World travelers can experience tranquil AlUla, accentuating the destination’s natural beauty and wonder. Whether you have one, two or three days to experience it, this suggested itinerary will help you make the most of visiting AlUla right now.
Until October 2020, we recommend you select from two accommodation options in AlUla, Shaden Resort and Sahary Desert Camp. Shaden Resort features 120 rooms; Sahary Desert Camp features 80. Each offers a restaurant on-site and is located within 50KM (40 minutes) of AlUla Airport.
Alternatively, you can always take to the open desert for do-it-yourself camping.
For transportation, Al Wefaq Car Rental (+966920002909) and Al Dur Car Rental (+966548956672) both offer rentals on-site at AlUla Airport.
Additionally, AlUla Guide (+966570446116), Arnawa Tour Operator (+966592100072) and Theeb Car Rentals (+966920000572) provide service.
Plan for a mid-afternoon arrival at AlUla Airport from Riyadh. If you’re ready to settle in immediately, transfer to your hotel, check in and relax. If you’d rather explore AlUla town, and perhaps shop the souks or stock up on picnic and/or camping essentials for your visit, take your time.
From your hotel in the early evening, depart to Harrat Owairedh lookout point. The first traces of humans in AlUla were found among this black lava stone landscape, and the views—of Dadan Kingdom, Old Town AlUla, a former castle and all of Wadi AlQura—are a must-see.
Bonus: You’ve arrived in time to watch the sunset over the entire scene.
Whether you’re waking up at Shaden Resort or Sahary Desert Camp, Elephant Rock is no further than a five-minute drive. Wake before the sun and time your departure just so: you want to catch the first rays of sun pierce through the “trunk” of Elephant Rock (and perhaps set up your camera to capture the view). But don’t rush off after sunrise. Drive to the famous jar-shaped opening in the mountain opposite Elephant Rock for epic views of the valley behind. Hike the area to discover more whimsical rock formations. You could even stay for lunch—Elephant Rock is a picturesque setting for a self-catered picnic.
Otherwise, head back to your accommodation to rest and enjoy a post-siesta lunch at the on-site restaurant.
Your adventure continues into the afternoon. Start by arranging guide service, with assistance from hotel front desk personnel if needed; road conditions and unreliable cell service make a local guide essential to your next activity. You might set your sights on Dancing Rocks, two enormous rock pillars set into Raggasat Valley just 45 minutes from Shaden Resort and Sahary Desert Camp. Or, immerse yourself in the beauty of Al Gharameel, thin stone pillars that stretch to the sky (a favourite of photographers and even more beautiful beneath the starry night sky; one hour away). Within 90 minutes, you could be gazing at Rainbow Rock, a sandstone arch that resembles a rainbow and clouds.
Following yesterday’s adventure, spend a leisurely morning at your hotel. Enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast on-site; then take advantage of resort amenities: Shaden Resort features an outdoor pool while Sahary Desert Camp offers a shared lounge and terrace for relaxation.
In the late morning or early afternoon, stroll through the Oasis of AlUla. The Oasis is a green canopy of a palm grove, creating a cool shelter perfumed with the scents of dates, orange and mint—a delight for the senses. Consider adding a drive or hike through the summer farms area opposite Old Town, which glimpses several private farms, and bringing a self-catered picnic.
At this point, you’ll need to return to your resort for check-out and transfer to the airport. With any surplus time, you could take a last look at Elephant Rock or browse for gifts in the souks and souvenir shops of AlUla town.