Regularly visited by pilgrims travelling to complete their Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, travellers to the magnificent city rarely take planning needed to get the most out of the ancient stop-off on the way to Mecca.
So, if you only have 24 hours to spend in the city, what is the best way to enjoy the time you have in this amazing gateway to the past?
Morning: There’s no better way to start to your day than rising with sun and deciding to take a walk along the area’s Corniche – a stunning piece of seafront reclaimed from the nearby Red Sea. You can grab a coffee at any of the area’s many beachfront stores and take in some of the stunning open-air art at the famous Northern Corniche. The front holds one of the world’s biggest and most striking collections of large-form sculpture, with breath-taking models of waves and dolphins alongside stunning post-modernist works by some of the world’s greatest artists. And as the temperature rises, you can take a stroll along the silver sands beach or enjoy the area’s cosmopolitan city atmosphere.
Afternoon: With your culture fix satisfied, the midday heat is an ideal time to duck into any of the large shopping centres nearby, with the Red Sea and Arabia Malls coming top of that list. These venues let you pick up essential souvenirs for friends and family back home, including some of the best quality (and value) abayas in the world. If you are attending mosque, you will be absolutely spoiled for choice - with the historic Floating Mosque just a short drive away. Or, if you want to step into Jeddah’s past, you can take the time to visit the Al-Balad Historical District and its breath-taking selection of coral houses.
Evening: When it comes to the end of your day, the first thing you’ll want to do is eat and Jeddah has you more than covered. Famous for its seafood and range of cuisine, a meal in Jeddah is a trip round the world! If you’re looking for amazing food that’s reasonably priced, you can try one of the many seafood restaurants and grills located around the Corniche. Just try to make sure you order some of local specialities such as grilled shrimp, chicken madhbi, and magliya falafel.
And, when it comes to ending your day, you can watch the sun set behind the 312 meter-high jets of the dizzying Kind Fahd Fountain (the tallest fountain in the world!) to the tune of local music and the scent of shisha.