1 week in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, Al Hofuf, The Edge of the world. 7 days backpackers itinerary.

Unveiling the Treasures of eastern Saudi Arabia: A Week-Long Adventure

Embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting East of Saudi Arabia, where ancient history, natural wonders, and cultural marvels await. From the bustling streets of Riyadh, via UNESCO protected sites at Al Hofuf to the tranquil shores of Al Uqayr and finally climb the Edge of Alammariya. This itinerary promises a perfect blend of exploration and discovery.

Day 1: Arrival to Riyadh

This itinerary is based on arrival to and departure from Riyadh. Alternatively you can fly to or from Dammam as well. It is ideal of you rent a car for this trip. You can get around Riyadh and Al Hofuf on taxis or public transport. However to reach places out of towns, a car is of essence.

Riyadh, this eight million inhabitants capital city has very good connections to many major airports and low cost airlines fly to Riyadh too. As Riyadh is a pretty large city, I suggest you split exploring the city for the two days. The day after arrival and the day before departure.

Spend your first day exploring the city's landmarks, including the iconic Kingdom Centre Tower and the historic Diriyah district, birthplace of the Saudi state.

Days 2-3: Al Hofuf, Al Ahsa, the biggest oasis in the world

Travel Distance: Riyadh to Al-Hofuf (Approximately 320 km), Travel Time: Around 3,5 hours.

On the second day, we departed eastward to Al-Hofuf. Initially it was confusing, as Al Hofuf and Al Ahsa are both names used for this town. I understand now, that Al Ahsa is the name of the oasis and within greater Al Hofuf City.

We enjoyed captivating desert landscapes along the hundreds of kilometers highway from Riyadh to Al Hofuf. In Al-Hofuf, we explore the ancient Al-Qarah Mountain a UNESCO World Heritage site. Check the video below. In the city centre the Qaisariya Al-Ahsa Souq is beautifully restored old market area. Nearby Alamiriah School has pretty architecture and historical significance as school for royal princesses.

Al Qarah Mountain, Al Hofuf, Saudi Arabia

Day 4: Al Uqayr beach - Seaside Serenity

Travel Distance: Al-Hofuf to Al Uqayr (Approximately 110 km), Travel Time: Around 1,5 hours.

We departed from Al-Hofuf and headed east to Al Uqayr, a picturesque seaside area nestled along the Arabian Gulf coast. Spent a leisurely day soaking up the sun on pristine beaches and enjoying warm waters of the Arabian sea. Nothing underscores the laid-back coastal vibe of Al Uqayr more, then the fact, that along some 40 km of coastline, we were the only visitors.

First we had our picnic lunch some one kilometer south of the Uqair castle and then enjoyed shallow waters of the First Reef lake to the north. The infrastructure here includes toilets, shades and even grills are ready to be used with visitors. However, no shops, no restaurants. So get all you need for a day from Al Hofuf.

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Day 5 - Return to Riyadh with Desert Delights along the way

Travel Distance: Al Uqayr to Riyadh (Approximately 420 km), Travel Time: Around 4 hours.

Along our journey back to Riyadh, we made 2 stops along the way. First we explored the  Al Hofuf' s camel market. Second we enjoyed mesmerizing sand dunes at sunset, thrill of dune bashing and marvel at the ever-shifting sandscape illuminated by the golden hues of twilight.

We found the best dunes near the small town Sa'ad. If open, you can even overnight here in Najdiya camp. Check it out and let us know how was it.

Arriving in Riyadh, stock up with food and water for the next exciting day.


Day 6: The Edge of the World or The Edge of Alammariya

Travel Distance: Riyadh to The Edge of the World (Approximately 100 km)
Travel Time: Around 2,5 hours. This involves a lot of off road driving.

Travel Distance: Riyadh to The Edge of the Alammariya (Approximately 70 km)
Travel Time: Around 1,5 hours.

On this day, embark on a day trip to the Edge of the World ot Edge of the Alammariya. Both are stunning geological marvels located just outside Riyadh. Trek to the edge of towering cliffs that offer panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape, creating an otherworldly experience. Explore the rugged terrain and capture breathtaking photos of the dramatic rock formations that have been sculpted by centuries of wind and erosion.

We heard that the Edge of the World, which is more famous, was closed for visitors. Thus we opted for the Edge of the Alammariya and it was just stunning. From a distance, it seemed impossible to climb up to the top along steep cliff. But the path turned out easy and we all managed, included our 7 years old daughter. Check it out at the video below:

The Edge of Alammariya via Al Manjour Trail. Tuwaig Mountain trekking in Saudi Arabia.


Day 7: Riyadh - Exploring the Capital's Charms

We spent our final day in Riyadh delving deeper into the city's cultural and historical treasures. We visited the interesting and historically important Masmak Fortress. The nearby Souq Al-Zal hosts a vibrant marketplace in its heart, where you may experience the public, open air auction of antiquities. Leaving Souq Al-Zal, Riyadh was hit by rare heavy rain storm. I was interesting to see such a heavy rain in the middle of the desert country.

Reflecting on our unforgettable journey through eastern Saudi Arabia as we bid farewell to the captivating kingdom and flew home from Riyadh International Airport.

Riyadh and the east of Saudia conclusion

As your week-long adventure through the northwest of Saudi Arabia comes to an end, we carry with us the memories of ancient times, natural wonders, and cultural marvels that have left an indelible mark on our souls. This itinerary offers a glimpse into the timeless beauty and rich heritage of Saudi Arabia, inviting you to explore its treasures and uncover the magic that lies within its borders.

Where next after visiting east of Saudi Arabia?

If you have 2-3 more days to spare, consider visiting Bahrain as an extension of this trip.

If you have an extra week ot two check our northwestern Saudi Arabia Itinerary here: https://eagleflyfree.com/en/saudi-arabia/saudi-arabia-north-west-backpackers-itinerary-jeddah-medina-alula-yanbu/

Alternatively, continue south-west to Yazan, near Yemeni border. There is plenty of interesting things to see there. The south - wester, itinerary is coming soon and will be published here. Stay in contact via social networks below to be among first informed.

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Saudi Arabia north west 9-10 days backpackers itinerary: Jeddah, Medina, AlUla, Yanbu

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