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A guide to female solo travel in Saudi

A guide to female solo travel in Saudi

Solo travel is a right of passage for women. It’s a chance to be truly independent, navigate your own way and plan your itinerary exactly how you want it. With International Women’s Day on 8 March, there’s no better time to investigate and invest in a solo trip.

And Saudi should be front of women’s minds for a solo adventure – the country has ranked safest among G20 nations and women are front and centre of Saudi’s cultural transformation, with empowering women integral to Vision 2030 plans.
Saudi is a destination like no other with so much to offer, from a bustling cultural scene and world-class events to diverse regions with rich heritage and culture, unforgettable views and exhilarating outdoor adventures – all underlined with a true spirit of hospitality.

Here’s five reasons for you to book your tickets alone…

Women’s safety
Saudi has ranked safest among G20 nations according to international indicators and for the third time in a row this year, Saudi’s city of Medina was awarded the highest safety rating for female solo travel worldwide by InsureMyTrip. Furthermore, Saudi is a country where spirituality and hospitality is central to the culture, and care for others is a key part of that way of life.

The Saudi Welcome
In Saudi, hospitality is the top of the highest values and an integral part of the culture. Saudi people are known for their inherent generosity and kind spirits, especially to tourists. Expect a warm Saudi Welcome, and if you even so much as look lost in the street you will have kind locals coming to assist you. The Saudi spirit is contagious – after mixing with Saudi people, you will find that mirroring local behaviour is encouraged and taken as a gesture of appreciation. Even though dress code has relaxed and is dependent on individual establishments, you may find yourself wearing a colourful scarf or the abaya, a traditional loose-fitting long robe for women that is now very much a fashion statement, and calling your friends ‘habibti’!


For the perfect wellness holiday, combine relaxing activities with Saudi’s wonderous landscapes, space for introspection and a boost of vitamin D to mark the end of winter. Saudi is emerging as a wellness capital, with its diverse regions championing bespoke wellness experiences year-round, not to mention delicious mocktails that capture the essence of the region and fresh healthy food. Saudi’s awe-inspiring outdoors are the perfect backdrop to reset and restore travellers – think pristine waters in the Red Sea, lush green mountains in Aseer, outdoor activities in AlUla’s fresh air and Riyadh’s rolling desert dunes. Unwind in luxury heavens such as sustainable retreat Habitas AlUla. With its daily events calendar and private activities, you can relax with music, arts and culture, sunrise yoga, private fitness sessions or treatments from the resident physiotherapist. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the Banyan Tree, an enchanted sanctuary. Its award-winning spa blends Asian rituals and Saudi traditions, with natural and native ingredients forming the essence of each unique treatment. Pick local essential oils, herbal teas, and body scrubs from the alchemy bar for personalized spa treatments. And it has a strikingly beautiful naturally treated rock pool in the mountains for ultra-private swimming.  AlUla even has a dedicated Wellness Festival, set to take place this October for the fourth year running. The newly-opened Six Senses Southern Dunes, nestled inland on Saudi’s Red Sea coast and surrounded by majestic volcanic craters and vast mountain ranges, has a spa so serene it offers a wellness screening and skin analysis to help you understand what your body really needs, and will design treatments or a bespoke multi-day program for you.

Inspiring Saudi women
In Saudi, women’s empowerment is driving the country’s cultural transformation and the country is a hotbed for female entrepreneurs – 45% of SMEs in Saudi are owned by women.
Women make up 45% of the Saudi tourism workforce, with Her Highness Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed Al Saud the Vice Minister of Tourism and Saudi’s holiday rental platform, Gathern, founded by a Saudi female. Saudi has a vibrant arts scene led by inspiring female artists who are putting Saudi art on the international map. Riyadh’s Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale has returned to the JAX District until 24 May 2024. Female Saudi artists participating include painter Safeya Binzagr, the only female artist in Saudi to have her own museum, and Dana Awartani, who specialises in geometry, tile-work and parquetry, and was a nominee for the prestigious Richard Mille Art Prize. Dine in a wide-range of female-owned Saudi restaurants from Riyadh’s Oishii Sushi, luxury Saudi fusion spot Takya on Bujairi Terrace overlooking UNESCO World Heritage Site, At-Turaif, and local favourite Buttermilk, which serves southern comfort food in the Saudi capital. Women are driving Saudi’s new fashion scene too. Since 2020, Saudi has been building a fashion sector from scratch with fashion now accounting for 1.8 % (230,000 people) of the total Saudi workforce, more than half being women. Get street cred with the locals by wearing female-founded Saudi brands. Try ethical luxury from Abadia, the first Saudi brand to be stocked on Net-a-Porter, timeless pieces from Aseel Collections, stocked in Riyadh’s Harvey Nichols, or Haifa Humaid’s high-end heels. And Asteri Beauty, Saudi’s female-founded desert-proof make-up brand is well worth a visit. It’s cruelty-free, vegan, micro-plastic free and packaging is made from 80% pre-loved plastic. Visit Riyadh Park to shop the collection.

A unique destination with soul
Saudi is the perfect place to do some soul searching. With seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a rich heritage and culture, you can spend days exploring the country’s past and wandering its bustling streets. In coastal Jeddah, Saudi’s vibrant cosmopolitan hub, explore the flourishing arts and culinary scenes. Walk through Al Balad, the city’s UNESCO Heritage-protected old town, with ancient and life-filled markets, and take in the gorgeous Jeddah waterfront. Within walking distance from the Waterfront is the Jeddah Open Air Museum, one of the world’s largest collections of open-air art and sculptures. And discover the elegance and beauty of Saudi’s Arabian horses with rides along Jeddah’s sandy beaches.

Riyadh is a vast and vibrant city with a packed events calendar – more than 17,000 events are being hosted in Saudi this Winter Season alone. Visit Diriyah’s At-Turaif, the 300-year-old birthplace of the first Saudi state. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the world’s foremost mud-brick cities. Witness the beauty of the Arabian desert on a desert safari, and enjoy a traditional Saudi lunch and activities such as sandboarding and camel-riding.

AlUla, UNESCO World Heritage Site and living museum that holds 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history, is home to the iconic Jabal AlFil, also known as Elephant Rock, archaeological ruins, rock art and carved inscriptions. Enjoy a bird’s eye view of the desert city – voted one of Condé Nast’s Seven Wonders of the World 2023 – in a hot air balloon, and stargaze from the stillness of the desert sands as the sun sets. In addition to thrilling outdoor activities, AlUla has a maze-like mudbrick old town, world-class eateries and a unique events calendar.

And for the first time, you can experience Saudi’s Red Sea project. The new luxury destination recently opened its doors to guests with the launch of the Six Senses Southern Dunes and The St. Regis Red Sea Resort. It’s one of the most exciting tourism developments globally of recent years, and widely recognized as the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destination, offering sustainable luxury like never before.

Truly, it has never been easier to visit Saudi – visa initiatives have been continuously developed, with the eVisa program now including 63 countries and special administrative regions, and the GCC residents visa and free 96-hour Stopover Visa. UK, US, or Schengen visa holders, as well as residents of the UK, US, or European Union countries, are eligible for the instant eVisa.
Should you need, Visit Saudi has a 24/7 tourist helpline (dial 930) for travellers who require assistance or have any concerns. To learn more and plan your trip, visit