Visa and entry requirements Saudi Arabia:
Since 2019, German nationals have had the option of obtaining a visa when entering an international airport.
Information from the Foreign Office on your trip to Saudi Arabia:
Saudi Arabia is a country in the Middle East with around 35 million inhabitants, including almost 12 million guest workers. The country borders Jordan in the northwest, Iraq in the north, Kuwait in the northeast, Qatar and the Persian Gulf in the east, the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the southeast, Yemen in the south and the Red Sea in the west .
With the island state of Bahrain, the kingdom in the east is only separated by a 25-kilometer bridge. The Gulf of Aqaba, in the northwest, separates the country from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
Saudi Arabia is the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, which is also the largest peninsula on earth. The official language of the country is Arabic and the Saudi Riyal is used as the national currency, which corresponds to 1, - Euro about 4, - SAR.
The largest cities in Saudi Arabia include Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Dammam, Taif, Buraida, Tabuk, Al-Jubail, Al-Mubarraz, Hofuf and Chamis Muschait.
The territory of Saudi Arabia consists of a highland in the west and a hilly desert landscape descending towards the east. The highest elevation in the country is the 3.133 meter high "Jabal Sauda" in the Asir Mountains.
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries where women have fewer rights than men. For example, the law requires women to wear headscarves and long robes in public. In the workplace, in the mosque or in restaurants, there is an absolute separation between women and men in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women can not make free choices and may not leave the country without permission, they always have a male guardian. Since June 2018, it is women in the country, after an 60-year ban, again officially allowed to drive by car.
Saudi Arabia is one of the richest states in the world because of the second largest oil deposit in the world. In addition, the Arabian country has the fourth largest natural gas reserves worldwide. In addition, further mineral resources such as clay, limestone, gold, salt, iron ore, phosphorus, marble or gypsum occur on the land surface.
Another important industry for the Kingdom is tourism. Through the two holiest sites of Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, every year some six million pilgrims come into the country during Ramadan and Hajj. In addition, Muslims from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the two holy cities during the rest of the year, to the small pilgrimage Umra.
A normally structured tourism for non-Muslim visitors is slowly being built up. Due to the sharp drop in oil prices in recent years, the kingdom is trying to generate additional income by opening up to international tourism.
The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh with almost seven million inhabitants. Riyadh, at an altitude of around 600 meters inland, is the political, economic and cultural center of the kingdom.
Among the major attractions of Saudi Arabia are the ancient ruins and the world heritage site Mada'in Saleh, the Royal Clock Tower - with 602 meters the third largest building in the world, the Grand Mosque Al-Haram, the Black Stone in the Kaaba, the Mount of Light, Mount Arafat and the Al-Bait Towers in Mecca, the Old City, the King Fahd Fountain and the Floating Mosque in Jeddah, the Mosque of the Prophet, the Mosque of Quba, the Mosque of the two Qiblas and the mountain Uhud in Medina as well as King Abdullah Park, Masmak Citadel, 302 meter high Kingdom Center with its observation deck, Al Bujairi Square, National Museum and Al Rajhi Grand Mosque of Riyadh.
Since 2011, I have traveled to Saudi Arabia almost twenty times, mainly professionally. As project manager of the Royal Clock Tower, the second tallest building in the world at the time, I even lived in the holy city of Mecca for a year. Through various trade fairs or other events, I also visited the cities of Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh several times.
The capital Riyadh, located in the middle of the desert, can hardly be endured in summer due to the extremely hot temperatures. In addition, there is enormous traffic in the city, where it often takes hours to walk a few kilometers. Apart from several modern and interesting skyscrapers, Riad has nothing really to offer in terms of culture.
The city of Jeddah, located directly on the sea, is a bit more exciting for tourists. The historic old town and a few lively shopping streets tend to provide a bit of western flair.
The city of Taif is located in the mountains and is a popular haven for the Saudis due to its cooler temperatures, especially in the hot summer months.
However, the most modern city for me is Dammam, which is located in the east on the border with Bahrain. Due to the headquarters of the oil giant "Aramco", the world's most valuable company on the stock exchange, the city has an architecturally rather European cityscape and is not overcrowded with people.
Since 2019 I have been working in Saudi Arabia again. It is to be hoped that the country will increasingly open to normal tourism in the near future.