±A - Join Our Community

Learn from the experiences of other expats and make new friends in our disccussion forums and Facebook groups

±A - Cigna

±A - Read Our Guide

The Expat Focus Guide to Moving Abroad contains everything you need to know when planning an international relocation available now, completely free

±A - Compare Quotes and Save

Insurance, FX and international movers

±A - Listen to the Podcast

The Expat Focus podcast features interviews with expats living abroad and service providers meeting their needs subscribe today!

±A - Expert Financial

From our tax, investment and FX partners

±A - ExpatFocus Partners

Expat Focus Partners

Become a Partner. Click Here.

Climate and Weather

Saudi Arabia - Climate and Weather

Apart from a few areas such as Asir on the Southern region, Saudi Arabia has a constant desert climate. The country gets extremely hot as you move towards the seacoast, while high temperatures in the inland are more bearable. In addition, altitude plays a big part in determining the climatic extremes of the country.

Generally, Saudi Arabia receives little to no rainfall throughout the year. Some areas have higher precipitation than others, while other areas have no rain at all. Sunny days are constant throughout the year, and humidity can escalate the heat to unbearable levels.

Climate and weather in Saudi Arabia will also vary from one region to another. It is important that you find out the weather conditions of the city you are about to visit so that you know what you should carry. The best time to travel to Saudi Arabia is during winter when it is mild.


Mecca is the holy city of Hajj, and receives the largest number of tourists in Saudi Arabia. The city is located at a higher altitude, to the west of the mountainous regions. Mecca remains hot throughout the year. In summer, temperature escalates to a scorching 44°C. However, local people find this temperature bearable, given the city is little way from the sea cost. Humidity is low, and rainfall only reaches a maximum of 110 mm annually.


Riyadh is the capital city of Saudi Arabia, and is at an altitude of 600meters above sea level. It is at a higher altitude than Mecca, and is also located within the inlands.

Given the Riyadh’s location, summers in the city are hot but bearable. The air is normally dry, and it never rains during the hot season. Summer temperatures can reach a high of 47°C, while humidity remains low throughout. Generally, Riyadh is colder than Mecca, with temperatures dropping to 13°C in January, and sometimes going sub-zero levels. Being far from the sea, Riyadh only has 30mm of rainfall annually.

Syrian Desert

The Syrian Desert or Hamad lies to the extreme north, and is a true manifestation of the Saudi Arabian desert climate. The Hamad is located 850 meters above sea level, which means the area gets extremely cold especially at night. In January, normal temperatures read 7°C, but this quickly drops to -10°C during winter. Winter nights are freezing cold and once a while, it even snows in the desert.

Summer in the Syrian Desert is from May to September. It never rains during this time, and temperatures escalate to 45°C. However, given the low humidity levels of the region, it does not become as hot as the coastline.

The Plateau

The entire Arabian Peninsula is one huge plateau. The area lies between an altitude of 400 meters and 1200 meters above sea level. The Arabian plateau comprises of rocky and sandy deserts, all interconnected to form one arid region. These rocky-sandy deserts are known as Ad-Dahna, Nafud and Rub'al Khali. The Arabian plateau is an area of low humidity and is very sunny.

Days can be extremely hot and nights extremely cold. During winter, the northern side of the plateau gets colder than the south, as the south leans more towards the sea.

Persian Gulf

At the Persian Gulf, the weather is always bright and dry. Normal temperatures oscillate between 12°C and 17°C, although the northern area facing Kuwait is colder. It is possible for temperatures to go below zero, especially at night. Despite the Persian Gulf being close to the Arabian Sea, it does not become as humid as the coast, as the Persian Gulf is engulfed by dry hot winds from the Iraqi desert as opposed to the coastal humid winds. However, the Persian Gulf gets really warm in summer. In fact, the Persian Gulf is considered the warmest sea on earth during summer.


Dammam is a thriving city within the Persian Gulf. Temperatures in Dammam average around 37°C, although it can quickly escalate to 50°C during summer. Summer in the city is between May and November. During winter, the city gets really cold, but does not reach freezing point. Dammam only receives 90mm of rain annually. The rainy season starts in May and intensifies by November.

When To Travel To Saudi Arabia

Winter is the best time to visit Saudi Arabia. Travel to the north of the red sea, the Persian Gulf coast, and the central plateau region where Medina and Riyadh are located. The northern side of Riyadh gets extremely cold during winter, so avoid that area at this time. During summer, Mecca, Rub’al Khali, Jeddah and south central side of the Red Sea are all good spots to visit.

The Persian Gulf gets warm during November. This is the perfect time to go swimming, sunbathing, and basically enjoy life in the coastal region. In March, the sea will still be warm and favorable for water activities. However, it can get really hot In April, which may cut short coastal activities.

What you pack for your Saudi Arabian holiday will partly depend on the season you are travelling in. Whereabouts you are going will also play a part in what you wear. For example, winters in the Syrian Desert require warm clothes and the occasional raincoat or an umbrella. Winters on the Gulf Coast are mild, so a t-shirt and jacket may be all you need. The northern regions, which are areas of high altitude, are extremely cold and you may need a heavy jacket and scarf.

Summers in Saudi Arabia favor outdoor activities, so lighter clothes are recommended. T-shirts, sweat shirts, and plenty of shorts are perfect for venturing into the outdoors. You may need a sweater or jacket for the night when it gets a bit chilly. Cotton is the best fabric to wear out in the heat because it is breathable and absorbs sweat better.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.