Jean Louis Burckhardt and Sir Richard Burton are well known as explorers of Arabia, but there are a handful of less known ones as well. This list comes from the out-of-print Explorers of Arabia by Zahra Freeth and Victor Winstone:
Lodovico Varthema – c. 1470-1517, an Italian traveler and writer, the first European non-Muslim known to have entered Mecca as a pilgrim.
Joseph Pitts – a cabin boy captured by pirates, visited Mecca as a slave in the 1680s, then escaped to write a book: True and Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mohametans (1704).
Carsten Niebuhr – a German mathematician, cartographer, and explorer who joined the expedition which was being sent out by Frederick V of Denmark for the scientific exploration of Egypt, Arabia and Syria in 1761.
Jean Louis Burckhardt – (1784 – 1817) Among other things, rediscovered Petra.
Sir Richard F. Burton – (1821 – 1890) Traveled to Mecca in disguise.
Carlo Guarmani – born in Italy in 1828 and left for the East in 1850 where he worked for the Imperial French Postal Service and traveled extensively among the Bedouin tribes. Wrote Al Kamsa: The Purebred Arabian Horse; a Study of Sixteen Years in Syria, Palestine, Egypt and The Arabian Deserts; Journey From Jerusalem to Northern Najd .
Charles Doughty – “He is best known for his 1888 travel book Travels in Arabia Deserta, a work in two volumes which, though it had little immediate influence upon its publication, slowly became a kind of touchstone of ambitious travel writing, one valued as much for its language as for its content. T. E. Lawrence rediscovered the book and caused it to be republished in the 1920s, contributing an admiring introduction of his own.”
The Blunts – Wilfrid and Lady Anne (1837 – 1917) – Arabian horses.
[image; wikipedia. Lady Anne Blunt, in Bedouin attire, with her favourite riding mare, Kasida.]