*Please note that while the majority of these experiences are available now, there are a number that are being unveiled over the coming months.
IMMERSED IN HERITAGE
Start your journey through time at Dadan, the ancient kingdom of the Lihyanite and Dadanite civilisations, which was developed in the 9th century BCE. An active archaeological site, you can learn about the treasures uncovered from excavations and scour the rock faces for the famous Lion Tombs (tombs marked by lion sculptures, which indicate the resting place of elite members of society). Next, take the 10-minute drive to Jabal Ikmah. Situated in a stunning desert canyon, this ‘open-air library’ has an impressive collection of inscriptions, mostly dating to the Dadanite and Lihyanite Kingdoms of the 1st millennium BCE. LUNCH Stop for a bite to eat at Winter Park. Choose a hearty snack from one of the food trucks and refuel while soaking up the picturesque scenery.
Stop for a bite to eat at Winter Park. Choose a hearty snack from one of the food trucks and refuel while soaking up the picturesque scenery.
Set off for UNESCO World Heritage Site Hegra. The second largest settlement of the Nabataeans after Petra, this world wonder has over 100 well-preserved tombs, 94 of which have elaborate carved facades. Plus, there are a number of interactive experiences to take part in that bring the story of Hegra to life. Make your final stop AlUla Old Town, which is less than a 30-minute drive away. Explore its maze of 900 tiny houses and shops that date to the beginning of the Islamic Period. Wander the shaded streets and see how communities once lived. In the evening, you can sit down to dinner in one of the two restaurants in AlUla Old Town*. Each serves local cuisine, with entertainment and music for an authentic ambience.
THRILLS AND SPILLS
Lace up your sturdiest walking shoes and set off along the Madakhil Hiking Trail. This picturesque trail, suitable for intermediate hikers, takes you on an epic tour of the desert around narrow canyons, gorges and cliffs. Once you’ve completed your hike, make the 25-minute transfer to Winter Park for a quick pick-me-up in the form of a cup of hot coffee from the food trucks. Energy levels restored, embark on the 25-minute drive to Harrat Uwayrid.
Feel a rush of adrenaline when taking part in the adventure activities. Enjoy an action-packed afternoon whooshing along the zip-line at Harrat Uwayrid, racing dune buggies, and riding a fatbike through the desert. Soften the pace by making the 45-minute journey to Shaden, where you can reflect on the day’s activities at Elephant Rock. Saddle up for a horseback ride, or jump into a Jeep for a speedy tour of the landscape. You’ll admire the raw beauty of this distinctive monolith that has been naturally carved from weathering. At sunset you’ll be rewarded by the sight of glowing rays bursting through the elephant’s ‘trunk’.
Ask your hotel to pack you up a breakfast and head out early to Elephant Rock to see the sun rise over this much-loved monolith. With that once-in-a-lifetime experience firmly ticked off your wish list, you can take the 15-minute transfer to AlUla Oasis. Here, you can explore at your own pace by venturing along the self-guided 4km-long Wadi of Hospitality trail. Pause to browse the stalls selling souvenirs and to sip a cup of fresh mint tea at the café. LUNCH Stop for lunch at Barzan restaurant or Almakher café, near AlUla Old Town, where you can dine alfresco in the shade of palm trees.
Stop for lunch at Barzan restaurant or Almakher café, near AlUla Old Town, where you can dine alfresco in the shade of palm trees.
Get ready to explore the rocky outcrops of the Ashar Valley, which is a haven for rock art. A local expert can accompany you on a walking tour, deciphering the inscriptions and petroglyphs as you go. EVENING Following a delicious dinner at Shaden Resort, you can gaze up at the beauty of the night sky at Al Gharameel. Dark and mysterious, it is the perfect place for a spot of stargazing. With powerful telescopes, blankets and hot chocolate available, it’s sure to be an evening to remember.
Take a journey to both the ancient and recent past. Uncover preserved tombs, sandstone outcrops, historic dwellings and monuments, both natural and man-made, that hold 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history.