Located on the Red Sea and surrounded by rich plains, forests and mountains, Gizan is a city on the cusp of modernisation and a great place to explore nearby attractions like the Farasan Islands and the Faifa Mountains.
Top things to see and do
- Escape the desert heat and head for a bit of retail therapy at the newly built Alrashid Mall. As well as two hotels, you’ll find shops offering high-quality women’s fashion and accessories, great coffee shops selling locally sourced beans and a grocery market for picking up local snacks and delicacies.
- Explore the ruins of Alkalaa Aldosria, an Ottoman castle perched on a mountain top. With its four towers, it’s quite an impressive sight.
- With over 100 coral islands dotting the Red Sea, the Farasan Islands is a protected area around 40km offshore. Here you can enjoy diving on reefs, lazing on pristine white sand beaches or spotting the local wildlife like Arabian gazelles and migratory birds. You can get to the main islands on a daily, free ferry or local ships.
- The Faifa Mountains, about 3 hours’ drive from Gizan, rise to over 3350 Book now metres. They’re covered in lush greenery from the deep Valley of Qa’a, to the fog-covered tops. The rain here brings with it waterfalls, while the high slopes provide stunning views and are a photographer’s dream.
- The region is filled with a dozens of archaeological sites dating from as far back as the Palaeolithic age. Discover Neolithic sites, ancient inscriptions and early Islamic castles and mosques.
Tips for travellers
Treat yourself to a visit to a therapeutic hot spring. There are a couple in the area – one in Al-Khoubah about 75 km from Gizan, and one in Bani Malik, which is a little further.