Head to the mountainous landscapes and enjoy the summer breeze…

It’s mid-August, and the summer temperatures are at their peaks. So, how about flocking to cooler temperature destinations for a summer reprieve? Even if it’s only for a brief weekend respite. Oh, and they’re all in Saudi Arabia.

Just be sure to skip the bathing suits and the tanning lotions because these places do not require a summer glow.

Al Baha

 

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For those who seek adventure while indulging in a bit of cooldown, Al Baha is the perfect place to travel. This high-altitude city in the Hijaz region has storied towers, lush forests, and winding valleys. Sitting 2,500 meters above sea level, the city enjoys moderate temperatures and is an ideal place to hike, picnic or camp. Daytime highs tend to be around 35 degrees Celsius while the evenings see lows in the mid-20s.

When in Al Baha, go and explore…

The Marble Village of Dhee Ayn: Built on a white marble outcrop in the epic Bidah Valley, south of Al Baha, Dhee Ayn looks like an Arabian citadel has arrived on a Tuscan hillside. Exploring its narrow pathways is a beautiful experience, especially during the golden hours, when the light reflects on the white marble and the colourful Sarawat mountain range in the background.

 

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Raghadan Forest Park: In the cool Sarawat Mountains west of the city, the Raghadan Forest Park, with a paved trail up into forested hills, will lure you with its verdant environments and views of the dramatic landscape. Oh, watch out for the cheeky baboons, too.

Sheda Village: The hidden village of Sheda offers dramatic views across the green cliffs and valleys of the Sarawat Mountains. As you venture up, the air becomes much cooler and drier. Along the picturesque drive up its slopes, you’ll pass ancient stone houses dotting the roadside.

Asir

There are many reasons to love Saudi’s Asir region, including the awe-inspiring views from atop foggy mountains, the delicious, traditional Asiri dishes, friendly locals, its historic charm, and the blend of cool temps (20 to 29 degrees Celsius is the average).

When in Asir, go and explore…

Jabal Thera: Better known as the Green Mountain, this peak in the south of Abha is illuminated at night by neon green lights that emit a warm emerald glow across the city. Cable cars are the best way to get to the summit, where you can enjoy panoramic views from a restaurant and cafe with a terrace.

The Hanging Village of Al Habala: A popular spot for paragliding, this village – made up of a series of sandstone homes perched on the ledge of a sheer cliff – is accessible by a cable car that only runs during the summer season (May to October).

Rijal Alma: The village of Rijal Alma blends ancient architecture with an incredible culture. It boasts solidly built mini fortresses placed atop the hillside. Some buildings are up to seven stories high and accented in gleaming white quartz.

Taif

 

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Escape to Taif to experience pleasant weather, vast mountain ranges, flourishing agriculture, and quaint souks. The temperature here is somewhere between 25 and 33 degrees Celsius. Visitors can zipline through the Hada Mountain, take one of the longest cable car rides in the country, slip-and-slide at a family-friendly waterpark, relax and take in panoramic views of the terrain from the peak of Jabal Dakka, or go for an off-road adventure at Ghadir Banat. Perfect if you are looking for a combination of adrenaline rush and peace.

When in Taif, go and explore…

Al Hada Mountain: Al Hada is home to playful baboons, rose fields and natural vastness. A winding road sweeps elegantly down the mountainside, as do ancient zig-zagging camel trails. As the sun sets and locals gather at lookout points, the rows of mountains on the horizon fade into a beautiful greyish ombré.

Taif Central Market: Best place to shop for local honey, perfume (especially rose water and oil), and jewellery. Also, purveyors of ghee milk, oud, decorative swords, and healing herbs are always on hand.

 

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Taif’s Rose Fields: Taif is referred to as the City of Roses for a reason. It is known for the famously fragrant flowers that grow in the surrounding wadis and mountains. More than 900 rose farms produce well over 300 million flowers, harvested to produce the world’s most expensive rose oil, or attar. See the entire operation first-hand with a guided visit to one of the city’s rose factories. Alternatively, if you’re less in the mood for a hike but prefer a walk instead, the numerous rose plantations are for you. We recommend King Faisal Park in Qadeera.

Visit: VisitSaudi.com

Images: Instagram / Visit Saudi