Nestled in a large, spectacular valley, where palm groves run down the centre of a wadi (dry riverbed) and forbidding red-sandstone cliffs rise up on either side, Al Ula has a delightfully mysterious air about it. It is also the gateway to Saudi Arabia's very own 'Petra', Madain Saleh, with most visitors to the World Heritage Site staying here in town.
Al Ula's old-town ruins are among the best examples of traditional northern Arab architecture, and with a history that stretches back to the 6th century BC, the town is surrounded by a host of fascinating pre-Islamic sites.
Founded as 'Dedan' by the Lihyanites, the town became the capital of their kingdom. Al Ula's strategic location meant it also sat along several trade routes for spices and incense coming from the Levant, Egypt and North Africa.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Al Ula.