Unlike Dubai, Oman holidays provide sunshine, water-based activities and exhilarating desert scenery without the distractions of gleaming towers, indoor ski resorts and artificial islands. Holidaymakers get a more realistic Arab experience that includes historic attractions, sandstone arches and aromatic hints of Arabia's historic frankincense trade. You will discover one of the most diverse and authentic Arab environments in the world when visiting Oman, and the capital city of Muscat was named the Second Best City to visit in the world by Lonely Planet.
The big resort Oman hotels offer all the traditional Western amenities, and the less developed beaches provide kite-surfing, access to coral sea life and opportunities to watch turtles, dolphins, birds and dozens of species of whales. Tourists enjoy riding camels, dune-bashing in four-wheel-drive vehicles, sand-boarding, visiting Bedouin camps in the desert and sleeping under the stars in Barsti huts after enjoying authentic Omani barbecue feasts with colourful Bedouin tribes. The desert, beach and ocean aren't the only exciting natural features---limestone-rich deposits in Oman have created a system of spectacular caves, canyons, arroyos and rocks for climbing, exploring and spelunking.
Featured Oman Hotels
Best Time to Visit the Sultanate
Oman's climate is similar to that of other countries on the Arabian peninsula with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Visiting during the summer could prove uncomfortable for Westerners because temperatures often soar past 40-degrees Celsius, but lush and green Salalah, which is in the south, remains bearable during the summer months. October through April brings ideal weather during the day and comfortable nights and evenings.
Oman attractions include modern hotels, all-inclusive resorts, mud-brick villages and spectacular landscapes. From the bustle of the souks in Muscat to the venerable forts and crumbling watchtowers of the starkly beautiful landscape, Oman epitomises old Arabia. Enjoy the cultural heritage, unspoiled mountains, palatial buildings and signature architectural style of Renaissance palaces that have withstood the sands of time. Oman attractions include the following highlights:
Weather in Oman
Oman's vibrant souks offer fruits, vegetables, fish, textiles, gold, silver and hand-crafts from talented old-world artisans. Visitors can find historic daggers and muskets, bargain for their dinner, and find genuine Arabian carpets that might just whisk folks away on a magic journey.
Horse and Camel Racing
Horse and camel racing are popular between September and June, and the Royal Stables in Seeb offers many public and private equestrian events throughout the season. Camels are bred for racing, and camel races kick-start many public holiday celebrations.
Held between January and February each year, the Muscat Festival features circus performances, art, cultural activities, folklore dances and musical entertainment.
Jabrin Castle, in the town of Wilayat Bahla, has three floors and 55 rooms with exquisite carvings, impressive architectural details and painted flowers on the ceilings.
Sea turtles breed prolifically on Oman's beaches, and tourists can visit breeding grounds at Ras Al-Hadd and the Dimaniyyat Islands. In addition to turtles, the islands feature hard and soft corals and brightly coloured tropical fish.
Nizwa Castle features a colossal 45.72 metre in diameter tower that soars 35 metres above the rest of the castle's fortifications of turrets, battlements and false doors. Nizwa served as the capital of Oman in the 17th century.
Rock climbing is a popular sport in Oman due to the mountainous landscape, canyons, wadis and limestone formations. Favourite spots include Qantab, Khubrah Canyon, Hadash, Wadi Daykah and The Wall, an indoor rock gym.
The annual Muscat Regatta attracts yachts and racers from around the world, and a prize is awarded to the sailor who travels the furthest distance to compete. Sailing activities are popular year-round in the Sultanate of Oman.
The Chedi Muscat
The Chedi Muscat is a five-star resort that has a private beach, 158 rooms, landscaped gardens and a Balinese spa. Visitors and business travellers enjoy multiple restaurants on the premises, a 103-metre Long Pool and 400-square-metre health club. Many couples book weddings at the resort, and the resort's attention to concierge service facilitates having a memorable and pampered experience during an Oman holiday.
Oman's Culinary Influences
Omani cuisine doesn't have any pork and has strong Indian influences. Visitors enjoy strong, cardamom-scented coffee and helva, a pastry made of honey, butter and spices. Guests have plenty of dining options for traditional Western cuisine, fast food choices and gourmet dining in French, Italian, Chinese and Japanese restaurants. During Ramadan, residents refrain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset. Visitors often get chances to share meals with Arab families where elaborate meals are served that consist of rice, tomato sauces, spices, oils, dates and meat and fish.
Holidays to Oman provide Western-style relaxation, serene beaches and exciting excursions to the rugged mountains, canyons and surrounding desert. Almost every city has its own fort, and culture lovers can tour dozens of fortresses where Oman's unique architecture, irrigation systems and secret tunnels serve as educational reminders of the area's storied past. Oman features stunning mountains, luxurious hotels, fascinating markets and dramatic landscapes with oases, palaces and desert fortresses.
Top 10 things to do in Oman
There are many adventures to uncover in Oman due to its breath-taking history, exquisite buildings and exotic landmarks. Every day is an adventure out there, it’s definitely one to tick off of the list.
1. Enjoy a Hike and Swim in Wadi Shab
The Arabic term ‘Wadi Shab’ translates to ‘Valley of Youth’ and is one of the best attractions of Oman. The Wadi is an experience not to miss due to its constantly clear pools, gushing waterfalls and colourful plantations. (If you are not a confident swimmer then you may want to consider the other attractions)
2. Visit the Ras Al Jinz Reserve for Turtles
Turtle viewing is one of the most popular eco-tourism activities in Oman. Ras Al Jinz is the home to many species of turtle including the endangered Green Turtle, the Olive Ridley Turtle, the Loggerhead Turtle and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle. Usually, the best time to visit is during summer (between May and September) as this is when the hatching begins.
3. Discover the beauty of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Exceeding the term beautiful, this mosque consists of stunning features. Built from 300,000 tonnes of Indian sandstone, construction for the mosque finished in 2001 which celebrated 30 years of the Sultan’s reign. Although inside the mosque can hold up to 6,500 worshippers, if you include the interior courtyards and passageways, this can increase to up to 20,000 worshippers in this one mosque!
4. Relax Whilst Watching the Sun Rise in Sharqiya Sands (formerly known as Wahiba Sands)
Whether you’re roaming around on a camel or treading through the perfectly smoothed dunes of this home to around 3,000 Bedouin, the experience is surreal. If you choose to camp out, the views and scenery will surely leave you stunned, especially the golden sunset reflecting on the golden sands.
5. Take a Dip in Wadi Bani Khalid
As a favourite to many tourists, this desert oasis will not disappoint you. Climbing into the Eastern Hajar Mountains, swimming in the emerald waters and discovering thrilling caves is when there will be endless fascination as it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
6. Uncover the Architecture of Nizwa Fort
If you’re a history lover, this one’s for you. Built in the 1650s with over 12 years of construction and details spent on this amazing landmark of Oman, it’s definitely a must-see attraction. Its unique design contains 7 wells, a number of prisons, many ancient artefacts and prosecution ground, it gives you a feel of the history of Oman. Climbing to the top of this tower also allows you to experience the views of the Hajar Mountains which dominate the town.
7. Exploit the Top of Jebel Shams
‘The Mountain of Sun’ stops at 3009m and is the highest mountain in Oman where temperatures can go from 20 ?C in the summer to below 0 ?C in the winter. Here you may find some of the best views, including the exposure of the Wadi Ghul which is described as the ‘Grand Canyon of Arabia’.
8. Be Adventurous, Wild Camp Anywhere!
Being responsible, wild camping can be one of the best ways to take in the country’s beauty. It gives you the opportunity to create lovely memories and great stories! You get to make the most of the beach, the deserts and even the mountains if you’re brave enough! Just imagine the sights you’d catch.
9. Seafood? Fish for it.
From what we know, unless you’re a pro or you’re in the perfect location, fishing in the UK isn’t as easy as it seems. But have you tried fishing in Oman? If not, now is your chance to prove that you are great at fishing, even if you just don’t know it yet. Who doesn’t love fishing whilst benefiting from beautiful landscapes?
10. Take your Adventures Underwater to Discover Life Under the Sea
Oman is bound to give you a completely new and unique diving and snorkelling experience. This exotic encounter will show you what some people say are the most diverse seas in the world. There’s an increasingly high reputation for high quality diving in Oman, no need to miss out now.