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Saudi Arabia weather: What’s the best time for traveling?

by Catherine Carey | July 25, 2023
Al Madina Mosque in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is located in the Middle East and it has historical and cultural heritage worth visiting, which you can discover in our article about the things to do in Saudi Arabia. Its vast deserts, landscapes, coastlines along the Red Sea, the holiest cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, and other modern cities make Saudi Arabia one of the places you must see. 

To travel to the country you will need to have the Saudi Arabia visa. With travel agent Visagov, you can apply for the Saudi Arabia visa fully online with a simple form. Then you will receive your visa directly in your email in a matter of hours. You can also get more information about how to get a visa for Saudi Arabia with our detailed guide.

Do you know when is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia? Here you will find all the information on the Saudi Arabia weather, plus important holidays and festivals and a few tips for traveling to Saudi Arabia.

General weather in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabia weather is arid, with very hot summers and mild winters that can become cool. Most of the country is desert, and rain, which is concentrated between the months of November to April, is scarce.

One of the aspects that characterize the Saudi Arabia weather is its temperature contrast. While temperatures can exceed 50°C in the interior during the summer, they can drop to 10°C in the mountains during winter.

Humidity is generally low throughout the country, but it can be higher on the Gulf Coast and in mountainous regions. Overall, the Saudi Arabia weather is desert-like with extreme temperatures and low humidity.

Saudi Arabia weather in Al Majmaah Village

Saudi Arabia weather in some important cities

Weather in Makkah Saudi Arabia

The weather in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, runs quite hot all year long. For example, during the winter, the lowest temperatures you’re likely to find are 18ºC-20ºC. In contrast, during the summer, the highest average temperatures surpass 40ºC with ease.

The best months to visit this holy city in Islam are from November to March, but it’s best to avoid November: it’s usually the month that sees the biggest amount of rainfall

Weather Medina Saudi Arabia

The general Saudi Arabia weather resembles that of the holy city of Medina. The summer spans from June to August and the average temperatures see lows of almost 30ºC and highs of more than 40ºC. Very hot! 

The winters are colder (but not cold), and the temperatures can even reach 30ºC during the day. At night it drops to about 20ºC. 

As you can tell, the weather Saudi Arabia is never actually cold. November is the rainiest month so, if you don’t like traveling under such conditions, try to visit Medina between December and March.

Saudi Arabia weather Jeddah

The weather in Saudi Arabia for the city of Jeddah is similar to Medina and Mecca. The main difference is that the average temperatures don’t typically reach 40ºC even during the summer, although they’re not very far away: like we said before, Saudi Arabia is very hot. The lowest temperatures you will find surround 23ºC.

If you don’t like traveling in rainy weather, avoid the month of November. Traveling during June would be good for you in this scenario, although it will be summertime. From December to March is the best time to go to Jeddah.

Weather in Saudi Arabia Riyadh

The weather in Riyadh has more contrast between the seasons. The summer months have high temperatures surpassing 40ºC and they won’t go below 30ºC. The winter in Riyadh sees lower temperatures than in the other cities, with lows of 10ºC.

July is the hottest month of the year, but it’s also the month with the least amount of rainfall. In turn, April is the time for rain in Riyadh.

The best time to visit this city is between October and March. The heat won’t be as extreme as during the summer, and you’re not likely to run into any rain. 

Palm trees and old buildings in Saudi Arabia

When is the best travel weather for Saudi Arabia?

The best time in terms of weather for Saudi Arabia is from November to March. During those months, the weather in Saudi Arabia is mild and temperatures are nice. There is also little rainfall. 

The official tourist season runs from October to March, however the best months to visit are between November and February when the weather is coldest. January is considered the most popular month because this is when the famous Dakar Rally takes place. It’s also when flight and accommodation prices are the highest.

March and April are the ideal months to dive or swim in the Red Sea. While the Red Sea is a year-round destination, the area receives a relatively high amount of rainfall during winter, and the water is hot in summer, making spring the perfect season to explore the stunning reefs and coastlines of the region.

Summer is the season to avoid in Saudi Arabia. In summer, the daytime temperatures in central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia can reach a top of 44℃.

The northern coast of the Red Sea, Riyadh, Medina, Mecca and Jeddah are ideal to be visited from December to February. April and October are the best to visit the northernmost part where winter is long.

The central and northern part of the Red Sea has the best months in March and November, while in the central-southern part a warm climate is experienced even in winter, so it can be visited from November to March.

Al Malqa Park in Saudi Arabia

Best festivals and Events in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, there are multiple interesting events and festivals. Here are just some of the most important ones:

Saudi National Day

Sept. 23 marks Saudi Arabia’s National Day, celebrating the unification of Najd and Hijaz. In 1932, the merged nations became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, after the family of King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, of the House of Saud.

Eid Al Adha

Eid Al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice, takes place on the 10th day of the final month of the Islamic calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah, and falls roughly two months after Eid Al Fitr, marking the end of the Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah

Eid al-Fitr

This is one of the most important festivals in the country, which commemorates the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It takes place in June or July and lasts for approximately three days.

It is a time of joy and celebration for Muslims as they have successfully completed their month-long fasting and spiritual devotion. As such, it is celebrated with prayers, gifts, special meals, family gatherings and street festivities.

Okaz Cultural Festival

This festival is celebrated in the city of Taif and showcases traditional Saudi poetry, music, and theater performances. It takes place in August or September.

Jeddah International Festival

It is celebrated in the city of Jeddah in the summer, in July or August, and includes everything from concerts to light shows and sports competitions.

Arabian Peninsula Band Culture Festival It takes place in October or November in Tabuk and lasts for around 10 days. It offers a wide variety of cultural and sports activities.

Riyadh Spring Festival

The Riyadh Spring Festival is an event that celebrates nature and Spring and attracts more than 150,000 visitors to the city. It usually takes place in march and mainly displays an array of flowers, ornamental plants and gardens.

What to pack and tips for Saudi Arabia

Here are some general tips for traveling to Saudi Arabia

  • You should bring comfortable walking shoes.
  • Sunscreen is a must for Saudi Arabia. To protect you from the sun, you should also take a hat and sunglasses. 
  • If you are wondering what clothes to take, you should pack loose jeans, t-shirts and a light jacket. 
  • You shouldn't be affectionate in public.
  • Alcohol is illegal, and you will not be able to drink even in 5-star hotels.
  • Do not speak out about your religious beliefs. Saying you are atheist can lead to problems, as it is considered blasphemy and can be punished with imprisonment, or even death.
  • Tipping is not mandatory, but it is usual to do so in restaurants and taxis (of about 10%).
  • In almost all souks, the prices are usually double than what a Saudi Arabian would pay, so travellers are expected to haggle. A good strategy is to start by offering half. 
  • In all Arab countries, they eat with the right hand.
  • Make sure to follow all the entry requirements for Saudi Arabia. Travel insurance is mandatory for all travellers. 
  • You can only enter mosques barefoot, and women’s hair should be covered. Both men and women must wear outfits that cover their legs, arms, and necklines when visiting temples or shrines.