Riyadh to Qassim: 396 km, 4 hours
Riyadh, the modern capital city of Saudi Arabia is brimming with things to see and do. In the Diplomatic Quarter gardens, you’ll find vast tracts of lush greenery in the heart of the city. Explore the eight galleries and a myriad artefacts of the National Museum of Saudi Arabia to discover everything from dinosaurs to stunning murals depicting the Prophet Muhammad’s life. For more history, stroll the manicured gardens of Al Murraba Palace, the former home of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of modern-day Saudi Arabia. Then, visit the Al Masmak Fortress where you can see the mark of King Abdul Aziz’s spearhead embedded in the wooden gate, before stopping at the Souq Al-Zal market to purchase traditional handicrafts, jewellery and other souvenirs before making your way to Qassim.
Qassim to Hail: 274 km, 3 hours
Qassim Province is an agricultural haven, known for its heritage villages, traditional souks and producing various types of luxury dates. The fruit is so important to the people of the region that it’s celebrated annually at the 90-day long Buraydah Date Market — the largest date market in the world. Not far from Buraydah is Ayn Al Jawa, an oasis valley famous for its natural spring and as the home of poet Antara, who wrote inscriptions on nearby Antara’s Rock. Back in Buraydah, you’ll find a host of dining options and can rest for the night at the 5-star Mövenpick Hotel Qassim before continuing your journey to Hail.
Hail to AlUla: 429 km, 4.75 hours
Originally forged from mud and clay, the A’Arif Fort is the oldest building in Hail and its soaring towers can be seen from any point in the city. The fort’s many watchtowers allowed residents to keep an eye out for threats in the 17th century CE. Nearby, you can also find two UNESCO-recognized sites featuring ancient rock art and inscriptions: Jabel Umm Sinman at Jubbah and the Jabal al-Manjor and Raat at Shuwaymis. Set in the centre of Hail’s old town, Qislah Palace was built in the 1940s to host troops protecting the city. You can also view the sole remaining tower of Barzan Palace, which once housed both diplomats and the royal families. From here, your travels take you to AlUla, where, among many historic wonders, you can appreciate the clever design and fortification in the maze-like AlUla Old Town.