Information for Travellers During COVID-19

Winter At Tantora Festival: Location, Events And Concerts


Winter at Tantora Festival is a seasonal event held every year in the rocky desert town of Al Ula, located in northwest Saudi Arabia. Tourists participate in Tantora Festival with lots of enthusiasm and excitement. This three-month program sees thousands of attendees with meticulously planned and executed events, starting from late December and lasting till early February. Tantora Festival has a history that dates back to more than 2000 years. The festival signifies the onset of winter in Saudi Arabia. The festival attracts many local and international artists. They arrive at the festival to perform and share their skills with the world on a grand cultural exchange platform.

Winter at Tantora Festival 2021: A Recap

The 2021 Tantora Festival was well-planned and had a series of exciting events. Some of the programs that attracted top attention included equestrian activities. The Ikmah Fashion Cavalry was an interesting new haute couture fashion event for horses. The highly competitive Fursan Endurance Race Cup and Al Ula Desert Polo were some of the other highlights of the program. The Tantora festival started off with a truly magnificent performance. The curtains came down with a parade showcasing the beautiful horses and the majesty of knights in their full glory, wearing traditional Saudi costumes.

How To Reach: There are regular flights from Jeddah and Riyadh to Al Ula. One can also reach Al Ula by road. It is a four-hour drive from Madinah Munawara.

Program highlights

The expansive array of programs covers arts, food, fashion, music, wellness, and more. Visitors, including locals and international travelers, had a wonderful time enjoying the various elements of the Tantora Festival, such as

  • Heritage events
  • Light shows created by mass drones
  • Al Ula Balloon Festival
  • Luxury tent hotels
  • The market for buying traditional arts, crafts, and clothing
  • Music shows
  • Dance events

This year, the first music and arts festival held in Saudi Arabia reverted to a six-week festival. Tantora, which translates to a sundial, has a cultural significance for the region’s people. People rely on it to know the time and celebrate the planting season, which begins at the start of winter.

Tantora celebration


1. Al Ula Citrus Festival

This free event was hosted on January 14 and 15 and made its first appearance at the Al Ula this year. As the name suggests, Citrus Festival commemorates all forms of citrus and the producers of this wonder fruit. The atmosphere in this weekend market is festive surrounded by live music and activities for kids such as puppet shows, storytelling, and more.

2. Events at Tantora Festival 2021

a) IBN Battuta

Ibn Battuta was a revelation for the audience at this immersive live show. The famous explorer revealed how he was overcome by his followers’ love and generosity showered on him. He acknowledged that Al Ufa was an inspiration for poets and artists for many centuries.

b) Ikmah Fashion Cavalry Show by Dolce and Gabbana

On January 27, Dolce & Gabbana brought the Haute and couture of Milan to Al Ula in this fashion event that grabbed instant attention. This spectacular and exclusive runway show was unique and hosted in the Ikmah Fashion Cavalry Show. This was the first Dolce & Gabbana show in the Kingdom. The horses and models concept was genuinely creative and stunning.

3. Concerts at Tantora Festival

  • Hegra Candlelit Classics, a program by Stefan Lombard ensemble, was performed amidst the glow of thousands of candles flickering away to create a stunning ambiance. The music was a five-movement suite in various genres.
  • The multi-talented Saudi star started the year 2022 in grand style. He enthralled the audience with his incredible talent as he took the stage on January 7 as a part of the celebrations.
  • The renowned pianist and Egyptian composer Omar Khairat made his third appearance at the Al Ula and delivered a sterling performance. He swayed the audience on the Maraya stage with his outstanding presentations.
  • Andrea Bocelli, the Italian tenor maestro, mesmerized the audience on January 21 at the AI Ula with a performance that ranked among his best.
  • A name famous in Lebanese and Middle Eastern music, Roumi was on stage at Maraya on January 28. She kept the audience captivated with her top numbers.
  • The Maraya stage sprang to life when Alicia Keys made her appearance on February 11 and belted the best songs from her latest numbers.

4. A Tour of Saudi’s Top Destinations

The 2021 edition of the Saudi Tour took riders on a 5-stage fast-paced trip covering amazing landscapes, stunning heritage places, and the rugged desert terrains of Al Ula. The event was live-streamed on the YouTube channel of Al Ula.

5. The Fursan Endurance Cup

If there is one event where men and women can display their endurance level, this is it. Hosted on January 29, 2022, the endurance benchmark was set by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque Endurance Cup. Tourists at the event were able to watch ultimate endurance levels of human and horse as the participants navigated the 120 km long rugged terrain of the desert in Al Ula.

6. Richard Mille Al Ula Desert Polo

The event is unique because this is the only present-day polo tournament happening in a desert. Four highly skilled teams clashed for honors in a designed area, with the crowd cheering their favorite players.

7. Cultural and archeological workshops


The Tantora Festival highlights also included hosting cultural and archaeological workshops in the heritage sites. In addition, people thronged to view the various historical performances held in the old town of Al Ula. The history of Al Ula reveals it as a place for relaxation. Visitors who came to enjoy the Tantora festival found this cultural oasis the perfect place to experience wellness and satisfaction.

8. Other events that attracted a large audience

As part of the new Al Ula Wellness Festival, a Five Senses Sanctuary was held on March 22. Yoga practitioners and medication experts offered a full range of mind, body, and soul experiences. This year also saw the comeback of the open seats and fire pits in the Elephant Rock area. Visitors also enjoyed mountain biking, extended zipline, and the crazy suspension bridge, among other adventures here.

One cannot gain entry to the winter at Tantora Festival by just turning up at the various venues. Tourists must buy entry tickets in advance. Tourists should ensure they have warm clothes (the average temperature is around 10 to 25 degrees centigrade) and light running shoes handy. To have a great experience at the festival, one must plan for the upcoming Tantora Festival 2024 to enjoy the festivities in Al Ula.

Suggested Read: 8 Popular Places To Visit In Al Ula, A Global Cultural Hub In The KSA


Winter At Tantora Festival FAQs

Where is the Tantora Festival celebrated?

Tantora Festival is celebrated in Al Ula.

When is the Tantora Festival organized?

Authorities organize Tantora Festival in late December at the onset of Winter season.

What are the top attractions at the Tantora Festival?

Popular attractions at Tantora Festival are Hot air balloon rides, international concerts, Al Ula Citrus Festival, Fursan Endurance Cup and numerous others.

What is the duration of the Tantora Festival?

The Tantora Festival generally lasts for three months.

How to reach the Tantoral Festival’s location?

Tourists can take a flight from Riyadh or Jeddah to Al Ula and then hire a private taxi to reach the Tantora Festival venue.

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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