Forbes named Oman one of the best places to visit in the Middle East and for good reason. To start, not many are aware of its existence much less its abundance of splendors and sights. Given that it's still largely untouched by the world of tourism, we strongly encourage those looking for a new adventure to explore the vast reaches and cultures that make up the country of Oman. If you’re interested, feel free to browse our Oman tours here.
In addition, the people of Oman are some of the most welcoming and friendly of sorts. Truly, Oman is one of those rare countries that, we believe, has something for everyone from luxurious stays to those wanting off the beaten track, and from culture vultures to adrenaline junkies.
Here are our top five reasons to visit...
1. Places to stay in Oman
Oman offers an excellent and varied range of accommodation, from world-class hotels to wild camping.
In the larger cities, like Muscat, there’s no shortage of selection of five-star lodging. Six Senses Zghy Bay resort, for example, boasts an infinity pool and holistic spa. Additionally, The Chedi in Muscat is an incredibly stylish, posh beachfront resort. Most hotels in metro areas are relatively well priced and good quality.
Here are a few from our list:
- Al Bustan Palace (Muscat) - savor exquisite cuisine, enjoy an array of water sports, and select from a view of mountain, sea, or garden views. Additionally, this hotel has its own private beach that is the longest in the country at 1 kilometre.
- Golden Tulip (Nizwa) - four-star accommodations set against the majestic Hajar Mountains. There is an outdoor pool and sauna, in addition to featuring restaurants serving Arabic, Chinese, and Indian cuisine.
- Atana Khasab (Khasab) - Atana Khasab prides itself on featuring traditional Omani accommodations. There’s an outdoor pool and the hotel is set against a magnificent sight!
Away from the five-star areas, accommodation is of a good standard with a range of boutique hotels. The more adventurous can take the opportunity to sleep under the stars, either wild camping in the Empty Quarter where it’ll be all hands on deck to set up camp, or glamping in a luxury fixed camp such as Desert Nights.
2. Oman's delicious cuisine
Omani food has been influenced by the country’s location in the Middle East as well as its proximity it neighboring borders, Asia, but particularly India. For this reason, many of the dishes you’ll find in this area of the middle east are fusions of more than a few spices and tastes.
The Omani national dish is shuwa, slow-cooked lamb or goat over aromatic spiced rice, and it’s a must-try if you are in the country. Traditionally, this dish was only eaten on special occasions and was cooked in a type of oven dug in the ground, but you are now able to sample the dish in some Omani restaurants.
Other Omani staples include mandrouba (chicken rice) and desserts soaked in honey.
Omani kahwa and dates are offered almost everywhere as a sign of hospitality, kahwa being Omani coffee, which is served with cardamom.
3. Unique, Breath-taking Scenery
The scenery of Oman is spectacular, ranging from the world’s tallest sand dunes to wild beaches and rugged mountains. Some of the most beloved areas of Oman that you should add to your list if you're planning a holiday to this wonderful country:
- The Al Hajar mountains - this mountain range is home to Jebel Shams, Oman’s tallest peak, and one of the country’s greatest natural wonders, the Wadi Nakhr Gorge.
- The Empty Quarter - home to 650,000 km2 of desert with dunes of white and orange sand rippling across the horizon, while the fjords of the Musandam Peninsula hide isolated fishing villages and white sandy beaches.
- Wadi Bani Khalid - often said to be one of the best swimming areas in Oman that allows you a break from the constant desert heat. These natural emerald pools are well maintained
- Hawiyat Najm (Bimmah Sinkhole) - located southeast of Moscat, this has quickly become one of the most popular sights in Oman. DailyMail named it the most stunning sinkhole.
Oman is, also, unique to the middle East in that in has over 3,000 kilometres of coastline. Travellers visiting quickly realize how integral the sea is to Omani life.
4. Perfect Getaway
Flight times from London to Muscat are around seven and a half hours, making it relatively easy to reach Oman for a short break. This means the country is a great mid-haul destination for those in search of some winter sun.
5. Family-friendly destination
As well as the relatively short flight time meaning travelling to Oman with kids in tow is fairly stress-free, it’s also a great destination to visit over Christmas or the October and February half term holidays as this is when the weather is at its best. Not only that, Oman is one of the safest, most stable Middle Eastern countries, so it’s the perfect choice for families looking for something a little different. There is a range of family friendly activities from snorkelling to camel rides on offer.