Middle East

Umrah & pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

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Discover - Umrah & pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia

Looking to create your own Umrah itinerary? Well now you can at Rihaala.com where designing your pilgrimage is as easy as selecting your flights, adding on your hotels and adding on our e-visa service. As of September 2019 pilgrims can now obtain their visa on arrival into Saudi Arabia on the new tourist e-visa. This also allows visitors to visit Makkah and Madinah for Umrah. You no longer need to spend hours and hundreds of pounds obtaining a visa from your travel agent. Citizens of 49 countries including the UK, US, Canada and most of Europe (click here to view the full list) can obtain a visa either online or at the kiosks upon arrival. The government say that visas will be processed in 30 minutes.
If you want to plan a visit to Makkah and Madinah when the weather is not too cold or hot, the best time to do so is between December and March, although once the summer period finishes the high temperatures tend to be less frequent. If you're looking to travel soon after Hajj, we do recommend you check the opening of the visa applications to ensure you're able to travel for Umrah. We will also be updating this page with the date when Umrah visas will be available.


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  • Time Difference: GMT +3 hours
  • Capital: Riyadh
  • Currency: Saudi Riyal
  • Flying Time from the UK: 5 1/2 hours direct
  • Visa: Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) required
  • Our Highlight: Spending the day visiting Taif

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Once you arrive into Jeddah or Madinah, there are plenty of transfer options from the airport to the hotels in either city. You can jump in a taxi (be prepared to agree a price before setting off) or you can whip out your smartphone and order an Uber or Careem service. Your payment is made on your card and the journey price is stated on the app. You can expect to pay between £40 to £50 from Jeddah to Makkah and about £20 from Madinah Airport to your hotel.

Travelling in between Makkah and Madinah has never been easier. You can try the new Haramain train service which takes 3 hours and costs 160 Saudi Riyals (SAR) one way in an economy seat. You can book your seats on the official website here. Alternatively, you can book a SAPTCO coach service which takes about 6 hours and costs around 70 SAR. You can visit the SAPTCO booking site for your coach here

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There is an abundance of hotels in both cities within a short walk of the Masjids, so you never have to stay too far away. In Makkah, the new Jabal Omar Hyatt Regency occupies a prime location at the heart of the holy city of Makkah and it is a one-minute walk to Al-Masjid Al-Haram. Other hotels include the Shaza Makkah, Royal Dar El Eiman, The Swissotel and The Conrad to name a few. 
Set just outside the haram, Shaza Al Madina combines sophistication and location in effortless style. You can awake to the beautiful sound and sight of the muezzin calling for prayers across the still dark skies awaiting the first blush of dawn and with its enviable location, you can be within the grounds of the Prophet's Mosque within a few moments. Other hotels in Madinah range from the Oberoi to the Anwar Al Madinah Movenpick as well as the affordable Pullman Zamzam and the Golden Tulip Al-Zahabi.

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