From high-end luxury gown shopping to rock climbing in the canyons, night-time chariot rides and blindfold taste testing, there is no better way to usher in the New Year
AlUla, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 30, 2022: With 2023 just around the corner, AlUla’s Winter at Tantora schedule has a wide range of activities that will help any visitor make it a New Year to remember. Here are some of the many offerings that will help you to see out 2022 and celebrate the New Year at AlUla.
High-end retail therapy
Visitors to AlUla can enjoy a truly unique shopping experience at Ashar Valley Fashion, a series of luxury retail pop-ups set in the stunning landscapes of the Ashar Valley.
Shop for cut and handcrafted rare diamonds at Samer Halimeh or choose Azza Fahmy for some lovingly handcrafts intricate jewellery pieces inspired by ancient heritage and culture. Dubai-based Filipino designer Michael Cinco has been creating fabulous couture gowns for A-Listers from Beyonce to Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Aishwarya Rao.
Vianney Halter has been lovingly designing award-winning watches the traditional way since 1984, while Assouline books are defined by visually rich stories and compelling narratives.
Alternatively, head to AlUla Old Town for a visit to the iconic British luxury department store Harvey Nichols, to shop from designer fashion collections for men and women, fashion accessories, beauty products and more.
Ashar Valley Fashion runs from December 30, 2022, until March 23, 2023.
Hegra after dark
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra is an incredible sight to behold, and now you can explore the area at night with an incredible two-part after-dark experience.
The first part of the experience allows visitors to fully immerse in the ancient Nabatean civilisation with a beautiful candle-light display across ancient tombs accompanied by the sound of ancient musical instruments and delectable Nabataean-inspired canapes.
The second half of the show is a spectacular starlit tour of the expansive landscape of Hegra in a chariot drawn by majestic Arabic horses, and the chance to learn about the ancient capital city located on the Incense Road.
The experience costs SAR 150, and the experience runs from 6.30pm-7.50pm and 8.00pm-9.20pm daily.
A festival of food
Families can enjoy a unique and immersive culinary experience at Flavours of AlUla, a fun and colourful celebration of food, art and flavours that is running over the last weekend of the year as part of the Winter at Tantora celebrations.
Flavours of AlUla will showcase traditional local and regional cuisine through experiential masterclasses with renowned chefs, food stalls and multisensory activations.
The masterclasses will be hosted by high-profile local and regional chefs including artisan pastry expert Karim Bourgi, Saudi social media sensation Omar Alwatban, and the Saudi female quartet of Areej Al-Shareef, Samira Sadiq, Ghofran AlRomaihy and Arwa Ali.
Foodies can learn a range of new skills, from cooking on sand, to using the local organic superfood moringa, sushi rolling, edible pottery and food as art, while youngsters will also be able to enjoy sessions on cookies, honey lollipops and dipping sauces.
World-famous Marbella brand Mamzel brings its famed combination of international dishes and entertainment to a pop-up location in the AlUla canyons near Shaden Resort, or visit Entrecôte Café de Paris at AlUla Old Town and experience one-of-a-kind fine dining experience. Started in 1930 in Geneva, this Café de Paris transports guests to the Rue Mont Blanc. A small set menu serves a delicate green salad, the illustrious Entrcôte cut of steak, homemade French fries and their secret butter sauce.
The great outdoors
Thrill seekers can enjoy the adventure of a lifetime with an exhilarating Via Ferrata and Canyon Hammock aerial experience, operated by the Warrior Group. The two-hour challenge which involves harnesses and floating obstacles, gives visitors of all levels a spectacular journey across the canyons, and is a wonderful introduction to the world of mountaineering in a truly unique setting.
For those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, an AlUla Old Town Tour is the perfect way to learn more about the tradition and history of this unique area.
A rawi (storytelling guide) will lead a guided tour around the Old Town, with its 900 houses, 500 shops five town squares and castle, to explore the remnants of original stone and mudbrick buildings and learn about the pilgrims, travelers and permanent settlers who inhabited the area through the ages.
The Via Ferrata experience costs 180 SAR and takes place at 8am, 10am and 12pm daily.
The AlUla Old Town Tour costs 70 SAR, with time slots starting at 8.30am.
The magic of music
Local hero Mohammed Abdo is treating fans to an intimate performance at Maraya concert hall on Friday December 30. The much-loved ‘Artist of the Arabs’ is a firm favourite across the generations thanks to his trademark beautiful voice and songs such as ‘Al Amakin’ and ‘Ashofak Kil Youm’.
If you are not lucky enough to have a ticket for this sold-out show, fear not: the concert will be shown live on MBC and the AlUla Moments YouTube channel, allowing viewers the chance to savour the musical magic taking place at Maraya in AlUla.
The show is just one in a series of high-profile intimate concerts to be hosted at AlUla, with Syrian superstar Assala Nasri set to perform at the same venue on Friday January 13 and further A-list artists set to be announced in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for concert announcements, as tickets sell out fast.
The Winter at Tantora festival runs from December 21 to January 21, visit experiencealula.com for bookings and information on all events and experiences listed.