To get an impression of the vastness of the Saudi capital, you can’t do better than simply look out of the window of your aeroplane as you start your descent to the airport.
But those without window seats, or who arrive in Riyadh over land, can also get a good bird’s eye view of this city by going to the top of the Kingdom Centre or the Faisaliah Tower.
The latter is topped out by a huge golden geodesic sphere called The Globe, in which there is a three-storey restaurant which caters for up to 88 diners. Combined with The Globe is a 360 degree public observation gallery known as The Experience with a sky-shopping mall set beneath.
If you are eating in the restaurant, you can get onto the observation gallery free of charge; otherwise you will have to pay for the privilege. But be aware there is a hefty cover charge, which is there to discourage visitors simply going up for a cup of coffee - which is what many used to do to experience the Globe.
The Kingdom Centre also has a restaurant complex near its summit and if you intend to visit the viewing gallery in the Sky Bridge, you will have to change into a second lift on this floor
Tickets for the Sky Bridge – SR25, SR10 for children – are available from the first floor of the shopping complex. If, however, you go for coffee in the restaurant below the Sky Bridge, you can enter free of charge. Note, however, that because of its construction, your views are mainly limited to a north-south direction!
For either tower you should make sure you go on a really clear day – ideally after it has rained in the winter months – for whenever there is sand in the air the views tend to be somewhat obscured since you are so high up.