Winter at Tantora is a festival in AlUla County in North-West Saudi Arabia, a place of extraordinary natural beauty and cultural heritage. Running from 19th December 2019 to 7th March 2020, Winter at Tantora will bring 12-weekends of wonder to the AlUla Oasis, inspired by its spectacular scenery. Home to archeological treasures, natural beauty and magnificent monuments that span millennia, AlUla is set on the ancient incense route between Southern Arabia and Egypt. It became a hub of commercial and cultural exchange because a lush oasis valley ran through it, creating an ideal environment for civilizations to flourish.
Following a successful debut in 2018, Winter at Tantora, the international festival celebrating incredible art, music, culture and history against the timeless backdrop of AlUla, will return on December 19th with an exciting new line-up of performers, experiences and events. The festival, which runs until March 7th, invites arts and culture aficionados from around the globe to enjoy and experience a unique event that is rooted in AlUla, home to Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site; Hegra.
The event promises a legendary line-up of performers from around the world and spanning diverse genres, including Timeless Pop, Opera and Classical Music. Details about the festival, its line-up and exceptional surroundings can be found at www.experiencealula.com with tickets scheduled to go live in early October 2019.
Now in its second year, the Winter at Tantora festival features an array of activities and excursions for fans of music and culture as well as adventure seekers, history lovers and sports enthusiasts. The festival will also host the AlUla Balloon Festival, vintage aircraft flights, the second largest endurance horse race in the world, culinary experiences curated by Michelin starred chefs, traditional souks as well as luxury brand pop-ups. Complementing this will be tours of ancient sites over 2000 years-old that will be brought to life using state-of-art AR technology.
Last year, the inaugural festival greeted over 37,000 visitors from around the world over 10-weeks and hosted household names such as Andrea Bocelli, Yanni, Majida El Roumi and Lang Lang for sell-out performances. Building on this success, organizers, are extending this year’s festival by two weeks and are expecting over 40,000 visitors to experience the rich display of culture and heritage on offer.
Within the Winter at Tantora festival and inspired by AlUla’s tradition of marking the change of seasons, will be the Tantora Festival which celebrates the start of winter. Promising a feast for the senses, visitors will enjoy the authentic essence of AlUla from the traditional souk, art and performance theatre through to enjoying local delicacies. Nowhere else in world can stargazers take in the constellations like they can in AlUla and see them as past civilizations did, unpolluted by modernity.
Positioned as “A Timeless Celebration in a Timeless Place” the festival has four themes:
Adventure and Discovery
Reimagining Heritage offers visitors the opportunity to witness ancient cities brought to life, not as monuments of the past but living communities, showcasing how past civilizations lived in the ancient cities of Hegra and Dadan. Guided by expert storytellers, the Heritage Sites Experience gives guests the chance to be transported to the thriving sites of Hegra and Dadan and witness history reawakened. Visitors will be invited to use the very latest in tech-innovation such as augmented reality, video projection and imaging technology to recreate an atmospheric and informative experience unlike any other seen in the Kingdom. The festival also brings cultures together through the medium of food – from the hot pot of street food at the Winter Park to the regional delicacies on show at Wadi AlQura market.
Cultural Oasis will bring international stars from around the world to perform at the state-of-the-art 500-seat Maraya Concert Hall. Constructed to emulate a mirage emerging from the ancient rocky landscape, the concert hall is wrapped in walls of mirrors that shimmer into the horizon creating a feast for the eyes. Here, guests will enjoy performances by musicians, from the worlds of recording, opera and classic music.
Adventure and Discovery brings a dose of adrenalin to the festival. The Vintage Aircraft Experience is a high-flying adventure offering bird’s eye views in vintage aircrafts dating to World War 2. For a serene glide through the skies, the AlUla Hot Air Balloon Festival is calling on guests to be part of a 100-strong flotilla of hot air balloons at sunrise or indulge in a solo flight at sunset. Guests can also watch from the sidelines as over 200 riders from across the globe attempt to navigate the 120km course as part of the Fursan Endurance Race, the second biggest endurance race in the world
Secret Escape provides an exclusive and high-end journey into fine dining with Michelin-starred chefs curating bespoke experiences for the visiting gastronome. Set within a site of immeasurable historic significance, Secret Escape offers the only experience of this kind in the world.
For the discerning traveler the Winter at Tantora Festival offers an unmissable array of culture, activities and experiences in an enthralling setting.
AlUla… A Timeless Celebration in a Timeless Place!
The Winter at Tantora festival will take place from December 19, 2019 – March 7, 2020 in AlUla, Saudi Arabia. For more information please visit experiencealula.com
If you’re coming to Winter at Tantora, we’ve compiled a wealth of information to make travel-planning easy and your stay as pleasant as possible.
AlUla is easily accessible by road and air from a variety of locations. By car, the trip is 3 hours from Medina, and 4 hours from Tabuk and Hail. Commercial flights are just 1.5 hours from Riyadh and Jeddah.
Winter is the perfect time of year to visit AlUla, with temperatures ranging from 15-25°C with very little rainfall. While the days are warm, there are cooler temperatures in the evenings and breezes on higher ground, so be sure to pack for colder weather to be comfortable.
What to Pack
Local customs call for both men and women to dress modestly (with knees and elbows covered). Flat comfortable shoes are recommended when visiting various sites and experiences, since walking over varied terrain is often involved. For electronics, AlUla uses the same plugs as in the United Kingdom.
Getting a Visa
Those who purchase a festival ticket and require a visa will receive one at small additional cost. You will be guided through the visa process upon booking — and you are able to apply yourself or an agent can handle all of the details for you. Visas are issued electronically within 24 hours and are valid for 30 days.