Brimming with history, culture and stunning scenery, the Eastern Province is an enchanting slice of Saudi Arabia. You can discover fast-paced cities, escape to lush oasis towns or relax at coastal resorts. The Eastern Province also cradles towering sand dunes, crystalline springs and ancient castles.
Things to do in Ash Sharqiyah
Dammam, the region's lively capital, is a natural starting point for exploring the Eastern Province. It's set on the Arabian Gulf and fringed by a breezy corniche. Don't miss the Dammam Regional Museum, which showcases Stone Age artefacts and local treasures.
It's impossible not to feel dwarfed by Rub' Al-Khali, which harbours some of the largest sand dunes on the planet. They tower over the Empty Quarter, a vast desert that stretches across Saudi Arabia, the United Araba Emirates, Oman and Yemen. The region is best explored on 4WD trips, dune buggy tours and overnight camel safaris.
Studded with more than 1.5 million palm trees, the Al-Ahsa Oasis is one of the Middle East's most captivating landscapes. The desert city of Hofuf is a fantastic base for exploring the region's crystal-clear springs and ancient archaeological sites. You can also get lost in the Qaisariah Souq, a bustling marketplace selling jewellery, handicrafts, spices and exotic fruits.
Perched high on a hilltop, Tarout Castle dates back to 5,000 BC. The ancient stronghold was built on the ruins of a Phoenician temple and was later commandeered as a Portuguese military base. You can wander around the castle and climb up onto the ramparts for sweeping views over the Arabian Gulf.
Getting around Ash Sharqiyah
A rental car offers the freedom to explore Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province at your own pace. The region is also well-connected by local buses. Dammam's King Fahd International is the region's aviation hub.