Riyadh Attractions

Riyadh is predominantly considered to be a business destination. However, the city is a fascinating blend of traditional Wahhabi culture and modern development, and as such there are plenty of interesting things to see and do in Saudi Arabia's capital.

Riyadh is home to a number of historical sites, including the Al Masmak Castle, the City of Old Diriyah, and the Al Murabba'a Historical Palace. No doubt history buffs will pay each of these a visit. Although Saudi Arabia is famous for its oppressive heat, there are opportunities for outdoor activity in Riyadh, including golf, 4x4 desert trips (also known as 'dune bashing'), and football.

These are must-sees on any trip to Riyadh, but visitors should be aware that most attractions keep hours vastly different to Western businesses; they open briefly in the morning, and then again from mid-afternoon to late evening, and are closed on Fridays or Saturdays. Women may only visit during designated 'family hours' so it is best to check ahead of visiting to avoid disappointment.

Kingdom Centre

Kingdom Centre

The place to see and be seen in Riyadh is at the remarkable Kingdom Centre, the fifth tallest building in Saudi Arabia, owned by a Saudi prince and built to an unusual elliptical award-winning design. The 99-storey colossus is the world's third largest...  see full details

National Museum

The National Museum

This museum, chief among the numerous museums in Riyadh, is truly worth visiting. Incorporating local art, religion, and culture that explore the diverse and intriguing history of the Arabian kingdoms, the National Museum sees many visitors each year. Artefacts such as ancient documents,...  see full details

Al Musmak Castle

Al Masmak Castle

The clay and mud brick fort of the Masmak Fort is an important landmark and heritage site in the centre of Riyadh. Built around 1865, the site is associated with the foundation of the Saudi Arabian kingdom as the original stronghold of King...  see full details

Al Murabba'a Historical Palace courtyard

Al Murabba’a Historical Palace

Just outside the original city walls, is the spectacular Al Murabba'a Historical Palace. Built in the early 1900s, the palace originally functioned as the private accommodation for the king of Saudi Arabia.

Now a principal component of the King Abdulaziz Darat, an institute...  see full details

The mosque of Mohammad Bin Abdul Wahab at Old Diriyyah in Riyadh

City of old Diriyah

The ruins of the historically significant city of Diriyah, statuesque and silent in the desert about 12 miles (20km) northwest of Riyadh city centre, provide an interesting excursion. The city, originally the stronghold of the powerful Saud family, was the site of an important...  see full details