Do I have to wear the Hijab if I travel to Saudi Arabia?

Saudi society has its own codes and values. If you want to spend time in this country, you'll need to find out about some of these principles. For example, do female travellers have to wear a hijab when visiting Saudi Arabia?

Wearing the hijab in Saudi Arabia: no obligation for foreign women

Several photos taken of female politicians visiting Saudi Arabia show them without any form of veil. However, they are not punished for deviating from this customary dress code in the country. Tourists are therefore not obliged to wear it when they visit the country. As the hijab has begun to open up to the world, some of the rules governing its wearing are gradually being relaxed..

The religious police, who used to be responsible for punishing those who did not wear the headscarf, have seen their powers considerably curtailed in recent years. Similarly, the penalties are no longer the same as before. However, this does not mean that a woman should dress too casually to go out. If you do, you run the risk of incurring the glare of some passers-by. You could also find yourself accused in court. So dress as you please, taking care not to offend people's sensibilities.

The hijab, a traditional fashion accessory for Saudi women

Whether they are workers or housewives, most of the women you meet on the streets of Saudi cities will certainly be wearing a veil. It is a tradition that has been perpetuated over time, and one that conservatives in this predominantly Muslim society find hard to shake off.

Saudi Arabia is in fact the cradle of Islam and home to the religion's major pilgrimage sites. Practising women must therefore dress modestly. This is precisely why they wear the hijab when they go out. What's more, this does not prevent them from wearing make-up or dressing elegantly.

There are also several collections of traditional clothing with veils on sale by famous designers. Visiting tourists will be able to go shopping and take home souvenirs of their stay in Saudi Arabia.