Abha is a quaint city located in the Southwestern region of Saudi Arabia. A city that gives you a glimpse of how people lived hundreds of years ago, this destination is perfect for everyone who likes exploring unique places. After all, the city of Abha is truly one-of-a-kind. From delicious local fare to thrilling cable car rides, there’s something for every traveller here. And this is proved by Kamiya Jani, our Editor-in-Chief on her recent trip to Saudi Arabia. After all, it’s the only place in the region that’s cold even during the harsh Middle Eastern summers. But if you’re still confused about what all you can do, then you’d want to scroll on. We say this because we have handpicked six of the best things to do in Abha.
Best Things To Do In Abha
1. Explore The Rich History Of The City By Visiting Heritage Sites
Abha has a rich historical past, and it’s quite evident in the fact that there are many heritage sites here that are worth checking out. Some of these include popular tourist spots, as each of these sites relays a unique story! Together they add to the charm of this city famous as the Bride of the Mountains.
- Al Basta: Taking people back in time, one of the oldest villages as the houses here are constructed using mud, stone, and a mixture of both. From a 120-year build, the first one in the kingdom to the bride pathway, there are many such treasures scattered around the area.
- Al Habala – Also famous as the hanging village, this place is nestled between the majestic mountains. Sloping about 300 m from the edge of the Sarwat Mountains, this rustic village is located at its edge. Did you know people earlier climbed up with the help of rope?
- Al – Abu Sarrah Palaces – About 220 years old, these palaces are located in the middle of the Azizah village. They’re made with stones and timber from the surrounding area, there are more than 300 rooms here!
2. Soak In The Beauty Of The Ethereal Landscape With A Cable Car Ride
A trip to this beautiful city is practically incomplete without a fantastic cable car ride! Offering a panoramic view of the stunning Sarawat Mountains, you will be in awe of the view offered from such a vantage point. There are four routes for the cable car ride but it should be noted that the Rijal Almaa and Al Habala Hanging Village routes operate during summer. So, make sure to call ahead and make your reservations, after all, this is an experience you wouldn’t want to miss. It takes only 5 minutes through the cable car which takes you to the Al Habala Village in the past. Talking about the four cable car routes, these are as follows –
- Abu Khayal to the Green Mountain – Located around 300 meters high, this route is touted to be the only one in the world that is suspended between two pillars just a kilometre apart.
- New Abha Resort to the Green Mountain – At an altitude of a whopping 400 metres, these cable cars take people to the Green Mountain from New Abha Resort.
- Soudah to Rijal Almaa – This scenic route takes people from the top of the Al Soudah mountain to the heritage village of Rijal Almaa, which is situated near Abha.
- Al Habala Resort to Al Habala Hanging Village – The route spans about 600 meters and it’s the only way to access the Habala village, that’s nearly 400 years old.
3. Treat Yourself To Delectable Local Delicacies
Any holiday or trip is rather incomplete with some good. After all, a successful holiday does need some delicious food for some much-needed energy refuelling! However, when it comes to the food in Abha, you needn’t worry, as there are plenty of delightful local dishes that are going to leave you spoilt for choice. Did you know the food from this region is typically heavy? Yes, the reason for this is that people have an active lifestyle here! Whether it’s Haneeth, a slow-cooked lamb dish or supple Miva Bread, there’s something for everyone, here! Some of the must-try local dishes here include:
- Areekah – This is a traditional Asiri breakfast
- Haneeth – Essentially a dish made with rice and meat, the meat is slowly cooked before being served on a bed of fragrant rice.
- Baraat Chai – The famous Arabic Tea, sip on this while you take in the beautiful sunsets.
- Tasabea – This flavourful this is served at traditional events and celebrations
- Miva Bread – This is a type of bread from the region that completes most of the Asiri dishes.
- Tamiah – This is basically falafel and it has a crunchy exterior.
- Labneh Makaneesh – This dish is typically served with a generous dollop of honey.
4. Visit The Tamniah Museum To Get A Glimpse Of Life In Abha
If you wish to explore daily life and want to take in a typical household in Abha, then the Tamniah Museum has to be on your radar. After all, this place lets people see the traditional architectural style of the Aseer region. The unique museum has many intriguing exhibits showcasing coins and weapons (like daggers). A tour of this museum is certainly going to give you an insightful peek into the past, with every wall relaying a story!
- At the museum, you can find coins and even weapons like swords and daggers or even accessories that women have used in the past.
- There are also antique tools and toys that have been used in the past.
- A typical Asiri house has also been set up that is basically like a window in the past.
5. Spend Some Time At The Abha Airport Park
Abha Airport Park is named so, for its proximity to the Abha International Airport. Spread over an expansive area of 1,25,000 square metres, this park is approximately 5 minutes away by car. A perfect place for your little munchkin, the children’s playground here has everything from swings to monkey bars!
Since it sits within the stunning Abha landscape, Abha Airport Park isn’t just a picturesque picnic spot, but even a culinary haven! Yes, you can offer a wide array of flavours by chomping down on local dishes under the open sky. So, this is especially a great place to spend your evening, as you can just sit and relax in the leisurely surroundings, taking in the beauty of life in this quaint city.
Psst. the entry is absolutely free for this place!
6. Take A Guided Walk In The Lush Grape Farm Of Abha
There are several farms in Abha where you will find acres of land with lush plantations. Whether it’s grapes, figs, pomegranates or peaches, each of these farms offers a slice of tranquillity that you will hardly find amidst the noise of a metropolitan city. Moreover these farms also often offer dining and entertainment options, making it an experience unlike any other! Finally, some also house historical landmarks, which must certainly be on your to-visit list. There are several reasons why you must visit the Anaab Farm –
- Regarded as a basket of fruits, there are many types of trees you will find here, such as figs, berries, dates, apricots, and pomegranates.
- Visiting a grape farm in Abha is a unique and enlightening experience, after all, spending some time amid the lush greenery of the farms.
7. Take In The Sweeping Views Of Al Soudah
Jabal Al Soudah stands tall amidst the lofty mountains of Asir. It’s the highest mountain in the region and the temperatures here don’t exceed 22 degrees Celsius even in peak summers. The widespread greenery that surrounds the mountain peak makes it a sight to behold and offers panoramic views for days.
Offering sweeping views of the lush flora and the peaceful setting with pleasant temperatures, this mountain peak is certainly something that every tourist must check out during their trip to the region. The best bit about this peak is that it’s accessible even by car, so you won’t have to hike all the way to the top to bask in the glorious views.
We have done all the research for you, now all you’ve got to do is book your tickets, pack your bags and start your Abha adventure!
Cover Image Courtesy: Internal