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7 Things To Do In Al Ula For A Memorable Time With Family


Al Ula is an ancient city located in the Madinah region of North Western Saudi Arabia. The city once served as the capital of the kingdom of ancient Dedanites. Al Ula is one of the more popular tourist spots in Saudi Arabia, attracting people worldwide. Things to do in Al ula include exploring a variety of different landscapes and archaeological sites. The city also features Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Additionally, Al Ula provides plenty of opportunities for tours and adventure sports.

7 top things to do in Al Ula

1. Experience the moonlit nights of Al Ula


Al Ula is one of the best places to experience the beautiful scenery of a clear sky filled with twinkling stars. There are numerous campsites in the desert near Al Ula offering exceptional views. One can take short walks under the bright moonlight surrounding the nearby landscapes. Tourists can set up a camp around the campfire organizing a barbeque night with friends and family for a memorable experience.

Best time to visit: The ideal time to organize camping in Al Ula is around October to March.

Best spots: Hegra, and Jabal Al Fil

2. Enjoy Al Ula Skies Festival


Al Ula houses some of the most beautiful sceneries in the world. Tourists can explore various landscapes, from lush green gardens to majestic deserts. The city is home to volcanic plains and ancient heritage sites best viewed from the sky. Al Ula Skies Festival provides visitors with the opportunity to look at all these beautiful sites from a hot-air balloon floating in the sky. It is a two-week festival that is organized to celebrate the skies. One can also book a helicopter tour and witness some of the unique landmarks Al Ula offers. The festival also features the world’s longest drone show set under Arc Rock.

Timings: It takes place from the 27th of February to the 12th of March every year.

3. Visit the famous Al Ula Old Town


One of the most important heritage sites in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Old Town, is located in the Al Ula valley. The Musa Bin Nusayr Castle overlooks this town. It is a citadel that dates back to the 10th century. The town features nearly 900 houses and over 400 shops. It also features 5 town squares and contains remains of the original stone and mud-brick buildings constructed in this region. The Al Ula Old Town dates back to the 12th century, during which it served as an essential settlement. It is located along the pilgrimage route from Damascus to Makkah. Due to its location, the city welcomed plenty of travelers and pilgrims daily. 14 gates served as entry points into the city. These were opened every morning and closed by the evening. Touring this old historical town can be a fun and learning experience for many.

Location: The town is situated in the narrowest part of the Al Ula Valley.

4. Watch the UNESCO heritage site of Hegra


Hegra is Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features over 100 remarkably well-preserved tombs, considering their presence in a desert landscape. According to research, the first evidence of human presence on this land dates well over a millennium. The old constructions also feature many wells and stone-lined water channels. The site houses a defense mechanism featuring walls, gates and towers. Hegra provides tourists with several opportunities for exploration, featuring a vintage land rover tour.

Must Read: Al Hijr Archaeological Site, Hegira Madain Saleh: Inside, History, How To Reach, Permit

5. Witnessing the vintage inscriptions in Jabal Ikmah

Located across the Al Ula Valley, the Jabal Ikmah is a mountain that is considered to be one of the biggest open-air libraries in the world. Situated near the city of Dadan, this mountain features thousands of ancient inscriptions in Aramaic, Dadanitc, Thamudic, Ninaic and Nabataean. Present under the sun’s warmth, in the Arabian desert’s beautiful landscape, this site is tucked away in a canyon valley. These pre-Arabic inscriptions reflect ancient Arabic history. The canyon features two more mountains named Al Aqra’a and the Naqsh Zuhayr, which also have such ancient inscriptions. Jabal Ikmah offers touring opportunities that will take one on a journey through time, starting from Dadan, once the ancient kingdom of the Dadanite and Lihyanite civilizations. Tourists can also explore the ancient tombs and excavation sites that feature these ancient inscriptions in a Land Rover.

Must Read: Jabal Ikmah: A Mountain With Ancient Inscriptions And Rock Arts

6. Indulge in Winter at Tantora Festival


Another prominent festival in Saudi Arabia, Winter at Tantora, is one of the very first music and arts festivals in the kingdom. Spanning for six weeks, this festival features several events and concerts. The name for this popular festival has been derived from a sundial. This sundial holds a high sense of importance amongst the locals as the people in this region relied a lot on it to tell the time and help them identify the beginning of winter. The Tantora festival features star-studded concerts and high-end events, providing one with an enjoyable experience. It also provides tourists with various opportunities for adventure activities and heritage tours.

Festival highlights: The events include the magic of Hegra Candlelit Classics and the presence of several famous personalities. In the past, stars such as Magida El Roumi, Andrea Bocelli and Alicia Keys have performed at this event. The famous events organized at the Tantora festival include a Saudi tour, the Fursan Endurance Cup and the Richard Mille Al Ula Desert Polo.

Timings: This festival usually takes place from the mid of December to the mid of February.

Must Read: Winter At Tantora Festival 2023: Location, Events And Concerts

7. Camp at Jabal Alfil


Jabal Alfil stands three stories high in the Arabian desert’s golden sands in the Saudi Arabian sky. This awe-striking Elephant Rock is one of Al Ula’s most popular geological sites. According to research, the shape of this monolithic red sandstone has been shaped by the natural weathering process. Wind and rainfall have managed to carve out the trunk and the body of this magnificent piece of rock. The structure is a geological marvel and attracts tourists all over the world and is a popular heritage site. Some people believe this rock to be over a million years old.

Activities: Camping, eating at famous restaurants, enjoying the views, and organizing a barbecue under clear sky.

Timings: 4 pm to 12 am

Must Read: Elephant Rock, Al Ula: Natural Rock Formation For Family Getaways

Al Ula offers exciting opportunities for adventures and tours ranging from camping to ziplining. There are countless things to do in Al Ula to make the most of the trip to the city. The city is well known for its hospitality and culture providing unique experience to each tourist.

Things To Do In Al Ula FAQs

Is the Winters At Tantora open to the public?

Yes, anyone can participate in the Winters At Tantora.

Is there a vegan restaurant in Al Ula?

Yes, Moon Shell is one of the best vegan restaurants in Al Ula.

What is special about Al Ula?

Al Ula is a historical Saudi Arabian city with several geological marvels and archaeological sites.

How to get to Al Ula?

The nearest airport to Al Ula is the Al Ula Airport, located around 30 km from the city.

Pratyush Srivastava

I think, every human is a beautifully concealed epoch in the making with God to unravel it at the perfect time. Hence, synergizing with distinctive individuals in search of an interesting story is my favorite work as a writer and creator.

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