Muscat, the capital of Oman, has served as an integral trading link between the east and the west and still remains a major stop for cruises and trade vessels. The city has maintained its old charm with even the newer structures having Arabian details. Not to mention the emerald blue beaches and exciting watersports that attract adventure enthusiasts. A city among the hills and beaches, this one is a must-visit for culture fanatics as well. In fact, it is the largest city and also happens to be the seat of the government.
Home to the Sultan of Oman, Salalah is a beautiful city with rich culture, history and magnificent beaches! Famous for its Arabian Peninsula and unique climate, this town is full of lush mountains and greenery that comes alive during the monsoon season. Its stunning beaches offer many snorkelling and diving opportunities. Located on the coast of the Arabian Sea, its cuisine is delicious and savoury, with wonderful seafood choices as well.
Full of Islamic culture and tradition, the stunning mosques call its residents to pray with chants that can be heard throughout the city. The rich history and culture of Salalah are evident in its museums, forts, mosques, and souks. Truly a sight to behold, it is unlike any other city in Oman.
Among the highest and most majestic mountains of Oman, lies the historic city of Nizwa. Known as “The Pearl of Islam”, the conservative yet open nature of Nizwa makes it the second-largest tourist destination in Oman! The ancient city was once the hub for trade, education, religion and art. Surrounded by date palms and banana plantations, Nizwa is a diverse city with many historical and agricultural attractions. It is full of attractions like the Nizwa Fort, the Souq, Jebel Akhdar and much more.
A beautiful scenic spot for all nature lovers, Wadi Darbat, has picturesque hills surrounding it and a beautiful waterfall. Wadi Darbat is a splendid lush green valley with the surrounding hills having small caves which people can hike up! It’s the perfect spot for a little family picnic or a friendly gathering. During the Khareef (monsoon season), the wadi is packed with locals and tourists that have come to enjoy the green landscaped hills. There are many small stalls and restaurants at the valley selling street food like shawarmas, popcorn and ice cream.
Rumoured to be the home of the famous sailers Ahmed bin Majid and mythical character Sinbad, Sohar is the perfect blend of culture and contemporary societies. The city has huge malls and skyscrapers, some of the most gorgeous beaches in Oman and souqs and monuments that are full of the country’s history. A small drive into the outskirts of the city leads you to beautiful deserts. Sohar is full of things to do, whether it be watching a camel race, shopping for traditional handicrafts or simply exploring the splendid beaches.
Musandam is rich with modern architecture as well as serene beaches. It is a much-loved destination for scuba divers because of the clear waters and the amazing facilities at the destination. This Omani peninsula is bordered by rugged mountains and turquoise water bodies and guarded by two gulfs – the Arabian and the Omani. Rich in Arabian culture, mixed with that of Iran’s, Musandam is rich in its ethnicity as well.
Musandam also contains one of the most important and the busiest waterways- the Strait of Hormuz. Moreover, the tallest peak in the region, Jebel Harim is studded with fossils of fish and other marine animals that are over 250 million years old. These varied sights coupled with a rich and diverse culture make Musandam an astonishing destination to explore.
The first-ever Omani town to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bahla is a small Oasis settlement situated in the Dakhliya region of Oman. Although the settlement is constituted of traditional vernacular houses, the fortification wall, a market, the Falaj system and a mosque, it is most popular for the Bahla fort. It is one of the oldest forts in Oman tracing back to the 13th century. The small town is also popular for its pottery and silver artefacts sold in the old souq.
Bahla has been an interesting part of many Arabic legends. It is a popular belief that Bahla was where the birth of Jinn (black magic) took place. Bahla is a fine example of a fortified oasis settlement of the medieval Islamic period. It’s a representation of a defensive architectural ensemble that enabled dominant tribes to achieve prosperity in the desert during medieval times. A spectacular view of the entire oasis settlement with palm groves can be caught from the Western side, near the Jabrin entrance. There is also a weekly sale of cattle happening at the old souq where everyone from the town gathers to sell their cattle.
Sur is a city that is best known for the craftsmanship associated with boats or traditional ‘Dhows’. Shipbuilding, particularly building wooden ships is a trade that is a part of Sur’s rich heritage. Sur is the second wealthiest city in Oman, with a population of around 120,000 residents. Sur is the perfect place to sunbathe on the exotic beaches and indulge in some local delicacies. It has a lot of attractions where one can go to experience the rich Omani culture. Sur is the base for many day trip destinations like Ras-Al-Hadd, Wadi Shab, Wahiba Sands and many more.
The Lighthouse, the Old town, Bila Sur Castle Ayjah watchtowers are a few that must not be missed. It is best suited for those who have a keen interest in culture and heritage. Explore the ancient city of Qalhat, appreciate the ancient architecture of ‘Bibi Maryam Tomb’, watch turtles at Ras al Jinz Reserve, learn about the maritime history of Oman at the Marine museum, trek through the mountains to reach Wadi Shab, and so much more. Sur is a great place to immerse oneself in the unique atmosphere along the Corniche, and to enjoy the picturesque view of the Arabian Sea.
Home to Jebel Harim or the ‘Mountain of Women’, sandy beaches, beautiful corals and a Portuguese fortress, the city of Khasab is a quiet town oozing with history. Tourists can enjoy a cruise through the ‘Fjords of Musandam’ and swim in the turquoise seas. Or, if they prefer, snorkel and explore the stunning corals and sealife. History buffs will enjoy trekking the mountains of Musandam and visiting the abandoned houses in the deserted towns close to Khasab. The city is old but cared for by its residents. A city like no other in Oman, Khasab is a humble city which has retained its charm for centuries.
The beautiful Wadi Shab is an extremely famous outdoor destination for locals and tourists in Oman. The beautiful wadi is packed during the peak season of November to March because it surrounded by picturesque hills, date palms and the gorgeous waterfall inside one of the caves in the mountain. However, to reach there you will need to hike for about 40 minutes. The hike takes you through a beautiful but rugged path where you will see two to three pools where you can swim. You could even dive into the pools from the mountain cliffs or from inside the cave!