The ‘Al-Ula’ Valley is the home of two millennia of history that, until recently, was one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity in the Hijaz region in northwestern Saudi Arabia. From the fourth century BC to the first century BC, the Nabataeans, a settled tribe of nomads and merchants, built a prosperous kingdom with the ancient cities of ‘Al-Ula’, Hegra, and Petra of Jordan. Alula Valley and Hegra are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Saudi Arabia opened to international travelers in September 2019, offering tourist visas, which had been closed to visitors for several years. Al-Ula curved sand dunes, colorless red rock formations, and the famous “Elephant Rock” – a massive rock formation in the shape of an elephant, where visitors can witness an unforgettable sunset at Al-Ula walled urban settlement carved out of the surrounding sandstone. It’s hard not to identify with it. Petra has 110 exceptionally well-preserved tombs with architectural structures.


Heritage Place

Parachute flying Al Ula
Fig: Hot air balloon flying at Al Ula.

It’s an exciting time for anyone visiting for the first, second or third time – the Alula Heritage Site UNESCO World Heritage Site from Hegra to Dadan and Jabal Iqmah or Alula Old Town Different offers a unique experience every time you visit.

Each era provides a different perspective on a deep story. More accessibility and fewer crowds during summer mean you’ll have these sites to yourself.


Al-‘ Ula’s future plan

Al Ula has quickly become the most attractive and preferred destination for travelers in the Middle East

It is being carefully constructed to preserve the local heritage of the Alula community and help the town grow economically in April 2021. Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU) announced a $15bn public-private partnership.

By 2035, the development strategy for the region is to create 38,000 jobs.


Best time to visit Al Ula

Al Ula has a very high temperature during summer, so the best time to visit Al Ula is from October to March as the temperature is moderate during this period, which is the best time to visit numerous spots of the city.

How to reach Al Ula

Camel in Al Ula
Fig: Camel in Al Ula

Al Ula is served by Prince Abdul Majeed Bin Abdul Aziz Domestic Airport. Tourists can visit Al Ula from Madinah via the 330 km road from Madinah city center. Also, Al Ula can be reached by taxi by train at Al Hofuf railway station. Tourists can easily reach most destinations in the city by taxi and public transport.


Major artists to display art installations at Al-Ula Arts Valley


Al-Ula Arts Valley
Fig: Al-Ula Arts Valley

The Alula Royal Commission launched the Arts Valley project. Major artists, including James Turrell and Michael Heizer, permanently established their art in the desert Northwest region. Iona Blazwick, former director of London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery, curated the project and chaired the RCU’s panel of art experts.

About The Artist

Richard Turrell, an artist known for exploring the relationship between light and space, has been selected to create pieces for an art project in Los Angeles. He plans to create several pieces, including a tunnel and a quartet of so-called “sky spaces.”


Michael Heizer, is an American land art pioneer who specializes in large-scale and site-specific sculptures. for the Valley project, Haier plans to create a series of geometric indentations in Alula sandstone that create a giant rock face that changes as people pass by.

Artist Agnes Denes, a conceptual artist, plans to carve her own series of pyramid-shaped stones around the valley.


Tourist attractions and activities:

A Polo tournament was held in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia

Polo tournament in Al Ula
Fig: Polo tournament in Al Ula

Saudi Arabia’s historic region of Al-Ula hosted a polo tournament in the desert over the weekend.

Sponsored by luxury watch brand Richard Mille, the tournament was organized by the Royal Commission for Al Ula and was the first held under the newly formed Saudi Polo Federation.

It featured a clash between four teams, including players from Argentina’s famous team La Dolphina.

The event aims to highlight the historical link between the game of polo and the equestrian tradition of Arabia.



Al-jadidah features the world’s largest line of hand-painted carpets lining the streets for visitors and is a vibrant center for art, performance, dining as well as cultural and retail experiences.

Al Jadidah sits prettily on the edge of Alula Oasis and overlooks Al-Ula Old Town.


Alicia Keys performed in Al-Ula

alison key performance in_al-ula
Fig: Music performance in Al-Ula

American music icon Alicia Keys performs at the Maraya Concert Hall. For the first time in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia. The performance is part of ‘Alula Moments’

Keys hosted a town hall event titled ‘Women to Women’ with Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, the first female Saudi ambassador to the United States.

A performance like this one is now a common program in Alula. Please keep your eyes on the authorized website to catch the next one.


Helicopter Rides in Al-Ula

Al Ula helicopter ride
Fig: Al Ula helicopter ride

A 30-minute exhilarating helicopter flight, with your captain and personal guide to experience Al-Ula’s seven famous landmarks such as Elephant Rock and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hegra. Al-Ula


Al Ula Zipline

Alula Zipline is the longest and fastest zipline of its kind in Saudi Arabia. Mount Harrat is the most thrilling experience in the state. A new extension has been added to this year’s ‘must do’ for adrenaline junkies.


4×4 Land Rover Day Tour

land rover drive in Al-Ula
Fig: open land rover tour in Al-Ula

Ancient tombs, ceremonial chambers, and 110 exquisitely preserved tombs carved into the sandstone cliffs of Alula.

Tourists will drive through the majestic landscape of Alula in a specially renovated 4×4 vehicle.


Al-Ula Bicycle Ride

The city has 26-km scenic cycling routes through gorges and hills where visitors can easily participate in cycling and cycling competitions.

Cycling in Al-Ula is one of the best ways to see the natural beauty and amazing scenery. The bicycle ride is very popular with all visitors, young and old.


Al-Ula Walk Hike

In Al-Ula with your family or friends or groups, you can explore the entire area by hiking and discover the natural beauty and wonder with your own eyes.


UTV Buggy Tours

An unforgettable UTV buggy experience is nothing short of a wild ride. A great opportunity for visitors to see a new side of Alula as they race across the golden desert and across the giant sand dunes.

Hegra Heritage Site – Tomb of Nabataean architecture

Nabataean architecture tombs
Fig: Nabataean architecture tombs

Hegra is Saudi Arabia’s first World Heritage Site, containing around 111 tombs uniquely designed in Nabataean architecture. Ruins of numerous agricultural farms and wells are found which demonstrate the architectural skill of the Nabataeans. The city has wonderful architectural designs and tombs that tourists can explore to understand the past civilization.


Al-Ula Dadan city

al ula madin saleh tombs in Saudi Arabia
Fig: Al Ula mad in Saleh tombs

The ancient city of Dadan was the capital of the Lihian Kingdom. One of the most advanced 1st-millennium BCE cities in northern Arabia, Dadan is one of AlUla’s most significant finds.


Jabal Al-Fil – Also known as Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock in Al Ula
Fig: Elephant Rock in Al Ula

Jabal Al-Fil is one of the popular Al Ula tourist spots, an elephant-shaped sand structure. The location offers several activities, including trekking, camping, and sightseeing. Elephant Rock is a sight to behold in itself, with a picturesque setting. Tourists can indulge themselves in stargazing in a serene environment with barbeques and campfires.


Jabal Khuraiba – Tomb of the Lion

Jabal Khuraiba is a hill in Al Ula with an old fort and some ancient inscriptions. Singha Samadhi is named after the two lions carved on either side of the entrance. Kurabibi has a large headless sandstone statue of stone steps and walls.


Al Ula Heritage Village – with an old mosque and a fort

This offbeat village is one of the best places to visit in Al Ula. Visitors can wander freely among the breathtaking clay ruins or traditional villages. The ancestors of the present inhabitants have been staying here for centuries. Tourists should also visit Tantura (Sundyal) and the Old Mosque.


Al Ula Old Town – Ancient houses and shops

Al Ula Old Town - Ancient houses and shops
Fig: Al Ula Old Town – Ancient houses and shops

Al Ula Old Town has 900 old houses and 400 shops. The city is built with mud and brick walls that indicate the sophisticated architecture of the era. Tourists can get an insight into the lives of the people who lived in the city in the past. It served as a settlement for pilgrims traveling from Damascus to Mecca.


Hejaz Railway Station – Living Museum of Hejaz Railway

Hejaz Railway Station in Al ula
Fig: Hejaz Railway Station in Al ula

The purpose of the Hejaz Railway was to connect the holy cities of Mecca and Medina with Egypt and the Levant. The project was never completed due to World War fast, but the station serves as an excellent memoir of 19th and 20th-century rail travel in Saudi Arabia.


Al Ula Viewpoint – View of Red Hill

Al Ula View of Red Hill
Fig: Al Ula View of Red Hill

Al Ula Viewpoint offers a stunning view of Al Ula tourist spots and the city. The Nabateans chose this Martian landscape as their settlement. The viewpoint offers exceptional sunrises and sunsets. Tourists can camp at nearby camping sites to spend a night under the clear and open sky filled with billions of stars and other heavenly bodies.


Number of tourists visiting last year

al ula car hotel/caravan
Fig: al ula car hotel/caravan

The city is expected to welcome 146,000 visitors last year, said Melanie de Souza, executive director of destination marketing at the Al-Ula Royal Commission.

Every year many people from Arab countries and different countries of the world visit this city, and this city is becoming popular as a tourist center.

Al Ula vision (2035)

Al Ula is a living museum with preserved graves, sandstone outcrops, medieval developments and monuments with outstanding human and ecological history. Under the guidance of the Royal Commission for Alula, this unique place is being transformed into a global tourism experience.

  • $15bn Public-Private Partnership for development.
  • 5 unique districts
  • 5 Heritage Site
  • 15 Cultural Assets
  • 5000+ Hospitality Keys
  • 9KM Regenerated Cultural Oasis
  • 20KM of Public Realm–The Wadi of Hospitality
  • 46KM Low–Carbon Tramway