The scenic capital of the Asir province in the southwest, Abha is a mountain town located at the height of 2,200 meters above sea level. Surrounded by tall mountains, the city is often covered in fog. For most of history, the region was cut off from the rest of the world due to its mountainous terrain resulting in a lesser touristy, quiet destination though its popularity is slowly growing due to government promotion of tourism. Abha is now reachable by an expressway along the west coast, connecting it with Jeddah. With its milder climes, ancient history, and tall peaks, it is growing popular as a destination to enjoy adventure, sightseeing, and fresh mountain air. The Kingdom’s tallest mountain, Jabal Sawda, is right next to the city and visitors can take a cable car to the summit. This is one of several cable cars available to take visitors around the area to different peaks. Another notable site is Shada Palace, one of several hilltop fortresses seen around the city. The local homes are also a feature: these traditional residential units are made with clay, stone, and wood and are often painted in bright colors. Cultural events are becoming more frequent, with different sports, festivals, and exhibitions, along with poetry and musical performances, being held in the city.


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Asir National Park

This is the first national park to open in the country and features an area of around 620 square miles. For visitors, there are 67 campsites and 45 picnic sites in parts of the park, though the majority of the land remains wilderness and is home to over 300 species of birds.

Green Mountain

Another area accessible by cable car is Green Mountain (Jabal Thera), named for the grass and green lights that decorate its facade. Previously used as military headquarters, the mountain was repurposed for recreation and features restaurants, coffee shops, and an internet cafe. Visitors are welcome to either hike to the top of the mountain or take a cable car and enjoy the scenic beauty of the valley below, as well as the cool mountain air, best enjoyed paired with a hot drink.


This small village is perched on the side of a very steep cliff face and used to be accessible only by rope ladder. Eventually a cable car was built to provide better access to the traditional village so visitors could enjoy the mountain views. Consequently the original inhabitants relocated to a more modern village below and Habala remains solely as a heritage village for tourism.

Shada Palace

Dating back to 1927, this mud-walled palace remains a remarkable example of traditional Arabic architecture amidst a modern city. Converted into a museum, the palace houses a variety of local handicrafts and household items.

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