Car Rental in Riyadh
Public transportation is almost non-existent in Riyadh so it makes sense to rent your own vehicle. When you factor in the unbearable heat for most of the year, experiencing the city from the comfort of your own air-conditioned rental car makes for a far more enjoyable experience.
Where to rent a car in Riyadh
There are plenty of car rental agencies available at Riyadh Airport and many more located around the city center for travelers to choose from. In the center of Riyadh there are several international car rental providers with offices including Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and Avis along with many more local companies to choose from. If you plan to pick up your rental vehicle from the city, the easiest way to travel into Riyadh from the airport is via taxi due to the lack of public transportation.
Driving in Riyadh
Riyadh is known as one of the safer places to drive in Saudi Arabia as traffic rules are more strictly enforced compared to other cities in the country. However, this doesn’t mean driving in the city will be a smooth experience, especially for foreign visitors with no experience of the local roads. For this reason, many car rental agencies will be able to provide a personal driver with your vehicle who has knowledge of local driving customs. Traffic jams in the center during rush hour can take hours to escape so avoid the roads from 07.00-09.00 and 17.00-19.00. Women have only been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia since June 2018.
Parking in Riyadh
In Riyadh you will be required to pay for parking in certain zones and will be issued with a ticket if you fail to do so. Parking can be very hectic in the city as many will brazenly take up multiple spaces, and those who can’t read Arabic will be unsure of whether or not payment is required to park. Many of the shopping malls and hotels will have their own car parks, so you may be better off parking up in a multi-storey mall car park. You can use Skyscanner to find the best hotels in Riyadh.
Where to go around Riyadh
Be advised that many of the leading attractions and landmarks in Riyadh are closed on Fridays and Saturdays and often have segregated opening hours from men and women. Many of the most popular spots are located centrally in Riyadh but there are some interesting day trip options for visitors including the ancient city of Al Kharj south of Riyadh – this fascinating place is just over an hour's drive south of Riyadh and is home to the iconic King Abdul Aziz Al-Kharj Castle. Alternatively, explore the Wadi Hanifa riverbed which stretches over 80 km through Riyadh with its farms and palm groves.
* This information is correct as of December 2018