Just getting to Taif is exciting. From the inner part of Makkah, a beautiful serpentine road passes through the mountains to the plateau where Taif is located, passing through fruit markets, rose plantations, and deep valleys. Taif is often referred to as the City of Roses, due to the famous aromatic flowers that grow in the surrounding valleys and mountains. It is also known as the unofficial summer capital of Saudi Arabia. Due to its height, Taif is a cool haven from the summer heat, especially in the beautiful nearby Shafa Mountains, where baboons frolic in front of collapsing valleys. The city really blossoms in August, when the Okaz Market Festival and the Crown Prince Camel Festival are held, as they are the best attractions in the city. Here is a wide range of things to do in Taif, including culture, history, and entertainment.

Things to do in Taif

Take the winding roads to Taif’s highest peak, Mount Dhaka, where panoramic views and off-road adventures await, or escape to nature at the stunning Saiysad National Park. A visit to the Shubra Palace provides an opportunity to trace in the footsteps of King Abdulaziz: while the marble-floored building was a museum today, it was previously a royal residence. Here is a list of the best things to do in Taif.

Al Shafa

Al-Shafa, located 25 kilometers southwest of Taif, is the highest mountain in the region and can be reached via paved roads. The 10,000 square meter Daka Mountain Park sits at the top and offers stunning views of the local mountain range. The area’s popularity means that visitors can now ride camels and four-wheel drive sand buggies and dine on an array of street foods. There are also terraces for barbecues and picnics, and for those who want to stay longer, there are several basic spas.

Al Hada Mountain

Above the valley that extends towards Makkah, Al-Hada is a place for comical baboons, flower fields, and natural space. The curving path elegantly stretches down the mountainside, as do ancient winding camel paths. When the sun goes down and locals congregate at the lookouts, the rows of mountains on the horizon lie in a gray ombre. The longest cable car in Saudi Arabia runs between the top of the mountain and the valley floor, where there is a water park of peridot and a toboggan run in the tourist village of Al-Kar designed in the Hejazi style.

Taif central market

Taif Market is one of the largest markets in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and it is worth wandering around. The market is located in the tastefully restored historic center, where gorgeous little squares with dancing fountains are filled every evening with chatter from locals, and the market is a great place to buy local products like honey and rose water, as well as handicrafts. When the shopping is over, grab a mint tea and hit one of the yards. Watching people here is a real pleasure.

Taif Central Market is a maze of narrow alleys through sand-colored buildings to quiet squares. There are colorful and fragrant sections dedicated to the rich local honey, perfumes (especially rose water and oil), Islamic clothing, and jewelry. Street jewelers work with blow torches on silver rings inlaid with right-hand garnets, while nearby stores sell elaborate pieces of gold mined from Medina. The vendors of ghee, oud, decorative swords, and medicinal herbs are part of the quintessential Taif experience.

Taif’s rose fields

Each year, Taif turns pink and red, as the city of 30 petaled roses blooms in the air. In the City of Roses, more than 900 rose farms produce more than 300 million flowers that are harvested to produce the world’s most expensive rose oil, or Attar. Watch the mechanism directly with a guided visit to one of the rose factories in the city, or visit the Taif Central Market to browse and buy essential oils, water, perfumes, and soap.

Camel Races

Every two weeks (Friday and Saturday) during the months of July and August, you leave Taif for races. These wonderful events have been taking place in the Arabian Peninsula since ancient times. Watching camels and their riders, as part of the bustling crowd, furiously lift the dust as they try to beat each other to the finish line, is a truly unique experience in this region.

Souk Okaz Festival

It is located about 40 km northeast of Taif in the Sarawat Mountains. Between the sixth and eighth centuries, tribes from all over the land met for trade, sport, conflict resolution, and lawmaking. Souk Okaz festival is an annual festival that is honored with a 10-day cultural festival full of poetry reading, sports, dance, theater, and market readings.

Shubra Palace

The City Museum occupies a beautiful house built in 1905 by the order of Sherif Ali Pasha. The palace is the most impressive relic of ancient Taif, with lattice windows and balconies, and an interior marble from Carrara. King Abdulaziz used to reside here, and the palace later became the residence of King Faisal.

Jouri Mall

One of the best malls in Taif. it offers good shopping options with some international brands including clothing, shoes, and sportswear. As well as a great Food Court that offers some options to enjoy from some international brands to local restaurants

Taif Zoo

Taif Zoo is located in the Sadad district of Taif. The zoo is not very large but has diverse wildlife. The zoo houses plenty of animals such as elephants, lions, and zebras. The zoo also has an amusement park with fun rides for children and adults. Taif Zoo also offers a dolphin show. It is a must-visit attraction in Taif with family and children.

Hotels in Taif

You can find many hotels to stay in Taif such as the Grand InterContinental Taif in the desert mountains north of the city; Le Meridien Al Hada and Al Muhaidib Resort, both of which are located near Al Hada cable car; Or the lavish iridium in the heart of the city.

Dining in Taif

One of the best things to do in Taif is to discover the food taste offers in the city. If you are looking for fantastic restaurants to dine at, then you should Visit Ahlan Sahlan, famous for eating scoops of rice and chicken like the locals; Grilled for the best charcoal-grilled meats. Safi for middle eastern dishes; Or Al Diwaniyah Cafe for Arabic coffee, dates, and silik in a traditional setting.

Also, Read:

Hotels in Saudi Arabia: Check the finest hotels in the kingdom

Saudi Tourist Visa: A step-by-step guide on how to obtain the tourist visa

Tourism in Jeddah: Top 10 Things to do in Jeddah

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