Oman is a sleeping giant on the Middle Eastern tourism scene. Its stock has been steadily growing over the last few years, but tourist numbers haven’t quite hit the same high’s as its more glamorous neighbour the UAE. The country offers year-round sunshine, beautiful landscapes and rich history. There’s more to do here than you might guess, we’ve taken the liberty of picking our top five.
Nizwa is an ancient city and was at one point the capital of Oman. Its generally considered the cultural centre of the country.
The main attraction is undoubtedly the 17th Century fort, the most visited monument in all of Oman. It is a great place to wander and was once the administrative seat of power for the region. The top of the fort affords splendid views of the oasis and surrounding mountains.
The Souq is another popular attraction and the bustling heart of the city. Famous for its handicrafts, and architectural products, the Souq is a fine place to spend a day
The nearby Wahiba sands are well worth a visit when in Nizwa. This desert consists of sand dunes up to 100 metres high and hundred kilometres long. For the full experience we recommend one of the amazing desert camps.
Take in Salalah
The second biggest city in Oman and the capital of the south. Salalah is a vibrant colourful place and has its roots in the trade of Frankincense.
Salalah popularity is in its natural beauty, here you will find lush waterfalls, beautiful beaches and green mountains.
The Al Baleed Archealogical park is a UNESCO world heritage site and a great way to spend a day. You can explore the remnants of centuries old mosques, a museum and learn about the importance of the historical Frankincense trade.
Savour the Food
With an extensive coastline seafood is quite common, portions are quite large and a whole fish for lunch is not uncommon. Shark is a delicacy and not to be missed. Sweets are popular with Halwa, a hot semi-solid substance, stands out. Omani dates are well known throughout the region and make for a great souvenir.
Coffee is an integral part of the local culture and an essential part of everyday living. The coffee is usually served with dates and has slightly sweeter taste than normal coffee.
Shop at the Muttrah Souq
The Muttrah Souq is the shopping hub of Oman and dates back over 200 years. Anything and everything of Omani provenance can be found for sale here. Rose water, frankincense, spices, traditional perfumes, Omani caps, silver jewellery, robes and so much more are available. Sharpen up your haggling skills, vendors are amenable to a spot of negotiating and prices are a little higher in preparation.
Oman is surrounded by beautiful unspoilt waters and the water is warm all year round, so naturally its perfectly suited to water sports. Kitesurfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, surfing, fishing, diving and wakeboarding are all popular activities.