Sky High: AlUla Skies Festival 2023
Sky High: AlUla Skies Festival 2023
Whether you love stargazing, hot air balloon rides above amazing sites or an adrenaline rush, the AlUla Skies Festival has something for everyone
The skies have always offered travellers direction and solace all over the world, but especially in this corner of it. Since ancient times, the stars and constellations served as a map for those who ventured to AlUla, guiding them along the incense trading route. Today the sky is still celebrated but with something a little different: the AlUla Skies Festival.
The two-week event which kicks off on April 26, brings a rich and varied programme to life both during the day and the evening, celebrating the history and culture of the region with a little bit of fun thrown in.
The festival’s first edition broke a Guinness World Record, earning itself the title of World’s Largest Hot Air Balloon Glow Show, thanks to the 142 brightly lit hot air balloons illuminating the ground below. It’s only fair to assume the 2023 festival will bring with it more jaw-dropping displays.
As the event’s name suggests, there are many opportunities to see the area from the sky. Admiring AlUla from that vantage point during the bright days is what it’s all about. The mornings and afternoons are the best time to take in the stunning landscape bathed in light. Exploring the area from above will give you a whole new perspective on the wonders you’ll have already seen from ground level.
See a Professional Kite Show
AlUla Sky Kite is a rare opportunity to enjoy an impressive show put on by professional kite-flyers across the desert.
See AlUla From Above
Next on the list, we’ve got a one-hour helicopter ride, which quite honestly isn’t for the faint-hearted. After taking off from Al Fursan Village Helipad, you’ll be able to enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the heritage sites below, courtesy of your pilot.
Wednesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm, SAR 995 (per hour)
Float in a Hot Air Balloon
There are very few who would not find this ride particularly majestic – it’s one you’re likely to remember for the rest of your days. Hop onto one of the many colourful hot air balloons taking to the AlUla sky to get an unmatched view of the ancient, monumental tombs of Hegra during the morning. Once afternoon hits, you’ll be able to hover around the area, taking in priceless 360-degree views.
Daily, 7am-8am, 4pm-6pm
Climb to the Skies on the AlUla Stairway
If you fancy doing the hard work yourself, you can climb up a 45-metre suspended ladder ,accompanied by professional guides. The ladder experience – the first of its kind – gives you another fresh vantage point. Plus, you’ll have earned it.The way back is much easier, you just swish your way down through the canyons via a 150-metre zipline.
Tuesday-Saturday, 10am & 11am, SAR 150 (per hour)
Hang Out on the Giant Swing
If you’re looking for an adrenaline hit and the other options just don’t scratch that itch, head toAlUla’s Giant Swing. Allowing you to soar 85 metres above the ground, it’s one of only seven in the world – and it's guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Take a leap off the edge of the mountain and swing your way between the rocky canyons. If you can, try to take in the view while you’re there.
Tuesday-Saturday, 4pm-5pm, SAR 250 (per hour)
You’ve never experienced nighttime like nighttime in AlUla. From AlUla, you can see practically every star in the sky but you'll also be able to hear a pin drop in the stillness of the desert. Expect the skies to can hear a pin drop and it’s pitch black. While that might seem a bit eerie, it’s that exact darkness that brings out the area’s unique feel.
Experience a Symphony Under the Stars
Some of the top names in global Jazz will descend on AlUla in
early May. The area will also see classical music, spectacular
special effects and light displays come together at Symphony
Under the Stars. This stunning show includes 400 drones
creating icons, spheres and waves across the sky.
Follow The Music
Maraya, the largest mirrored building in the world, and other
venues in the area will be hosting a series of concerts during
Stargaze and Learn About Astrophotography
Situated in a remote space known to be optimal for observing the night skies, an expert will share all you need to know about the stars and constellations. There’s also a session where you’ll be shown how to perfect images of the sky on your camera. Astrophotography is all about capturing that ultimate snap and the minimal
light pollution in AlUla is a big help.
Take in the Panorama at Harrat Viewpoint
Sat atop an ancient mountain, a trip to the elevated outlook at Harrat offers more than just
spectacular views over AlUla’s landscape. It’s also an opportunity to take in a huge canopy of night sky.
AlUla Skies Festival, from April 26 to May 13. For more information visit experiencealula.com