Spread over an area of some 400,000 square kilometers, the region of Asir is unique in southwestern Saudi Arabia. Known for its natural beauty, rainy weather and cool climate, it has become a beautiful summer destination. It is now a well-populated center which, after three decades of construction, is visited by thousands of tourists every year.
A Fog in the Mountains
Asir is one of the richest regions of Saudi Arabia in terms of rain, most of which falls during summer on the steep western mountains. The principal town of Asir, Abha, has an average temperature of 20-25 degrees Celsius. Fog often drifts over the mountains and through the valleys. Stunning natural beauty, soaring mountains, green forests and cavernous valleys with clear streams and waterfalls delight the visitors.
Abha the City
Poets have written odes to the beauty of Asir’s ancient capital, Abha. The ruins of ancient castles on the mountaintops bear witness to its rich history. By contrast, the city’s infrastructure today includes all modern public amenities — housing, restaurants, transportation and hospitals of an international standard. Despite all the construction, Abha has retained much of its traditional beauty.
The annual Multaqa (Assembly) held in the summer attracts many visitors to the city with a variety of events to suit all tastes — art exhibitions, cultural programs, concerts, shopping festivals and the much-awaited international football games.
Al-Sawda is on the top of the Sarawat Mountains west of Abha, some 3000 meters above sea level. The area is covered with Ar’ar trees creating beautiful natural forests and housing some large resorts. It provides the whole family with entertainment in addition to a 7 km journey on the ‘teleferique’ to the top of the Sarawat Mountains and the villages of Tihama to enjoy breath taking views. A visit to the museum of Rijal Alma with its unique architecture and historic heritage is a must.
Al-Habla is an old name for an inhabited city, part of which lies in a 400-meter deep ravine. Nestled on unique stone terrain are natural resorts where visitors can enjoy the natural surrounding beauty or other entertainment on offer as well as the ‘teleferique’ rides to view the breathtaking vistas. Young and old alike can take up mountain climbing under the supervision of a team of French experts in the valleys of Bin Shahbal and Tanouma.
At 2000 meters above sea level in an area covered with forests of Ar’ar trees, Al-Qara also has some of the biggest tourist resorts and an amusement center where visitors can take family trips, walk in the closed sports centers or participate in other sports such as open-air tennis, basketball and soccer.
Abha’s New Resort
On the shores of Lake Abha, surrounded by 300,000 square meters of gardens, 1.5 km away from the city center and only ten minutes away from the airport is Abha’s newest resort hotel. It includes festival halls, a health club, a billiard hall, outdoor tennis courts and natural healing centers all equipped with the latest technology and all under the supervision of international specialists.
Restaurants and Cafes in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar (The Green Mountain)
These are in the center of Abha, above the dome of the Zhurah Al-Shaheer Mountain, famous for its soaring heights and matchless views over the city. The restaurant offers panoramic views of the city on all four sides. The restaurant features both Eastern and Western cuisine in addition to an open-air cafe and Internet cafes, all private and equipped with the latest technology.
Ruins and Museums
Asir is a region that abounds with the remains of ancient civilizations dating back to the Stone Age. It is famous for markets that still operate in the old ways. These markets remain an important destination for visitors to the region who love sites evocative of the past. The region is also famous for many handicrafts such as woodwork and pottery. Bee keeping is widespread and very high quality honey is available at very reasonable prices.