With direct international flights to AlUla now launched from Dubai and Kuwait via Saudi Arabia’s low-cost airline flynas, explorers now have immediate access to the largest living museum in the world.
Located in northwestern Saudi Arabia, and a country rich in historical, geological and geographical significance, the ancient city, once at the intersection of the Silk Road and the Incense Route, has only recently been rediscovered by the world.
Here’s 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)
Habitas is a pioneer in sustainable hospitality, bringing luxury living to AlUla in an environmentally friendly way. Nestled in 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 a program suitable for art and culture walks, canyon trekking, yoga, meditation and breathwork. Guests are also invited to collect and expand their knowledge of this historic region with weekly open-air cinema screenings featuring regional cultural films and documentaries, in addition to open discussion lectures on local initiatives, culture and history.
2) Explore Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra
Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Delivered)
Visit Hegra to experience Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will explore more than 110 remarkably well-preserved tombs in a desert landscape, while learning about the ancient people and culture of AlUla.
In addition to the miraculous tombs, which were used to rest the Nabataean elite, visitors will find wells and stone-lined water channels that demonstrate the expert craftsmanship of civilization. The Roman influence is also present in the form of defensive walls, gates and towers that once surrounded the city.
3) Party at a Michelin star restaurant, Maraya Social
Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant, Maraya Social, is located on the rooftop of the extraordinary Maraya mirrored building. (Delivered)
Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant, Maraya Social, one of Britain’s best-loved chefs and owner of multiple Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, is on the roof of the extraordinary Maraya mirrored building – overlooking a landscape that has captivated artists and architects from the Nabataean civilization to the present.
Open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday; the cuisine is inspired by AlUla with produce sourced from local farms, all served in Atherton’s signature style.
4) Experience AlUla’s exciting event lineup
Released on Friday, February 8, 2019, this image shows a scene during the 2019 AlUla Balloon Festival part of Winter at Tantora in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia. (File photo: AP)
Alula’s calendar of events is packed with experiences that nurture all the senses, from music to art, heritage, adventure, culture and food.
Saudi Arabia’s AlUla launches 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 up – and into the sky
Visitors can also explore Alula by hot air balloon. (Delivered)
AlUla is a remarkable destination for its layer upon layer of human history and a wealth of natural wonders just waiting to be discovered. Few locations can boast such a rich combination of heritage, culture and natural beauty.
Visitors can also explore AlUla by hot air balloon, zipline, 4×4 safari, helicopter and even a vintage airplane – 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 shrouded in palm and citrus groves to millennia-old clues in basaltic lava flows.