Seaside elegance on the Persian Gulf
Dammam is a superb spot for a few days on the coast, offering a combination of modern Saudi Arabia but with plenty of traditional charm
The seaside city of Dammam is nestled on the Persian Gulf, to the east of Riyadh and is in every sense a modern city, with plenty of open air restaurants and cafes, modern shops and entertainment venues as well plenty of sports facilities. In Saudi terms it is a very new city, not settled until 1923 with its wealth driven by the fact it is the administrative centre of the enormously wealthy Saudi oil industry. It is also growing in reputation as a cultural centre, hosting art exhibitions, street performers and theatre around the vibrant Share Al-Hob souq.
The Al Khobar waterfront is one of the most striking parts of the city, with beautifully manicured gardens, dancing fountains, excellent restaurants and a wide range of shops. It is a real favourite for family days out and boat trips on to the water to watch the sunset are a must-do. Another attraction not to be missed is the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture, a striking modern design which is at the forefront of Saudi Arabia’s drive to modernise and diversify. Home to a library, museum, theatre, cinemas and galleries, it is a hugely popular feature with locals and gives a fascinating insight in to how the country is rapidly changing in to a true global tourism destination.
For beach enthusiasts it is arguably the best spot for a few days relaxing by the sea in the whole of Saudi Arabia, with a number of excellent beach resorts and hotels clustered around Half Moon Bay, just to the south of Dammam. Here visitors can relax on the beach, swim in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf or enjoy a range of watersports including jet skiing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkelling and diving. On land there are some excellent horseriding, cycling and walking trails.
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