Oman is an Arab jewel located at the very beginning of the Persian Gulf. It is known for its rich history, natural resources, colorful relief, and unique culture. All this is further enriched by the numerous archaeological and historical sites and festivals that take place throughout the year.
The Jewel Of The Persian Gulf
The Oman coast extends over 1300 km, with the country bordering the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Tourism in Oman hardly existed until 1970, when the new Sultan Qaboos bin Said came to power. The new ruler, though authoritarian, is credited with modernizing what the locals call the Renaissance. Oman has succeeded in making peace in the country, catching up with its wealthier neighbors, paving the roads and creating conditions for the reception of tourists to present its rich heritage.
What To See In Oman?
If you have a week to visit Oman, we recommend that you include all or at least a part of what we recommend. You can experience all sides of this unusual country. Rent a car and drive yourself between the cities, visit the desert, take a swim at a beach and come back home richer for another wonderful travel experience.
Capital Of Oman – Muscat
Muscat is the capital of this sultanate and you will most likely start your journey here after landing at the airport. Stay at least two days to see the city and the surrounding area. If you are more interested in nature and limited in time, then one day will be enough. The main attraction of the city is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. For non-Muslims, the doors of the mosque are open from 9 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm, from Saturday to Wednesday, and on other days you can walk around, sit in the gardens and take pictures. If you want to buy something, head to Muscat City Center to eat something, and if you want to meet locals, you can opt for a dinner with local families. You can spend the evening at the locals’ home and feel their hospitality through food and conversation – for which they are well-known.
Al Qurum Beach (Shatti Al Qurum)
Al Qurum is a very popular district in Muscat because of its location along a spectacular beach with golden sand and beautiful views of the turquoise bay. Sunbathe and swim during the day and don’t miss the sunset, when the beach is the most crowded. Have dinner at one of the beach restaurants, and then head to the Royal Opera House for some art shows.
You may find yourself traveling just in time to see the famous Muscat Festival. Muscat Festival is one of the most famous in Oman. It is held during January and February, and at the festival, visitors can experience the Oman culture, heritage, and traditions through folk dances, performances, special costumes, and food. This festival is very attractive to both, locals and visiting tourists. Certainly, if you intend to visit this country, you must keep in mind that you need a tourist visa. You can apply for a visa very easily – online, through the oman-evisa.com website. The type of visa you will receive as a tourist depends on the length of your visit to this country. You can get it in 10 to 30 days, and you must use it within the first month.
Turquoise Lake Bimmah
Just over an hour’s drive is the Bimmah Sinkhole or Hawiyat Najm tourist attraction. It is a hole in a limestone rock filled with water. It is partly salty due to the sea and partly freshwater because of the water coming from the mountains. This turquoise lake is 50 × 70 meters wide and 20 meters deep. You can swim in the lake, so it is a great opportunity for refreshment, but also for Instagram shots that everyone will envy.
Nizwa – Forts, And Castles
Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman that was once the center of education, arts, and commerce. The city is full of natural and architectural attractions, including Nizwa Fort, Jabreen Castle, Al Hoota Cave, and Sultan Qaboos Mosque. It will be enough for one day to get to know the city before embarking on exploring Oman.
The Al Hajar Mountains are the highest mountain range in the Arabian Peninsula, located in the north of the country and some 90 kilometers from Nizwa. If you are driving by car from Nizwa, stop midway in the village of Misfat Al Abriyyen, which is famous for its beautiful agricultural terraces, lovely streets and old houses built on top of rocks. It is located at 1km above sea level and is an excellent place for rest and panoramic views while enjoying good food. Continue to the mountains and discover many oases, towns, and villages where you can spend the night. They will serve as a base for hiking to the mountain peaks that offer a spectacular view. The most popular mountains are Jebel Shams (Sun Mountain) and Al Jebel Al Akhdar (Green Mountain).
A Trip To The Desert
There is no shortage of sand in Oman, that’s for sure. The Sharqiya Sands (locally named Wahiba) that extend from north to south along 180 kilometers is the most visited area of the Oman desert. This desert can be easily reached from Muscat. In the Wahiba Desert live Bedouins, whose life can be somewhat experienced if you go on an overnight trip. It is recommended that you not go on half-day trips because you will not experience a night out in the desert, especially candlelight dinner with beautiful oriental music. The dunes in Wahiba reach up to 100 meters high. The optimal time to visit Wahiba is from October to early April, when daytime temperatures are between 25 and 35 ° C and overnight between 15 and 25 ° C. In the summer, the desert is quite unbearable because of the extreme heat, so avoid visiting from June through August, although April and September can also be pretty hot.
One of the most beautiful cities in southern Oman is Salalah, known for the monsoon season that runs from June to September. The season bears the name Khareef, and during it, the rain falls in a larger volume, so many call it the Green Season. Due to this specific climate phenomenon, there are many trees and grass in this area, whose greenery attracts many tourists. The Khareef Festival lasts as long as 6 weeks, during which visitors can enjoy carnivals, musical performances, traditional dances and, of course, traditional food. Al Maghseel Beach, Al Marneef Cave, Taqah Castle and Al Baleed Archeological Site are just some of the more popular sites among visitors.