8 Wondrous Winter Destinations in Saudi to Visit This Holiday Season

Whether you’re looking to fend off the cold winter temperatures or wanting to indulge in snowy activities, Saudi Arabia has a wide variety of compelling locations you can choose from.

By Layan Adham Ismail


Brimming with endless cold-avoidant activities, Saudi Arabia’s allure during the icy season usually lies in its winter-escaping pastimes. Yet, surprisingly, the Kingdom also possesses a secret cache of lesser-known destinations that’s all about embracing the season in all its cosy chill. Catering to both sides of the travel-aisle, these top destinations in Saudi Arabia leave very little to be desired as you plan your getaway in the coming months…


For devoted fans of frosty destinations, where the sun’s faint rays bounce off a soft blanket of languidly-falling snow, Tabuk is a winter wonderland come to life. A skier’s dream, Tabuk’s snow-covered mountain range is one of the most thrilling in the Kingdom with its unobstructed views, wide valleys, and shifting sands. Brimming with action-packed activities for visitors to partake in, including camping and hiking, there’s never a dull moment in Tabuk.


Enticingly elevated from the world below, Aseer province’s towering Soudah mountains, teeming with rich indigo-colored juniper trees, are coated with a pearl-white layer of snow during the winter months, making for a memorable, visual experience. 

Avid ecotourists will also surely be impressed with Aseer National Park’s impressive 300 species of birds, its numerous hiking trails and its abundant activities, which cater to the adventure-nuts among us. If action-packed ventures are not your cup of tea, you can also take a soothing stroll through the snow-coated capital city of Abha or hop on one of the Abha cable cars to view the mountain range in all its towering glory.


Fittingly dubbed the ‘Saudi Maldives’, the dazzlingly wondrous city of Umluj is a coastal sanctuary, teeming with oceanic splendor. 

The striking contrast between its vibrant blue waters and white sandy beaches renders the entirety of the city an optical delight. Even more splendidly breathtaking is perhaps Umluj’s extensive underwater collection of rare marine creatures and coral reefs. And for those looking for some retail therapy over the holidays, you should definitely head on over to Umluj’s countless markets, overflowing with handcrafted and traditional goods.


With an astounding assortment of marine life, remarkable wrap-around coral reefs and radiant sandy beaches, Jazan is a city bursting with enough aquatic splendor to satisfy anyone’s nostalgia for the days of summer past. 

The Farasan Islands archipelago, a magical aquatic nature reserve, is a must-visit if you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind diving experience, as it’s considered one of the most mesmerizing diving sanctuaries around.


Another of the Kingdom’s bountiful coastal wonders is the Farasan archipelago, a diver’s reverie with its porcelain-colored sandy shores, fresh water springs and vibrant coral reefs. 

Visited by thousands every year, this oceanic gem is another bucket-list destination for diving enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy reclining on the beach with a good book.


Saudi’s little-known King’s Forest, Rawdat Khuraim, is a verdurous patch of land encompassed by a seemingly endless desert, rendering it a private oasis just outside populous Riyadh. 

Known to be King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz’s springtime escape, where he frequents his private farm, Rawdat Khuraim’s flora and fauna come to life during the winter. Flowers that are endemic to this region only, rare species of animals, and lush vegetation await you as you promenade through this flourishing forest.


You couldn’t possibly find a better escape from the boisterous city life than at the very edge of the world atop the lofty Jibal Fihrayn, the highest peak within the Tuwaiq mountain range and a prime viewpoint for those seeking a visually mesmerizing experience. 

Jibal Fihrayn has earned the nickname “edge of the world” due to its unique and layered rock formations and otherworldly geological features, making it one of the most photographed peaks you could possibly visit. The Tuwaiq mountain range itself is an astounding narrow-elevated platform, which connects neighboring Jordan to Saudi Arabia by cutting through the Najd plateau.


Usually known for its radiant sun and shimmering sand, Thumama desert morphs into a temperate tundra over the winter, where visitors can gaze at the star-studded sky, hike up their adrenaline-levels by going dune bashing or even just warm up by a soothing bonfire. 

The largest and most famous desert in Saudi Arabia, Thumama is the perfect getaway for Riyadh-based travelers seeking an adventure close to home. Desert safaris, quad biking and camel riding are just a few examples of the activities you can partake in this popular sandy terrain.


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