An oasis of calm awaits in AlUla


In association with: Royal Commission for AlUla 

The space, stillness and silence of the Saudi Arabian desert is the perfect location for a holiday where wellness takes centre stage

The landscape of AlUla is defined by lush green oases and expansive desert valleys. Not only do these make for stunning views, but they also serve as the perfect spot for peace and solitude.

Nestled within the desert, AlUla is home to an evolving wellness scene, inspiring visitors to connect with nature and themselves.

For thousands of years, pilgrims, merchants and travellers have used AlUla as a place to stop and rest, and that remains true today. From stargazing experiences to yoga retreats, AlUla is the ideal destination for a unique break that’s focused on wellness.

Celebrating wellness

The AlUla Wellness Festival is an annual event, one of five flagship annual festivals. During the 2023 festival, which ran from October 19 to November 4, 2023, AlUla welcomed the best of the international wellness scene, with a focus on the healing powers of silence, art and nature.

As well as yoga sessions at the Five Senses Sanctuary, there were a wealth of activities to help visitors unwind. Crafting workshops inspire mindfulness with plate decorating sessions, while soothing breathwork classes teach stress-reducing breathing techniques against the backdrop of the iconic Dadan rocks.

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Space and solitude

During the annual AlUla Wellness Festival, visitors can find calm beneath a canopy of palm trees in the oasis with a meditation session. Whether it’s at sunrise, set against the brightening orange sky, or later in the day, visitors are able to feel a sense of serenity underneath the stillness of the palm leaves. During the 2023 festival, 90-minute workshops encouraged yogis to focus on their breathwork to calm their minds – helped along by the peaceful surroundings.

Nearby, the Oasis Heritage Trail is an easy, gentle walking path that encapsulates the beauty and heritage of AlUla year-round. Perfect for a relaxed stroll at any time of day, visitors can relish in the serenity and natural splendour on the trail, which is also within easy reach of restaurants, the Old Town and the AlJaddidah arts district.

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It’s not just the oasis that offers space and solitude – the sprawling AlUla desert is the perfect spot to stop, relax and connect with the natural landscape, which stretches right out to the horizon.

Visitors are encouraged to return after the sun’s gone down. Away from the bright city lights, AlUla’s remote desert sits underneath some of the world’s clearest dark skies, making it an idyllic environment for stargazing.

Approximately a 90-minute drive from the Old Town, the remote site of Gharameel is lined with incredible natural rock formations and is the perfect spot for a magical stargazing experience. After an alfresco fireside dinner, settle in beneath a blanket of twinkling stars, where constellations, planets and the Milky Way can be admired with no interruptions. Plus, a local rawi (storyteller) or expert astronomer can interpret the sky for you.

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Tranquil stays

Wellness isn’t restricted to activities and excursions, either – there are plenty of hotels in AlUla that offer world-class wellness facilities and programmes.

At Habitas AlUla, the spa, Thuraya Wellness, is named after a constellation and invites guests to restore and relax. There’s a peaceful lounge space, treatments rooms, a fitness centre and a yoga studio, as well as a complimentary schedule of activities, including an unmissable sound-healing class.

Over at Banyan Tree, the spa is the perfect space for physical, mental and spiritual renewal, with a holistic approach to wellness that utilises Asian and Arabian traditions, as well as local ingredients including Moringa Oil.

To find out more about AlUla’s wellness scene, visit

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PICTURES: Shiv Gohil; Royal Commission for AlUla 

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