Climate of Saudi Arabia
Where is the country of Saudi Arabia located? Saudi Arabia (also written as Saudi Arabia) occupies much of the Arabian Peninsula. The country, with its very strict Islamic rules of life, is generally seen as the center of Islam, which Saudi Arabia owes in part to the location of the important Islamic pilgrimage site, Mecca. Saudi Arabia has a warm desert climate (type BWh according to the Köppen climate classification), with hot, dry summers and mild to warm fairly dry winters. The landscape is characterized by large desert areas (sand and rocks) and an area in the southwest, near the border with Yemen, with steppe-like vegetation, giving the landscape a greener appearance. This mountainous area, the Asir Mountains, is clearly wetter than the rest of the country. Precipitation amounts are measured here, which rise to more than five hundred millimeters on an annual basis in the highest places. Locally, the warm desert climate in this mountain area changes into a warm steppe climate.
Most of Saudi Arabia has to deal with drought, with only a few tens of millimeters of precipitation being recorded on an annual basis. The low-lying desert areas and the coastal regions are especially dry. If it does rain, it is mainly in the winter months. The only exception to this is the Asir Mountains, where it also regularly rains in the summer months, especially in the southernmost regions. In the place Nejran it even rains mainly in the period from March to September, after which the winter period is relatively dry.
In Saudi Arabia, extremely high temperatures are measured in the summer months, both during the day and locally also at night. In Jizan, located in southwestern Saudi Arabia on the Red Sea, the mercury usually doesn’t drop more than 30 degrees at night, while it easily rises again to 40 degrees or higher during the day. The southern part of the coast along the Red Sea is therefore an exception to the rest of the coastal areas in the west of the country, because the seawater of the Red Sea usually tempers the temperatures a bit. Along the Persian Gulf, daytime temperatures are generally a bit higher and the mercury can rise well above forty degrees. In the winter months the daytime temperatures are on average between twenty and thirty degrees, while it cools down quite a bit at night and can get below freezing in the mountains and in the desert. In the Asir Mountains, snow is also a possibility in winter.
Sandstorms can occur on the desert plains, especially in the spring and early summer months there is a reasonable chance of a sandstorm. When you have to deal with a sandstorm, you see it coming towards you like a “wall” of sand, with the temperature rising rapidly. During a sandstorm, visibility decreases quickly, sometimes reaching a few tens of meters. Saudi Arabia is hit by sandstorms about ten to thirty times a year, with the chance in the east being higher than in the rest of the country.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month|
Best time to visit Saudi Arabia
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Saudi Arabia? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupies about two-thirds of the Arabian Peninsula. Contrary to popular belief, the country is not all desert. Large parts of Saudi Arabia indeed consist of desert landscapes with the accompanying climate. There are also other landscapes to be found. For example, on the central plateau, Nadjd, you will find fertile valleys and oases. Those who visit Saudi Arabia will discover that it is a warm to downright hot destination. Even in the somewhat temperate areas, which are a bit higher in the mountains, it is still quite warm even in winter. The town of Abha, located at 2000 meters above sea level, is about 18 to 23 degrees in winter during the day and temperatures rise to above thirty degrees Celsius in the middle of summer. It is sweltering hot in the summer in both the central parts of Saudi Arabia and the coastal areas. Think of maximum temperatures that average between 40 and 46 degrees in June, July and August. Even at night it is still very warm with minimums that are somewhere around thirty degrees.
Most pleasant months
The best time to travel to Saudi Arabia is from November to March. It is then warm, quite dry and, like the rest of the year, sunny. In the northern areas it can be just a bit cooler. There it is better to choose November or March.
Saudi Arabia is an Islamic destination. That means Islamic holidays, commemorations and periods of fasting. Since the exact dates are based on the Islamic calendar, the dates are offset from our Gregorian calendar. Because daily life in Saudi Arabia can be significantly influenced by such days, it is useful to check in advance about the travel dates on which you want to visit Saudi Arabia. For example, as a tourist during Ramadan, the annual fasting period, you will not be able to eat or drink in public during daylight. For professing Muslims this will be a matter of course, for non-Islamist tourists it may be slightly different.