As an avid traveler, I’ve forever been on the lookout for incredible journeys and epic escapades. I find my home in unique and soul-thrilling adventures. Recently, while looking for another such adventure, I came across AlUla, a hidden gem of Saudi Arabia. The images I saw online were nothing short of stunning, and in that moment, I was absolutely certain—this ought to be my next travel destination.
Step Back In Time
As I arrived in AlUla, I felt the need to know more about the city. The city’s well-preserved architecture was beautiful to behold. I sensed an almost irresistible beckoning as if the very structures themselves were extending an invitation to explore more about their past. The city is truly a living museum of preserved tombs, sandstone outcrops, historic dwellings, and natural and human-made monuments that hold 200,000 years of largely unexplored human history.
I learned about the city’s ancient history and its significance in trade. The city was not only the capital of the ancient kingdoms of Dadan and Lihyan, but it also transformed into an essential crossroads along the renowned incense-trading routes running from southern Arabia, north into Egypt, and even beyond.
AIUla is a masterpiece. From dramatic rock formations and sand-swept dunes to archaeological ruins depicting ancient cultures’ lives, a treasure trove of experiences awaits here. I enjoyed immersing myself in AIUla’s magical adventure.
Magnificent Heritage Sites
A trip to AIUla would be incomplete if you didn’t visit its heritage sites. I assure you the adventure of a lifetime awaits you. I was awe-struck when I visited AlUla Old Town, Dadan, Jabal Ikmah, and Hegra. From remnants of ancient mud-brick walls and well-preserved tombs to red-rock mountains, rock art, and ancient pilgrimage corners, the experience was nothing short of extraordinary! While visiting Hegra, I was overwhelmed by the ancient architecture surrounding the site in Jabal AlAhmar, Jabal AlBanat, and Jabal Ithlib. These places are home to numerous magnificent tombs and mountains. Your senses are sure to have a treat!
Oasis Adventure Like No Other
AlUla is more than just history. It’s about the spell-binding natural beauty that wraps it. The extensive desert landscapes, mazes of dramatic rock formations, endless sand-swept dunes, citrus groves, and millennia-old lava flows offer amusement and thrill to adventure seekers. I visited the sensational Elephant Rock, where sunsets blanket magnificent rock formations in red and millions of stars envelope the night sky. Further delights awaited me at Harrat Viewpoint, where I sat atop an ancient volcanic mountain. I simply immersed myself in the sheer beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
Continuing my journey, I ventured further to Heritage Oasis Trail, best enjoyed with a guided tour of local Rawi. He informed me about the history and the science behind the lush green palm groves and more. You must visit to know all about it! Daimumah and Sharaan Nature Reserve embodied sheer beauty, offering stunning sights with remarkable art installations and abundant captivating scenery, including majestic creatures like the Ibex and the Arabian Leopard.
From stargazing and rock art and inscriptions to sandstone rocks, lush plains, and red rock cliffs, AIUla has it all.
As I travelled to Asher Valley, I was in for an exhilarating surprise as I beheld Maraya, an ecstatic art tower. The awe-inspiring structure is covered in 9,740 mirrored panels that reflect the enchanting landscape that surrounds AIUla. This beautiful structure has earned its place in the Guinness World Records as the largest mirrored building in the world.
I found myself spellbound by this place, primarily because of its heritage and the incredibly versatile and multi-purpose venue. Maraya has hosted elite musical performances by icons such as Alicia Keys, John Legend, OneRepublic, Usher and Seal, and other regional performers.
Yet another remarkable facet of this destination is Maraya Social—an exciting rooftop dining experience. Perched atop the building, I must confess, the place is nothing short of astounding! This innovative dining concept by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is one to experience. And the best part about the dining experience here is that AlUla-grown ingredients inspire the menu. I had some of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted! Maraya is a must-visit to witness its beauty!
The dining experience in AIUla will never disappoint! I was definitely in a food paradise with an array of delectable cuisines found in mesmerizing locations. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience or just a casual bite, AlUla has it all! I was surprised to find French cuisine at AIUla. ENTRECÔTE CAFÉ DE PARIS served some of the most tantalizing flavours I had ever savoured. I absolutely loved the butter sauce and fries. Harrat at Banyan Tree, Saffron, Somewhere, Suhail, Tama at Habitas, The Heart of the Oasis, Myazu, and Okto have become some of my favourite restaurants! The cuisine holds flavours from across the globe. I got to experience a little bit of the whole world at AIUla. That’s what made my trip to AIUla extra special!
As I departed from AlUla, I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness. I didn’t want to leave! It was an incredibly memorable experience for me. I recommend visiting AIUla because it’s an alluring blend of history, scenic beauty, and warm Arabian hospitality. It’s every traveller’s dream and will leave you longing for more!
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