In association with: AlUla and If Only
Rich history and culture make for a fascinating winter-sun stay
In the mountains and valleys of the Saudi Arabian desert lies a lesser-explored destination, with more than 200,000 years of human history. AlUla is an undiscovered jewel in northwest Saudi Arabia, oozing in cultural and historical significance.
A remarkable mix of sandstone canyons, volcanic plains and green oases, the landscape of AlUla has remained unaltered for centuries, and evidence of its ancient civilisations can be uncovered at the region’s abundance of archaeological sites.
Vibrant red and orange desert meets fascinating historical exhibitions in Hegra. As Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, Hegra is known for being the southernmost settlement of the Nabataeans after Petra, Hegra’s sister city.
More than 110 well-preserved tombs, artistically carved out of giant rocks, pepper the landscape. Visitors can get up close to these jaw-dropping rock formations, dating back millennia, and marvel at the ancient craftmanship.
The site is best seen on a vintage Land Rover tour, where visitors can take in Hegra’s highlights on a two-hour experience, with AlUla’s rawi, or storytellers, sharing their history along the way.
AlUla was a vital stop along the incense trading route that ran from southern Arabia into Egypt and beyond, where its oasis served as a much-needed respite for travellers. Stories like this can be uncovered at more of the fascinating historical sites across the region.
Explore the remnants of AlUla’s original stone and mudbrick buildings in the Old Town, where nearly 900 houses, 400 shops and five town squares are connected by a labyrinth of tightly packed streets.
Heading north, visitors can marvel at the iconic Lion Tombs at Dadan, which date back to the fifth century, and explore the open-air library of Jabal Ikmah, where rock inscriptions provide ancient messages and stories from travellers.
The ultimate itinerary
For clients who want to explore the best of AlUla, recommend a luxury itinerary, easily combinable with a visit to Dubai, from If Only. The three-night trip takes visitors on a journey through its most breathtaking sights, with scenic hikes, stargazing opportunities and guided tours with local rawi.
Prices start from £4,639 per person, based on two adults sharing, and include three nights at the Shaden Resort, flights, private transfers, tours and excursions with meals and drinks.
Explore AlUla on a luxury fam trip
For the chance to explore the ancient treasures of AlUla on a luxury fam trip, just complete the AlUla Specialist training programme at alulaspecialist.com and register at aspiretravelclub.co.uk/news/alula-fam-trip.
Terms and conditions apply.
PICTURES: Hubert Raguet