About Riyadh King Khalid International Airport (RUH)
Address: Domestic Terminal, Riyadh
King Khalid International Airport (RUH) is located 35 km (21 mi) north of central Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Airport car rentals from Enterprise, Europcar, Avis, National, Sixt, and Hertz are found within the arrival areas of both domestic and international terminals.
Few cities in the world are as sprawling and vast as Riyadh, and likewise as dependent on a car for transportation. With nearly non-existent public transit, the primary option for visitors is to rent a car in Riyadh.
Although the extensive road network consists of wide, modern expressways and highways, driving in Riyadh takes a certain amount of getting used to. Road signs are in Arabic and English, but most navigation will involve landmarks as opposed to street addresses.
Route planning is key, and GPS is essential for reaching your destination. Speaking of destinations, Riyadh doesn’t have many attractions to speak of, and most Western visitors arrive on business. The landlocked city is situated in the middle of the desert, with an absolutely brutal and unrelenting climate, especially in the summer months. Air conditioning is mandatory for all car hires.
Most Gulf Coast cities in the Emirates have reputations for dangerous driving conditions that will precede your arrival. Riyadh, one of the most buttoned-down cities in all of the Middle East, has its share of hothead drivers in massive SUVs, but it’s not as chaotic as Jeddah or Dubai. But the number one thing Riyadh has going for it is the grid system that dominates road navigation.
The city is just loaded with right angles, and orientation is made simple by the presence of skyscrapers in the city center. On the other hand, driving distances are exceptionally long — the airport’s location should be your first clue to the expanse of the metropolitan area. If you’re planning to hit some of the outlying areas, you should always notify someone of your plans in advance.
Choosing your car
Cheap car rentals in Riyadh are plentiful. Wherever you look, you’ll find great deals on all the top name brands. Select from Kia economy cars, Toyota compact and luxury Mercedes fullsize sedans, Chevrolet minicars, Hyundai and Mazda SUVs, and Nissan 7-9 seater minivans for groups and large families.
Tips and advice
The damage excess on Riyadh Airport car rentals is much higher than most Western destinations. Choosing one of the full protection rental plans will eliminate the deductible.
Debit cards are accepted for booking and payment of your Riyadh Airport car hire, but be advised that there must be enough money in the account to satisfy the deductible (excess), and that amount won’t be available at ATMs for the duration of your rental period.
Driving at night in Saudi Arabia is not recommended, although you could probably get away with it in central Riyadh.
At this time of writing, women are not allowed to rent cars in Saudi Arabia.
Minicars, economy hatchbacks, and compact sedans are theoretically good for inner-city driving, but they’ll be overwhelmed and outmatched by all the midsize and fullsize SUVs that dominate the roads.
Watch out for the raised curbs that define the lane widths on major roads and highways.