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Northern Saudi Arabia

Northern Saudi Arabia is the region with the richest pre-Islamic sites in the entire country. While Madain Saleh will rightly continue to take all the headlines, with its Petra-like carved tombs in spectacular desert settings, the lesser-known town of Al Ula is also an impressive ode to ancient civilisations. It sits hemmed in by a forest of palms and stunning red cliffs.

Cutting through this are the remnants of the ill-fated Ottoman Hejaz Railway, with its lonely abandoned stations, rusting locomotives and distorted tracks recalling an equally important history for the country.

And then there are the awesomely isolated stretches of the Red Sea, where the desert seemingly walks into the sea, camels and all. How much of this landscape remains untouched is uncertain, with Saudi Arabia's grandiose plans for its coastlines. In that respect, time is running out.

Explore Northern Saudi Arabia

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Northern Saudi Arabia.


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