Things To Do In Taif, The Unofficial Summer Capital And The Saudi’s City Of Roses

Taif Saudi Arabia
by Safiya Khanam 250

What if we told you of a place with snow in winter, blooming flowers in spring, and cool temperatures throughout the year? And what if we told you that this place was in a country known for its vast expanses of dunes and scorching hot sun? Sounds fictional, right? But Taif is as real as it can be.

Nestled in the lap of the Hijaz mountain of the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia, Taif lives and breathes beauty. And it is bound to leave you in awe if you thought Saudi Arabia was all dunes and dust. 

With so much to offer and so many places to visit in Taif, it has bagged for itself the unofficial summer capital title. It has everything from fields of blooming roses to fruit markets filled with locally produced fruits, historical museums and a castle. 

First Stop: Immerse Yourself In Everything Rose

taif roses

Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi

Shoot Instagram-worthy reels amid unique pink roses exclusive to Taif or witness the process of making rose water, rose oils and extracts from roses. It is worth noting that the roses of Taif are not limited to this region but are sought after by perfume giants like Chanel, Guerlain, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy and Ormonde Jayne!

Also Read:Inside Dubai Bling Star Ebraheem Al Samadi’s 2D -Themed Forever Rose Cafe

Some places to immerse yourself in such a rose-y experience are the 120-year-old Al Qahdi Rose Factory, 24 hours farms like Al Shiokh farm, Rashid Al Qurashei Factory, and the very popular Al Gadhi factory.  Moreover, if you visit Taif during March-April, you can even attend the annual Taif Rose Festival at Al Rudaf Park hosted by the Ministry of Culture. 

Second Stop: Fun Is On the Ground And In Air

taif cable cars

Image Courtesy: Unsplash/Ekrem Osmanoglu

Home to the Middle East’s longest cable car ride, Taif is a sight to behold up in the air, too. The 4 km Taif cable car journey will serve you with marvellous sunset on the Sarawat Mountains for your eyes to soak in. 

The Al Karr resort and the Green Mountain Park on the Al Hada Mountain offer the best weekend gateway activities for adults and kids. Pray tell, who would say no to a water park and an amusement park? 

Third Stop: Time Travel At Palaces And Museums 

Taif Museum

Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi

Some rocks 40 km north of Taif show how historically significant Taif has been. So important that it finds its mention in the holy scriptures of Islam when the prophet Muhammad visited this place. 

The Shubra Castle was built in 1905 by the then-royal family and is now open to the public. So go find yourself marvelling at over 4,000-year-old relics and archaeological artefacts. If the culmination of Islamic architecture, Roman motifs and latticework fascinate you, the Shubra castle awaits. 

The Sharif Museum is another must-visit place in Taif. This private museum’s owner, Al-Sharif Ali Bin Malbas, is said to have travelled lengths and breaths of the country to collect historical artefacts. You can even get your hands on some of these valuables at their periodic auctions.     

Fourth Stop: Good Views Come Along With Good Food

Subia drink saudi arabia

Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi

The food in Taif is just as good as the views here. Imagine sipping some piping hot grated almond and cardamom tea when the chilly wind blows. In the evening, Taif lights up with fairy lights in cafes all around, and in Gen-Z terms is ‘no less than a vibe.’ 

Also Read: The 7 Classic Middle Eastern Rice Dishes You Need To Try

Sobia drink is a signature drink of Taif known for its earthy and thirst-quenching properties. No wonder it is sold all over Taif during the month of Ramadan. Additionally, the famous local banana pudding called Masoub and the famous Saudi charcoal tea called Jamar tea is a must-try at the cafes and food stalls here. 

Fifth Stop: Souqs Mandate A Shopping Spree

Taif Souq

Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi

The Taif souq is one of the biggest souqs in Saudi Arabia. Shop for handicrafts and ornaments at Souq Okaz. on the other hand, bag yourself boxes of organic local produce like pomegranates, peaches, apricots, figs and dates at Taif fruit market.   

The best way to experience the souq is with a warm mint tea bought from one of the tea shops there. 

Sixth Stop: Wander Into The Green And Wild  

Al wahba crater saudi taif

Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi

Undoubtedly, nature has bestowed Taif plenty. Hence, the best way to end your trip to Taif would be to go on a hiking trail up the mountains there or down to the Al Wahba Crater. The 2 km wide and 250 m deep crater is definitely one of the major attractions of Taif.

Last but not least, there’s more for those who like to end their trip with some thrill and adventure. 25 km to the southwest of Taif is Al Shafa – the highest peak in the region. You can find access to dune bashing, quad biking and camel riding right there!

How To Reach Taif?

The most frequently asked question is if non-Muslims can go to Taif. And the answer is yes! It might take a little understanding of the routes for someone who is new there. Muslims can enter Taif from Mecca directly using Highway 15. But if you are planning to start your trip from Jeddah and are a non-muslim; start your journey from Highway 40. Upon nearing Mecca city, you will find a cutoff Route 298 or ‘Christian Bypass,’ follow along that route and it shall connect you the Route 15. Half an hour on this route and it will lead you straight into the scenic cloudy, foggy roads of Taif. 

You know the place is promising when the roads leading you to it are a sight for the sire eyes! You can check out more details, here

Cover Image Courtesy: Visit Saudi