When to fly:
The most popular times to visit are during the winter months for Hajj or during summer for the festival. Winter, from October till March, sees average temperatures of between 20-30C, with sunny days and cooler nights. Be aware that the city is extremely busy from October onwards as the Hajj pilgrimage season gets underway. It is advised to book your flights well in advance if you are planning to visit during this period. Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and is a compulsory religious responsibility that every Muslim must be a part of at least once throughout their life. During Hajj, pilgrims will congregate in hundreds and thousands in what is considered to be one of the largest annual gathering of people in the world. Several rituals and processions take place and pilgrims will shave their heads as an act of sacrifice. The price of airline tickets do peak due to the increase in demand.
Summer is hot and humid, with July temperatures reaching 43C by day and 30C in the evenings. For over 10 years, thousands of visitors flock to the city for the Jeddah Summer Festival during this period, and over 250 events include exhibitions, shows, fairs, competitions and games.
The cheapest time to book flights is during the low season period in March and April when temperatures are pleasant and the city is less crowded. Peak seasons from October till January for Hajj and during summer, particularly in July and August when the festival is on, are more expensive and air fares rise accordingly.
The exquisite Red Sea coast city of Jeddah is more accessible than many other parts of Saudi Arabia, and as well as being a gateway to pilgrims heading to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina during Hajj season, it is a magnificent destination in its own right. The city is famous for historic coral houses in its al-Balad or old town district, the world's highest fountain - the King Fahd Fountain, and the spectacular floating mosque. The Corniche and terrific scuba diving sites in the Red Sea are other great reasons to visit, and Jeddah is also a haven for shoppers with malls such as Al Seraifi featuring the top designer and luxury brands.
The ancient walled city of Jeddah was historically one of the most important sites in the Arab world, and you'll certainly want to see the towering coral houses that were the home of some of the most prominent traders. Naseef House is one of the best preserved and has been transformed into a museum.
Visit the bustling Souq al-Alawi market right in the heart of the old city to haggle for bargains, or take a stroll to the beach. The beautiful sculpture-lined Corniche stretches for 22 miles (35 km) along the Red Sea coast and the promenade is where local people gather to chat or enjoy family picnics and gatherings. Scuba diving is a major reason for a visit to Jeddah and divers comes from all over the world to take advantage of some of the top Red Sea dive sites.
Getting around Jeddah
It isn't usual for visitors to take the bus, and in fact many locals also prefer to use taxis. They are plentiful and cheap, and many hotels also operate their own free service to ferry guests to the shopping malls and other attractions.
King Abdulaziz International Airportc (JED) is notable for its Hajj Terminal which can handle thousands of passengers during the pilgrimage. The Hajj Terminal and the regular terminals are 5 miles (8km) apart and access between the two is by taxi only. The airport is 11 miles (19km) to the north of the city and taxi is the most common way to get in. There are plenty of taxis available outside the terminals, though it is preferable to agree on the fare before boarding.