Are you planning a trip to Oman and looking for the best places to visit? Then, you’re in the right place!
Oman is a country in the Middle East that welcomes visitors with a fusion of charms that include stunning architecture, fascinating culture, and natural wonders that combine desert, crystal clear beaches, and rugged mountains.
There is a lot to see in this destination, and you can easily spend 10 days exploring its attractions.
To make your life easier, this post has the best things to do in Oman.
Table of contents
- Top places to visit in Muscat, Oman
- Top places to visit in Nizwa, Oman
- Other top things to do in Oman
- What to know for visiting Oman
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Top places to visit in Muscat, Oman
Muscat is the capital of Oman and the gateway to the country, as the city’s international airport receives flights from major cities across the globe.
When in Muscat, plan on spending a couple of days exploring the city’s attractions, some of the best things to do in Oman. Find a couple of them below.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
If you only have a short time in Muscat and need to choose just one place to visit in the city, you should go straight to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of Oman’s best places to visit due to its impressive architectural work. Here, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about Islam at the Islamic Study Center.
Visitors can enter the mosque free of charge, and it’s open from Saturday to Thursday from 8 am to 11 am (on Friday, only Muslims have access).
Royal Opera House
A visit to the Royal Opera House is one of the best things to do in Oman. But, even if you’re not planning on watching a performance, the concert hall is still worth visiting for its striking design – a mix of Italian marble and carved wooden ceilings.
You can visit the Royal Opera House on a guided tour from Saturday to Thursday from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm. The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes and costs 3 OMR per person.
However, if you can, try to catch a show (schedules are available on their site) or have dinner at their Al Angham restaurant.
Corniche and Muttrah Souq
For a free activity in Muscat, head out for a stroll along the waterfront Corniche.
The scenic walk along the harbor and waterfront can start from the city port all the way to the Muscat Fort, with a strategic stop at Muttrah Souq.
At the Muttrah Souq, the city’s old-fashioned market, you can stock up on gold, silver, perfumes, and fabrics. You can also find frankincense, cashmere, and lovely lamps for sale.
And if you arrive at the Corniche in the morning, near the port, you’ll find the Fish Market, where fishermen sell their daily catches. From the market, you’ll have stunning views of the bay of Muscat extending to Muscat Fort.
One of the main attractions of Muscat is the Muscat Fort, a historical building from the 16th century, originally built when the Portuguese were still in the region.
If you have time, be sure to catch the sunset at the top of the fort. During sunset, the white-washed houses seem to be the perfect postcard from a Greek island – the combination of short pastel buildings with the waterfront and the sea is a fantastic sight.
When you want a fun activity in Muscat, hop on a boat to explore the sea by navigating from Muscat to the Daymaniyat Islands, one of the best things to do in Oman.
The islands are not very far from Muscat and are famous for their crystal-clear water, fluffy white sand, and colorful corals. On a tour to explore the Daymaniyat Islands, you can swim with turtles, rays, and other beautiful marine life.
The best way to visit the Daymaniyat Islands is with a boat tour that usually operates from 8 am to 2 pm, weather permitting.
If you prefer or feel more comfortable visiting Muscat and seeing some of the top places to visit in Oman with a tour, here are some of the best in the city.
Continue reading The Complete Guide to Muscat, including other top best to do in Oman’s capital, places to eat, top hotels to stay, and more.
Find below other best things to do in Oman.
Top places to visit in Nizwa, Oman
Nizwa is part of many itineraries to Oman, either on a day trip from Muscat or a couple of days exploring the city’s sights.
The cultural city has many of the top places to visit in Oman, so I recommend spending at least one night in Nizwa to wander through its streets, shop at the souq, and marvel at its monuments.
Continue reading for the best places to visit in Nizwa, Oman.
Nizwa Fort is the most visited attraction in Oman and one of the top places to visit in the country.
The fort is a colossal construction from the 17th-century that took more than 10 years to be completed.
As you walk through Muscat Fort, climb to the top of the circular tower to have a spectacular view – a combination of rugged mountains, green palms, and white-washed houses.
The Muscat Fort is one of the best places to visit in Nizwa, and it’s open from Saturday to Thursday from 8 am to 6 pm and Friday from 8 am to 11 am. Admission costs 5,000 OMR.
If, after visiting Muttrah Souq in Muscat, you’re still looking for something to buy in Oman, Nizwa Souq might be the solution!
Nizwa Souq is one of the best places to visit in the city, and here there are not only many shops and stalls that cater purely to tourists but also an abundance of traditional goods, food, and products for locals. Additionally, the vendors sitting in front of their shops inviting you to visit the store and have coffee with dates display genuine Omani hospitality.
At Nizwa Souq, there will be plenty of things to purchase, including numerous spices, rose water, delicious dates, beautiful carpets, and richly designed pottery. And don’t forget to visit the corner of the market that is dedicated to jewelry, as many consider the best in Oman.
The souq is located very close to Nizwa Fort, so it’s possible to visit both on the same day. On weekdays, most shops open from 6 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 10 pm. On Fridays, they open until 11 am.
Bahla Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Oman’s top places to visit.
The entire complex is massive and can easily take hours to explore each corner. So, take your time to explore Bahla Fort and its many towers, mosques, and wells.
You can visit the Bahla Fort from Saturday to Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm, and Fridays from 8 am to 11 am. The entry fee is 500 OMR.
Jabreen Castle is a stunning place to visit near Nizwa. Though not part of many itineraries through Oman, the castle is beautiful and slightly empty compared to other attractions of the country.
The castle’s design and architecture are rich in preserved details seen in its adorned rooms. You can see the lovely features of Jabreen Castle by admiring its wooden balconies, Arabic calligraphic portals, and colorful decorations on the ceiling.
And to add more charm to the place, the area around the Jabreen Castle is full of palm trees that you can see from the castle’s terrace.
Jabreen Castle is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm and Friday from 8 am to 11 am. The entrance costs 500 OMR.
You can explore Nizwa with a rental car and have the flexibility to come and go. However, if you prefer the convenience of having a guide, here are a couple of the best tours in the city.
Continue reading What to Do in Nizwa, with a complete description of the places to visit, recommendations of places to stay, and other information about the city.
Other top things to do in Oman
Of the many wadis to visit in Oman, Wadi Shab is probably one of the best.
To visit Wadi Shab, you can either drive from Muscat or Sur or join a Wadi Shab tour, which is also a convenient way to explore this fantastic attraction.
Then, you’ll go on a short boat ride to cross a river, followed by a 45-minute hike through a stunning valley surrounded by mountains and palm trees.
At the end of the hike, the pristine waters of Wadi Shab will be waiting for you for a dip to cool down.
You might also like to read: Tips for visiting Oman’s Wadi Shab
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most picturesque places you can visit in Oman. It’s also the most straightforward journey than Wadi Shab – it’s easily accessible via car, without any hiking involved.
As a stunning oasis in the desert, in Wadi Bani Khalid you can swim in its refreshing waters surrounded by palm trees and rugged mountains. The wadi is long, and the pools are big, so swimming in them is extremely refreshing.
Here you’ll also find a small restaurant and a bathroom facility.
You can visit the wadi on a road trip through Oman, between Muscat and the Wahiba Sands desert, or with a Wadi Bani Khalid tour from Muscat.
One of the best things to do in Oman is to swim in Bimmah Sinkhole, a natural pool with magnificent waters that can be particularly inviting when the sun hits.
The panoramic view of Bimmah Sinkhole from above is stunning, but you can also go into the water to cool down. In the pool, you can spot little fish that might give you a foot massage once you dip your fingers.
Bimmah Sinkhole is one of the best places to visit in Oman.
Wahiba Sands Desert
The Wahiba Sands is one of the wonders of Oman, where miles of a vast, unspoiled desert are waiting for you.
The best way to experience the desert is to spend at least one night here in one of the tents of the Desert Nights Camp. By doing so, you can enjoy many activities, like quad trips, sandboarding, and camel rides. In addition, you can see the sunset overlooking the dunes with a picnic with tea, coffee, and dates provided by the hotel.
However, if you don’t have time or don’t want to spend a night in the desert, you can still visit the Wahiba Sands on a day trip from Muscat.
Sur is a small coastal village in Oman that is part of many itineraries around the country.
This small town has a slow-paced life, and one of its attractions is the Sur Lighthouse, a beautiful structure with neutral colors that highlight the turquoise dome.
Although the lighthouse itself is closed (you can’t climb it), you can spend some time walking around to enjoy the unique view, particularly during the sunset.
A visit to the mountains of Oman is among the best things to do in the country.
One option is Jebel Shams (the mountain of the sun, in Arabic), which is the highest peak of the Arabian Peninsula and is often called the Grand Canyon of Oman.
Additionally, many visit Jebel Akhdar (green mountain, in Arabic). The region is abundant, and depending on the time of year, you’ll find roses, pomegranates, and peaches blooming widely with goats and donkeys grazing in the canyons.
So, take a few hours (or days) of your itinerary to visit the mountains of Oman.
If you’re driving up to the mountains by yourself with a rental car, rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle since it’s one of the requirements to drive the road that leads to them.
What to know for visiting Oman
Citizens of almost all nationalities, including the US and European Union, need a visa to enter Oman. You can obtain it online with a stay permit of 10 or 30 days, and the cost starts at 5 OMR.
When applying for an Oman visa, attaching a copy of the passport and a photo is necessary. After that, just wait to receive the email with the approval (mine took 24 hours), then print it to present to immigration on arrival.
Electricity in Oman
The voltage in Oman is 240 V, and the power plugs and sockets are the type G (the same as in the UK).
The currency used in Oman is the Omani Rial (OMR). You can check the current exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card that provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the actual exchange rate.
Best time to visit Oman
The best time to visit Oman is from October to April, when temperatures are milder. And be cautious when visiting the country from May to September, when the thermometers can easily reach 50 °C.
Regardless of the season, be prepared for low temperatures in the mountains of Jebel Akhdar and in the desert Wahiba Sands, where you will need to wear a sweater and/or a windbreaker jacket.
Best tours in Oman
Some of the best tours and things to do in Oman are:
- Wadi Shab and Bimmah Sinkhole Private Full-Day Tour: see two of the country’s best natural attractions on the same day and without worrying about driving to and from.
- Cruises to Daymaniyat & Snorkeling: one of the best experiences to have in Oman – the Daymaniyat Islands are an idyllic getaway from Muscat and a must-do day trip.
- Full-Day Private Wahiba Sands Desert and Wadi Bani Khalid Tour: are you short on time to visit the country’s highlights? This tour allows you to explore two wonders – the ochre dunes of the Wahiba Sands desert and Wadi Bani Khalid’s raw, unspoiled nature.
Transportation in Oman
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Oman is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you arrive in Muscat so that you can explore the country at your convenience. I use RentalCars for my car rental needs, and it’s the tool I recommend.
Ever since the pandemic, travel insurance has become almost essential for every type of travel and is currently one of the requirements for entering Oman.
My recommended travel insurance company is SquareMouth, a platform for searching for the best option amongst travel insurance companies. It allows travelers to instantly purchase a travel insurance policy from every major provider in the US, and it also makes clear each policy’s COVID-related coverage.
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