There are only a few places left in this world waiting to be explored by charting the unknown. At many historical destinations, the illusion of discovery is shattered by a jungle of selfie sticks and photographers.
But AlUla is different.
Home to Saudi's first UNESCO world heritage site, sited deep in the desert of the country's north-western region, you might still be able to play the intrepid archaeologist during your visit.
Put aside your bucket list of must-see locations at home; nothing compares to the 7,000-year-old tombs that still stand as a testament to human civilization, the canyons, the breath-taking natural rock formations, the abundance of adventure activities, and the edge-cutting art installations.
Also, AlUla still remains off the global tourism radar, giving you the space and time you need for reflection with a backdrop of the beautiful desert landscapes.
Places to Visit in AlUla
AlUla is an outdoor museum well-crafted by nature, showcasing stunning rock formations and canyons.
Here is a list of tourist places in AlUla that can make your brain and heart wonder about things beyond imagination.
Jabal Alfil or popularly known as the elephant cave is one of the fantastic geographical tourist attractions in AlUla. This mesmerizing place to visit in AlUla is located 11 km northeast of the city. Elephant cave is the perfect example of natural erosive forces of water and wind over a period of a hundred thousand years. This Saudi treasure rises 171 feet above into the air with mountains looming in the background.
Located in Ragasat Valley, dancing rocks are well sculpted by nature to appear as if they are swaying in unison. This spectacular piece of natural beauty is one of the best tourist spots in Saudi Arabia, including a network of canyons, a labyrinth of valleys running through the massif and fascinating rock formations. Admire the dancing rocks and others that extend as far as the eyes can see.
AlUla's scenic appeal is enhanced by the western igneous basalt columns that cover vast regions of towering mesas. Over the years, an active volcano that was there at the time shaped this famous environment. This is one of the best places to visit in AlUla.
With its well-known date palm groves, fragrant citrus trees, and harvests of wheat, barley, olives, figs, and oats, the AlUla Oasis is among the best tourist attractions. The region's centre is tucked away in the Wadi AlQura, also known as the Valley of Villages. The drainage system and the oasis's natural springs are responsible for the AlUla Valley's prosperity.
Things to do in AlUla
There are several options for adventurous souls when it comes to experiencing the beauty of this national treasure. AlUla is all your adventure dreams in one place, from dune buggy experiences to hikes, mountain climbing routes, and more.
The Adventure Trail
AlUla is the ideal place to start your journey if you are an adventure enthusiast. The adventure trail is sure to please beginners as well as advanced hikers. The array of canyons and mountains make up an excellent list of things to do in AlUla.
To discover the magnificent landscapes of the Saudi Arabia bike hub is one of the best tourist spots in AlUla. Pedal through the 14 km long cycling trail and soak in the picturesque sandstone mountains. From the breath-taking downhill slopes to riding on the sandy tracks, these trails are sure to give an adrenaline rush and a memory of a lifetime.
AlUla Oasis View Trail
The Oasis trail is a must-do in AlUla for an unforgettable view. Climb up to Alfath Mountain peak to catch a spectacular view of the AlUla Oasis with hundreds of palm trees below you.
AlUla is the perfect place to enjoy a Bedouin set-up, with an expert guide to talk about the stars and constellations and how they relate to culture and history. Many tourist places in AlUla offer incredible stargazing experiences.
I Spy: Welcome to the Valley of Imagination
The trove of natural rock masterpieces that build the fine landscapes of AlUla is chiselled by wind and air over millions of years of erosion.
These charming sites are perfect for a geology scavenger hunt to keep the children engaged during the trip.
Jar rock is AlUla's one of the signature outcrops. Millions of years of erosion have formed an opening in the sandstone that resembles a bottle or bowling pin. Hike to jar rock for the views of Elephant rock and its valley. The steep drop from the 'jar' and the slippery rocks could make the hike challenging for beginners and children. Jar rock is an attraction you should not miss in AlUla and has always attracted tourists from different regions in Saudi.
Discover dark, slender stone pillars rising into the sky around an hour outside the city centre. To get to the location, you'll need to travel off-road. Therefore, we advise hiring a skilled driver with a four-wheel-drive car. Your reward is a breath-taking vista that looks much more spectacular at night when the stars shine brightly above the cliffs in AlUla's dark skies.
You will see a formation that resembles the profile of a human head looking out over the desert landscape among the grand tombs of Hegra, close to Jabal AlAhmar. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to see AlUla's rock formations because the light plays on the sandstone and appears to illuminate the rocks from within, creating stunning scenery for both viewers and photographers.
The Arch, is popularly known as Rainbow Rock, is one of AlUla's most distinctive rock structures and is well worth the 90-minute trip from the city centre. The Arch is structured like a rainbow with two clouds on either side and is an exceptionally secluded tourist spot in AlUla. These multicoloured quartz fragments may be seen strewn over the surrounding ground and embedded in the rock. Although you will be mesmerized by this expansive sandstone display, don't forget to look for semi-precious desert diamonds nearby.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the best time to visit AlUla?
A1. The Winter season is the best time to visit AlUla. Typically, October through April are the best months to visit AlUla, with temperatures ranging from a pleasant 10–25 degrees Celsius (45–70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Q2. How can one get to AlUla?
A2. Saudia Airlines, flynas and flydubai all provide service into and out of AlUla's International Airport (ULH). The newly renovated airport is a beautiful and welcoming entrance into AlUla, located just 35 km (a 30-minute drive) from the city centre.
Q3. What are the best resorts and hotels to stay in AlUla?
A3. Some of the best resorts and hotels to stay in AlUla:
- Canyon RV Park
- Habitas AlUla
- Sahary AlUla Resort
- Shaden Resort
- Banyan Tree AlUla
And many more.