Date: 06 Dec 2018

Every umrah pilgrim will make the 450km trip between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. But few will take the time to stop and take in the unique scenery that surrounds them.

In fact, this holy route is full of beautiful scenery and historical sites. Here are a few of our favourites…

1. Thuwal

A former fishing village with a beautiful beach, Thuwal is a popular stop-off for pilgrims as they make their way north of Mecca. In fact, the local barbers are well used to dealing with pilgrims who have forgotten to shave their heads!

A few years ago, the Saudi government re-designed Thuwal as a naval town, with new buildings, grocery stores, markets and restaurants. It is a welcoming and convenient town where you can spend an hour or a day as you make your way to Medina.

What to do while you’re there: pick up some groceries at the local supermarkets, or try ‘broast chicken’ – a local delicacy which is served at most shawarma restaurants.

2. Badr

A must-visit location. This ancient settlement was the site of the famous Battle of Badr in 624 CE – a hugely significant battle in Islamic history.

What to do while you’re there: Bring the Qu’ran to life by visiting the battlefield. Local tour guides are available to offer an even more detailed glimpse into the history of this holy place.

3. Rabigh

Almost exactly half way between Mecca and Medina, Rabigh is probably the most popular stop-off location between Mecca and Medina.

Like Badr, Rabigh has some religious significance for pilgrims, as it was the site of a battle between Ubaydah ibn al-Harith and the Qurayshis.  Today, it is also famous for its busy port, which has helped to transform Rabigh into a truly modern city.

What to do while you’re there: Relax and shop at the vast (and air conditioned!) Rabigh Mall.