• 19 AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN OMAN

  • 19 AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN OMAN

19 AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN OMAN

Oman is one of our all time favourite countries. Just thinking about it makes us want to jump on a plane to Muscat, load up a 4WD, and hit the road heading, well, anywhere. Because no matter where you go, there’s something incredible to see or do. Yes, Oman has deserts, but it also has so much more. Waterfalls, beaches, mountains and wadis make up a landscape so strikingly beautiful, Oman is bound to capture your heart as it has ours.

Having spent six weeks in the country, travelling from Musandam in the north to Dhofar in the south, we’ve narrowed down a list of our favourite places to help you get the most out of your trip to Oman. Whether you’re planning a quick Muscat stopover, or a month-long road trip adventure, here are 19 amazing places to visit in Oman.

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Check the map below to find all of our listed places to visit in Oman. You can switch between satellite and terrain view for more detail.

MUSCAT & AROUND

# 1

MUTTRAH

At the heart of modern day Muscat lies the fascinating historic district of Muttrah. With traditional shop fronts, homes and buildings nestled between the port and dramatic mountains, it’s a delightful place to wander and soak up the atmosphere. The picturesque corniche sweeps around the bay, perfect for a golden hour stroll. Stop for a fresh fruit juice at a streetside cafe, before climbing to the top of Muttrah Fort for commanding sunset views all around.

Two men sit on stone bench on the Muttrah Corniche, looking out to the water and enjoying the afternoon sun

Two local gents enjoying golden hour views from the Muttrah Corniche


The buildings of backstreet Muttrah with jagged mountains rising behind

The backstreets of Muttrah seen from the fort at sunset


Two men sit on stone bench on the Muttrah Corniche, looking out to the water and enjoying the afternoon sun

Two local gents enjoying golden hour
views from the Muttrah Corniche


The buildings of backstreet Muttrah with jagged mountains rising behind

The backstreets of Muttrah seen
from the fort at sunset


Stunning views aside, the biggest highlight is undoubtedly the old Muttrah Souq. The best place to shop for gifts or souvenirs in Muscat, it’s equally good for a spot of people watching. A warren of side alleys spread out from the main arteries of the market, with all manner of goods for sale. The distinct aroma of frankincense wafts near the main entrance, luring customers in to shop for colourful spices and fragrant incense. Besides the tourist shops you’ll find plenty of genuine local crafts and produce. There’s everything from jewellery to kuma, the delicately embroidered traditional caps worn by Omani men. And don’t forget to look up – the elaborately carved woodwork of the market ceiling is beautiful.

A man walks into an alleyway between whitewashed buildings in Muttrah under the golden glow of the streetlights

An Omani wanders into the alleyways of Muttrah as night falls


A man walks into an alleyway between whitewashed buildings in Muttrah under the golden glow of the streetlights

An Omani wanders into the alleyways
of Muttrah as night falls


Budget accommodation is hard to come by in Oman but for location and price Naseem Hotel can’t be beat if you’re looking for somewhere in the heart of Muttrah. We stayed here on our first trip to Oman and loved the sea views out our bedroom window.

# 2

SULTAN QABOOS GRAND MOSQUE

Grand yet elegant. Opulent but graceful. Magnificent while still intimate. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is architecturally stunning, and like all things Omani, refreshingly tasteful in a region more commonly associated with glitz and glam. 

The main prayer room is undoubtedly impressive, with its 21 tonne hand woven Persian carpet and 14 metre tall crystal chandelier demanding attention. It’s the grounds and outer corridors however that had us lingering in delight. Patches of light and shadow bounce off the pristine Indian sandstone, while minarets, arches and trees are perfectly reflected in the mirror-like courtyards.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, glowing in the sun and reflected in the mirrorlike surface of the courtyard flagstones.

The mosque glistening in the sun and reflected in the courtyard


The outlying corridors in the grounds of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman. The light and shadow cast by the arches makes an interesting geometric pattern

The arches of the outer walkways casting stunning shadows, with intricately designed niches telling the history of Islamic art


The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, glowing in the sun and reflected in the mirrorlike surface of the courtyard flagstones.

The mosque glistening in the sun
and reflected in the courtyard


The outlying corridors in the grounds of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Oman. The light and shadow cast by the arches makes an interesting geometric pattern

The arches of the outer walkways
casting stunning shadows


Skirting the main complex are long walkways with row after row of intricately designed niches. They tell the story of Islamic architecture and design through the ages, from around the world. Plaques describe the motifs, materials and common features of Islamic art, the niches evoking traditional styles from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, India and beyond. It’s a fascinating lesson in both history and design, one of the most interesting places to visit in Oman.

# 3

BANDAR AL KHIRAN

From treasures of a man-made nature to those entirely sculpted by mother nature. The dramatic coastline of Bandar Al Khiran is a delight of fjord-like inlets, tranquil bays and sandy beaches. If your time in Oman is short, this makes an ideal addition to the highlights of Muscat, just an hour south of the capital. There’s a great wild camp spot to be found here, plus secluded beaches accessible only on foot or by boat. An abundance of coral reefs and crystal clear water make this a popular dive and snorkel spot too.

Sandy rocky coastline forming an inlet full of sparkling aquamarine water at Bandar Al Khiran in Oman

One of the inlets at Bandar Al Khiran. This small beach is accessible only by boat or on foot from the trail above


Sandy rocky coastline forming an inlet full of sparkling aquamarine water at Bandar Al Khiran in Oman

One of the inlets of Bandar Al Khiran


WESTERN HAJAR MOUNTAINS & AROUND

# 4

WADI DAMM & AL AYN BEEHIVE TOMBS

While better known wadis like Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid are impressive in their own right, Wadi Damm is one of our absolute favourites. Damm means hidden, and that’s exactly how the main pool in the upper wadi feels. Secluded, magical, dare I say a little slice of paradise? Water cascades down a curtain of ferns and greenery into the pool, with a natural shower tucked in amongst the rocks at one end.

You’ll find the most impressive pool in the upper wadi, just past a solitary palm tree. To reach it you need to continue beyond the pool which is about 15 minutes walk in, heading through the cave on the left (if the water is high), or climbing up the rope and dropping down the other side.

An aerial view of the hidden pool at Wadi Damm, one of the best places to visit in Oman. A person relaxes in the aqua waters surrounded by bare blue toned rock and green vegetation.

The secluded, magical, hidden pool of Wadi Damm, like nowhere else in Oman


An aerial view of the hidden pool at Wadi Damm, one of the best places to visit in Oman. A person relaxes in the aqua waters surrounded by bare blue toned rock and green vegetation.

The hidden pool of Wadi Damm


While this is reward enough for your forty-five minute hike and scramble through the wadi, the area has numerous other impressive sights to capture your imagination. In the wadi itself you’ll find umpteen petroglyphs, believed to date from around 600BC. There’s a whole wall of them behind the falaj in the car park, and more rock carvings to be found while hiking through the wadi.

3,500 year old rock carvings on the cliffs at Wadi Damm showing hunting and scenes of battle.

Some of the rock carvings close to the car park


3,500 year old rock carvings on the cliffs at Wadi Damm showing hunting and scenes of battle.

Some of the rock carvings close to the car park


Driving in to Wadi Damm the road passes by another historical gem, the Bronze Age beehive tombs at Al Ayn. They are particularly impressive given the backdrop of towering Jebel Misht.

The Bronze Age beehive tombs at Al Ayn in Oman, glowing at golden hour with the distinctive shape of the mountain Jebel Misht rising behind

The Al Ayn Bronze Age beehive tombs glowing in the late afternoon sun, with Jebel Misht rising behind


The Bronze Age beehive tombs at Al Ayn in Oman, glowing at golden hour with the distinctive shape of the mountain Jebel Misht rising behind

Bronze Age Beehive Tombs
glowing in the late afternoon sun


# 5

WADI BANI AWF & BILAD SAYT VILLAGE

Wadis come in all shapes and sizes. Some are completely dry outwith the rainy season, others have a permanent pool of water perfect for swimming. Unlike Wadi Damm or Shab, Wadi Bani Awf is essentially a huge steep-sided valley. Picturesque villages are dotted around, and an exhilarating off-road route links the mountains of the Western Hajar, at around 2000m, to the Batinah Plain far below. It’s an incredible ride, but only for those with a 4WD and experience on tricky roads.

The mountainous Wadi Bani Awf in Oman, where one of the most exciting offroad routes snakes down through the dramatic landscape

The dramatic gorge of Wadi Bani Awf 


The mountainous Wadi Bani Awf in Oman, where one of the most exciting offroad routes snakes down through the dramatic landscape

The dramatic gorge of Wadi Bani Awf 


One village not to miss on the journey is Bilad Sayt. Tucked away up a side road, this impossibly pretty village of traditional houses overlooks a palm plantation and lush terraced fields. You can drive there, or hike the 8.5km on old donkey trails on routes W10h and W8 from Sharaf Al Alamayn.

The village of Bilad Sayt in Oman, the sandy coloured buildings glowing in the sun, fronted by low rice terraces and backed by stark mountains.

The amazingly situated village of Bilad Sayt


 A Bilad Sayt farmer at work in the fields


The village of Bilad Sayt in Oman, the sandy coloured buildings glowing in the sun, fronted by low rice terraces and backed by stark mountains.

The amazingly situated village of Bilad Sayt


For those up for a challenge, Snake Canyon (Wadi Bimmah), is also nearby. This 3-4 hour traverse involves swimming through ravines, cliff jumps into wadi pools and abseiling. If you’re looking for something less extreme, Little Snake Canyon could be a better option.

Note that it’s dangerous to off-road through Wadi Bani Awf (and especially to tackle Snake Canyon) during or after rainfall. It’s also important to be aware that there is a serious risk of flash floods in any wadi, at any time.


# 6

JEBEL SHAMS & THE BALCONY WALK

In the Western Hajar Mountains lies Jebel Shams, the highest peak in Oman at over 3000m. Below it is the spectacular Wadi An Nakhur, commonly known as ‘Oman’s Grand Canyon’. This dramatic landscape is one of the most stunning places to visit in Oman and not to be missed.  

For an amazing view, drive up to the rim of the Grand Canyon, where you can peer over the edge into the plunging wadi below. Look carefully and you’ll spot a faint trail running along the ledge, a hundred metres or so below the rim. This is the Balcony Walk (officially route W6), and an absolute highlight of the region. To start the walk, drive to the village of Al Khitaym and follow the painted flag-shaped markers all the way to the abandoned village of As Sab at the far end of the canyon. It’s a relatively easy 7km return walk, with the views far exceeding the effort required. Allow 2.5 – 3 hours total, including time to explore the village and admire the incredible landscape.

Aperson with a small red backpack sets out on the balcony walk at Oman's Grand Canyon, below Jebel Shams, Oman's highest mountain. The narrow rocky path falls off to the right in a sheer drop. This is one of the best places to visit in Oman.

Setting out on the Balcony Walk,  Jebel Shams rising on the right across the canyon


Aperson with a small red backpack sets out on the balcony walk at Oman's Grand Canyon, below Jebel Shams, Oman's highest mountain. The narrow rocky path falls off to the right in a sheer drop. This is one of the best places to visit in Oman.

Setting out on the Balcony Walk


The Grand Canyon is especially impressive at sunrise and sunset, so camping by the rim is highly recommended. Our favourite spot can be found at 23.2063, 57.2032 – check out this post for more details. Not into camping? Jebel Shams Resort is ideally located near the rim.

Golden sunrise light hits the wall of the Omani Grand Canyon below Jebel Shams. A 4WD and tent sits on the rim of the canyon.

Watching the sunrise at the rim of Oman’s Grand Canyon, the best place to camp around Jebel Shams


Golden sunrise light hits the wall of the Omani Grand Canyon below Jebel Shams. A 4WD and tent sits on the rim of the canyon.

Watching the sunrise at the rim
of Oman’s Grand Canyon


# 7

MISFAT AL ABRIYEEN

Tucked away in the scenic mountains of the Western Hajar lies quite possibly the most charming village in the Middle East. With traditional mudbrick houses tumbling down the hillside, disappearing into the lush date palm plantation below, Misfat Al Abriyeen is a magical sight. Most of the original residents have moved on, either to modern houses across the valley or further afield. But a few locals remain, and one such runs the wonderful Misfah Old House, the perfect place to stay while you experience the village vibe.

The mountain village of Misfat Al Abriyeen, sandy coloured mudbrick houses piled on top of each other, tumbling down the dry mountainside, skirted by a date palm plantation

The classic Western Hajar village, Misfat Al Abriyeen, surrounded by date palms and dry mountains


The mountain village of Misfat Al Abriyeen, sandy coloured mudbrick houses piled on top of each other, tumbling down the dry mountainside, skirted by a date palm plantation

Misfat Al Abriyeen, surrounded by
date palms and mountains


For such a small place, it’s easy to get lost wandering the narrow mudbrick alleys of Misfat. And in the plantations below, an intricate network of falaj weave their way through the terraced fields. Follow these ancient waterways and see where you end up, or take a longer walk on the W9 route towards the high plateau overlooking Wadi Bani Awf. Whatever you do, don’t miss the local dates, the most delicious we’ve ever tasted.

# 8

NIZWA, BAHLA & JABRIN FORTS

The country boasts a huge number of forts, some crumbling in disrepair, others carefully restored to perfection. Three of the best can be found a short distance from each other on the plains of the Hajar Mountains. As such it is one of the most historically significant places to visit in Oman. 

Nizwa Fort, the most famous of them all, sits in the centre of this modern city, surrounded by markets, mountains and the beautiful dome and minaret of the Al Qala’a Mosque. The main courtyard has an impressive staircase leading to the upper walls of an enormous drum-like tower. The views from the top are spectacular.

The iside of Nizwa Fort in Oman glowing in the late sun, with the mosque minaret and mountains rising behind

Inside the drum-like tower of Nizwa Fort, with the minaret of the Al Qala’a mosque behind


The iside of Nizwa Fort in Oman glowing in the late sun, with the mosque minaret and mountains rising behind

Inside the drum-like tower of Nizwa Fort


Bahla Fort lies 40km to the west of Nizwa, completely dominating the landscape. Its size is seriously impressive, and the commanding views from the top, over plains, plantations and surrounding villages, make it well worth the climb. The mudbrick village of Bahla, at the foot of the fort, is a great place to explore too.

The large sandy coloured Bahla Fort dominates the landscape in Bahla, Oman. The fort is surrounded by low houses and date palms, and the mountains rise behind

The dominant Bahla Fort, surrounded by buildings and date palms of the village itself


The large sandy coloured Bahla Fort dominates the landscape in Bahla, Oman. The fort is surrounded by low houses and date palms, and the mountains rise behind

The dominant Bahla Fort


Jabrin Fort is just 10km south of Bahla, and our favourite of the three. It’s surrounded by date palms, a sea of green against the dusty ochre of fort and mountains. You can explore the basement date stores, as well as admire the intricate wood and paintwork on the ceilings and balconies of the rooms. Looking up to the sky from the inner courtyard is a wonderful sight – a perfect square of blue crowns the three stories of mud brick and wood.

The interior of one of the plush rooms in Jabrin Fort, Oman

The tastefully decorated rooms of Jabrin Fort


The interior of one of the plush rooms in Jabrin Fort, Oman

The tastefully decorated rooms of Jabrin Fort


# 9

JEBEL AKHDAR & VILLAGE WALK

Our final recommendation of places to visit in the Western Hajar of Oman is Jebel Akhdar on the Sayq Plateau. In contrast to the stark beauty of Jebel Shams and its surrounds, Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain) is a lush and fertile land. Sitting at 2000m above sea level, the air is noticeably cooler here and the plateau receives just enough rainfall to support apricot, pomegranate and Damask Rose orchards. A string of traditional villages cling to the hillsides above picturesque terraced fields, the perfect place for a walk. Starting at Al Aqur, a 4km trail meanders past terraces, along aflaj (plural of falaj), and through villages all the way to Sayq. Officially, the trail is known as W18b. Beyond Sayq, you’ll find Wadi Bani Habib and the fascinating mud and straw house ruins of its abandoned villages.

Two kids running up stone steps in a narrow street in one of the villages on the Sayq Plateau in Oman

The steep and narrow village streets


The sunlit village of Al Ayn, perched on the terraced mountainside just below the Sayq Plateau in Oman

The village Al Ayn, on the walk below the Sayq Plateau


The sunlit village of Al Ayn, perched on the terraced mountainside just below the Sayq Plateau in Oman

The village Al Ayn below the Sayq Plateau


Two kids running up stone steps in a narrow street in one of the villages on the Sayq Plateau in Oman

The steep and narrow village streets


The steep, switchback road leading to Jebel Akhdar is paved, however the area is only accessible by 4WD. There’s a checkpoint at the start of the road where you’ll need to show your passport and car insurance documents.

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EASTERN HAJAR MOUNTAINS & AROUND

# 10

WADI BANI KHALID

The tamest of the wadis? Probably. But you can’t deny its beauty! Easily accessible and more ‘resort like’ than any other, Wadi Bani Khalid is a perennial favourite amongst families, tour groups and those keen to experience all the relaxation with none of the adventure. With that said, it definitely pays to get an early start here (8am ~ 9am) when your chances of having the wadi pools to yourself are greatly increased. 

From the car park it’s a short and easy stroll along a falaj to the main wadi pools. They are large and come complete with seating areas and a cafe tastefully arranged around the (mostly) natural rocks. The pools are surrounded by palms and greenery, completing the oasis in the desert feel.

The main pool of Wadi Bani Khalid, perfectly still and reflecting palm trees and low mountains in the early morning light

The perfect paradise of Wadi Bani Khalid, before the crowds arrive


The perfect paradise of Wadi Bani Khalid,
before the crowds arrive


While the main pools are scenic and great for a dip, the upper wadi pools are definitely worth the short walk and offer something a little different. To reach them, keep heading up the wadi, an easy 10 minute walk on the rocks to the right side of the pools. Here you’ll find crystal clear water snaking through narrow gaps in the high sided canyon. A couple of chains have been fixed to the walls, which you can swing from or use to climb up if you fancy cliff jumping.

A person floating in one of the upper rock pools of Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

The upper reaches of Wadi Bani Khalid, the perfect place to get a bit more adventurous in Oman’s most popular wadi


A person floating in one of the upper rock pools of Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman

The upper reaches of Wadi Bani Khalid


# 11

WAHIBA SANDS

Stretching around 180km north to south, and 80km west to east, Wahiba Sands is one giant golden playground. Officially named A’Sharqiya Desert, the area is commonly referred to as Wahiba Sands after the Wahibi tribe of Bedouin hailing from here. For those with their own 4WD (and experience driving in dunes), it’s the perfect place for adventure. For everyone else, take advantage of a network of established desert camps and leave the dune bashing to the experts. 

Spending a night out under the stars, in the quiet of the desert, is pretty special. Climbing to the top of a dune for sunset is even more magical. For the quintessential desert experience, Wahiba Sands is a must. As places to visit in Oman go, it’s unmissable.

A figure runs up a red sand dune at sunset in Wahiba Sands, Oman

Having fun on the dunes at sunset


The wind sculpted red sand dunes of Wahiba Sands in Oman, as far as the eye can see

The distinctive orange red sand dunes of Wahiba Sands


The wind sculpted red sand dunes of Wahiba Sands in Oman, as far as the eye can see

The distinctive orange sand dunes of Wahiba Sands


A figure runs up a red sand dune at sunset in Wahiba Sands, Oman

Having fun on the dunes at sunset


If you’re confident in your sand driving skills and appropriately equipped, Wahiba Sands is a great place to wild camp. There’s an established track stretching north to south through the desert – follow it for a bit and camp nearby the track, or journey the length of it over a couple of days. Check our map for entry and exit points, and follow the track carefully using Maps.me and GPS. Otherwise, arrange a pick up from the main road and book a night at a desert camp like Desert Nights Camp, Desert Retreat Camp, or Queen Desert Camp.

# 12

WADI SHAB

With just the right amount of adventure to keep it on the side of exciting as opposed to extreme, Wadi Shab is on most people’s list of places to visit in Oman. And for good reason. It’s a stunning area, with year-round wadi pools, a hidden cave complete with mini waterfall and impressive rock formations. It’s also relatively easy to access, and just a couple of hours south of Muscat.

A trip to Wadi Shab starts with a quick boat ride from the car park to the opposite side of the wadi, then a hike/wade/swim combo of around an hour to reach the hidden cave. Water levels can vary dramatically depending on how much rain there has been in recent days. If you’re not a confident swimmer (like me), try to time your visit with a dry spell when the pools will be less deep. If you’re uncomfortable at any time, you can always turn around and head back. To reach the cave and waterfall inside it, you need to swim through a narrow crack in the rocks, sometimes completely underwater depending on the water levels. You’ll emerge in a beautiful cavern, with the waterfall cascading down before you.

A green rock pool of Wadi Shab in Oman surrounded by high rock walls

The rock pools of Wadi Shab


A green rock pool of Wadi Shab in Oman surrounded by high rock walls

The rock pools of Wadi Shab


Given the popularity of Wadi Shab, it pays to visit on a weekday and early in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds.
The boat trip at the start of the hike is run by locals and costs 1OMR per person return.

SOUTHERN OMAN

# 13

MASIRAH ISLAND

For wildlife lovers, avid kite surfers or those seeking a quiet back-to-basics beach retreat, Masirah Island is the perfect place to visit in Oman. It’s far enough south to be off the main tourist trail, but close enough to still be easily accessible for those willing to make the journey. It’s a laid back island where livelihoods still revolve around fishing, and the impact of mass tourism is yet to be felt. Indeed, there aren’t many tourist facilities at all. There are limited accommodation options on the island, but ample opportunities for wild camping.

A row of old armchairs sit on the sandy west coast of Masirah Island in Oman, facing the sea

Relaxation, Masirah Island style


A dilapadated old fishing boat on a sandy beach on Masirah Island in Oman

Old boats decorate the coast


A row of old armchairs sit on the sandy west coast of Masirah Island in Oman, facing the sea

Relaxation, Masirah Island style


A dilapadated old fishing boat on a sandy beach on Masirah Island in Oman

Old boats decorate the coast


There’s no ‘must see’ attractions here, rather the island as a whole is a place to slow down and soak up the beach vibes. The west coast is characterised by stunning white beaches, brilliant blue water and attractive rock formations. The east, facing the Indian Ocean, is much wilder, with long sweeping stretches of golden sand, battered by wind and waves.

A strip of white sand bordeing turquoise water on the west coast of Masirah Island in Oman

The white beaches, blue water and rock formations of Masirah Island’s west coast


A strip of white sand bordeing turquoise water on the west coast of Masirah Island in Oman

The white beaches, blue water and rock
formations of Masirah Island’s west coast


Masirah is an important breeding ground for turtles, with around 40% of the world’s loggerhead turtles nesting here between March and August. There’s no established reserve, like at Ras Al Jinz, so if visiting be sure to treat the beaches, nests and turtles with respect. Most of the nesting beaches are on the east coast and marked with signs. Don’t drive on the beaches or camp here, and do not disturb nesting turtles with bright lights or noise as this could prevent them from laying their eggs.

The sun sets on a west oast beach on Masirah Island in Oman, fishing boats sitting above the tide line on the sand

Sunset on the west coast of Masirah Island


The sun sets on a west oast beach on Masirah Island in Oman, fishing boats sitting above the tide line on the sand

Sunset on the west coast of Masirah Island


You can reach Masirah Island by ferry from Shanna Port, around 420km south of Muscat. Private and national car ferries make the trip, taking around an hour and costing from 10OMR one way for a car and passengers. In windy conditions, the national ferry is often cancelled so be sure to check the weather in advance and plan accordingly.

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# 14

SUGAR DUNES

While Wahiba Sands impress with their scale and burnt orange hue, the comparatively tiny Sugar Dunes will delight you with their soft white sand and feeling of genuine remoteness. Few venture this way, and you certainly won’t find strings of tourists plodding along on camels or flashy desert camps here. Instead, a vast white sand beach, backed by picture perfect dunes and the odd camel roaming around.

Camels eat the low grass bordering the Sugar Dunes in Oman

Camels are likely to be your only company in the Sugar Dunes


Camels eat the low grass bordering the Sugar Dunes in Oman

Camels might be your only
company in the Sugar Dunes


Let the air out of your tyres and head into the dunes to find your perfect camp spot, or pitch up on the beach and explore the dunes on foot. You may see some locals speeding by in their trucks, but chances are you’ll have this place entirely to yourself.

A person walks alone through the white Sugar Dunes in Oman

The Sugar Dunes are pristine, one of the most stunning places to visit in Oman 


A person walks alone through the white Sugar Dunes in Oman

The Sugar Dunes are one of the most
stunning places to visit in Oman


# 15

WADI DARBAT

In the far south of Oman lies Dhofar, somewhere quite unique in the landscape of not just Oman, but the whole of Arabia. While the rest of the region swelters in the dry summer heat, Salalah and its surrounds experience a monsoon known as the khareef. Between June and September high winds and waves batter the coastline, while heavy rainfall turns the land lush and green. It makes Dhofar one of the most special places to visit in Oman, and Wadi Darbat a particular highlight. 

Visiting just after the khareef is perhaps the ideal time. The weather is much calmer but the landscape is still a verdant oasis. In Wadi Darbat you’ll find a long river, flanked by lush banks and even a 1000 year old tree, flowing down to form a number of pools and waterfalls. Camels and cows roam freely, munching on leaves and grass. The most impressive sight is the cascade of water gushing over the top of the travertine curtain, a unique geological feature that looks like a sheer wall of pitted mud.

The three tiered waterfall of Wadi Darbat spilling down the pockmarked travetine curtain

The waterfall of Wadi Darbat, rushing down over the travertine curtain


The three tiered waterfall of Wadi Darbat spilling down the pockmarked travetine curtain

The waterfall of Wadi Darbat


Depending on the volume of water flowing, you can approach the wall and waterfall from both above and below – it’s a truly breathtaking sight. While the pools look oh so inviting, best to avoid swimming in them as there have been reports of bilharzia (a nasty parasite) in the water.

A person stands looking at the aquamarine rock pools of Wadi Darbat

Above the waterfall at Wadi Darbat, admiring the many pools and rock formations


A person stands looking at the aquamarine rock pools of Wadi Darbat

Above the waterfall at Wadi Darbat


# 16

TAWI ATAIR SINKHOLE

Not far from Wadi Darbat lies one of the biggest sinkholes in the world. It’s an astonishing place that becomes increasingly magical the deeper you go. At 150m wide and 211m deep, there’s only so much you can appreciate from the viewing platform up top. For the real wow factor, head down the rough trail to the right of the platform and climb deeper into the heart of the sinkhole, to a rusting old platform about 130m down.

A person looks out at the yawning chasm of the Tawi Atair sinkhole from a ledge halfway down

Taking in the view on the way down into Tawi Atair sinkhole


Looking up from the platfrom near the bottom of the Tawi Atair sinkhole in Oman, the solitary figure tiny far above

Looking up from the old platform. Can you spot Kim?


A person looks out at the yawning chasm of the Tawi Atair sinkhole from a ledge halfway down

Taking in the view on the way down into Tawi Atair sinkhole


Looking up from the platfrom near the bottom of the Tawi Atair sinkhole in Oman, the solitary figure tiny far above

Looking up from the old platform.
Can you spot Kim?


The cacophony of birds is truly astounding, with some unique species found only here and in a part of nearby Yemen (according to the camera wielding twitcher we chatted to up top). From this vantage point, deep in the belly of the sinkhole, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Vietnam or some other tropical paradise. But nope, just one more spot to add to your list of amazing places to visit in Oman.

# 17

FAZAYAH BEACHES

Almost as far south as you can get in Oman before hitting the border with Yemen lie the secluded beaches of Fazayah. A string of white sand bays, tucked away under the towering cliffs above, it can be hard to choose a favourite. So, best to give yourself a day or so here to beach hop along the coast and sample the delights of each. At low tide, even more pristine white canvases are exposed, hidden behind rocks with azure water lapping at the receding shore.

Golden sand and turquoise water at Fazayah Beaches in Oman, a distinctive low sea stack poking from the water

The beaches at Fazayah: golden sand, clear water and fantastic rocks


Golden sand and turquoise water at Fazayah Beaches in Oman, a distinctive low sea stack poking from the water

The beaches at Fazayah: golden
sand, clear water and fantastic rocks


As with everywhere in Dhofar, camels roam freely, adding to the surreal beauty of this land. Outwith the khareef, it’s a great place to camp, or you can visit as a day trip from Salalah.

Camels just love to roam, especially on Fazayah Beach. A solitary camel heads toward us, the mountains rising behind.

Mountains rise behind the beaches and camels munch on the low grass


Camels just love to roam, especially on Fazayah Beach. A solitary camel heads toward us, the mountains rising behind.

Mountains rise behind the beaches
and camels munch on the low grass


MUSANDAM

# 18

MUSANDAM FJORDS

Cut off from the rest of Oman and surrounded by the UAE, Musandam is actually easier to get to from Dubai than Muscat. It’s a popular getaway for those living in the UAE, the raw natural beauty of ‘Arabia’s Norway’ the perfect antidote to the glitz and glam of Dubai. The Norway thing hails from Musandam’s many khors, or fjord-like inlets, which characterise the coast of this peninsula. The best way to take it all in is from the sea itself, and there’s no shortage of dhow cruise operators in Khasab, the main town. For the most relaxing experience, avoid the weekends or UAE holidays, and opt for a full day or overnight cruise to really make the most of your trip. You’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins and your dhow will likely anchor by Telegraph Island where you can jump in for a swim and snorkel.

A dhow boat cruises around the rocky sandstone coast in the Musandam Fjords of Oman

Cruising the Musandam Fjords in a traditional dhow boat


A dhow boat cruises around the rocky sandstone coast in the Musandam Fjords of Oman

Cruising the Musandam Fjords in a dhow


From the land, the best viewpoint is from the top of a curving road heading down to Khor Najd (check our map for the exact location). You can camp here, or head to our favourite beach camp spot in Musandam at Rocky Beach – read more about it here.

The cobalt blue perfectly still Khor Najd in Musandam, Oman, the surrounding mountains reflected in the water

Looking down on the spectacular Khor Najd from the road above


The cobalt blue perfectly still Khor Najd in Musandam, Oman, the surrounding mountains reflected in the water

Looking down on the spectacular Khor Najd


# 19

MUSANDAM MOUNTAINS

High above the glistening fjords of Musandam, an off-road adventure like no other can be found. With views stretching for miles, layers of mountains silhouetted all the way to the horizon, the Musandam Mountains are utterly spellbinding. You’ll need a 4WD to attempt this route, or you can join a guided tour out of Khasab. Highlights include the lush As Sayh plateau, ancient rock carvings and fossils, and the entire section between Jebel As Sayh and the small villages of Qad Qad, A’Rowdhah and beyond.

A dirt road snakes through the dry mountains of Musandam, Oman

The Wadi Bih road snaking through the mountains


Fossils in exposed bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Fossils in Musandam’s mountains


A dirt road snakes through the dry mountains of Musandam, Oman

The Wadi Bih road snaking through the mountains


Fossils in exposed bare rock in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

Fossils in Musandam’s mountains


The off-roading is exhilarating, the locals friendly (both humans and camels alike) and the views out of this world. It’s one of the most spectacular places to visit in Oman. If you’re exploring in your own wheels you’ll find one of our all time favourite wild camp spots at 25.9535, 56.2396 – check out this post for more details. Check our map for key points.

A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

The sunrise view from one of our all time favourite camp spots


A orange, yellow and pink sunrise rises over Wadi Bih in the mountains of Musandam, Oman

The sunrise view from one of our
all time favourite camp spots


19 AMAZING PLACES TO VISIT IN OMAN

We hope you enjoyed our rundown of some of the most amazing places to visit in Oman. If you have any questions at all, or places you think should make the list, let us know in the comments below.

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