Saudi Arabia Weather, climate and geography

Weather & climate

Best time to visit

Saudi Arabia has a desert climate. In seaside Jeddah it is warm for most of the year, though winter is probably the most pleasant time for a visit. Riyadh, which is inland, is hotter in summer and colder in winter, when occasional heavy rainstorms occur. Early spring and late autumn are lovely times to visit this desert capital. The Rub al Khali, or “Empty Quarter,” seldom receives rain, making Saudi Arabia one of the driest countries in the world.

Required clothing

Lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and light trousers, sun hats, and sturdy shoes.

Geography

Saudi Arabia occupies four-fifths of the Arabian peninsula. It is bordered to the northwest by Jordan, to the north by Iraq and Kuwait, to the east by the Gulf of Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, and to the south by Yemen. To the west lies the Red Sea. Along the Red Sea coast is a narrow coastal strip (Tihama) which becomes relatively hotter and more humid towards the south and has areas of extensive tidal flats and lava fields.

Behind this coastal plain is a series of plateaux reaching up to 2,000m (6,560ft). The southern part of this range, Asir, has some peaks of over 3,000m (9,840ft). North of these mountains, in the far north, is An Nafud, a sand sea, and further south the landscape rises to Najd, a semi-desert area scattered with oases. Still further south the land falls away, levelling out to unremitting desert, the uninhabited 'Empty Quarter' or Rub al Khali. Along the Gulf coast is a low fertile plain giving way to limestone ridges inland.

Edited by Jane Duru
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