AlUla, Global Destination for Cultural and Natural Heritage
The small desert oasis of AlUla is located in the north-western part of Saudi Arabia in a valley surrounded by sandstone cliffs. The scenery is awe-inspiring, with rocky outcrops, sand dunes, and ancient ruins. The AlUla region is home to some of the most breathtaking natural and man-made wonders in the world and has been inhabited for thousands of years.
AlUla Old Town has been awarded the title of Best Tourism Village by the United Nations World Tourism Organization. The UNWTO Best Tourism Villages initiative has captured the imagination of destinations, travellers and media outlets all around the world and the Awards Ceremony of the second edition took place at the magnificent Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla on March 12, 2023.
One of the most significant attractions in AlUla is the ancient city of Hegra. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the largest conserved site of the Nabataean Kingdom outside of Petra, Jordan. The city dates back to the first century BCE, and it is home to over 100 tombs that are carved into the sandstone cliffs. The tombs are decorated with intricate carvings and inscriptions, and they provide a fascinating insight into the Nabataean culture.
Explore the ancient city of Dadan, the capital of the Dadan and Lihyan kingdoms and is an important archaeological site. It contains remains of impressive structures, including temples, palaces, and fortifications, that provide a glimpse into the advanced civilization of the Dadanites. The city dates back between the late 9th and early 8th century BCE (Kingdom of Dadan) and 5th–2nd century BCE (Kingdom of Lihyan). The civilization of Dadan and its people, known as the Dadanites were contemporaries of other ancient Near Eastern civilizations, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians.
Another must-see attraction in AlUla is the Elephant Rock. This natural wonder is a huge rock formation that looks like an elephant. The rock is over 50 meters high, and it is located in the middle of the desert. Visitors can climb to the top of the rock and take in the stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape.
One of the most unique attractions in AlUla is the Maraya Concert Hall. This futuristic concert hall is made entirely of mirrors, and it is the largest mirrored building in the world. The hall can seat up to 500 people, and welcomes some of the most innovative music and art performances in the region.
In AlUla visitors discover some of the most beautiful desert landscapes in the world. The region is known for its sand dunes, and tourists can take a camel or 4×4 ride through the desert to explore the area. The sunsets in AlUla are particularly stunning, and they provide a perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner or a quiet evening with friends.
In addition to its natural and cultural attractions, AlUla hosts several of the most luxurious hotels in the world. The resorts in AlUla are designed to blend in with the surrounding desert landscape, and they offer visitors a chance to experience the best of traditional Saudi hospitality.
AlUla, is an ancient oasis city located in Medina province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. Located at the crossroads of continents, Saudi Arabia has been a fantastic meeting point for civilizations who left behind an abundant heritage. AlUla is an eloquent symbol of this richness.
Hegra: Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Dadan: AlUla was the capital of the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, which controlled the caravan trade in the first millennium BCE.
Jabal Ikmah: Thousands of pre-Arabic and more than 450 early Arabic inscriptions are engraved in Aramaic, Dadanitic, Thamudic, Minaic and Nabataean, onto steep cliffs, referred to as “open library”, they tell the stories of the several civilisations that thrived in AlUla.
AlUla Old Town: AlUla Old Town is a labyrinth of tightly packed streets lined with mudbrick houses, shops and squares. Above it all, a 10th-century fort still watches over the town and its scenic desert valley.
AlUla Cultural Oasis: The oasis is a lush and fertile plain with sustainable farming at its core, together with some idyllic walking trails and a fine collection of cafes and restaurants.
When to go
Winter, typically October through April, is the best time to visit AlUla, with temperatures ranging from a pleasant 10–25 degrees Celsius (45–70 degrees Fahrenheit).
Where to stay
Essentials to pack
Visitors, men and women, should wear comfortable, loose clothing with walking or hiking shoes to travel around AlUlas varied terrains and landscapes. Pack sun protection and dress in Layers. When packing, consider protecting yourself beyond just sunscreen.
How to get there
Saudia Air flies between AlUla and Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman. flydubai flies between AlUla and Dubai. flynas files between AlUla and Riyadh, Cairo, Kuwait and Dubai. The nearest airport is AlUla International Airport (ULH), which is located around 35 kilometers southeast of AlUla.