Saudi offers awe-inspiring natural phenomena and exciting, unique ways to explore its diverse terrain, making the kingdom worthy of a spot on any outdoor enthusiast’s bucket list. The kingdom boasts quite an itinerary, from desert and water adventures to camping and hiking through caves and craters.
Al Disah Valley
At the crossroads of three valleys south of Tabuk, the wildly sculpted sandstone columns of Wadi Al Disah (Valley of the Palms) look like a mix between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley in America. While much of the landscape is ochre desert, there are oases of pools, tall grasses and palm trees running through deep canyons, creating an otherworldly feeling, especially during glowing sunsets. It’s possible to hike through much of the valley, or visit on a 4WD drive tour.
Al Hada Mountain
High above the valley that runs towards Makkah, Al Hada is a place of comedic baboons, rose fields and natural vastness. A curving 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 are cast in a greyish ombré. Saudi’s longest cable car runs between the mountaintop and the wadi floor, where there’s a water park and toboggan slide at the Al Khar Tourist Village.
Raghadan Forest Park
In the cool Sarawat mountains west of the city, Raghadan Forest Park was once a wilderness area but has been sensitively adapted for visitors, with a paved trail up into forested hills populated by impish baboons. From the top of the path, there are beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including the winding road that leads to Dhee Ayn. Food stalls and barbecues mean it’s possible to do as the locals do, and dine up in the hills as the sun goes down.
Explore Al Nafud Desert
Sitting on the edge of Al Nafud Desert, no trip to Hail would be complete without a visit to these majestic red sands. The Hail region is home to rock art now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover traces of what life was like more than 10,000 years ago through the inscriptions and petroglyphs just outside of Hail in Jubbah at Jabal Umm Sinman and Shuwaymis at JabalAl Manjor. Adventure.
Cruise the Red Sea
For travelers seeking a getaway that blends culture, adventure and balmy summer sun, a cruise is the ultimate luxury experience. Escape to culinary feasts, elegant spas, and boundless skies, as you drift between islands and sail for the horizon, taking in a world of wonder, of white sand atolls, lapping waves and shoals of jewel-bright fish. The best way to gain an overview of this beautiful and diverse coastline is by ship – and particularly from the opulent upper deck of a sleek, luxury liner.
Half Moon Bay
A short drive south from Dammam, Half Moon Bay is a glorious pocket of beach resorts ideal for a family getaway. Dana Beach Resort offers watersports including jet-skiing, wakeboarding, sailing and diving, while the aqua play area features three water slides. Go-karting, horse riding and cycling are among the activities available back on land. The Radisson Blu Resort has boat trips and a palm-lined outdoor pool while Palm Beach Resort comes with tennis, football and volleyball courts along with beach-facing villas with an ocean view.