The Sultanate of Oman offers a wealth of intriguing sights, stunning visuals and beautiful locations perfect for any holiday. That’s why we’ve put together this list of those essential places to visit that anyone making the trip to this unique destination should take the time to see.
The Hawiyat Najm Park
A singular visual experience, the Najm Park is located on the east coast of Oman, approximately an hour and a half from Muscat. Twisted into a sink-hole like structure, with the clear blue water from the nearby sea offering a lagoon-like aesthetic, the Hawiyat Najm is quite unlike any other natural pool. Popular with tourists, it’s ideal for both those who want to enjoy a relaxing few hours in the water as well as those who like to be a bit more adventurous by using the rocks as a rudimentary diving board.
The Wakan Village
Set 2,000 meters above sea level, the Wakan Village boasts some stunning views, as well as the chance to explore the 1,100 meter trail that has been built through the center. Along the 700 steps that make up the walk, hikers can take in the picturesque surroundings on either side. Those who like longer treks can also attempt the mountainous trail that connects the Wakan Village to the nearby Green Mountain.
The Turtle Reserve
A quiet sanctuary where these majestic animals return each year to lay their eggs, the reserve is a must-see for all nature lovers. Set in the beaches between Ras Al Hadd to Masirah Island, the resort offers both the chance to see the animals themselves and also to visit the on-site scientific center, where visitors can take in illustrative displays of the breeding process. A unique destination for those who love to view wildlife in its natural environment.
The Rock Garden
Increasingly popular with tourists year on year, the Oman rock garden is one of the top 25 sites of geological importance to the entire Sultanate. A 3 kilometer area of rock formations, the garden was created in an underground freshwater aquifer millions of years ago. The rocks present have been twisted and morphed into something almost other-worldly, making the garden a completely unique visual experience.
One of the most popular ports in Oman, the cornice is an aesthetically pleasing place for visitors to stretch their legs and maybe even do a bit of shopping. Taking up three kilometers of space across the harbor, the Corniche encompasses a variety of fountains, gardens and other visual treats. There is also a popular market, selling both freshly caught fish and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables. Also nearby is the Mutrah Souq, famed as a great place to shop for souvenirs.
One of the many beautiful small towns to be found throughout Oman, Balad Syt is surrounded by stunning scenery. The nearby mountains of Ad Dakhiliyah and Al Batina make for some breathtaking views, with many visitors enjoying hiking the roads. Balad Syt is a genuinely traditional village, at the idyllic heart of Oman.
The Al Balid City
No visit to a foreign country would be complete without taking in a site of genuine historical interest. The Al Balid city is perfect. As the most important ancient port on the Arabian sea (it was part of the Frankincense Trail) Al Balid can be dated as far back as 2000 BC. As a trade hub, it became a commercial center for the export of the valuable material to China and to Rome. As a UNESCO world heritage site, the ruins that remain are well worth seeing.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque is one of the most stunning pieces of architecture in Oman, and is a perfect place to visit for anyone seeking to experience more of the Islamic culture that gives Oman much of its identity. With a total capacity of 20,000 worshipers, the mosque is a fine tribute to the skill and imagination of the designing architect. As intriguing intellectually as it is impressive visually, the Mosque welcomes non-Muslim visitors every morning between 8.30 and 11.00, with Friday the exception.