7 locations that offer stellar views of the Kingdom’s night skies

7 locations that offer stellar views of the Kingdom’s night skies

Discover the majestic wonders of starlit nights in Saudi Arabia's unspoiled landscapes
05 December 23
Star Gazing in Saudi

For centuries, our ancestors looked to the constellations for guidance during night-time journeys across the desert.

Today, our fascination with the stars has reached new heights, aided by technology and a universe of stargazing apps. The perfect setting for a night underneath the stars is where our forebears once roamed – the desert, with its uninterrupted vistas, far from the glare of city lights.

Whether you’re up for a short evening drive or a weekend of night camping, here are seven great locations for your next astral adventure in Saudi. Remember to dress warmly and pick a moonless night when the sky is darkest (preferably during a new moon or crescent moon phase). 


Average November Temperatures: Highs of 27°C and Lows of 12°C 

The Arch 

AlUla’s landscape is extraordinary, thanks to the medley of three distinct geological eras.

The region is dotted with statuesque rock formations, and one of them has particularly been captured and posted all over the world as a destination for stargazing. Standing strong after millions of years, The Arch, aptly named after its bridge-shaped sandstone structure, is located about an hour-and-a-half drive from AlUla’s centre.

A 4x4 is essential as you need to drive on desert sand to reach it, and as even the best of drivers get stuck, it’s best to go with a local specialised guide. Last year, AlUla Skies Festival hosted Symphony Under the Stars dedicated to the desert’s spectacular starry night, during which a pianist played a magnificent symphony by The Arch to a starstruck audience.  


The whole region of AlUla is perfect for stargazing due to low light pollution and a remarkable desert landscape. Popular photoshoot location Gharameel, in particular, is a magical spot due to its towering rock formations.

This year, a group of stargazers had the opportunity to be part of the Astro-Photography Experience, during which they took snaps of the stars shining bright over the mystical rocks. An expert guide shared his knowledge of the cosmos, showing how to capture its beauty through photography.

And the perfect finish to an evening of stargazing is to huddle around a bonfire with a hot cup of tea, savouring the stillness of the desert. 


Average November Temperatures: Highs of 23°C and Lows of 10°C 

Al Nafud Desert 

Our cultural heritage has a tradition of stargazing and planet observation, and a trip to Al Nafud Desert feels like following in the footsteps of our ancestors.

Far from modern civilisation, this majestic desert has no light pollution and on a cloudless night the stars shine bright. Situated to the north-west of Riyadh, this region has earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its striking red sands and ancient history through rock art featuring inscriptions and petroglyphs that span over thousands of years.

An overnight camp is essential to experience a tranquil immersion under the stars – although do check weather conditions before you head out, as Al Nafud Desert is known for stormy winds and shifting dunes. 


Average November Temperatures: Highs of 25°C and Lows of 11°C 

Al Wahbah Crater 

Just a two-hour drive north of Taif, Al Wahbah Crater is one of Saudi’s most captivating natural wonders. It spans approximately 2.2 kilometers in diameter, 250 meters in depth, and is easily accessible from the road. Away from city lights, walking here feels like you are on another planet.  

As you gaze up at the unpolluted night sky, you'll be treated to an otherworldly celestial display, where stars, planets, and the Milky Way appear in all their glory. It's a destination that allows you to connect with the universe in an awe-inspiring landscape. 


Average November Temperatures: Highs of 28°C and Lows of 15°C 

Moon Valley  

Get ready to witness a celestial spectacle with your feet firmly on Earth. Nestled in the north-east of Jeddah, a mere hour's journey from the city, is Moon Valley – the townies’ favourite getaway.

This stretch of desert features stunning sand landscapes and views of unique rock formations. Located a 115-kilometre drive from Jeddah, this 'valley' is easily reached with a 4x4, and is a great location for an evening under the stars. Seek out this scenic spot on a cloudless night, lay out a rug, and watch as the sky bursts into a dazzling display of stars.

And get set for the Gemini meteor shower, which will grace our night skies in December, with peak activity expected between Thursday 14 and Friday 15. 


Average November Temperatures: Highs of 28°C and Lows of 15°C 

Wadi Al Disah 

This valley, about 260 kilometres from Tabuk, is a mountainous area known for its water streams, sandstone cliffs, archaeological sites, including facades of Nabataean tombs, and, of course, its palms (Al Disah translates to “the valley of palm trees”).

Providing a secluded escape, the valley is at about 400 metres above sea level and mainly located in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Natural Reserve. It’s fantastic for hiking and camping, with the latter offering the perfect opportunity to enjoy unpolluted starlit skies.    

Al Wajh   

This location offers a stunning backdrop for stargazing adventures in the Tabuk region, known for its diverse landscapes.

When you head out to the remote landscapes at night, you can be witness to a vision of stars and constellations. And once in a blue moon, you can get lucky and experience the fast, bright Leonids, this year expected between 17-18 November.

In a forward thinking move, Red Sea Global is engaged in the transformation of an area in Tabuk, between the Umluj and Al Wajh provinces, to reduce light pollution. They aim to create an international Skylight Reserve by imposing limitations on artificial lighting within the Red Sea Project during night-time hours.

Big Dipper anyone?