Things to do in Oman

Oman is a unique destination, offering visitors myriad exclusive attractions. While not typically considered a holiday spot, visitors to Oman will find a rich and sophisticated culture, as well as incredible and varied landscapes.

The eastern region of the Arabian Peninsula is home to superb natural beauty. Sightseers enjoy exploring the striking beaches, which stretch for miles along the Arabian Sea coastline and provide wonderful swimming spots.

There are also (valleys) to explore, turtle-nesting sites to see, as well as the extraordinary desert dunes to discover. The Al Hajar Mountains are also a scenic wonder where visitors can experience the dramatic vistas of canyons, gorges, and plateaus.

A must-see in Oman is the Nizwa Fort, not far from Muscat, which has stood since the 12th century and is the country's most visited tourist attraction. Those wanting a taste of local culture and an authentic shopping experience should visit the Old Mutrah Souk, the most popular traditional bazaar in Muscat.

Known to be a sophisticated travel destination offering the full array of luxuries and modern amenities, Oman also boasts well-preserved ancient traditions and landmarks.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque photo

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

One of the largest mosques in the world with a capacity of 20,000, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a recent yet architecturally-classic building. The interior is grand and the pr…

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

One of the largest mosques in the world with a capacity of 20,000, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a recent yet architecturally-classic building. The interior is grand and the prayer hall is home to a handwoven Persian carpet weighing over 21 tons on the prayer floor, while an exquisite 46-foot (14m) chandelier hangs from the ceiling. While offering English tours, this remains a religious site rather than a tourist destination so visitors need to be respectful of the rules. Muslims can visit any time of the day, but tourists of other faiths should only come during visiting hours. Visitors are asked to dress modestly and women are required to cover their hair.

Old Muttrah Souk photo

Old Muttrah Souk

Old Muttrah Souk is the most popular traditional bazaar in Muscat. The market is a small maze of narrow alleyways formed by adjoining stalls. Tourists can bargain with stall clerks…

Old Muttrah Souk

Old Muttrah Souk is the most popular traditional bazaar in Muscat. The market is a small maze of narrow alleyways formed by adjoining stalls. Tourists can bargain with stall clerks over the prices of gold and silver jewellery, antiques and other traditional goods. The market has a less forceful air than others, so visitors are free to wander at their leisure without overt pressure from touts. While the Old Muttrah Souk is popular with tourists, locals shop here too, giving authenticity to the market and mixing ornamental souvenirs with household products and delicious food.

Bahla photo

Bahla

Bahla is an ancient city in the northern part of Oman, not far from Muscat. It was founded at an oasis for caravans and travellers to stop at and rest on their desert journeys, and…

Bahla

Bahla is an ancient city in the northern part of Oman, not far from Muscat. It was founded at an oasis for caravans and travellers to stop at and rest on their desert journeys, and was the capital of Oman between the 12th and 17th centuries. The famous Bahla Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to 1,000 BC and remains the city's most popular attraction. Bahla has a rich tradition of pottery and you can still see potters working at their kilns and haggling over their wares.

Al Hajar Mountains photo

Al Hajar Mountains

The Al Hajar Mountains stretch from Muscat, through northern Oman and into the United Arab Emirates. While they initially appear inhospitable and arid, they are becoming an increas…

Al Hajar Mountains

The Al Hajar Mountains stretch from Muscat, through northern Oman and into the United Arab Emirates. While they initially appear inhospitable and arid, they are becoming an increasingly popular destination for adventure travel. The picturesque range offers dramatic vistas of canyons, gorges and plateaus, while the rich colours of the igneous rock formations make for unforgettable sights. Highway 15 winds up the mountains to the old city of Nizwa, home to an impressive 17th-century fort and an early-morning goat market. Nizwa makes an excellent base to explore the mountains from, including traditional villages, mudbrick towns and date plantations. There are a number of trekking routes ranging from three hours to multi-day hikes, and travellers can visit the famous rose gardens of the Saiq Plateau.

Nizwa Fort photo

Nizwa Fort

Oman's most-visited tourist attraction, the Nizwa Fort stands as a monument to architectural ingenuity. The fort's underlying structure dates back to the 12th century, though it wa…

Nizwa Fort

Oman's most-visited tourist attraction, the Nizwa Fort stands as a monument to architectural ingenuity. The fort's underlying structure dates back to the 12th century, though it was completed by Imam Sultan bin Saif al Yaarubi in 1668. Historical interest in the Nizwa Fort is significant, representing a major advancement in military engineering in the early days of mortar-based warfare. Its drum-like tower reaches 98 feet (30m) into the air with a circumference of 118 feet (36m), with 24 openings for mortar fire. Visitors to the Nizwa Fort are allowed to freely explore the area, which consists of maze-like stairways and corridors leading to high-ceilinged rooms and terraces which afford great views of the city of Nizwa and its surrounding plains.

Beaches in Oman photo

Beaches in Oman

With a coastline stretching 1,060 miles (1,700km) along the Arabian Sea, it is unsurprising that Oman boasts a stunning array of beaches offering diving, kite-surfing and jet-skiin…

Beaches in Oman

With a coastline stretching 1,060 miles (1,700km) along the Arabian Sea, it is unsurprising that Oman boasts a stunning array of beaches offering diving, kite-surfing and jet-skiing. There has also been a huge spike in luxury beach resorts up and down the Oman coastline, offering air-conditioned retreats from the blazing heat. Some of Oman's best beaches include, perfectly set up for family vacationers with picnic areas and shady palm trees, and Qantab, with its sheltered coves and sea-caves. Marjan Beach features small coral reefs ideally suited to novice divers and snorkelers while also boasting a great nightlife, with several restaurants and hotels frequented by expats in Oman. Western swimwear is fine but cover up when you're on your way to and from your hotel or beach resort.


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