Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, is located in western Saudi Arabia, the biggest country in the Middle East.
It is a city that all physically and financially able Muslims are obliged to visit at least once in their life, while the non-Muslims are forbidden from entering here.
In the city of Mecca, during prayer times, streets near the Mosque often get crowded with mosque goers since most Muslims having a preference for praying at the Sacred Mosque.
The major part of tourists that visit Saudi Arabia is the religious pilgrims visiting Mecca or Medina, so the city of Mecca is economically important for Saudi Arabia, too.
Mecca boasts wonderful architecture, breathtaking views and a plethora of historic, religious and cultural landmarks.
Warnings & Dangers in Mecca
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Mecca is very safe as this is the holy safe city in Saudi Arabia. Some of the biggest concerns for tourists here should be disrespecting their moral codes, as this is followed with severe punishments.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Accidents on the road occur frequently in Mecca. If you're visiting Mecca as part of a pilgrimage, be prepared for extreme traffic james and severely overcrowded public transport. The roads outside of the main cities vary in quality from well maintained to extremely poor.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
With more than 15 million visits annually, pickpocketing is relatively common in Mecca. Pickpockets are especially active during pilgrimages. Avoid wearing purses and keep your money in a hidden place, not easily accessible by pickpockets.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
As for natural disasters, you can expect extremely high temperatures, reaching as high as 50C. This is why it is highly recommended that you always carry water with you and maintain hydrated. Sandstorms and thunderstorms are also common.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Muggings or kidnappings might be a concern, though generally they aren't common in Saudi Arabia.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
Terrorists are extremely likely to try and carry out attacks in Mecca. The main threat comes from Daesh that were formerly referred to ISIL. Remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Not only in Mecca, but in the entire territory of Saudi Arabia, except for credit card frauds, expect virtually no scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There are some risks for women traveling to Saudi Arabia, especially if they're not respecting their codes of morality, like wearing an abaya at all times. Apart from that, women should apply basic precaution measures.
So... How Safe Is Mecca Really?
Probably the main concern for travelers in Mecca is the situations they can get themselves into in cases of disrespecting Islamic codes of morality, which are definitely a lot stricter than anyone outside of UAE can imagine.
What you may see as minor or non-relevant, may get you into serious troubles.
Despite strict crowd control measures, during the month of the Hajj overcrowding and stampedes are extremely common and represent major hazards, killing dozens of people.
Mina, Jamrat and the bridges that lead to them are known to be particularly dangerous, although this is being worked on, and four parallel bridges are built, alont with the route that is now unidirectional.
During the month of Hajj, pickpockets are a real issue
By all means, avoid bringing any valuables with you when moving through the crowds.
Saudi Arabia in general has one of the lowest crime rates in the world as the police are regularly present on the streets, but there’s always a small degree of petty theft like pickpocketing and purse snatching.
- Visas - All nationals are required to get a visa in order to enter Saudi Arabia. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six-month from your planned date of return from Saudi Arabia. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Saudi Riyal is the official currency of Mecca. Airports offer the best exchange rates, and ATMs are widespread throughout the country. Credit cards are accepted in most establishments.
- Weather - Mecca has a desert climate, characterized by extremely high temperatures, exceeding 50C. Period from June to September is the hottest period of the year.
- Airports - King Abdulaziz International Airport is an airport located 19 km to the north of Jeddah. This is the busiest airport of Saudi Arabia. It is known for its Hajj terminal, built specifically for Islamic pilgrims going to Mecca annually.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Mecca, since it covers not only medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.