In association with: AlUla and If Only
The desert region of AlUla – peppered with iconic heritage sites – is a unique destination for the winter months
Deep in the desert, among magnificent sandstone canyons and lush green oases, lies the perfect destination for a fascinating winter-sun getaway.
The Saudi Arabian region of AlUla boasts 200,000 years of history hidden within its monuments, heritage sites and ancient tombs. And with average temperatures of 25C from October to February, winter is an ideal time to explore.
Discover ancient stories
So much human history is there for visitors to uncover across AlUla’s impressive heritage sites, which weave together stories of the past and present.
Explore the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Dadan, one of the Arabian Peninsula’s most developed cities from the first millennium BC. There are more than a dozen tombs cut into red-rock cliff faces, including the famous Lion Tombs.
Nearby Jabal Ikmah, the country’s largest open-air library, is also thought to date back to the first millennium BC. In this sacred place, visitors can examine the inscriptions on the cliffs and rock faces for a fascinating glimpse into the past. As they admire the writings, they can learn more about the lives of those who lived in AlUla and the pilgrims and travellers who passed through the oasis.
Glimpse into the past
Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site, is the jewel of AlUla. It boasts over 110 well-preserved tombs carved into giant rocks, where military figures, local leaders and other important people from the Nabataean civilisation are buried. Visitors can marvel at the scale of these tombs up close, with their inscriptions depicting a sense of what life was like in this ancient settlement.
No visit to AlUla is complete without exploring the Old Town. The tightly packed mudbrick houses and impressive castle – and palpable sense of history – are best explored with a local rawi, or storyteller.
Filled with opportunities to connect with past and present, the Old Town mixes ancient history with contemporary culture – via an impressive selection of dining venues. Visitors can choose from high-end restaurants to local eateries serving fresh produce from the oasis.
Explore more with If Only
Soak up the history of AlUla with a luxury itinerary from If Only. Your clients can spend three days relaxing in Dubai at the One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court before heading to AlUla for three nights at the Shaden Resort, to explore the heritage sites and desert beauty. Prices from £5,369 including flights.
Become an AlUla expert
Learn more about this unique destination and gain access to exclusive perks on the new travel agent hub. Find out more at alulaspecialist.com
PICTURES: Ratib Al Safadi