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Practical information about Saudi Arabia

Your trip

Can I travel to Mecca?

The holy citiy of Mecca can only be visited if you are a Muslim. When entering the city you have to pass check points of the religion police. At these checkpoints they make sure that only Muslims visit the holy cities. If you are not a Muslim, it is only possible to visit Medina.

When is the best time to plan your visit to Saudi Arabia?

The best time to travel to Saudi Arabia is from September to April. During this time, the temperature is most pleasant in the entire country. The vast majority of Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with mild winters and extremely hot summers (over 40 degrees). In the southwest of Saudi Arabia there are many more mountains. That means that the temperature is often 10 degrees lower than in the rest of the country. In this region it can even snow during the winter months.  

Do I need insurance for my trip to Saudi Arabia?

Everyone must take out travel and health insurance before leaving for Saudi Arabia. Whether Saudi Arabia is covered by your policy differs per insurance policy. In most cases this will not be a problem. At CultureRoad we recommend: IATI Travel Insurance, a reliable company that has different insurance options that fits your personal needs. Book now to get a 5% discount!

Do I need a visa for Saudi Arabia?

Yes. But the visa for Saudi Arabia is easy to apply for through the e-visa portal The visa is automatically a multiple entry visa and valid for 90 days at a time. The costs for the visa is approximately € 120 (depending on the exchange rate). After the application you normally have the visa in your mailbox within a few hours. 

What is the time zone in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia uses the time zone UCT +4.5.
Saudi Arabia has no difference between summer and winter time.

How can I pay and how much will I spend in Saudi Arabia?

Saudis pay with the SAR (Saudi Rial). ATMs are widely available in Saudi Arabia. You can also pay anywhere with your credit card. Euros and US Dollars are generally accepted by the banks and exchange offices. For the most recent exchange rate, visit
Of course it mainly depends on yourself how much you actually spend, but as a guideline we keep approximately € 50 to € 60 per day, which should be enough. If you want to buy souvenirs, maybe you can bring some extra. Soft drinks are around € 2 and a meal between € 10 and € 20. Tipping local guides is always encouraged. Of course this is according to your own preference.

Do I have to arrange my international flight to Saudi Arabia myself?

We are always available to advise you when booking a flight. However, most customers prefer to book the flight themselves. Often this is cheaper in terms of price and you can pick your own preferences. 

Practical information

What is the voltage and which plug should I use in Saudi Arabia?

The complete electricity supply in Saudi Arabia is 220 Volt / 60 Hz. The European plug is used, but also the tripod plug. It is therefore recommended to bring an adapter plug.

Is there internet access and can I make calls in Saudi Arabia?

Internet is available at the accommodations. Usually the connection is steady and of reasonable quality. There is also generally mobile coverage everywhere in Saudi Arabia (except in the desert). You can also choose to buy a local SIM card. Ask your local guide for help.

Local culture

What are the local customs in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country. Recent years have seen more and more relaxation of the rules, but the Islam is still is still a fundamental part of the country’s culture.
We have to respect a number of local rules and customs towards the local population.
– As a non-Muslim, it is forbidden to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
– Wear covered clothing (T-shirt, long pants / skirt). Women are allowed to wear a headscarf, but it is not mandatory.
– Always take off your shoes when entering a mosque or house. Never show your shoe sole when you sit down.
– Don’t pass by someone who is praying.
– It is (usually) forbidden for men to contact women. This is a part that is slowly changing in society, with women getting more and more rights.
– It is forbidden to bring alcohol to Saudi Arabia.

Is it safe in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is known as a quiet and safe country. Should the situation change during your trip then we will change the itinerary accordingly. The local guide always has the final say.
A few things to keep in mind;
– If we have a long day to go, we start on time. If we have a car breakdown, we don’t want to get stranded after dark.
– If you want, you can register at your local embassy. If you have problems on the spot, it is much easier to get in touch with the embassy on site.

Can I take pictures in Saudi Arabia?

In general, you can take pictures freely in Saudi Arabia. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
– Do you want to take a photo of someone? Always ask permission before taking a picture of that person.
– Do not make pictures of women or people praying.
– Do not take pictures of military, military installations, police officers and government buildings.

Food and drinks in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi cuisine has typical features that you’ll come across all over the Middle East. Expect a lot of chicken, sheep, lamb, camel and goat with bread and rice. On the coast it’s mainly seafood. The only meat not eaten in Saudi Arabia is pork. Consuming it is prohibited by the Islam. In the south you will find many Yemeni restaurants. Here you can expect tasty dishes with famous Yemeni coffee. We do not recommend drinking the tap water. The quality is getting better, but it is still a different standard than in our home country. Alcohol is banned in Saudi Arabia.

What should I wear in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country. You can wear shorts, but we recommend that you go for long pants with a t-shirt. Women are allowed to wear pants and medium skirts. It is not mandatory to wear a headscarf, except at religious places. In most hotels in the big cities you will be able to do laundry.

Health and hygiene

Healthcare is of good quality in the major cities in Saudi Arabia. If you go to the countryside, this is all much more limited. Ensure in this case also sufficient disinfection gel, sunscreen and insect repellent.
We advise you always to the last (health) risk programs for the region where you’re going to visit. Check with your own government for the latest info about your destination.

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