8 insta-worthy sites to add some dram to your ‘Gram

Dhee Ayn Village, Al Baha

<p>Snap yourself in the Marble Village or pan out for a shot of Dhee Ayn's verdant surrounds </p>
Snap yourself in the Marble Village or pan out for a shot of Dhee Ayn’s verdant surrounds (Visit Saudi)

Glowing white in the sunlight, Dhee Ayn is known as the Marble Village thanks to the rocky marble outcrop it’s built on top of. However, the houses themselves – and there are only fifty or so left today – are made of ordinary pale stone and slate, but still impress. Dating from around 400 years ago (although the village was established around the 10th century) they were left abandoned a few decades ago until Saudi’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage started a programme to turn this heritage site into a popular destination for visitors. A stroll around its sleepy, picturesque streets is perfect fodder for the ‘Gram.

Hegra, AlUla

<p>The stunning ancient tombs of Hegra  in AlUla will transport your grid to another time </p>
The stunning ancient tombs of Hegra in AlUla will transport your grid to another time (Visit Saudi)

Carved red rock, mysterious origins, ancient tombs and gathering places make up the fascinating archaeological site of Hegra deep within the desert of AlUla. The majority of the remains date back nearly 2,500 years, when the site was a settlement of the ancient Nabatean nomads. There are 111 structures remaining – mostly decorated, monumental tombs – which became Saudi’s first UNESCO World Heritage site in 2008. Come during the day, when the sun throws down elaborate shadows, or at sunset, when the sinking rays render the red sandstone aflame.

Al Naslaa Rock, Tayma

Puzzling, magnificent and gravity-defying are the words that will spring to mind when you get the camera out to capture Al Naslaa Rock. This ancient petroglyph consists of two giant boulders balancing on two small rock platforms with a wafer-thin gap separating them – as if it were once a single boulder which has been cut in half by a laser. Photographs may not do the majesty of this baffling landmark justice, but it’ll sure make for an excellent talking point in the comments section.

Yellow Lake, Al Asfar, Eastern province

<p>Enjoy nature's contrasts at Yellow Lake, where golden dunes meet verdant verges and cool waters </p>
Enjoy nature’s contrasts at Yellow Lake, where golden dunes meet verdant verges and cool waters (Visit Saudi)

This shallow body of water in the wetlands of the Eastern Province is surrounded by sand dunes and lush greenery and is a thriving, diverse habitat for wildlife. During the breeding season, winter birds come to the lake and make excellent subjects for budding wildlife photographers. Getting to the top of the sand dunes can be a bit of a challenge, but your efforts will be rewarded with sensational shots of the serene waters and their vibrant green borders.

Al Balad, Jeddah

<p>Explore Al Balad's entrancing historical centre and capture the colourful buildings </p>
Explore Al Balad’s entrancing historical centre and capture the colourful buildings (Visit Saudi)

Jeddah’s historic centre is famous for its intricately designed houses, built using coral from the depths of the Red Sea and boasting colorful rawasheen balconies – elaborately patterned and painted wooden structures which maximise natural light and air flow – known as mashrabiyyahs. Known as the Gate to Makkah (Mecca), Al Balad is listed as another UNESCO world heritage site. With some of the buildings estimated to be over 400 years old, these elegant structures make a perfect backdrop for photos.

Al Wahbah Crater, Hejazi

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(Visit Saudi)

Measuring nearly two and a half miles (4km) wide, and stretching 250m deep, this volcanic crater rewards the time taken to get there with a lunar-like landscape that’s perhaps the most jaw-dropping in Saudi. A two hour drive from Taif, followed by a two hour climb to the top, you’ll end up gazing down into the crater’s heart, where sodium phosphate crystals create a glittering layer visible from the sky. Photo ops include circling the crater’s rim, walking down into its plateau, or visiting the rocky lava fields nearby.

Jacaranda season in Abha, Asir

Majestic, mountainous Abha makes for a dramatic backdrop year round, but in late April and May, the gorgeous blooms of the Jacaranda trees that line the parks and streets create incredible, almost surreal shots that just beg for a #nofilter caption. For more purple prettiness, head to the Wild Iris Flower Fields, Tumair, Riyadh, where a field of these delicate flowers bloom each spring.

Elephant Rock, AlUla

<p>Photographing the majestic beauty of Elephant Rock, a natural sandstone structure in AlUla, is a must </p>
Photographing the majestic beauty of Elephant Rock, a natural sandstone structure in AlUla, is a must (Visit Saudi)

AlUla is scattered with dozens of interesting sandstone rock formations, whittled into unusual shapes by millennia of wind, rain and sand erosion. One of the most famous is Jabal AlFil, also known as Elephant Rock, thanks to its similarity to an elephant whose head and trunk are bending to the ground. It stands 52m high, and its combination of orange, red and brown hues, alongside its dramatic shapes and shadows, make it a worthy addition to your grid.

From its diverse terrain to its thriving art and music scene, Insta-worthy food and natural wonders to travel for, Saudi is ready and waiting for you to discover. For more incredible, off-the-beaten track ideas for sites to see, experiences to try, and places to stay, check out Visit Saudi

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