Muscat is the capital of Oman, and one of the most beautiful cities in the country. As it has the country’s main international airport, our seven-day journey in Oman will start there. So, first of all, head to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is around 12.4 km (7.7 miles) away from the airport. Although the praying rooms are open for non-Muslims only from 9 am to 2 pm and from 4 pm to 9 pm Saturday to Wednesday, they can still walk around the mosque and take photos or sit in its gardens every day, all day long. Another mosque worth visiting is Saeed Bin Taimur Mosque, which is 6.4 km (four miles) away from the Grand Mosque. It is located on the 23rd July St., and is named after the father of the Sultan Qaboos, who is the current leader of Oman. The mosque is distinguished with the unique Ottoman architectural styles.
Then, drive for around 10 minutes (4.6 km/ 2.9 miles) north to Shatti Al Qurum (Al Qurum Beach), which is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, distinguished with golden sand beaches and crystal turquoise waters. You can have dinner in one of the most mouthwatering restaurants on the beach such as Twins Turkish Cuisine and Slider Station. Then, head to the Royal Opera House, which is 3.3 km (2.1 miles) away from the beach. The Royal Opera is the leading venue of culture and art in the country, which offers amazing local and international artistic shows and musical performances. Besides the wonderful shows, the building of the Opera House is an absolute architectural wonder, making it a perfect place for taking photos.
Start off the second day at Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts, which are located on the harbor of the city of Old Muscat. They are surrounded by mountains that helped with the two forts to protect the city against raiders. A walk through the forts is a walk through Muscat’s history and the unique ancient architecture. Now drive to Al Alam Palce, which is less than a kilometer (0.6 miles) away. The palace is one of the six royal residences of the Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, who is the current leader of Oman. Although the public is not allowed to enter the palace, they can still walk around the palace and take some great photos.
Starting day three, head to Nizwa, which is located in Al Dakhliya region and around 158 km (98 miles) away from Muscat. It is one of the oldest cities in Oman and used to be a center for art, trade and education. The city has a lot of amazing natural and architectural attractions, which include Nizwa Fort, Jabreen Castle, Al Hoota Cave, Nizwa local souk, and the Sultan Qaboos Mosque. A day tour around the city is an unmissable adventure to experience the authentic culture and ancient history of the country, to meet with the locals, to learn their traditions and hospitality and to try their delicious food.
On day four, head to Al Hajar Mountains, which are the highest mountain range in the Arabian Peninsula, and located in northern Oman. They are around 90 km (56 miles) away from Nizwa, but you can stop at Misfat Al Abriyyen, which is a small mountain village that is around 55 km (34 miles) away from Nizwa. It is known for the beautiful agricultural terraces, the amazing alleys, and the old houses, which are built on top of rocks. The town is located around one kilometre above the sea level and is worth visiting to rest, eat, enjoy the natural charm and meet with the locals. Then, continue your way to Al Hajar Mountains which are about 50 km (31 miles) away from Misfat Al Abriyyen. The range consists of several mountains, most famously Jebel Shams (Mountain of Sun) and Al Jebel Al Akhdar (The Green Mountain). There are wadis, towns and villages that surround the mountains, which offer amazing hiking trails, and mind-blowing views from the summits.
Day five will start with a drive to Wadi Bani Khalid, which is around 221 km (137 miles) away from Nizwa, and one of the most beautiful, naturally attractive wadis in Oman. The wadi is covered with green plantations, has several caves and water flows through it all year. It is a great place for hiking, rock-climbing, and swimming. Ras Al Hadd is a natural reserve for the green turtles in eastern Oman. Several tours organize trips very early in the morning before sunrise to watch the green turtles laying their eggs, and returning to the sea. They also watch baby turtles hatching their eggs and returning. Although these tours only take place very early in the morning, they are unmissable and worthy experience.
Salalah is one of the most naturally beautiful cities in southern Oman. It is known for the Khareef (monsoon) season which takes place from June until September annually. During Khareef, it rains or drizzles in Salalah all day long, which causes the trees and grass to grow, covering every inch of the city. Khareef Salalah Festival also takes place during that time, attracting lots of tourists from around the world. Al Maghseel Beach in Salalah, Sumhuram and Khor Rori, Al Marneef Cave, Taqah Castle and Al Baleed Archaeological Site, are some of the must-visit attractions the city.
The Empty Quarter is the largest continuous sand sea in the whole world. It is shared by four countries in the Arabian Peninsula – Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE. Visiting the Empty Quarter is a hard journey, but also an amazing adventure, in which people can drive around the golden sand dunes, meet with the Bedouins and experience their life, eat traditional Bedouin food, and camp under the shiny stars.