• Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Highlights of Oman

Oman remains one of the last great undiscovered parts of the Middle East. Our Highlights of Oman tour is a fantastic choice if you’re a first time guest to Oman, or as an extension to compliment one of our multi-centre holidays. This whistle-stop tour ensures you’ll see some of Oman's best sights over five days, revealing its forts, fruit plantations, wild wadis (valleys) and majestic mountainscapes.

Starting with two nights in Muscat, you’ll explore the city’s mosque, museum and local souq. You’ll then head out towards the desert to spend a night camping under the stars in Wahiba Sands. Moving on to Wadi al Maideen, you’ll have a chance to climb Jabal Akhdar Mountain before spending one night at the Alila Jabal Akhdar Hotel, known for its splendid panoramic views of the Al Hajar Mountains range. Returning back to city life, your tour then takes you to Nizwa Souk for a spot of shopping, followed by a visit to Nizwa Fort and Jabrin Castle.

Duration
5 days
Best time to go
October to March
Options
Private basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a bed in the sand

Trip highlights

  • Explore the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, witness ancient Oman artefacts at Bait al Zubair Museum, and enjoy souvenir shopping at Muttrah Souk
  • Soak up the natural beauty of Wadi al Arbeieen and Bima Sinkhole before enjoying a refreshing dip at Wadi Tiwi and a dune drive across Wahiba Sands
  • Visit the beautiful desert oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid, see the traditional village of Birkat al Mouz and climb Jabal Akhdar Mountain
  • Meander through the alleyways of Nizwa Souk and learn about the history and architecture of Nizwa Fort and Jabrin Castle
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel in Muscat. Following check in, spend the rest of your day at leisure, enjoying the hotel facilities.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Chedi Muscat
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
gold souk

After breakfast, you will be met by your local driver- guide and driven to the Grand Mosque of Muscat. The full name of this iconic building is ‘Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque’ and it’s one of the largest mosques in the world, accommodating up to 20,000 worshippers at any one time. Prepare to be awe-struck by the beautiful artwork, chandeliers and beautifully patterned carpet, which covers the entire prayer hall. Both men and women must ensure they are dressed conservatively for this visit: long trousers and covered shoulders for men, covered head, covered arms, and long trousers or floor-length skirts for women.

Continue your tour with a visit to the Royal Opera House, famously known as the musical arts and culture centre of Oman. Take some time to marvel at this majestic venue, designed to resemble an Omani Palace with modern style and flourish. Your guide will then take you to an old part of Muscat, to visit Bait Al Zubair Museum. This museum boasts a collection of traditional Omani weapons including swords, daggers and rifles, as well as traditional jewellery, cosmetics and costumes from the various regions of Oman.

The next leg of your journey will be to Muttrah Souk, one of the oldest souks in Oman. En route you’ll stop for a photo opportunity outside Al Alam Palace, the official palace of Sultan Qaboos. The rest of your tour can be spent wandering the narrow alleyways of Muttrah Souk, surrounded by the rich smells of sandalwood and spices as you meet the locals and shop for unique souvenirs. In the late afternoon, return to your hotel where you are welcome to spend the rest of your day at leisure.

If you wish, you can also enjoy an optional tour of Bait Adam Museum,which includes having lunch with the esteemed curator of the museum, who will share unique insights into the museum’s collections, which include wonderful historic photos of the royal family.

This afternoon you also have the optional activity of going on a romantic sunset cruise onboard a traditional wooden dhow boat. As you cruise along the coast, you can tuck into locally-grown dates and sip on rich Omani coffee or fruit juice.

We can also arrange dinner at the legendary Kargeen Cafe, a romantic and cosy Middle Eastern environment that serves up delicious homemade shisha, Omani and international cuisine.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Chedi Muscat
a large body of water with a mountain in the background

Following breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up and taken to Central Oman. Along the way, you will make a stop at Quriyat Village, a large fishing village which boasts an impressive 18th century fort. Moving on to Wadi al Arbeieen, known as the ‘dead river bed,’ this region offers stunning natural scenery. You’ll explore the area with an exhilarating off-road drive and then continue on towards Bima Sinkhole, a spectacular limestone crater filled with sparkling, azure water. Take some time to explore the beauty of this location and enjoy a rest stop before moving on to your next destination Wadi Tiwi.

Wadi Tiwi is a spectacularly deep and narrow gorge carved out of the mountains, which runs between towering cliffs right down to the sea. Witness the stunning pools of emerald waters, and explore the traditional villages that dot the area, as well as the lush date and banana plantations. A traditional Falaj water system carries water through ancient channels from the mountains down to the farms. Your guide will explain the cultivation system these villagers follow for the many different fruits grown here.

After your time in Wadi Tiwi you’ll be driven to city of Sur, also known as the ‘dhow city of Oman’ as many of Oman’s traditional masted sailing vessels are produced here. You’ll visit a dhow building yard (subject to permission) before being driven to Wahiba Sands. Wahiba Sands is an ocean of orange sand dunes that seems to stretch out endlessly. Some dunes attain a height of about 100 metres. An experienced driver will take you on an exciting drive through these undulating sand dunes. You will then be taken to the desert camp where you will stay for one night, following a delicious dinner on site.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Desert Nights Camp, Deluxe Tent
Exterior, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar

After some breakfast at the desert camp, you will be picked up and driven to Wadi Bani Khalid. This scenic drive will take you through the Al Hajar Mountains to Bida Village where you can enjoy spectacular views of the valleys and waterfalls that populate this area. Wadi Bani Khalid stands out like an oasis in the middle of the desert, boasting turquoise springs, and just perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot day. Spend some time enjoying this breath-taking location, surrounded by lush green trees and stunning scenery before moving on to the next destination, Birkat Al Mouz.

After a walking tour of Birkat al Mouz, home to the restored fort of Bait al Redidah and lush green date plantations, your adventures continues to Wadi al Maideen, where you’ll have a chance to climb Jabal Akhdar Mountain, which translates as the ‘Green Mountain’. Some of this mountain’s peaks rise to a height of 2,980 metres and it is famous for its wide plateau close to the summit. Due to its location and unique weather, Jabal Akhdar Mountain produces a variety of fruits, such as apricots, plums, figs, grapes, apples and pears, as well as almonds, walnuts and saffron. The pomegranate that grows here is classified among the finest of its kind in the world.

After your mountain walk, you’ll be driven to your hotel, Alila Jabal Akhdar. This incredible hotel is inspired by the ancient forts and is constructed using traditional Omani stonework techniques. Perched in the mountains and offering sensational views over Oman, why not spend the rest of your day in this mountain haven enjoying a refreshing dip in the outdoor swimming pool?

Suggested Accommodation

  • Alila Jabal Akhdar
Muscat

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up and taken to Nizwa. The city of Nizwa lies at the foot of Al Jabal al Akhdar (Green Mountain) and is the regional centre of Dakhiliyah Governorate.

First, you’ll explore Nizwa Souk, which lies close to the walls of Nizwa Fort. The winding alleyways of Nizwa Souk have remained for hundreds of years and you’ll find a wide variety of local industries selling fish, livestock, fresh vegetables, and traditional handicrafts.

Afterwards you can explore Nizwa Fort, which is famous for its enormous round tower built in the 17th century. Nizwa Fort dominates the entire area, with the town having grown around the edifice. Take the narrow twisting staircase that’s accessed by heavy metal-studded wooden doors up to the top of the tower, where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of Nizwa.

You can then discover Jabrin Castle which dates back to 1670, and was designed to resemble the most beautiful palaces of that period. The castle’s ceilings are decorated with paintings and Islamic-era style inscriptions, and its doors are beautifully carved. All these architectural details make Jabreen Castle an authentic expression of Omani craftsmanship.

You will be picked up and driven the two hour ride back to Muscat and dropped at Muscat International Airport for your onward arrangements. Otherwise, why not consider extending your stay in Oman? You could spend longer in the mountains before returning to Muscat, or even travel south with a flight to Salalah, known for its banana plantations and Arabian Sea beaches.

Included

  • International flights and airfare taxes
  • Board basis is Breakfast at Chedi Muscat (in a Serai room), Half Board at Desert Camp (in a deluxe tent), and at Alila Jabal Akhdar (Mountain View room)
  • Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 4 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
  • Private air-conditioned transport and transfers
  • Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
  • English-speaking local drive-guide for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for monuments and entertainment for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary

Not included

  • Visa arrangements and fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
  • Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
  • Gratuities for local driver-guide, and hotel staff
  • Meals (unless specified)
  • Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)