By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Riyadh?

Do you need a car in Riyadh > Should you rent a car in Riyadh Saudi Arabia > Riyadh ( RUH )

Although Riyadh is currently developing an extensive rapid transit network, this is still a city that was developed around the car, with an extensive network of vast multilane highways. Local buses are available, but they are slow.

Do you need a car in Riyadh? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Despite being such a closed shop, Riyadh is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with a rapidly growing tourism sector, aimed mainly at nationals of other Gulf Cooperation Council member states, for whom access is a great deal easier. The city is also still popular for domestic tourism with people who are already based in the country.

Note that only male drivers can hire a car in Riyadh, and tourists can only usually visit Saudi Arabia via an invitation through an organised tour operator, or by visiting close relatives who are already working in the country.

Why should you rent a car in Riyadh?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Riyadh?

Riyadh Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]



Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]




Free parking score

Total 288 - of which 223 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Sprawling Riyadh has been built around the car. This is a modern but heavily congested city with all the trappings of car culture!
  • Buses are of poor standard.
  • Visit Thumamah National Park – a desert recreational area on the northern edge of the ciy.

Why not? Visiting Riyadh without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Riyadh public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score



Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Riyadh. 


  • Few reasons to visit Riyadh without a car.
  • You can manage using local buses and taxis, but options are limited for a city of this size.

Riyadh is currently embraking on one of thre largest metro building projects in history, with a total of 6 lines. The first route is scheduled to open in 2019.

Do you need a car in Riyadh? No!


Car rental in - Riyadh Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Riyadh?

  • Based on comparison with transit and walking/cycling?

Is it worth hiring a car in Riyadh?

  • Based on value for money?

Should you rent a car in Riyadh?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Riyadh if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

What about for families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Riyadh if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

What if we are staying in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Riyadh if I prefer not to drive?

What if we are easy either way?

What if I prefer to drive?



What is our final score for Riyadh on the Carornocar scale?


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Riyadh?

Have you driven in Riyadh? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Riyadh?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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