AlUla EXPLORER - Wonder of Arabia

  • Location

    AlUla Saudi Arabia

  • Duration

    7 days / 6 nights / 5 rides

  • Length

    60 to 80+ km daily

  • Climb

    40 to 350+ m daily

10 Apr 2024 - 16 Apr 2024

Saudi Arabia has firmly put itself on the luxury tourism map as a gem of a destination, with the stunning desert landscape of AlUla its cycling capital – as seen in the AlUla Tour (formerly Saudi Tour) and through its sponsorship of the men’s and women’s World Tour Team Jayco AlUla. Located in the province of Medina in the north west of the Kingdom, AlUla is a city of great historical and cultural significance, with a rich heritage dating back thousands of years. The city is home to many ancient ruins, including the famous AlUla Old Town, with the region known for its natural beauty of desert canyons and towering sandstone cliffs, and now luxury accommodation and world-class cuisine.

AlUla is a tranquil desert sanctuary that invites you to discover an uncharted new world. If you are looking for somewhere different for your winter miles and to escape the cold, consider this unique, beautiful and other-worldly destination. We’ve been to try it out and promise you are in for a treat!

Experience cycling like nowhere else in the world, in ideal temperature through wondrous landscapes of peculiar rock formations and sandstone mountains. We’ll be joined by a local guide and member of the Saudi Cycling Federation, with the support of the Royal Commission for AlUla to help us discover the best of the region in our tour.

Your accommodation will be at the 5* Banyan Tree resort in the Ashar Valley, a desert retreat with luxurious tented villas and spa, inspired by the natural and mysterious surroundings.

If this hasn't convinced you, wait until you discover the special post-ride activities, which include cultural tours such as a special visit to Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, adventure escapades, mountain-top lunches, spectacularly-set Michelin dinners and desert stargazing.

Whether you are looking for a unique cycling tour experience or a relaxing getaway, with its rich history, stunning natural beauty, superb accommodation and range of activities, AlUla is a must-visit destination.

Total price: FROM €9,890

  • Ride 5 days in a spectacular and otherworldly desert landscape
  • Escape to reliably temperate climes
  • Climb the same ascents as seen in the mountain stages of the Saudi Tour
  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage listed sites
  • Discover an ancient kingdom at a crossroads of civilisations and on famous incense trading routes
  • Relax in a luxurious desert resort with 5* tented villas and spa
  • Savour international and world-class cuisine
  • Expert planning and support from our team (guides, mechanics, drivers)
  • Approval from the Saudi Cycling Federation and Royal Commission for AlUla
  • Premium rental bike available (Full carbon disc brake + Ultegra di2 electronic)
  • Level of fitness: MEDIUM - fit enough to ride 2 to 4 hours or 50 to 100 km per day. * optional longer rides can be arranged.

    Welcome to our desert oasis!

    Fly into AlUla International Airport (ULH)* from where your Grand Tours Project guide will drive you through the magnificent canyons of the Ashar Valley to Banyan Tree AlUla – our 5-star desert base camp for the trip – to get settled into your luxurious canopied villa.

    Our team will help get you set up with your bike, before we head out on an introductory ride for the afternoon to refresh our legs and to see how the desert roads compare.

    It’s then a short roll to Banyan Tree’s award-winning Saffron restaurant for our full tour briefing and a welcome dinner of delicious modern Thai cuisine.

    *A number of airlines now operate direct flights to AlUla, including Qatar Airways, flydubai and Saudia, from hubs including Paris, Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah and Cairo. We are happy to assist with recommending options.


    Hegra ride & vintage Land Rover tour

    Up to 76 km, mostly flat

    Our first full day takes us out after breakfast on a route taking in the surroundings of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hegra. We have route options of 50 or 76km of cycling that will fully immerse us in the desert on quiet roads through farms, palms and ancient rock formations. You will feel like you are in a sci-fi fantasy movie, with Mars-like landscapes and camels walking alongside perfect roads!

    After lunch at the hotel, we’ll head into the protected site of Hegra itself, with option to travel by vintage Land Rover, for a unique guided tour of some of the 100+ ancient monumental tombs.

    The day culminates with a spectacular dining experience at Awna, an open air restaurant set amongst atmospherically-lit rocks, serving cuisine from visiting Michelin star chefs paying homage to the history of Hegra.


    AlUla Old Town & surroundings

    Today’s ride takes us on a brand new 45km bike path towards the venue of the AlUla Camel Cup (camel racing is one of the region's oldest and most popular spectator sports). We'll loop back on this perfect road to finish our ride with a reviving coffee at AlUla Old Town, a crossroads of civilisations and oasis city on incense trading routes for thousands of years.

    After arriving back at base, enjoy some leisure time, making use of the hotel’s spa or the option to book a horse ride if you wish.

    Late afternoon we’ll transport you back to the old town – a labyrinth of tightly packed streets lined with mudbrick houses, shops and squares – for a guided tour of its sites, and an optional 3km oasis heritage walking trail to discover its importance in AlUla’s history.

    We will re-gather at Somewhere restaurant to enjoy a magnificent Lebanese-Arabic dinner.


    Off road adventures, off the beaten track!

    Explore the hidden gems of AlUla. After breakfast at the Banyan Tree hotel, we propose to leave the road bikes behind and embark on a mini expedition by mountain bike and hike. We’ll transport you to the start point, from where our adventure tour will take us on a discovery of the Hidden Valley of AlUla in search of historical treasures. For those preferring to road ride, this can also be arranged. The morning’s adventure is rounded off by a special lunch in the desert.

    After the morning’s action, you may wish to retreat and enjoy a relaxed afternoon in the hotel. Or, if you’re looking for more adventure, a helicopter ride can be arranged (at additional cost) to see the beauty of AlUla from the sky.

    Our day ends at AlUla’s most iconic rock formation, Elephant Rock, where we will have dinner while listening to Arabic music and watching special lighting effects projected on the rocks.


    AlUla Tour (formerly Saudi Tour) Challenge

    Up to 70 km with some climbing

    Today is our challenge day, as we’ll be taking on routes from the AlUla Tour. We have two route distances, the longer being over 100km, with both finishing on the Tour's punchiest climb – Harrat Uwayrid. The 4km long climb includes 2.7km at 12% and ramps up to a gradient of more than 20%. No wonder the technical director of the Tour likens Harrat to the Angliru of La Vuelta!

    We’ll be rewarded with lunch atop Harrat’s lunar-style plateau, with stunning views over the valley of AlUla. There are a range of adrenaline sports you could take on from the activity centre here, including a zipline down the mountain or the 'Giant Swing'. Our most experienced riders can also take on the technical descent to AlUla; otherwise our van is ready to whisk you back to the hotel once we're done with the fun at Harrat.

    Afternoon activities include a visit to the UNESCO listed heritage collections of Dadanitic and Lihyanite inscriptions, before a well-earned dinner.


    Abu Rakah

    Up to 107 km

    To be sure to see all the best of the region, we’ll jump in the van for an early transfer to Abu Rakah – also featured in the Saudi Tour – from where we’ll start our point-to-point ride back to the Ashar Valley. Abu Rakah is known for its peculiar rock formations including the distinctive ‘mushroom rock’, a marvel of geology.

    After refreshing back at base we’ll take you to the luxury desert resort of Habitas for a relaxed light lunch.

    We then have a spectacular final evening in store with a visit to Maraya – the world’s largest mirrored building – and a world-class auditorium that has hosted musical icons including John Legend and Alicia Keys. Marvel at Maraya’s 9,740 mirrored panels and visit its concert hall before heading to the rooftop restaurant, led by acclaimed British chef Jason Atherton, for an unforgettable closing night dinner.



    Sady, it’s time to pack our bags and say ‘yalla’ to our desert home and newfound friends. We’ll help you with your bike box and transport you the 50 minutes back to AlUla International airport. We guarantee you’ll be leaving with some incredible photos and memories to last a lifetime!

    If you'd like to extend your trip, we can help with recommendations for other parts of Saudi Arabia to visit, or why not consider a hop over to Petra in Jordan?