Over the years, no Saudi city has been more open to outside influencers such as traders, international artists and Makkah-bound pilgrims than the ancient port of Jeddah. Indeed, the city’s unofficial motto is “Jeddah ghair,” or “Jeddah’s different.” Today, Jeddah is Saudi Arabia’s buzzing cosmopolitan hub, home to gleaming hotels and big-ticket events like the Red Sea International Film Festival, which takes place at late winter.
 The city’s heart is still intact in Al Balad, the magical historical quarter that has undergone a renaissance in recent years. And the Red Sea is still central to it all — for trade, for diving among pristine reefs, and for fishing for Jeddah’s legendary seafood. The city where Eve was laid to rest (according to local lore) is a beguiling mix of old and new, and one that remains gloriously different.

When in Jeddah, Go and Explore

Discover Al Balad

Jeddah’s UNESCO-listedhistorical center is one of the kingdom’s most evocative quarters, with narrow alleyways between ancient coral-stone merchants’ houses leading to spice-scented souqs and glowing traditional bakeries. Many buildings have been sensitively restored in recent years, including the grand 106-room Nasseef House, where the former king of Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz Ibn Saud stayed in 1925 before becoming king of a unified Saudi Arabia.

Explore Jeddah’s Corniche

Jeddah’s 4.2-kilometer corniche has been transformed into a place of piers, swimming bays, restaurants and lushly landscaped walking and cycle paths. Jeddah’s winters are mild and dry, with temperatures ranging from 20 to 32 C, making it comfortable to stroll past iconic sculptures.

Visit Tayebat 

Jeddah has a rich 2,500-year history of fishing tribes, early Arabian trade and, later, pilgrims. The Tayebat City Museum tells this story and that of the wider Arabian peninsula. Built in traditional Hijazi style, with roshan window screens and ornate minarets, the vast complex sprawls over four floors and 18 wings, with more than 60,000 items on display. Explore ancient coins and manuscripts, traditional Saudi costumes and a re-creation of the Kaaba, the sacred black cube at the center of Makkah’s Grand Mosque.