8 best things to do in Oman, Middle East

The Sultanate of Oman. Just the name of this country transports you to an exotic ancient place full of jewels and Sinbad-like characters.

But Oman is also an upcoming travel destination that will give you so much variety of experiences: mountains, canyon, beaches, wildlife, history, and architecture.

Discover some of the top places and things to do in Oman in the Middle East and pack your bags!

8 top things to do in Oman

1. Discover the wildlife – especially nesting turtles

Experience the wildlife - things to do in Oman

One of the highlights of any trip to Oman is to admire the turtles nesting on the beach and making their way back to the sea just before sunrise.

Their effort to find the perfect spot to lay their eggs and then sliding back to the sea is admirable. They are really not meant to be on land. And if you are lucky you could even spot babies hatching and trying to make it to the ocean.

The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve offers this experience every morning. Book in advance as it is a nature reserve and access is limited.

Other wildlife activities include snorkeling in the Daymaniyat islands or chasing the elusive Arabian leopard.

2. Admire the Stunning architecture

See the architecture - top things to do in Oman

Built between 1995 and 2011, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a breathtaking piece of Islamic architecture. Located in the flat area of Muscat the building, its garden and 5 minarets stands out in the landscape.

You can explore the outside with the long corridors full of mosaics and arches, or admire the decor of the main prayer room with the 21-ton hand woven carpet. It is also home to a magnificent chandelier: 14 meters in height, 8 meters in diameter, 1122 light bulbs and 600,000 crystals!

Another jewel of Omani architecture and technical mastery is the Muscat Opera House with its wooden decor and state of the art sound set up.

3. Learn the history of Oman

Experience the history of Oman at places like Nizwa Fort

Selecting the best fort in Oman is not so easy. There are many and several of them are similar.

One of the most famous is the Nizwa fort and castle. You can even climb to the top of the 34-meter high tower for great views of the city. The Souq around the castle is a local meeting point making the visit interesting on many levels.

Built at the beginning of the 17th century, it took 12 years to complete. The Omani government does a great job at restoring and maintaining it. Most rooms have displays showing visitors how people used to live and how the fort was protected.

4. Visit Unesco World Heritage sites in Oman

Experience the Unesco World Heritage sites of Oman

The Sultanate of Oman has 4 sites on the Unesco World Heritage List (as of 2016). The most famous is the Aflaj irrigation systems which can be seen in many old villages.

Other fascinating sites are the necropolises of Bat and Al-Ayn. At Ay-Ayn, the beehive tombs are aligned on a ridge with amazing scenery. Built by nomads, they are evidence of life during the Bronze Age in the Omani region.

5. Play on Oman beaches

The beaches in Oman

Oman has a great variety of beaches: the classic flat stretches of sand, the coves between mountains and others surrounded by desert.

North of Muscat, Al-Sawadi beach is covered with shells. And at low tide you can cross to the Sawadi fort located on an island. It is a favorite for locals in the weekend.

6. Explore The Mountains and Oman’s Grand Canyon

The mountains in Oman

But more than its beaches, Oman is famous for its mountains, especially the areas of Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams.

The latest is a top destination for visitors as it is home to Oman’s Grand Canyon.

The deep rift, next to the 3000-meter high mountains, has vertical cliffs dropping over 1000 meters. A hike on a balcony walk is definitively not for travelers with vertigo.

Love canyons? Check out the Grand Canyon, Arizona and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

7. Swim in the wadis of Oman

Visit these Wadis in Oman

Another one of the best things to do in Oman is to go deep into the wadis.

The most famous are Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid. The latest is easier to access. The first pools are within 10 min of easy walking and another 10 minutes of walking and climbing over boulders will take you to a swimming area where the turquoise waters contrast with the white of the cliffs and rocks.

8. Explore and fall in love with the deserts of Oman

Experience the deserts of Oman

Considering its location on earth, most of Oman is covered by desert, the largest one being the Empty Quarter.

The most visited one, however, is Wahiba Sands. Located only 3 hours away from the capital city, its longitudinal sand dunes cover 180km of lands North to South. Permanent camps have been set up for visitors but wild camping is also permitted if you feel more adventurous. As always sand dunes offer wonderful sunrises and sunsets.

As you can see, you will be amazed every day on a trip to Oman.

Ready to pack your bags and visit Oman?

  • See more photos and information about those locations, and more things to do in Oman at my Oman Travel Guide.

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8 top things to do in Oman

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10 thoughts on “8 best things to do in Oman, Middle East”

  1. Strange, I met a guy on an airplane not two days ago that was from Oman, and it was the first time I had even heard of the place. Now this post pops up in my RSS. It looks like a really amazing place.

    1. Funny how new destinations sometimes enter our lives. Recently several people started talking to me about Lanzarote and it appeared in my feed too.
      Anyway… Oman really is amazing and not yet too touristic. A great time to visit!

  2. I never imagined that there was such places, I’ve traveled to a few places, I found very interesting these pictures show and it’s all there, one day I will visit as well.

  3. Well, Very interesting & informative blog !
    Khasab is one of the best place in Oman for travelling. Tourist have opportunity to explore this city. Very understanding peoples. This city offer, mountain safari, city tour & dhow cruise tours for tourists. Tourist can also swim & snorkel in a crystal clear water.

  4. Hi guys,

    Just wanted to say a huge thanks for putting up this post.

    We’re off to Oman in a month or so and this has been really helpful in getting us oriented.

    John & Dan

  5. Nice post. I looooove the Sultanate of Oman ! Such a great country with a lot of different landscape : sea, mountain, valley, desert and a rich culture !
    The reserve of Ras al Jinz is a great beach to see some turtles during the night. A must see in Oman !

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