There are plenty of exciting things to see in Oman, from scenic mountains and vast desert dunes to lush coastlines. Read on to discover the top places to visit.
Top Places to Visit in Oman
From ancient cities to breathtaking natural wonders, Oman is full of surprises. Here are our top 5 places to visit in Oman:
The capital city of Oman, Muscat, is a fascinating blend of traditional architecture and modern landmarks. One of the top things to do in Oman is visit The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, the largest mosque in Oman. Other tourist attractions in Muscat include the Royal Opera House, the Muttrah Souq, and the old Al Jalali fort overlooking the Arabian Sea.
One of the best things to do in Oman is traveling to the desert, and Wahiba Sands offers a desert adventure full of thrilling activities like camel trekking, sand dune sleighing, and dune bashing. We recommend spending the night in the desert on a luxurious camping trip and gazing at the magnificent open sky, clear of any light pollution.
If you’re traveling to Oman, make sure you visit the southern part of the country where the city of Salalah stands out for its lush green landscapes. The annual monsoon – Khareef – transforms this desert city into a wonderful green paradise creating seasonal waterfalls and lakes. Some of the top tourist attractions in Oman can be found here: the Al Baleed Archeological Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mughsayl Beach, and Wadi Darbat.
Al Hajar Mountains
If you’re driving in Oman, why not take a road trip to the Al Hajar Mountain range for a refreshing change of scenery. Visit Jabal Akhdar, also known as the ‘Green Mountain’ and drive through traditional villages and fruit orchards. The cooler weather in this region makes it a great destination for hiking.
Nizwa is one of the best places to visit in Oman if you want to explore the rich history of this country. This ancient city offers plenty of attractions, from the stunning Nizwa Fort overlooking the city, to Jabreen Castle and the bustling Nizwa Souq where you can find plenty of traditional souvenirs.
Oman Food and Drink
The traditional food of Oman is influenced by a melting pot of cultures, drawing inspiration from North African, Persian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Here are the top Omani dishes to try:
• Shuwa – a delicious marinated whole lamb cooked with a blend of local spices including coriander, cumin, and cardamon and served wrapped in banana leaves. This traditional Omani dish is prepared during special occasions and festivities and is a must-try.
• Kabuli – this dish is prepared with lamb, beef, chicken, or goat mixed with rice, raisins, and cinnamon. Many consider Kabuli to be the national dish of Oman.
• Halwa – Omani Halwa is a sweet dessert made from sugar, rosewater, and ghee, and topped with cardamom and nuts. Usually served with a cup of Omani coffee, this moreish dessert makes for the perfect afternoon snack.
When it comes to drinks, coffee takes center stage. Known as ‘Kahwa’, coffee is an integral part of Omani hospitality and often comes flavored with cardamom, saffron, or rosewater. An interesting tip when offered coffee: remember that it is customary to accept at least two or three cups to show your appreciation to the host!
Events and Festivals in Oman
One of the best things to do in Oman is experience one of the country’s many celebrations. Here are our top 3 festival and event recommendations:
National Day of Oman
Visiting Oman for its National Day on November 18th is a fantastic way to really immerse yourself in the country’s culture. The National Day of Oman celebrates the birthday of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the former Sultan of Oman. Festivities include traditional dances and music, colorful parades, and spectacular fireworks displays.
One of the top festivals in Oman, Muscat Festival is held annually between January and February in the capital city and lasts several weeks. Expect plenty of music concerts, art exhibitions, and cultural events showcasing the best talent from Oman and beyond.
To celebrate the arrival of the Khareef monsoon, tourists from Oman and neighboring Gulf countries flock to Salalah to escape the summer heat and experience this unique weather phenomenon. The festival runs from July to September and showcases folklore performances, local street food, and handicrafts, all while marveling at the lush green scenery that blooms thanks to the monsoon.
Best Time to Visit Oman
If you’re traveling to Oman, it’s typically best to visit between October and April when the temperatures are a little milder. If you’re visiting Oman in summer, expect temperatures to soar up to 40 degrees centigrade if you’re visiting the north of the country or the desert. However, the summer monsoon season in the south of the country offers tourists a respite from the dry heat.