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Retire in Abha Guide

Retire in Abha with confidence, armed with the knowledge from our extensive guide. It covers critical considerations for retirees, from the cost of living and climate to housing, healthcare, and residency choices in Abha. We also delve into the social and cultural scene, volunteering options, public transportation facilities, and the city's walkability, helping you make an informed decision.

Abha, a city nestled in the mountains of Saudi Arabia, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international retirees. Known for its pleasant climate, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage, Abha offers a unique retirement experience. However, like any foreign country, it also presents its own set of challenges. This article will delve into the various aspects of retiring in Abha, from the cost of living and healthcare to the local culture and lifestyle.

Cost of Living

One of the major attractions of retiring in Abha is the relatively low cost of living. Housing, groceries, and utilities are generally cheaper than in many Western countries. However, it’s important to note that the cost can vary depending on your lifestyle and the area of the city you choose to live in. For instance, living in the city center is typically more expensive than the outskirts.


Abha is known for its mild climate, which is a refreshing change from the scorching heat of other parts of Saudi Arabia. The city enjoys a temperate climate year-round, with temperatures rarely exceeding 30°C even in the summer. The winters are cool and pleasant, making it an ideal place for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities.


Abha boasts several well-equipped hospitals and clinics, ensuring that retirees have access to quality healthcare. The city is home to the King Faisal Medical Complex, one of the largest and most advanced medical facilities in the region. However, it’s worth noting that while the quality of healthcare is high, it can be expensive for non-residents.

Public Healthcare System

While Saudi Arabia has a public healthcare system, it is primarily for Saudi nationals. International retirees will need to have private health insurance to cover medical costs. It’s advisable to research and choose a comprehensive health insurance plan before moving to Abha.

Residency Options for Retirees

Saudi Arabia offers a variety of residency options for retirees, including the Premium Residency, which allows foreigners to live, work, and own property in the country. However, the process can be complex and requires careful planning and preparation.

Parks and Recreational Activities

Abha is a paradise for nature lovers. The city is surrounded by national parks like Asir National Park and Habala Village, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and picnicking. The city also has a vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and cultural festivals throughout the year.


Abha offers a wide range of dining options, from traditional Saudi cuisine to international fare. Some popular local restaurants include Al Sufra Al Lebnania, known for its Lebanese dishes, and Al Khayam Restaurant, which serves a variety of Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.

Learning the Language

While Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia, English is widely spoken in Abha, especially in the hospitality and healthcare sectors. However, learning Arabic can enrich your retirement experience and help you connect with the local culture. There are several language schools in the city, such as the King Khalid University, which offers Arabic language courses for foreigners.

Local Culture

The people of Abha are known for their hospitality and friendliness. The city has a rich cultural heritage, with numerous historical sites, traditional markets, and cultural festivals. However, it’s important to respect the local customs and traditions, especially in public places.

Meeting People and Volunteering

Joining local clubs and participating in community events is a great way to meet people and integrate into the local community. There are also several volunteer opportunities in Abha, such as the Saudi Red Crescent Authority, where retirees can contribute to the community and make a difference.

Housing Options

Abha offers a range of housing options, from modern apartments in the city center to traditional villas in the outskirts. Many retirees choose to live in the city center for its convenience and accessibility, while others prefer the tranquility and natural beauty of the outskirts.


Abha has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and taxis. The city is also walkable, with many amenities within walking distance. However, owning a car can be convenient for exploring the surrounding areas and for those living outside the city center.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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