Oman is a fascinating destination, enjoying some of the renovation seen extensively in neighbouring Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but still offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy traditional Middle Eastern culture.
The hotels dotted across Oman are the epitome of luxury, regardless of whether you opt for accommodation situated next to one of the region’s beautiful, clean beaches, or in the middle of its awe-inspiring natural landscape. If you can bear to drag yourself away from your holiday quarters, there are historical landmarks to explore, fine dining experiences to enjoy and natural treks to challenge you.
Day one: Enjoy the natural wonders
Visiting the highest mountain in the country, Jebel Shams, is full-day affair, so make sure you’re well equipped with food and drink. You can drive up the mountain in a car, which is probably advisable for everyone except the most intrepid hikers and climbers.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to enjoy the genuinely awe-inspiring view, which includes what’s known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Arabia’ – the Wadi Ghul. A truly impressive landscape, there are plenty of picture opportunities and it’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic.
Day two: Explore Muscat
After your trip to Jebel Shams, chances are you’ll want to take it easy the next day. We recommend a steady journey around Muscat, learning about the history of the port and enjoying the modern amenities on offer.
10am-1pm: Enjoy a traditional market experience in Muttrah Souk
While the atmosphere may feel a little hectic to some, visitors can enjoy a traditional market experience out of the sun under the timber roof of the Muttrah Souk. A hugely popular destination for locals and visitors alike, the market allows you to get lost and explore a wide range of stalls selling traditional fares. This is an experience that shouldn’t be missed, especially by antique lovers.
1pm-5pm: Stroll along the Muttrah Corniche
The Muttrah Souk is based along the Corniche, making this the ideal next step once you’ve finished exploring the market. The experience is certainly a memorable one: on the one side, you’re treated to beautiful views of the surrounding mountains, and on the other, you have the chance to spot naval vessels and visiting cruise ships. Dotted along the coastline are a number of mosques and other traditional buildings, so it’s the perfect place to take in everything the city has to offer in one go.
7pm-11pm: An evening of culture at the Royal Opera House Muscat
Once you’re dressed to impress, it’s time to take on the night. Al Angham provides fine dining and some of the best traditional Omani dishes the city has to offer. Next door is the Royal Opera House, where you can take in a show, along with the stunning architecture of the building itself.
Day three: Art and architecture appreciation
If there’s one thing Oman isn’t short of, it’s beautiful architecture and art. Whether you prefer buildings built hundreds of years ago or the latest in cutting edge design, those who enjoy the finer views in life are in for a treat.
8am-11am: Visit the Grand Mosque
This beautiful building is only open to non-worshippers from 8am until 11am, so grab an early breakfast to make sure you don’t miss the slot. The Indian sandstone exterior of the building is traditional in style and just the sheer size of the place is impressive.
Inside, the main prayer hall is the central attraction, housing the second-largest single-piece carpet in the world, handmade by 600 women over a period of four years. Meanwhile, from above, the room is dominated by a massive Italian chandelier, which simply has to be seen to be believed.
12pm-3pm: Discover Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art
Dodge the lunchtime heat and discover the hidden treasures Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art has to offer. One of the most appealing aspects of this museum is the building itself - it is a former home, and has been preserved as such. The personal touches and style of the building showcase a traditional way of life in Oman from the 1950s to the 1970s, and offer a fascinating insight into local history.
4pm-6pm: Learn about Oman’s history in Bait al Zubair
In a similar manner to Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art, Bait al Zubair is situated in a restored house. The museum offers an excellent opportunity to learn about Omani heritage in one location. There are regular exhibitions showcasing contemporary art, while the main collection includes samples of crafts, furniture and coins, among other staples of Oman’s history.
7pm-11pm: Delight your culinary senses
There are a number of restaurants in the city which provide what can only be described as a complete culinary experience. Kargeen Caffe provides a thoroughly Arabian atmosphere, with a choice of dining styles (traditional or Western).
Meanwhile, The Beach Restaurant brings French cuisine to the Middle East and, while the food is nothing short of delicious, many people visit for the ambience - with fire pits and subtle lighting creating a fantastic dining experience.
Oman is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a truly diverse vacation. Visitors can never be bored, since the natural landscapes provide just as much entertainment as the cities’ amenities. Once you’ve experienced this spectacular region, it won’t be long until you’re itching to visit again.