters, and soft white sand make it highly appealing to foreigners.
In fact, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is spearheading a plan to launch Saudi Arabia as a top tourist destination; under the Vision 2030 reform plan. Part of this plan, also known as the Red Sea Project, will see the vast coastline transformed into luxury resorts; boasting five-star hotels and high-end beach clubs. There are certain rules to abide by, however, when visiting beaches in the Kingdom.
If you are heading to one of the public beaches in Saudi Arabia, you must cover up, as this is considered a public area. Ladies should dress appropriately; this means wearing a burkini (a swimsuit that covers the whole body) or an abaya (a full-length garment of clothing). It is also important for men to cover up at beaches; normally, knee-length shorts are accepted but pack a shirt too. As private beaches are enclosed, they are not usually as strict and therefore have a more informal beachwear dress code. If in doubt, however, call ahead and double-check to avoid making a serious faux pas.
Farasan Al Kabir Beach
Farasan Al Kabir Beach boasts some of the most mesmerizing blue waters and subtropical shores of all the beaches in Saudi Arabia. Part of the Farasan Islands, it is home to some of the best diving spots in the region; you will find amazing subtropical shores at your fingertips.
The crystal-clear turquoise waters and abundance of underwater flora and fauna make this a desirable destination for expats and tourists. This aquatic paradise is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some downtime.
Haql Shipwreck Beach
One of the most stunning beaches in the country, Haql Shipwreck Beach is in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province, which lies around 55km south of Haql city. The main feature here is an old, half-sunken shipwreck that sank around 20 years ago. Situated on a picturesque large, half-moon shaped bay, the vessel – along with its stunning backdrop – makes for an enviable Instagram shot.
There is very little in the way of tourism at Haql Shipwreck Beach; that said, there are a few hotels inside Haql city if you wish to stay. Be sure to come prepared with your own sunscreen, sun umbrellas, food, and drinks, though, because with an endless wild coastline to explore, you’ll want to spend a good amount of time here. Marvel at the stunning backdrop of the majestic Sinai mountains and enjoy this paradise from dusk till dawn.
Half Moon Bay Beach
Named after its lunar shape, Half Moon Bay Beach has been a popular coastal destination in Saudi Arabia for the past 80 years. The shallow, clear waters and scenic, white sandy make it ideal for paddling in the Persian Gulf.
There are many things to keep the family entertained here; from regular sunbathing to exciting rides in a beach buggy along the sand. You can get your Arabian thrills at the local amusement park or kick back and relax while the kids have fun in the play area. Alternatively, you can go for a sail on the gentle waves and enjoy some group fishing.
Known by the locals as the Maldives of Saudi Arabia, Umluj Beach is a major player in the Red Sea Project; which aims to promote Saudi Arabia as a beach paradise destination with countless unspoiled beaches. As part of 104 tiny islands with angelic white sands, there is a distinct lack of crowds which makes it an attractive option for many.
Umluj Beach has many natural springs, and very little in the way of consumerism. Therefore, it is a popular destination for nature lovers. You will see many different migrating birds making their annual journey here from the cold. And with clear, turquoise waters, it’s the perfect spot for viewing numerous marine creatures in their natural habitat. Large ships and ferries have been banned from the area to preserve the nature here.
When Saudi Arabia was originally established, Uqair was the economic hub and one of the main ports in the region. Nowadays, it is a beautiful beach destination with some of Saudi Arabia’s most unspoiled coastline and tropical islands. Many tourists and residents enjoy taking a refreshing dip in the clear, blue waters.
Although the beach is the main attraction for visitors, the historic fort adds a nice dose of culture to your day out. With little in the way of commercial shops and eating establishments, however, you will need to pack your swimming gear, drinks, and snacks beforehand.