JEDDAH: Cold weather and a wide range of attractions are some of the reasons why many visitors see Saudi Arabia as a winter destination. In addition, popular events and festivals take place during the winter months, providing an extra dimension to the seasonal holiday. There is a festive atmosphere everywhere you go, and the country is lively and vibrant with events, cultural goings-on and, of course, its heritage sites. The cooler weather means that sightseeing and outdoor activities can be enjoyed more comfortably.
Festivities at Riyadh Season 2022
Riyadh is a good place to be at any time of the year, but it is even more magical during winter. The Riyadh Season 2022 is primarily a city-wide celebration and brings experiences and events from around the world to the heart of the capital of Saudi Arabia, with each of its 15 zones offering a variety of activities.
Reasons to visit Riyadh include attractions such as Riyadh Winter Wonderland, the biggest theme park in the city, Boulevard Riyadh City and Boulevard World, the Groves restaurants, located between palm trees in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, the Saturday Market, and much more.
Riyadh has many attractions for visitors, whether they are food lovers, music lovers or theater lovers.
Foodies will love the international cuisine, accompanied by music and entertainment shows at the Groves restaurants, presented in a charming winter atmosphere. For entertainment, the US-based ice show has brought a performance to Saudi Arabia just in time for the winter season. Atlantis by Holiday on Ice is taking center stage at Boulevard Riyadh City’s Cool Arena.
Winter vibes at AlUla’s Winter at Tantora
AlUla is a great location for a winter holiday and well-known for its highly anticipated Winter at Tantora, the first music and culture festival in the Kingdom, which returns this year for its fourth outing from Dec. 22 to 21 Jan. 21. It features an expansive array of offerings spanning music, arts, fashion, food and wellness.
The annual festival has a range of activities for sports fans, adventure seekers and history enthusiasts. Guests can cheer on riders in the world’s second-biggest endurance horse race or savor culinary experiences curated by top chefs. Luxury brand boutiques and traditional souqs are also available to explore, alongside art exhibitions and pop-up restaurants.
This weekend’s highlights will include Tantora Celebration, where guests can experience a projection show, taste Saudi coffee, watch live music and dance performances, as well as a hot air balloon experience, stargazing, rock climbing and eco-gardening.
Winter walk in Tabouk and Asir
In winter, the mountains in the northern and the southern provinces of the country are popular destinations for those looking for adventure.
One of the most magical parts of winter is stepping outside to enjoy the season’s brisk air. In Saudi Arabia, winter is celebrated as a time to cool off, camp and, of course, hike. Average winter temperatures are in the teens, but visitors may be lucky enough to see snowfall in the mountains of the northern regions blanketing the slopes and desert sands.
For snow enthusiasts, hiking in Saudi during winter is a different experience from hiking anywhere else. Head north, near Tabuk, for the best chance to see shifting sands under a coat of fresh snow.
Asir, meanwhile, is home to the juniper-covered mountains of Soudah, the highest location in Saudi Arabia, rising more than 3,000m above sea level.
Covered in lush green juniper trees and offering mesmerizing views, the rocky rural mountain range provides several hiking trails for people to enjoy.
Soudah also hosts an annual Flowerman Festival, which showcases the culture of the indigenous Aseri tribe, including men wearing flower wreaths and headdresses.
Desert activities in winter
The desert can be intimidating; it can be dry and dreary, and cold in the winter, but it can also be a fun place to be. With winter being the most temperate season in Saudi Arabia, this is the perfect time to get outdoors. Many locals choose winter to indulge in desert activities, heading out to Al-Nafud or Rub Al-Khali for horse-riding, sandboarding and hiking.