Dazzling like an emerald in the dunes is the fertile oasis of Al Ahsa, where over three million palm trees sway in the warm breeze of the Eastern Province. Located between Riyadh and Dammam, this sleepy UNESCO World Heritage site is among Saudi’s most enchanting destinations, and easily accessible by train or car.
The natural springs for which the area is renowned ensure the landscape here is as storied as it is vibrant. Archaeological finds suggest that this region housed civilizations that pre-dated Islam, with evidence of settlements dating as far back as 5000BC. Al Ahsa’s gentle shade was also a haven for traders and caravans crossing ancient trade routes, or pilgrims making the long journey to Makkah.
This rich history can be experienced everywhere in Al Ahsa, including its ancient mountainside pottery factory, superbly preserved Ibrahim Palace, and even at restaurants like the charming Al Koot Heritage Hotel, where the region’s culture and cuisine come together. Don’t leave without trying the region’s sought-after Khalas dates, five tons of which are produced each day.