AlUla reopens to visitors with thrilling new experiences


Saudi Arabia’s historic city of AlUla is officially welcoming back visitors, with a range of new activities in store for the winter season.

The Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) has unveiled the full suite of experiences that are being phased in over the coming months, with heritage sites, Hegra, Jabal Ikmah and Dadan being the first to reopen for bookings.

The Hegra experience includes full immersion into the Nabataean ways of life at sites, including the Tomb of Lihyan son of Kuza, Jabal Ithlib, The Diwan, Jabal Alhamar and the well. Hop-on, hop-off transportation stops at seven areas of significance for visitors to explore at their leisure.

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Visitors can download the Experience AlUla app for an immersive location specific digital guide or have a Rawi (Arabic storyteller) provide a more personal tour of the sites.

By the end of December, a handicraft pavilion at Hegra will also host a series of interactive activations designed to provide an entertaining appreciation for the Nabataean Kingdom and ways of life.

At the ancient city of Dadan, the capital city of the Dadanite and Liyhanite Kingdoms and one of the most developed cities in the first millennia BCE, visitors will get the chance to become an archaeologist for the day. Archaeologists began extensive excavations at Dadan in February 2020 to explore this relatively unknown period in AlUa’s 200,000 years of human history.

From December, a family-friendly 40-minute ‘Archaeology for Everyone’ workshop will have kids digging for artefacts to get in on the action. There will also be live immersion shows, audio tours and visitors will have the opportunity to tour the extensive site in a vintage jeep.

From late December, parts of AlUla Old Town will be open to the public. While full conservation is-ongoing, the visitor experience will include Rawi tours of Tantora Plaza and sundial and views from AlUla citadel. Outside of the heritage sites, there will be plenty of other activities to keep visitors entertained.

A new Adventure Canyon area will offer a suite of experiences for those looking for high-energy thrills. Hiking enthusiasts can book a space on the Adventure Hiking Trail, run by experienced tour operator, Husaak, which offers a half-day hike led by an experienced guide through the AlMadakeel landscapes and stops for stunning views of the desert and oasis.

From mid-November, visitors will be able to appreciate the landscapes, rock art, dunes and peaks of the desert, while zipping around in these fun three-person dune buggy vehicles or book an evening stargazing tour at AlGharameel rocks.

Accommodation options in the short-term include tented desert resorts, Sahary AlUla Resort, Shaden Resort and self-catered RVs for unique outdoor immersion. From January 2021, the exciting, modular-designed, eco-resort Habitas AlUla will be available and Ashar Resort will return with new rooms and suites added.

All this and more awaits visitors to AlUla over the coming months. Prices for the heritage sites have been set at rates applicable to the experiences available at the time of booking.