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Discover the unique winter wonders of Saudi Arabia

December 18, 2020
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“Welcome to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a beautiful land where diversity meets hospitality.”

Winter in Saudi is a special time of year. This year Saudi has a new experience waiting for all, from the snow-top mountains of Tabuk to the lush green valleys of Al Baha and the pristine beaches of Umluj. Saudi Arabia has many natural and historical landmarks and has been a cradle of many civilizations and cultures that existed in the Arabian Peninsula for thousands of years. Every part of Saudi offers a galore of different experiences leaving its visitors a mixture of curiosity and excitement.

Saudi Tourism Authority has recently announced the start of the winter season adventure campaign, which will continue till the end of March, offering 300 touristic experiences in 17 destinations kingdom wide. There are lots of private-sector establishments providing bespoke experiences in these destinations. The aim of this campaign is to encourage local tourism and promote its winter destinations to contribute to the economy.

The destinations are divided into five categories:

  • Three historical destinations - AlUla, Diriyah, Al-Ahsa
  • Four marine destinations - Yanbu, Umluj, Jazan, KAEC
  • Four city destinations - Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Alkhobar
  • Three cold destinations - Tabuk, Al-Jouf, Hail
  • Three mountainside destinations - Taif, Al-Baha, Asir
Scintillating Historical Destinations


Al-Ula is an unseen wonder to the world. Al-Ula is a living, open-air museum, with rich ecological sites and beautiful mountain formations rarely seen in any other part of Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest settlements of ancient civilizations in the world. Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO world heritage site and the largest preserved site of Nabataean civilization is situated here. Madakhil, known as the Grand Canyon of Saudi Arabia, which is situated in Al-Ula, is an attractive spot for adventure seekers because of its rugged terrain.

What to do:
1. Visit Hegra
2. Adventure Hike at Madakhil
3. Dadan and Jabal Ikmah
4. Stargazing at the desert
5. Explore Alula farms
6. Alula archeological museum
7. Alula Old town
8. Maraya Concert Hall

Al Ahsa

The modern historical capital of Saudi Arabia, the date producing Oasis of Al-Ahsa, is situated in the Eastern Province. The history of Al-Ahsa goes back more than 4,000 years BC. Al-Ahsa also has a long history and elaborate civilization. Al-Ahsa inhibits more than 2.5 million date palm trees, and recently in October, they received Guinness World record as the world’s largest date palm oasis.

What to do:
1. Alhasa palms
2. King Abdullah Park
3. Al Ahsa national Park
4. Jawatha city
5. Jabal Al Qarah
6. Souq Al Qaisariya
7. Ibrahim Palace
8. Al Ahsa Museum


Known as the land of emperors and heroes, Ad-Diriyah is represented as the Historic Jewel of Saudi Arabia, and it continues to offer a mesmerizing glimpse into traditional life in Saudi Arabia. It is only minutes away from the capital, Riyadh. Once the first capital of Saudi Arabia and an enduring memorial of the past nations, Ad-Diriyah is an area of beauty. Al-Diriyah embraces the Al-Turaif neighborhood, which is one of the sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and it is home to one of the kingdom’s most ambitious Vision 2030 heritage developments. The site has been carefully preserved to provide its visitors with the opportunity to recall the history of kings and heroes.

What to do:
1. House of Al-Subaie
2. Diriyah Gate
3. Wadi Hanifa
4. Diriyah Museum
5. Al Bujairy Heritage Park

Silent Sightseeing for Nature Lovers Marine destinations

King Abdulaziz Economic City -KAEC

KAEC is around 120 kilometers north of Jeddah along the coast of the Red Sea is a modern city. From greenery to luxury, this man-made city has a lot to offer. The quintessential KAEC boasts one of the most beautiful and serene beaches, and activities include both water and land adventures, and it is rich with a rich diversity of aquatic life. This is a perfect seaside where one can have barefoot walks along the blue turquoise water. The coral reefs and distinctive sea life is filled with nature and natural beauty. The natural lagoon in KAEC offers many aquatic activities, which offers a unique experience for its visitors.

What to do:
1. Royal Green Golf Course 2. Juman Park
3. Yam Beach
4. Green Arts Park
5. Esmeralda Sports Complex
6. Pure Beach
7. K-Max
8. Lagoon Escape


Yanbu is known as Pearl of the Red Sea and is a multi-faceted city with pristine and picturesque beaches, serene shores, and vivacious streets. Yanbu represents a well-known marine destination for those who enjoy serene beaches and pure nature. The beaches have a lot of enjoyable activities to offer, and it is home to scuba diver's paradise as they have some amazing diving spots to choose from untouched coral reefs to old shipwrecks. Al Balad is an old Yanbu town that is a must-see which is rich with historic buildings.

What to do:
1. Yanbu Al Bahr
2. Yanbu Al Nakheel
3. Yanbu Al Sinaiyah
4. Yanbu Historic Area
5. Yanbu Lake Park
6. Radwa Museum
7. Souq Al Layl


Located in the Northwest of Saudi Arabia next to the Red sea, Umluj is a small coastal town with exceptional beauty when you look around. Umluj is endearingly called as Maldives of Saudi Arabia for a reason- with beaches of pure white sand, clear, turquoise blue waters, abundant corals, and pristine beaches. Umluj offers rich biodiversity, and that makes it an amazing location for snorkeling and diving. It's a perfect beach getaway for sea lovers. Umluj is a great place for any bird watching enthusiast. Diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea are considered the best in the world.

What to do:
1. Hop Around Umluj
2. Ride boats for a sea trip
3. Umluj Castles
4. Old City
5. Al Mogawah caves
6. Moon Land


Jizan is known as the southern pearl, which extends 200 km along the Red Sea coast; Jizan is located in the south of Saudi Arabia. Jizan is known for its clear crystal turquoise waters and amazing coral reefs. Jizan has beautiful sand back beaches with endemic species of birds and corals. The Farasan Islands is a protected archipelago consisting of 84 islands, which is known for the pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, coral reefs, diversity of its wild and colorful marine nature, in addition to the rare living creatures that inhabit it. A visit to Wadi lajab valley is mesmerizing, which is characterized by its greenery, which makes the sides of the mountains a beautiful garden.

What to do:
1. Farasan Islands
2. Wadi Lajab
3. Fayfa peak.
4. Qassar Heritage Village
5. Ottoman Fort
6. Heritage village of Jazan
7. Hot Water Springs
8. Feefa Mountains

Bustling City destinations


The cosmopolitan coastal city of Jeddah is in the west of Saudi Arabia, known as The Bride of the Red Sea. The city that never rests won’t allow you to slumber from all the options it has. To explore Jeddah, you must sail its coasts, visit the luxurious Corniche, feast on the popular seafood delicacies, enjoy majestic palaces and historical and archeological landmarks. Jeddah has a lot to offer, from art and culture, history and heritage to food and coffee. Don’t miss AlBalad, the UNESCO heritage site.

What to do:
1. Historical Jeddah
2. Jeddah Waterfront
3. Fountain
4. Shopping
5. Visit Tayebat City
6. Fakieh Aquarium
7. Flag Pole
8. Obhur


The capital of Saudi Arabia is often called the city of gathering home beauty, charm, and glory. Riyadh embraces a unique blend of culture and history, shopping and entertainment, business and leisure, with never-ending entertainment events throughout the year. Riyadh is a modern-day metropolis, complete with towering skyscrapers and a 99-floor sky bridge. The winter period is the perfect time to visit Riyadh when the temperature drops to 20s Celsius.

What to do:
1. Faisaliyah and Mamlaka Towers
2. Al Masmak Fortress
3. Edge of the world
4. Alsalam Park
5. Riyadh Front
6. Saudi National Museum
7. The Skybridge at Kingdom Tower
8. Ushaiqer Heritage Village.

Dammam and Alkhobar

The eastern province is a bustling metropolitan city that boasts endless views of the tranquil Arabian Gulf. It is known for its green parks, breezy waterfronts, and sandy beaches, and it is highly enjoyable in the winter as the temperature is in the lower 20s Celsius during the day during winter. It is home to Saudi Arabia’s first street-art exhibition, in the Al Khobar’s Bayoonya area, and offers a range of cultural centers and museums as well.

What to do:
1. Prince Saud bin Naif Park
2. Corniche
3. Muraikabat Mountain Park
4. Al Amer Art Gallery
5. AL Khobar traditional village
6. Saihat Park
7. Dareen Island
8. King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Itra)

Into the Stratosphere Mountainside destinations

Al Baha

Al Baha is known as the Garden of Hejaz because of its uniqueness of city. Situated in the southwest of Saudi Arabia, the beautiful mountainous area of Al Baha provides visitors with gorgeous views of the surrounding landscapes and scenery. Al Baha has loaded with enchanting beauty with natural valleys, plains, mountains, waterfalls, forests, and a coastal plain (Tihama). Shada Mountain, located in Al Baha, is a unique model in its geological formation, and it carries the largest plant diversity in the region and rises 1700 meters above sea level.

What to do:
1. Dhee Ayn Village
2. Raghadan Forest Park
3. Al Baha Museum
4. Kherah Forest Park
5. Al khalb park
6. Alkhairah Waterfalls
7. Shada Mountain
8. Umm Al Dageeg Valley


It is the old summer retreat of people in the neighboring cities. Located in the mountains, Ta'if is a popular summer holiday spot around a 2-hour drive from Jeddah. Ta’if is a fertile region known for its rose farms, as well as grapes, fig, pomegranates, and honey production. There are plenty of things to see and do in Ta'if, including cable cars to the top of the mountain in Al Hada, Al Rudaf Park, a large natural park with interesting rock formations, and a small zoo.

What to do:
1. The old market
2. Wadi Sisad
3. AlHada Chair Car
4. Wadi Mehrim
5. Al Rudaf Park
6. Pre-Islamic souk
7. Jabal AlDakka
8. Rose Farms


Asir is a gift of fascinating nature, renowned for its mountain forests and towering peaks. The cool highland for all seasons, with its beauty and magic, offers breathtaking views and thrilling adventures. The climate of Asir is best among the kingdom, as cold and rainy during all the seasons. Abha, the capital city of the Asir region, is known as the city of fog. Abha is located in Asir Governorate, perched on the mountains of Sarawat. Asir is known for its diverse cultures and landscapes is situated above 2,270 m above sea level. Asir region has a lot to offer for its visitors, from the view of rugged peak served by cable car to agricultural lowlands.

What to do:
1. Cable Car
2. Al Sahab Park
3. Rijal Alma Museum and Village
4. Souq Althulata
5. Jabal Al Souda and Al Souda Park
6. Abha Dam and Park
7. Al Muftaha Village
8. Asir National Park

Mesmerizing Cold destinations


Situated in the northwest of Saudi Arabia and close to the Jordan border, Tabuk is surrounded by nature’s giants and beautiful landscapes. It has beautiful beaches, islands, and superb nature and natural surroundings. One of the famous valleys, Wadi Disah, is a breathtaking valley full of amazing sculpted sandstone cliffs and pillars and beautiful lush palm trees. The historical monuments date back to Thamud, Aramean, and Nabataeans civilizations.

What to do:
1. Catalina Seaplane Wreckage
2. Wadi Disah
3. Louz Mountain
4. Magna
6. Al-Nasla Rock
7. Taayib Ism Valley
8. Tabuk Beaches


Located in the north of Saudi Arabia, next to Jordan, it is known for its fertile soil and home of the original olive oil cultivation, with an estimated 13 million olive trees. Al-Jouf offers tons of culture and history and a flavorful culinary scene to explore. It has the largest modern olive farm, which produces 15,000 tons of olive per year, which has been awarded Guinness world record.

What to do:
1. Rajajil Historical Site
2. Zaabal Castle
3. Modern Olive Farm
4. Marid Castle
5. Hawwas Hot Water Spring
6. Jouf Museum
7. Kaf
8. The Lake


Located in the North Center region of Saudi Arabia, the city of Hail was once the capital of the Arabian Desert. Hail is a city filled with generosity, and authentic hospitality is called the home of Hatem el Ta’ey. The Hail region is home to rock art now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A trip to Hail will never be complete without visiting the Al Nufud desert; if you’re an adventure seeker along with the dose of history, culture, set your sights on Hail.

What to do:
1. Jubbah Archaeological City
2. Al Qislah Palace
3. Hail Regional Museum
4. Al Nafud Desert
5. Barzan Castle and Traditional Market
6. A’arif Fort
7. Hail Souq
8. Faid Historical City

Let's know more about some other top travel destinations in the Middle East.

Rozina Musthafa