Rent a Car for Travel in Riyadh

Riyadh is the vibrant capital city of Saudi Arabia, blending modern amenities with a rich cultural heritage. With its striking architecture, delicious cuisine and proximity to historical sites, having your own set of wheels makes it easy to explore this fascinating destination. Here is a guide to renting a car for travel in Riyadh.

Benefits of Renting a Car in Riyadh

Renting a car provides many advantages for travelers in Riyadh:


A rental car allows you to set your own sightseeing schedule and visit attractions at your own pace rather than rely on tours or public transport.


Driving yourself makes it easy to modify plans on the fly and take spontaneous side trips to places like Al-Ula or Edge of the World.


A rental car makes it more convenient to reach farther flung attractions around Riyadh that have limited public transport options.


Driving in an air-conditioned rental car is much more comfortable than crowded buses or taxis, especially in Riyadh’s arid climate.


As the driver, you have full control to seek out hidden local gems at your own pace rather than follow fixed tour itineraries.

Types of Rental Cars Available in Riyadh

Major companies like Budget, Sixt, Europcar and local favorite Hanco rent a car operate in Riyadh. Here are common rental car types:


  • Affordable compact cars for 1-2 passengers
  • Models like Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio

Compact Sedan

  • Good option for couples or small groups
  • Cars like Hyundai Accent, Chevrolet Optra

Standard Sedan

  • Comfortable midsize cars fitting 4 adults
  • Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima

Premium Sedan

  • Luxury vehicles with ample space
  • Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series


  • For family travel or desert adventures
  • Toyota Fortuner, Ford Explorer


  • For groups up to 8 people
  • Toyota HiAce, Nissan Urvan

Where to Rent a Car in Riyadh

You can rent cars across the city:

  • King Khalid Intl Airport – Rental desks in arrival halls of domestic and international terminals
  • Downtown Riyadh – Various rental offices and partner hotels
  • Major hotels – Many offer car rental partnerships or on-site services
  • Rental company websites – Reserve online for deals and confirmed availability
  • Prince Sultan Street – Rental agencies located along this main road

Shopping around helps find the best rental rates. Booking ahead online can provide savings.

Requirements for Renting a Car in Saudi Arabia

To rent a car in Saudi Arabia as a visitor, you’ll typically need:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • Passport to confirm identity
  • Credit card for deposit – some accept debit cards too
  • Minimum age is usually 25 but sometimes 21 for basic cars

Having an International Driving Permit is recommended but not always mandatory. Meeting age limits with proper documentation will ensure a smooth rental.

Driving Laws and Rules in Saudi Arabia

Here are some key laws and norms to follow when driving in Saudi Arabia:

  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Legal blood alcohol limit is 0% – drinking and driving prohibited
  • Using handheld phones while driving is illegal
  • Seatbelt use mandatory for all passengers
  • Speed limits range from 40km/h in cities to 120 km/h on highways
  • Carefully adhere to all traffic signals and signs
  • Women must have valid Saudi license to drive in the Kingdom
  • Watch for camels, livestock that may wander into road

Following the driving rules closely will keep you safe and avoid issues. Keep your documentation handy when driving.

Top Destinations Near Riyadh to Visit By Rental Car

Having your own wheels makes visiting popular side trips from Riyadh quick and convenient:

Historical Sites

  • Madain Saleh – Impressive ancient Nabataean tombs and ruins
  • Edge of the World – Dramatic cliffscape overlooking the desert
  • Ushaiger Heritage Village – Glimpse historic Najdi architecture

Natural Wonders

  • Red Sands Dunes – Iconic desert landscape near Al Soudah
  • Wadi Hanifa – Sprawling valley with parks, lakes and wildlife
  • Al-Hair Lakes – Rare desert wetlands ecosystem

Other Cities

  • Al-Ula – Dadan and Hegra historic areas with rock tombs
  • Abha – Pleasant city in the cooler Asir Mountains

A rental car provides easy access to top destinations near Riyadh.

Tips for Renting a Car in Riyadh

Follow these tips for a smooth rental experience:

  • Reserve early online for best rates, car availability and add-ons
  • Read rental agreements fully and decline unnecessary extras
  • Inspect vehicle thoroughly at pick-up and note any prior damage
  • Consider additional insurance for peace of mind
  • Use GPS and offline maps to help navigate areas with sparse signage
  • Carry emergency numbers in case of breakdowns in remote areas
  • Refuel before dropping off to avoid inflated filling charges
  • obey all local driving laws and speed limits to avoid issues

Renting a Car in Riyadh – FAQ

What documents do I need to rent a car in Riyadh?

Typical requirements are a valid driver’s license, passport, credit card and optional International Driving Permit. Minimum age is usually 25.

What side of the road do Saudis drive on?

Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road in Saudi Arabia.

Are automatic transmission cars common for rentals?

Yes, most rental companies offer automatic transmission cars readily. Reserve in advance for guaranteed availability.

Can women drive rental cars in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, women can legally drive in Saudi Arabia with a valid local or international driver’s license.


Renting a car is an excellent way to explore Riyadh conveniently and access sites around the Kingdom that are difficult to reach by public transportation. Following local driving laws closely and reserving an appropriate vehicle will ensure a smooth rental experience. The flexibility of setting your own itinerary makes a rental car a great option for visitors aiming to see the best of vibrant Riyadh and beyond.


Leave a Comment