Five unforgettable journeys in Arabia
On the outskirts of Riyadh is the Unesco World Heritage site of Diriyah, the ancestral seat of the ruling Al Saud family. Wander through the narrow alleyways between the mud-brick houses and uncover a way of life that goes back for generations. Explore the museums of Saudi culture and history, including the Salwa Palace, the most massive standing structure in the citadel. Then stroll around the local eateries and coffee shops to sample traditional Najd delicacies, surrounded by lush greenery, ponds, and much more. Escape to a vision of Saudi’s storied past.
AlUla is a stunning destination embracing 200,000 years of human history, breath-taking natural rock formations, iconic modern architecture and Hegra, one of the most recognizable images of Saudi. Explore more than one hundred, monolithic rock cut tombs carved by the Nabateaen civilization. Read the history of the region recorded in ancient inscriptions on the surrounding cliffs. And marvel at the mirror-clad Maraya Concert Hall – one of the world’s most Instagrammable buildings. Explore a world like no other.
The ancient centre of Jeddah, the Bride of the Red Sea, was built in in the 7th century as a gateway for pilgrims making their way to Makkah. The refurbished Makkah Gate today serves as the entrance to an intriguing and cosmopolitan blend of ancient and modern. Browse through the colourful Souq Al Alawi, Saudi’s largest souq, which fills the narrow alleyways, with the scent of exotic spices and a kaleidoscope of colourful wares. Visit the heritage houses, galleries and museums among the intricately designed 500-year-old buildings, built using coral from the Red Sea. And finish the day with a sumptuous meal of fresh seafood. An experience to delight all the senses.
CITY OF ROSES
Journey to the cool northern mountains to experience Taif, the City of Roses. In the spring, the clear mountain air is infused with the scent from more than 90 rose farms which give the city its name. Taif produces some of the world’s most expensive rose oil which is an ingredient in luxurious perfumes from around the world. Local rose water is also an ingredient in Taif’s cuisine. The renovated city centre houses the Taif Central Market to browse traditional goods, such as jewellery, oud and healing herbs. A true breath of fresh air.
THE RED SEA
The Saudi Red Sea is a natural treasure house of thriving coral reefs and abundant marine life including dolphins, dugongs and sea turtles. Extending 1,700km from the Gulf of Aqaba in the north to the Farasan Islands in the south, the eastern reaches of the Red Sea are a stunning destination for divers, snorkelers and ocean enthusiasts. Whether to enjoy a scintillating sunset by the beach, explore the pristine reefs or dive on one of the coast’s enigmatic shipwrecks, the Red Sea is a destination like no other in the world.