Modern development meets ancient architecture in Oman, where sweeping highways wind their ways between forts, souqs and towns, eventually leading out to tranquil beaches. We recommend visiting this country between October and March, where you’ll be welcomed by temperatures in the twenties. The summer months are often very hot and humid – not for the faint-hearted!
If you want to experience traditional Arabian culture, taste new, fragrant spices and be encompassed by the kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, there’s no better place than Oman. If it’s your first visit, it’s good to get an idea of what to do in Oman so that you don’t miss out. So, this blog post will take you through the top places to put on your itinerary.
Visit the lesser-known areas of the Musandam Peninsula
The Musandam Peninsula is of Omani territory marooned in a sea of United Arab Emirates. Little-visited and untouched, Musandam is a remote destination where ancient fishing villages open up to mountain roads. There are two distinct sides to Musandam. On the one side, there are deserted mountains and sleepy villages where you could take a jeep safari out through the sandy lands, or jump aboard a dhow to explore unpopulated inlets flanked by dolphins. Not dissimilar to the Norweigan fjords, the Musandam Peninsula offers spectacular views of clear waters and honey-coloured cliffs.
The other side of the peninsula reaps the rewards of oil wealth and high-tech development. At the modern and luxurious Zighy Bay resort, every comfort has been laid on to provide the beach ultimate retreat. The steep, jagged maze of peaks and valleys wind through the interior of the Musandam Peninsula, where you can drive the dizzying roads through villages perched in impossible positions. It’s a great opportunity to take a step back through time and marvel at the amazing geology.
Immerse yourself in the country’s capital
If you’re looking for something a little more upbeat and lively, take a trip to the capital city of Oman, Muscat. Covering 25 miles of coastline, it’s a city comprised of unique villages, separated by jagged mountains. Head to Old Muscat and Muttrah – two settlements in the heart of the city, where you’ll find the Sultan’s Palace, bordered by the twin forts of Jalali and Mirani. Muttrah is home to the old souq, narrow streets and markets where you can buy all sorts of things from gold jewellery to frankincense.
Away from these two central locations, you’ll find the modern city and suburbs of shopping malls. We’d recommend a visit to the impressive Grand Mosque – a new addition to the skyline – built by His Majesty the Sultan Qaboos. It really lives up to its grand name – the 14m-high chandelier is comprised of approximately one million Swarovski crystals!
Explore Nizwa’s mountains
A two-hour drive inland from Muscat will take you to Nizwa, a city surrounded by a palm oasis and situated at the base of the Hajar mountains range which towers overhead. As one of Oman’s oldest cities, Nizwa was once the country’s capital and home to Islamic learning for centuries. Its huge fort has a dominating presence, and, if you make the 10-storey climb to the top, you’ll get sweeping views of date palms and russet mountains surrounding the town. Here, you can explore canyons and terraced villages while taking in the awesome views – you won’t be able to put your camera down!
Looking for something a bit quirky? Then go along to Nizwa’s Friday livestock market where local sellers bring their animals in at sunrise and flock them to the surrounding crowds. There’s even the occasional camel! If bustling markets aren’t your thing, take a trip to the Al Hoota Cave, a two-million-year-old underground rock formation. It’s one of the most impressive natural sights in Oman, where your guide will walk you past vast frozen waterfalls of mineral deposits and smooth columns of stalagmites and stalactites formed into veils and rounded knolls over millennia.
Go camel riding over the Wahiba Sands
Just a few hours from Muscat, the Wahiba Sands is in no way a ‘light’ version of the desert, stretching over nearly 200 miles. With mountainous dunes and valleys of sand, there are just a few Bedouin families living here with their camels. Spend a night in the desert under the clear skies, spotting constellations amongst the sea of twinkling lights, before taking a camel ride into the dunes the next day, where you can follow the lines of golden crests and crescents all the way to the horizon.
Salalah and Dhofar
If you’re after a totally different experience to the rest of this country, visit the south side, where you’ll find the province of Dhofar and its capital, Salalah. If you head out of Salalah and along the coastline towards the Yemeni border, the shoreline rises and becomes more rocky than sandy. Partially collapsed caves at Mughsayl have created blowholes where, in the right conditions, a building roar presages great fountains of seawater exploding up to soak delighted spectators! Alternatively, Dhofar is the most southerly province of Oman and a place of fable and mystery. Visit the empty, crystal-sand beaches, where you can stroll across white sands for hours with barely anyone else in sight.
Plan the trip of a lifetime
At Holiday Architects, we know Oman inside-out and use this knowledge to deliver our customers unforgettable holidays. This incredible country is well worth a visit – its welcoming culture and rich history gives you a great opportunity to explore unique lands. Best of all? At Holiday Architects, you can design an itinerary that works for you – just contact a member of our expert team to get further recommendations of what to do in Oman and get started.