HomeTravelIs this new €480 billion smart city the future of sustainable living?

Is this new €480 billion smart city the future of sustainable living?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a bubbling beaker of Arabian tradition mixed with science-bending futurism – with megacity Neom spearheading the change.

From its technological verve to its sustainability ambitions, it’s clear that Neom is firmly in charge of its own narrative, with robotic avatars and holograms ready to become part of everyday life.

Emerging from stark desert splendour, the 26,500 kilometre square site will extend 460 kilometres along the coast of the Red Sea in the Tabuk Province of Saudi Arabia, providing a self-sufficient residential haven powered entirely by renewable energy. 


“Interwoven with nature, and advanced by technology, Neom is pioneering a new way of living and new ways to travel,” says Head of Tourism at Neom, Andrew McEvoy.

“It is our ambition to be the world’s most appealing yet sustainable destination and bring imagination and flair back into travel.”

The $500 billion (€480 billion) smart city aims to attract five million visitors by 2030 and the first hotels are scheduled to open in 2024, though according to McEvoy, the development will never end on what is “perhaps the most ambitious project in the world”.

Made up of three main districts, Neom will stretch across mountains, desert and the sea. The Line, a 160-kilometre-long sustainable city, will have the capacity for one million residents, while Oxagon will become the largest floating industrial complex in the world. For adventurers, however, nowhere will compare to the dizzying heights of Trojena.

What does Trojena have to offer?

Trojena is located 50 kilometres from the Gulf of Aqaba coast surrounded by the pristine ranges of the Sarawat Mountains, with elevations ranging from 1,500 metres to 2,600 metres.

Covering an area of nearly 60 square kilometres, the project is set to become the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) only outdoor year-round destination with high-mountain-quality dry air, according to Communications and Marketing Director at Trojena, Clark Williams.

“Trojena plans to be the pinnacle of human ingenuity in design as well as architectural and engineering innovation,” he says.

“It will set a new benchmark for the future of mountain developments and will be a significant destination in the region.”

Expected to open in 2026, Trojena will have a ski slope, mountain biking, watersports and world-class wellness facilities. It will also feature an interactive nature reserve.

The Ski Village will be located at Neom Peak at around 2,400 metres above sea level offering exhilarating snow skiing and winter and synthetic slopes for the rest of the year.

Meanwhile Neom Lake, an entirely man-made water body built atop a mountain, will become a hub for watersports, as well as a space for hosting festivals and events against the mountain’s scenic backdrop.

Technology and sustainability: Where robots and humans live in harmony

Acting as the main gateway into Trojena, The Vault will be a folded-vertical village that connects the physical and digital worlds.

“Technology and innovation are at the heart of Neom’s offerings, and Trojena is no exception,” says Williams.

“The Vault will be a mesmerising futuristic destination where people, robotic avatars and holograms can co-exist, interact and engage in various activities and events, bending both the physical and digital world into a one-of-its-kind metaverse.”

In addition to being the main portal into Trojena’s metaverse, The Vault will also offer shops, restaurants, entertainment and a public park, with sustainability at its core.

The Neom masterplan has been developed with the natural terrain in mind, with all building works designed to protect the natural features of the region.

On an operational basis, Trojena will adhere to strict decarbonisation techniques, focusing on heating and cooling systems, insulation and building materials and performance-based building energy codes.

When should you visit Trojena?

Trojena’s tourism calendar will be split into four seasons, each with distinct offerings and attractions.

The winter season, from November to March, will focus on skiing and snowboarding, hot air ballooning and a winter fashion week.

Adventure season falls between March and May and offers high altitude training, paragliding, climbing and an ironman athletics challenge for those that dare.

Lake season, from May to September, will be for culture lovers with music, art and food festivals, while wellness season will include a yoga retreat and a host of wellbeing focused events.

“Trojena will serve as a model for future Neom human-centric-designed communities, showcasing what active, community-based, cognitive, luxurious and comfortable living should look like,” says Williams.

“It will set a new benchmark for the future of mountain developments and will be a significant destination in the region.”

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