Riyadh and AlUla
Riyadh and AlUla
Riyadh and AlUla
Riyadh and AlUla
Riyadh and AlUla
Riyadh and AlUla

Riyadh and AlUla

From: 
Regular price
$10,529.00
Sale price
$10,529.00

Ramadan: 10 March - 08 April 2024 and 28 February -31 March 2025
Rates on application
Private Holiday
6 Days ex Riyadh | Ends in AlUla
Daily Departures
 
You’d be forgiven for thinking you were encountering a mirage upon witnessing Riyadh for the first time. Saudi Arabia’s capital rises out of the desert as a dream-like vision of gleaming skyscrapers. Indeed, it can be difficult for first timers to imagine that the city was once a humble mud-brick way station along desert trading routes. The modern city is a fascinating place with some of the Kingdom’s best hotels, museums and cultural attractions. Al Ula is another of Saudi Arabia’s big tourism draws. Its old-town ruins are among the best examples of traditional northern Arab architecture, and it serves as a gateway to the UNESCO-listed Nabatean relics at Hegra.
 
Highlights:
  • Experience Riyadh’s contemporary culture: a blend of the old and the new, a showcase for modern Saudi Arabia
  • Discover ancient desert civilizations near AlUla: explore remarkable rock formations with giant tombs from the nabatean era carved into the cliff faces
  • Hop into a 4x4 for a sand dune adventure topped off with a bedouin-style, desert picnic, resting on traditional takwa, sampling local delicacies

Day 1: Riyadh (D) 

Welcome to Saudi Arabia. On arrival you will be met by a representative of our local operator and transferred to your hotel for a two-night stay.

One of the wealthiest cities in the world, Riyadh is a showcase for modern Saudi Arabia. Once a walled, mud-brick way station along desert trading routes, the capital is now a hyper-contemporary metropolis with the best hotels and restaurants in the country. Its organized grid layout is lined with more than 4,000 mosques, numerous busy shopping centres and traditional souks, public parks, and a diverse set of communities and neighbourhoods.

On this first day in the Kingdom, you will get to discover the pulse of the city by taking the high-speed lift to the 99th floor of the iconic Kingdom Center for access to Riyadh’s best urban panorama. Suspended 300 meters above the city, the tower’s curved Sky Bridge offers spectacular views across the Riyadh skyline and beyond. Your welcome dinner will be a representative embodiment of Riyadh’s spirit, traditional Saudi cuisine in a modern space.

Day 2: Riyadh (BL)

Discover the wealth of contrasts that distinguish Riyadh. Begin the day with a visit to Ad Diriyah, the birthplace of the first Saudi state called At Turaif which ruled between 1744 and 1818. The UNESCO World Heritage site has been restored to its former glory and is spectacular! Discover more about the architecture and heritage at the site and find out how the mud-brick houses were built; how homes were cooled during the hot summer days; and how people lived without electricity and creature comforts.

Continue to explore other pointers toward Saudi’s charismatic past. You’ll find Al Masmak Fortress in the heart of the old town. A large clay and mud-brick citadel that witnessed the birth of a kingdom, the 150-year-old edifice stands as a reminder of Saudi’s storied past. Justice Square is another reminder of the past. Roaming this ordinary neighbourhood on foot you discover mud houses, just like this morning, abandoned not long ago. Learn more about Saudi history at Murabba palace and at the fantastic National Museum of Saudi Arabia. Towards the end of a busy day head for Souq al Zel and Souq Bisht, two of the most characteristic traditional marketplaces in town and uniquely atmospheric hubs of Arabian commerce. This is the perfect place to purchase an Abaya for use during your travels. Naturally, as a foreigner the use of an Abaya is completely voluntary. Complete the Riaydh feeling by mingling with the locals in one of the city parks or squares that come alive with socializing activities once the sun rays disappear.

Day 3: Riyadh - AlUla (BL)

Leave the coastal city by air for AlUla, home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits deep in the desert in the northwestern region of the country. It is an area rich in historical and geographical significance and for most travellers the biggest highlight of their Saudi adventure. To appreciate this, let’s first climb up to the Harrat Viewpoint before diving into all the history around. The road snakes up sharply, away from the red rocks and onto a black and seemingly endless plateau. Discover the viewpoint towering over the old city and let your guide put things into perspective. Closer to sunset it is time for a pilgrimage to Elephant Rock. Set in golden desert sands and climbing into the blue Arabian skies, the rock (also known as Jabal Alfil) is one of AlUla’s most impressive geological marvels. Overnight in AlUla.

Day 4: AlUla (BL) 

The draw to Al Ula is its remarkable natural rock formations and canyons, extensive and varied pre-Arabic rock art, and immaculately preserved tombs built more than 2,000 years ago by the Nabataeans. You will start the day with a visit to the Nabataean site of Hegra, which was the southern capital of the Nabataean kingdom, dating back to the first century BCE. Today, you will follow your ‘rawee’ or storyteller, to explore several of the more than 100 well-preserved monumental tombs, most with elaborate facades carved from rock formations scattered around the desert.

Beyond the old town in the wadi or valley are numerous farms where lush palm trees sway gently and the smell of citrus fills the fresh air, adding to the oasis-feeling that AlUla still retains. Walk the winding, shaded Oasis Heritage trail through the fields that provide fresh herbs and vegetables to AlUla’s restaurants. Hear the birds sing and imagine how the nomads of the past found water and refuge from the desert here. Leave the valley and enter an area often called ‘the art city’ which has a colourful vibe with street art and exhibits spread out in its walking streets, making for a great stroll with numerous options for a drink on a terrace, watching the world go by while the sun changes the colours of the towering cliffs around. Overnight in AlUla.

Day 5: AlUla (BL) 

No trip to Saudi Arabia is complete without a 4x4 excursion into the desert. Start this day with an unforgettable sortie around the towering cliffs that surround AlUla. Following the ups and downs of the morning’s four-wheel safari, settle down for a delicious Bedouin-style picnic lunch encompassing a traditional range of Saudi and other Middle Eastern delicacies. As true navigators of the deserts, a camp set-up with protection from the elements and the finest of Arabian hospitality awaits.

In the afternoon there will be time at leisure. Experience the facilities of your hotel or continue your exploration of AlUla’s landscapes with an optional activity (supplements apply). Some of the optional activities available include: see the sandstone mountains from above in a helicopter or hot air balloon, hop on a mountain bike and venture off the beaten path into desert dunes or climb the valley’s edge to better soak in AlUla’s expansive vistas.Overnight in Al Ula.

Day 6: AlUla (B) 

At leisure until you check out of your hotel and transfer to AlUla airport for your onward flight.

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  • Airport arrival and departure transfers during daytime hours (NOTE: for flights arriving before 6.00am and after 10.00pm and departures before 8.00am and after 11.00pm, surcharges will apply)
  • 5 night’s hotel accommodation with private facilities
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Transfers and tours by private air-conditioned vehicles, unless otherwise mentioned
  • Domestic flight Riyadh/AlUla
  • English speaking local guides (often station guides: 1 guide per location)
  • Bottled drinking water (1L per person per day) during touring days
  • All entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Exclusive 4x4 desert trip with bedouin-style lunch in the desert of AlUla
  • 24/7 support in Saudi Arabia
  • Assistance of local representatives
  • Saudi Arabia Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

  • International and domestic flights, unless specified otherwise
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Beverages with meals
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
  • Personal expenses
  • Supplements for early/late transfers
  • Optional tours/activities mentioned in the program
  • Departure taxes
  • Hotel charges for minibar or extra charges
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions
Accommodation based on the following or similar.
The hotel selection may change – please use this as a guideline only.

Riyadh

First Class: Joudyan Hotel by Elaf

Deluxe Class: Narcissus Hotel & Spa

Al Ula

First Class: Shaden Resort Al Ula

Deluxe Class: Habitas Resort Al Ula

Arrival and Departure Transfers
For flights arriving before 6.00am and after 10.00pm and departures before 8.00am and after 11.00pm, surcharges will apply (night transfer)

Dress Codes
Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia are expected to dress modestly and respect the country's conservative customs and traditions. The dress code for women is more strict, and it is important to be aware of the guidelines before traveling to the country.
Most Saudi men prefer to wear the thobe (or thawb) on both formal and informal occasions, but in most public places, shorts (below the knee) and short sleeved shirts worn by Saudi or tourist men are allowed, except in governmental offices and mosques. Men must not be shirtless under any circumstances.
Officially Saudi women only need to dress modestly and are not required to wear the abaya (traditional Saudi cloak), the hijab (hair covering veil) or niqab (face covering veil), yet in many parts of the country Saudi women are still expected or choose to wear them in public. Although tourist women are exempt from such rules, providing they dress modestly, it is highly appreciated that tourist women wear some type of abaya and hijab, particularly when entering mosques or other religious sites.
It's worth noting that the dress code is more relaxed in some areas, such as in Jeddah and other coastal cities, but it's always better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of caution.

Holiday periods

Surcharges or compulsory meals may apply for holiday periods such as Christmas, New Year, Water Festival.

Luggage
Includes 1 carry-on baggage (max. 5-10 kg depending on the airline) and 1 check-in baggage (max. 20 kg). Traveling light with smaller baggage sizes is more practical on the road and is recommended.

Ramadan
During the Holy Month of Ramadan Muslims fast, abstaining from eating, drinking & smoking during daylight hours (approx. 7am-6.30pm). As a sign of respect, tourists should also try to refrain eating in public during the fasting hours. Restaurants and Cafes in Hotels and Cruise boats will be open, however limited alcohol may be available over this time. In 2024, Ramadan is expected to begin on the evening of Sunday 10th March. After 30 days, or on sighting the full moon, Eid Al Fitr is celebrated & most public and private institutions close for at least three days.

Sightseeing
All sightseeing tours require a moderate amount of walking around historical / cultural sites. A good level of fitness will ensure you get a maximum enjoyment from your visit.

Vehicles
Outside the big cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, using a 4x4 vehicle adds to the Arabian experience so this is included for groups of 1-4passengers - the guide also acts as the driver. In the busy cities, a non-4x4 vehicle with separate driver and guide is provided for additional safety and convenience.

Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. All featured tour itineraries and offers may be subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are available in some destinations for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.