Oman is the oldest independent state in the Arab world, featuring historic sites and modern wonders. It lies on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula neighboring Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. It is home to glorious beaches, high sand dunes, and mountains known for adventurous hikes.
There is more to Oman than its capital of Muscat. However, Muscat is a sight to see in itself. Experience the grandeur of the Grand Mosque in Muscat to smelling the roses grown on Jebel Akhdar mountain. Also, explore off the beaten path destinations as well like the beaches on Sur, and historical sites in Salalah.
Known as the modern capital of Oman, Muscat offers an abundance of traditional sites, stunning mountain backdrops, and pristine beaches. Feel like you stepped back in time by enjoying shopping at the Mutrah souk, which offers immaculate jewels and other Arabian trinkets for sale in the open area market. Also, gaze upon breath-taking views at the Royal Opera House Muscat, with its glistening white stone walls where the likes of jazz artists such as Chick Korea and Branford Marsalis have performed.
Situated more than 621 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of the capital Muscat, Salalah is far from the main bustle of Oman but is well worth the visit. You can take an 8 to 9-hour road trip from the capital, but Salalah also has its own international airport if you prefer to fly there. It is host to distinctive attractions including the historical UNESCO Frankincense Land Museum, Al Baled Archaeological Park, and Prophet Job’s Tomb. The city is most famously known for its lush green scenery during the monsoon season, locally known as Khareef. Khareef season occurs from late June until early September, which is when the city holds its annual Salalah Tourism Festival.
The city of Nizwa is located within the interior of Oman, in the A’Dakhiliyah region of the country. It is a land-locked area made up of an expanse of the Al Hajar Mountain range. Tourists and locals can enjoy visiting the renowned Nizwa Fort and souk, which is one of the oldest forts in Oman. The Nizwa souk is famed for its precious handicrafts including sterling silver jewels and traditional pottery well-known in the city. Those who visit the market early enough on a Friday morning can witness a true Omani experience by taking part in the goat market.
The Sharqiya Sands (also known as Wahiba Sands), is a desert region of Oman named after the Bani Wahiba Bedouin tribe. The area is made up of large uninhabited masses of sand, featuring soaring orange sand dunes that stretch for miles upon miles. Outside of a handful of tourist resorts, the area is only made up of a few Bedouin tribes and small families living there. Tourists can enjoy having a barbecue amongst the stars in the evening, after zipping up and down the dunes in 4X4 trucks during the day.
Who wouldn’t want to see massive turtles or tortoises laying hundreds of eggs on a white sandy beach? This is exactly an annual occurrence at the Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve in the city of Sur, which is located on the eastern tip of Oman. Sur is most known for being a port city that produces traditional dhow boats—wooden ships that are still on display throughout parts of the city like at the Maritime Museum. Additional local attractions include two forts, a relaxing corniche, and the Bimmah Sinkhole located in Najm Park.
Jebel Akhdar is one of the highest mountain ranges in Oman and is located in the A’Dakhiliyah region down the road from Nizwa city. It is a mountainous plateau most famously known for its green terrace fields bustling with roses and pomegranates. Hence, this is how it got its nickname of “The Green Mountain.” Tourists can experience viewing the traditional rose water extraction ceremony with a local Omani guide. Additionally, visitors can hike through ancient villages like Sayq and stop by Diana’s Point now located at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, named after Princess Diana when she visited in 1986.
Located off the northernmost tip of Oman is the idyllic island of Musandam. It is home to 6,562-foot (2,000-meter) high mountains and breathtaking crystal blue waters, as well as picturesque fjords. The region is known for having fantastic snorkeling and diving for adventurous tourists. Must-do experiences include visiting the ancient Khasab Castle, enjoying a barbecue on Dibba beach, and setting sail around the island on a traditional Omani dhow cruise.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is a stunning oasis that is worth trekking a few hours from Muscat to visit. The wadi (valley), situated in the Ash Sharqiyah region, features several pools of water and a fresh spring that flows inside of the wadi throughout the year. Wadi Bani Khalid is also home to several small villages and lush, green plantations. Tourists will feel like they stepped back in time while viewing gorgeous rock formations and clear, sparkling waters.
Situated in the Northern Governorate of Al Batinah off the Gulf of Oman is the port city of Sohar. It is home to the historic Sohar Fort, which houses a museum and was the central location of the cities’ past trading practices. Near the fort is the newly renovated Sohar Souk, which is designed with traditional Arabic decorations and offers an array of cafes and dining options.
Take a stroll on the Sohar Corniche waterfront, which features a fish market, park, and several restaurants with local cuisines. Visitors can also head to the camel-racing track and beautiful watering holes like Wadi Salahi and Wadi Hibi, located nearby the city.
Rub; al Khali
As one of the largest sand deserts in the world, Rub' al Khali (the Empty Quarter) is a sight to behold for anyone visiting Oman. It is located in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula and also covers portions of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. It houses a host of exciting wildlife such as oryx, reptiles, and birds. The Ramlat Duhayth portion of Rub' al Khali is home to massive sand dunes that adventurous travelrs enjoy zipping up and down in 4X4 trucks on tours to the region. It is the only way to get to the dunes. It is highly recommended to go dune bashing in groups because cars are known to get stuck in the sand, but this just adds to the adventure!