10 extraordinary things to do in AlUla

Looking for an excuse to visit AlUla? 

The ancient UNESCO heritage site is undoubtably a bucket-list destination with countless experiences around some of Saudi Arabia’s most beautiful and unspoiled landscapes.

Despite having over 200,000 years of unexplored history to experience, the destination is also transforming into a hub for art, culture, and entertainment.

From rollerskating parties curated by Swizz Beatz to a thrilling zipline down the mountains, here are 10 extraordinary things to do in the magical land of AlUla:

1. AlUla on Wheels

It’s about to get old school! Glide under the stars at the first-ever roller rink in the most stunning landscape of AlUla, AlJadidah. Brought to you by the legendary Swizz Beatz as part of AlUla Wellness Festival, the AlUla on Wheels experience will take place from Thursday, October 6 to Saturday October 22. Expect loads of retro food trucks, live DJ sets from local and international music talents, and nostalgic neon lights. Whether you are a pro-skater or a complete beginner, this experience is sure to get everyone moving under the Milky Way from 7pm onwards.

AlUla on Wheels, AlJadidah, Thursday, October 6 to Saturday, October 22, 7pm to midnight. SAR40 per person for one 45 minute session. DJ nights starting from SAR250 per person. Tickets: experiencealula.com

2. Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock

In the middle of untouched nature, Jabal Alfil (also known as Elephant Rock) is a red sandstone geological marvel carved over time by natural forces such as wind and water erosion. A must-visit on your AlUla itinerary, Elephant Rock is, according to locals, best admired during sunset. In front of the monolithic marvel, there’s sunken seating carved into the sand as well as a coffee shop and popular SALT food truck.

Jabal AlFil (Elephant Rock), AlUla. Free to enter. experiencealula.com

3. Okto, Harrat Viewpoint


Sitting atop of the beautiful Harrat Uwayrid, this high-end Greek restaurant offers incredible food and a buzzing atmosphere overlooking AlUla and beyond. Arrive to dinner before sunset to be able to soak up the sights from Harrat Viewpoint with telescopes and benches to enjoy an unforgettable view of AlUla oasis. The Greek restaurant has a modern all-black look and feel, from the tables to the bar and even signature dishes such as the delicious black squid ink and truffle spaghetti (a must-try along with the deep-fried halloumi).

Okto restaurant, Harrat Uwayrid, 5.30pm to 12am. experiencealula.com

4. Maraya Concert Hall

An architectural masterpiece, Maraya (which translates to mirror in Arabic) is the world’s largest mirrored building, according to Guinness World Records. Covered in 9,570 mirrored panels, the concert hall aims to enhance its surroundings, not compete with them.  As the centrepiece to AlUla’s growing cultural scene, the concert hall has already hosted exciting live performances including Westlife, Alicia Keys, and Andrea Bocelli. Looking at Maraya and the reflection of AlUla’s beauty from afar, you can’t tell where the where the building begins and ends. If time allows, don’t miss the view from the rooftop where Jason Atherton’s restaurant, Maraya Social, is housed.

5. Zipline experience

This one is for the adrenaline-junkies: racing a total of 1.5km at up to 120 km/h speed the AlUla zipline experience is the longest and fastest of its kind in the Kingdom. By far, the most thrilling and immersive way to enjoy the incredible scenery of AlUla.

Adventure Hub, AlUla, 2pm to 6pm, one hour slot. SAR180. 12 years and older. tickets.experiencealula.com

6. Hegra


The legendary Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first official UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a collection of 110 tombs set in the middle of the desert. Some tombs were only recently discovered, hidden underneath the sand, and you can still find inscriptions on the rock formations detailing who was buried within.  This fascinating day trip is most commonly experienced with a local guide in a vintage Land Rover which stops at five key sites.

From SAR700. Two hours. Book the trip in advance: tickets.experiencealula.com

7. Visit AlUla Old Town

Travel back in time and explore the unmissable ancient old town of AlUla as you twist along ancient alleyways. Stroll the outdoor market, say yes to Arabic coffee, and get a taste of Saudi Arabian fine dining cuisine at 800-year old restaurant Suhail. The authentic food is incredible. What to try? The sweet potato soup, pumpkin salad, lamb sambosah, Kbeibah Hai’l, and lamb kabsah come highly recommended.

Suhail, Old Town AlUla. Monday to Saturday. 5am to 5pm until December 1. From December 1 opening hours change to 9am to 2am. experiencealula.com

8. Dine at Somewhere


Somewhere is a farm-to-table concept situated in AlJadidah’s Cultural Oasis District. The beautiful restaurant has a large outdoor dining space surrounded with water features, palm trees, and large floating moon lights around the garden. The menu covers a range of modern dishes inspired by travel such as tacos, bao buns, falafel salad, and truffle fries.

Somewhere, AlJadidah Cultural Oasis District, daily 4pm to 1am. Tel: 9200 24788. @somewhere

9. Winter at Tantora

Winter at Tantora

Winter at Tantora is returning on Wednesday, December 21 2022 to Saturday, January 21 2023.  The region’s longest running festival features the best of fine arts, music, fashion, and food. Last year’s festival saw high-end performances from the likes of Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, and Abdulrahman Mohammed as well as Hegra Candlelight Classics. Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming event here.

10. Desert X

Desert X AlUla started in 2020 when the first ever Desert X exhibition was held outside of the US and in AlUla. Free and open to all, the 2022 exhibition showcased works by 15 artists under the theme of Sarab which translates to mirage/illusion. Although the official exhibition ended in March, you can still see some exhibitions including Falling Stones Garden by Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim and NAJMA (She Placed One Thousand Suns Over the Transparent Overlays of Space) by Lita Albuquerque, plus the iconic Now You See Me, Now You Don’t trampolines by Manal Aldowayan.


Images: Provided/Social