I have visited Oman several times already and I wish to have more time to continue exploring this beautiful country. Oman has a lot to offer : Muscat for city-lovers, majestic mountains, canyons, oasis, pristine beaches, beautiful deserts, great wild-life, diving spots,…. and the list continues..
Here are my absolute favorite places and activities to do when visiting Oman.
It was difficult to choose but I picked my 10 must-do’s which can be done in a week and give a good overview of Oman.
- Muscat. The capital. If you only have a week I would advise spending at least a day to visit it. As most flights from Muscat leave late in the evening, you could plan your “Muscat visit-day” on your last day : Mosque in the morning and Mutrah souq in the afternoon/evening before going to the airport.
- The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque (highly recommended) : Beautiful, majestic, a must! NB : you can only visit the mosque between 8:30 am and 11:00 am (except on Friday – closed for tourists). You should have covering clothes (shirt, long pants). Women should also take a scarf to cover their hair. They are not flexible with this and will refuse you the entrance if you are not properly dressed. During my last visit, you could rent scarfs at the entrance but better be prepared.
- Muttrah souq : Another must-do in Muscat to feel the chaotic atmosphere of a traditional Arab market. It is best to visit Mutrah souq in the late afternoon – evening as it is when it is the most lively. The souq entrance is located on Mutrah Corniche (sea front). Don’t forget to show of your bargaining skills :).
- Wadi Shab : Ranked number 1 if you ask me. Wadi shab (canyon) is located about 1 hour from Muscat on the road to Sur. Put on some trainers and pack your swimming suit. It takes about 1 hour to walk up the canyon (2hours – slow pace) and to arrive to the first water pools. Put on your swimming suit and continue in the canyon (20 min – walk/swim).. there is a surprise at the end.
- Jebel Akdhar (Green Mountain) : Spectacular mountain area. You can easily drive to Jebel Akdhar from Nizwa. Plan at least an afternoon on the “Saiq plateau”. NB : Even though the road is really good and not so steep, you must have a 4×4 to drive to the Saiq Plateau (Police checkpoint).
- Jebel Shams (Mountain of sun) : This is the highest point of Oman (3000m). Beautiful sights at the top. There are a lot of beautiful hikes to do in the area.
- Sur – Dhow (boat) factory : Dhow boats -wooden boats – are a symbol of Oman. The factory is located in Sur on the way to the turtle beaches. Definitely worth a look!
- Ras al Jinz/ Ras al Hadd – Turtle watching : Green turtles (endangered species) come all year long to the beaches at the tip of the coast to lay their eggs. It is truly an amazing sight to see a mother laying her eggs and the babies rushing to the ocean to start their long journey. NB : Although green turtles can been seen on many beaches in the area, it is an endangered species and highly protected by the government (police surveillance). That’s why, not only to not end up paying a fine but to respect the turtles you should go with a guided tour. Guides know how to approach them with respect and when to take a step back.
- Wadi Bani Khalid : this beautiful wadi (canyon) is the only one accessible by car i.e family/wheelchair friendly. There is even a restaurant and bathrooms. It is best to avoid the weekends (Friday, Saturday) as it can easily get crowded.
- Wahiba sands : Ah the desert! A must-do. Ranked number 2. You should plan to stay a night in this golden sand desert. (Why not after spending an afternoon at Wadi Bani Khalid). You can go wild-camping or go to one of the several desert camps. NB : A 4×4 is a must. Do not attempt driving in the desert on your own.
- Nizwa : On the way back to Muscat from the Wahiba desert, you will pass Nizwa. This town has kept its old atmosphere. Do visit the market – every Friday morning.(highly recommended)
Those must-do’s can be compiled into a week tour. For example : Wadi shab, Sur, Turtle watching, Wahiba sands, Nizwa, Jebel Akdhar, Jebel Shams, Muscat.
(Credit for the beautiful pictures : Claudine Severens, friend and travel companion. Thank you :))
If you have more time – Here are some other of my favorite places :
- Sugar Dunes desert : Beautiful white sand desert
- Al-Khaluf : Pristine white sand beaches and fishermen village
- Bimmah Sinkhole : World most stunning sinkhole
- Sifa beach (tips from DarijaSerbia :)) : Paradise beach and great camping spot only 1 hour from Muscat.
- Wadi Bani Awf : For the adventurous ones (Off-Road driving)
Do not miss my post about the Dhofar province (Salalah). A true jewel ❤
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