I get a lot of questions about how to get from Jeddah to Makkah to Medina for Umrah.
I was very lucky to have an awesome friend who provided me with a driver for my Umrah, so I was driven to Makkah and Medina by car, which I must say was great as it made everything so much easier. May God bless them for kindness and generosity.
I know however that many people will not have this benefit and they will have to rely on other means for their journey from Jeddah to Makkah and Medinah for Umrah. So here is the best guide you will need to read when going from Jeddah to Makkah for your Umrah. If you want to know more about my best way to get to Medinah check the post at the end of the article.
The best and easiest way to get from Jeddah to Makkah is by getting a taxi from the airport. You will have to negotiate the price with the driver but the average that all of my clients and friends pay is about $40 or 350SAR for a taxi. Mekkah is only 50-60 minutes from Jeddah depending on traffic. If you arrive late in the evening like us then there is much less traffic.
Uber & Careem
You can also order an Uber service since they are available in Jeddah and they will drive you to Mekkah. Although it will cost you a little extra you will have the choice of following the route and more security that comes with Uber. You can read more about Uber and how to use them here.
If you haven’t signed up to Uber before you can try them out and receive £10 for your next journey
Also, Careem is the local version of Uber and it offers the option for rides even within the cities of Makkah and Medina. So if you want to go for example to Masjid Kuba you can take a ride with Careem rather than negotiating with a taxi outside your hotel. This definitely makes it more affordable and easy for the pilgrims.
If this is your first time you can use my link and receive a discount on your journey.
There are also private companies that you can rent a driver and a car for a day or even a week if you need. These prices vary but you can find someone from as little as £100 for two days. You will have to negotiate with them and arrange prices and always make sure you have copies of correspondence and prices with you.
Another option will be to actually have a car arranged by the hotel to pick you up from the airport and drop you directly to the hotel. This costs considerably more than actually getting a taxi yourself or even an Uber since each hotel has different prices. You can check for the transportation options with your respective hotel.
If you are planning on visiting Medina while you are there you have a couple of options. You can fly in directly to Medinah airport from your country and then drive to Mekkah. This is a great option and it can be done in reverse as well. It saves you considerable time since Medinah is approximately 5 hours drive from Makkah or Jeddah Or take the new highspeed train.
The new highspeed Train
Earlier this year Saudi announced that the so anticipated highspeed train will be starting to operate. Well, it has, and after a few months, the reviews are good. This is a great way to travel from Makkah to Medinah as the train takes approximately 3 hours. It is much safer than driving or taking a car and much faster and more comfortable.
Currently, the train doesn’t operate at full speed which should be around 300km/hr but rather at 200km/hr. Still, it is a very good alternative and I am happy it is working fine.
You can book tickets online for this train here on their website, which is in English. Prices for one way per person are 150 SAR / £32 pp. The ticket is higher than other modes of transport to Medinah especially for families as it does add up if you want a return ticket.
My best advice will be to take a one-way route from Makkah to Medinah and then an open jaw flight as I have discussed in this article here.
Note that the train doesn’t work best for Jeddah to Makkah as it doesn’t have a stop at the airport.
You can also book a flight from Jeddah to Medina for about £60 return which is not a bad choice if it costs more to book your flights directly to Medina with another airline. Just remember that you will have to collect your luggage and re-check yourself if you are flying directly after landing.
The best way to find the cheapest flights to Medinah is by using Skyscanner as it shows you the options you have for the whole month or even the cheapest month.
The cheapest and more convenient option for those who have first visited Makkah is to use the VIP SAPTCO coaches and travel in comfort to Medinah. SAPTCO is owned by the Saudi government and it stands for Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company. It provides a great and cheap way of travelling between the two Holy cities.
Prices for the tickets cost approximately £35 return and they are well worth it.
You have a nice comfortable chair and free refreshments provided on the journey. Just make sure you book the VIP service and not the regular coach.
You can buy your tickets from Mekkah coach station, make sure you go to the normal station and not the VIP stand since it is not manned, a few days prior to your travel. This service is comfortable and the drivers are careful and they arrive on time which is always a bonus in Saudi.
You can also now, book your service on the SAPTCO website. Tickets can be book about two weeks in advance. This is great if you are going in a busy period and you want to make sure have a seat.
Locals told me to never take a taxi from Makkah to Medina as it is not safe on the motorway due to many drivers speeding. I would also recommend the same to you.
I would also suggest for you not to rent a car and drive since that choice seems to me even more dangerous. The road signs are OK however the driving style is more of a freestyle and especially if you come from a country that drives with rules you will find it frustrating at the least.
Signtseeing in Medinah
Recently there has been introduced a sightseeing bus in Medinah which you can take to visit the 12 historical places of the Holy city. I really like the idea of these busses because they are an easy and convenient way to explore a city.
We used them in New York and I will happily use them next time I am in Medinah as well. You can always leave the bus, explore at your own time and then wait for the next bus to take you to the next destination. Simple!
Here is the link for the website, the bus runs every day all year around with bus frequency of 30min and each ticket costs £17 per person.
Your other option if you want to visit some of the historic sites in Makkah and Medinah during your Umrah you can negotiate a price with a taxi driver. We did the same in Medinah and it was pretty reasonable.
We visited Masjid Kubah, Mount Uhud etc. Though we did have an interesting occurrence when the driver decided to change the negotiated price in the middle of the tour. If this happens to you don’t agree to a different price stick to what it was originally negotiated. Our driver decided he wanted to increase the price from 150 SAR to 400SAR! That didn’t work very well for him. 😉
So I would rather go with the tour bus than having to deal with that on Umrah. I guess introducing the tour bus it is a lesson for taxi drivers too.