.
.
.
.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla: Top five things to see and do in the Kingdom’s living museum

Published: Updated:

With direct international flights to AlUla now launching from Dubai and Kuwait via Saudi Arabia’s low-cost airline flynas, explorers will now have immediate access to the largest living museum in the world.

Set in northwest Saudi Arabia, and a land rich in historical, geological and geographical significance, the ancient city, once at the crossroads of the Silk Road and the Incense Route, has only recently been re-discovered by the world.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Here is why you should add AlUla to your next travel bucket list.

1) Stay in the new majestic eco-resort, Habitas AlUla

A file photo of AlUla (Stock image)
A file photo of AlUla (Stock image)

A trail-blazer in sustainable hospitality, Habitas brings luxury living to AlUla in an eco-friendly way. Nestled within an ancient oasis in the desert canyons of the Ashar Valley, Habitas AlUla’s facilities include a yoga deck, wellness and fitness centers and a regionally inspired restaurant that uses fresh ingredients from local farms.

As an experience-led hospitality brand, Habitas has created programming that accommodates art and culture walks, canyon trekking, yoga, meditation and breathwork. Guests are also invited to gather and expand their knowledge of this historical region with weekly outdoor cinema screenings featuring regional cultural films and documentaries in addition to open discussion lectures relating to local initiatives, culture, and history.

2) Explore Saudi’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra

Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Supplied)
Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Supplied)

Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll explore over 110 remarkably well-preserved tombs set in a desert landscape, while learning about the ancient people and culture of AlUla.

Along with the wondrous tombs, which were used to lay Nabataean elite to rest, visitors will find wells and stone-lined water channels demonstrating the civilization’s expert craftsmanship. Roman influence is also present in the form of defensive walls, gates and towers that once encircled the city.

3) Feast at a Michelin-star restaurant, Maraya Social

Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant Maraya Social is located on the rooftop of the extraordinary mirrored bulding Maraya. (Supplied)
Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant Maraya Social is located on the rooftop of the extraordinary mirrored bulding Maraya. (Supplied)

One of Britain’s best-loved chefs and owner of multiple Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide, Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant Maraya Social is located on the rooftop of the extraordinary, mirrored building Maraya – with views of a landscape that has captivated artists and architects from the Nabataean civilization to the present.

Open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday; the cuisine takes inspiration from AlUla with produce sourced from local farms, all served up in Atherton’s signature style.

4) Experience AlUla’s thrilling events lineup

This image released on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 shows a scene during the 2019 AlUla Balloon Festival part of Winter at Tantora in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia. (File photo: AP)
This image released on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 shows a scene during the 2019 AlUla Balloon Festival part of Winter at Tantora in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia. (File photo: AP)

Alula’s events calendar is jam-packed with experiences that feed all the senses from music to art, heritage, adventure, culture and food.

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla will launch its third winter festival season, ‘AlUla Moments,’ on December 21 and will include four festivals.

Winter at Tantora, the very first music and arts festival in the Kingdom returns – now in a six-week format. A Candlelit Symphonic Concert at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra will set the tone for the festival season as the opening event.

5) Get off your feet – and into the sky

Visitors can also explore Alula by hot air balloon. (Supplied)
Visitors can also explore Alula by hot air balloon. (Supplied)

AlUla is a noteworthy destination because of its layer upon layer of human history and a wealth of natural wonders waiting to be explored. Few locations can boast such a rich combination of heritage, culture and natural beauty.

Visitors can also explore AlUla by hot air balloon, zipline, 4x4 safari, helicopter and even a vintage aircraft – a chance to experience AlUla’s openness, vastness and magic from above – from mazes of dramatic rock formations to rolling, sand-swept dunes to a valley cloaked in palm and citrus groves to millennia-old clues in basalt lava flows.

Read more:

‘AlUla Moments’: Upcoming festival will launch in Saudi Arabia in December

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla and Saudia airline will launch world’s first flying museum

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla Season will include ancient civilization experiences