Welcome to Abha, Saudi Arabia!
Nestled within the verdant region of the Aseer Province, the small city of Abha is somewhat of an abnormality when it comes to a typical Saudi metropolis. Blessed with milder climates, breathtaking natural landscapes, and a bustling city full of its own unique culture, there’s no surprise that Saudi’s from all over the country flock to Abha for a taste of oasis. Worldwide locals can discover Abha’s profound love of art that can be seen in its gorgeous architecture and galleries while embracing the proud root of its cultural heritage. See Abha from a local’s perspective with this insider’s guide to the city.
Where to Begin
After you land in Abha International Airport, you might be at a loss for what to do first. Begin your journey around Abha by learning about its rich history at the Al-Muftaha Village, located in the downtown area of the city. The village spans over 2 centuries and is the historical heart of Abha, displaying architecture using traditional construction styles and a community that celebrates Abha’s past. Visit the Al-Muftaha Archaeological Museum to see three-storey’s worth of ancient Asiri relics and exhibits, important for shaping the city into what it is today.
Worldwide Local Tip: With its close proximity to the Red Sea, Abha is known for its great seafood. Head to Al Sinara for a great selection of fresh seafood, cooked traditionally with local ingredients. Taste the distinct flavor of the region, while being treated to a great view of the city at Al Sinara.
Ride up to the Top of Green Mountain
Despite its name, the Green Mountain isn’t actually green for its foliage, but the hill is lit up by a green light when the night sets making it an unmissable part of the Abha city skyline. Take a scenic cable car ride up to Green Mountain and watch magnificent views of the city become more impressive as you ascend to its peak. It’s an ideal spot to catch the perfect sunset over the city while sipping on tea and puffing on shisha. Bring a sweater, as the nights can be chilly atop the Green Mountain.
Worldwide Local Tip: Enjoy the temperate weather of the region by taking a gentle stroll across Abha Dam Lake. This man made resort, is an area where you can find an eclectic selection of restaurants and an amusement park, making it an ideal spot for those with kids. This modern spot, where many locals head out, also appeals to the average Abha tourist. Places like this are hard to come by!
Shopping in Abha
For a truly local experience in Abha, get lost in its most popular souq, the Souq al Thulatha. A practical way of learning about Abha’s local culture, while producing a lively ambiance, the Asiri souq is the best way to get your feet wet in the city’s way of life. Open every Tuesday, the vendors showcase a wide array of accessories like Bedouin jewelry, artisan items, and fragrant spices. There is a separate market for the women that is run by women selling colorful traditional dresses and gold accessories, as well as other items catered to women.
Worldwide Local Tip: While it requires traveling 50 kilometers away from the city, visiting Habala is a must while in Abha. It’s located deep into the steep mountain gorges and deep canyons. Deserted hanging villages still remain, carved into the rocks that form the imposing mountains, can be seen through a ride on the cable car.
Enjoy Your Visit!
A contrast to the beige colors of sand, the city of Abha is the gateway to Saudi Arabia’s green corner. A laid back city, full of culture and teeming with life, discover Abha as a worldwide local to see the different landscapes Saudi Arabia has to offer. From breathtaking views of craggy mountains to beautiful national parks, this relatively unknown region of the country won’t stay undiscovered for long.