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I have been dreaming about visiting all the beautiful places in Oman I keep hearing about and seeing pictures of for a few years now. I have a friend who lived there for six months and she couldn’t say enough great things about this history and culture-rich country, and it is at the top of my list of countries to visit in the Middle East.
Prior to 1970, Oman was not developed and was closed to visitors but now it is a safe and friendly travel option in the Middle East that is known for its rich heritage and tradition and its welcoming locals. Incredibly, human occupation of Oman dates back 10,000 years (!) and Omanis are proud of their long and storied history.
Along with uncovering the country’s history and culture in its historic forts, gleaming mosques, and bustling souks, Oman is also a country for lovers of adventure and epic landscapes, including deserted beaches, rugged mountains, sparse deserts, and remote wadis full of emerald green waters – perfect for a dip.
I’m really hoping to get to Oman in the next couple of years because now it is easier than ever to travel to Oman from the US and a lot of other countries, which means that it is only going to get more popular – and more crowded.
When I do make it there, I already know where I want to go and what I want to see. Here’s my bucket list of the most beautiful places in Oman that I can’t wait to visit.
Check out this Oman Itinerary for further inspiration.
10 Most Beautiful Places in Oman I Want To Visit
1. Jebel Shams Canyon
Jebel Shams is the highest mountain in Oman and an excellent place to hike. The most popular hike is the Balcony Walk which has excellent views, steep dropoffs, and leads to an abandoned village.
Although the hiking and four-wheel-drive roads are worthy of a visit by themselves, the real star of the show at Jebel Shams is the spectacular view into Wadi Ghul, a deep canyon that is known as the Grand Canyon of the Middle East.
2. Wahiba Sands Desert
If you want to live out your Lawrence of Arabia dreams, then there is no better place than Wahiba Sands. Wahiba Sands is an ocean of undulating dunes, stretching out to the horizon in all directions.
There are numerous activities you can do in Wahiba Sands including dune bashing, camel riding, star gazing, and watching the epic sunsets.
The best way to experience the dunes is by staying overnight in a Bedouin camp which range from traditional to luxurious and include dinner under the stars and the above-mentioned activities.
3. Wadi Shab
One of the most popular wadis to visit in Oman, Wadi Shab is one of the most beautiful places in Oman with shimmering blue-green pools spread through a narrow canyon. There is even a waterfall you can only reach by swimming into a cave.
A visit to Wadi Shab involves a short boat trip, a moderate hike, scrambling over rocks and boulders, a few gorgeous swimming holes, and a cave waterfall – it sounds like my kind of adventure!
4. Bimmah Sinkhole
Similar to a wadi (an oasis or flooded riverbed/valley) the Bimmah Sinkhole is a limestone depression filled with super clear, emerald-colored water where you can swim. It reminds me a lot of the cenotes in Mexico which I love, and technically, a cenote is also a sinkhole.
If you want to spice up your visit to Bimmah Sinkhole with more adventure, you can cliff dive into the water – this is a popular activity with local teenagers.
5. Nizwa Fort
I love a fort – I basically based my time in India around visiting as many forts as possible – so I definitely want to visit the most famous fort in Oman: Nizwa Fort. There are a number of forts in Oman but Nizwa Fort is special because of the cylindrical shape of its main tower, which is also the largest fort tower in Oman.
For anyone interested in getting a glimpse into what life in Oman was like in the past, Nizwa Fort is an excellent place to visit as there are numerous artifacts and exhibits about the history of the fort and what life was like there.
6. Masirah Island
I am a big fan of islands, and the more off the beaten path the island is, the more I like it. And Masirah Island is definitely off the beaten path.
Masirah Island is the largest island in Oman and is a naturalist’s paradise. It is home to five species of turtle, flamingos, ghost crabs, and many species of native and migratory birds.
Along with wildlife watching, Masirah Island is also known for its gorgeous white sand beaches that ring the island. Fishing, birdwatching, and kite surfing are popular activities on the island.
7. Musandam Fjords
The Musandam Peninsula is known as the Norway of the Middle East because of its stunning fjords. The rocky cliffs plunging down to aquamarine waters looks spellbinding and I want to experience this magical place in person.
The best way to experience the fjords is by taking a traditional dhow boat where you can see dolphins playing in the clear waters. You can also kayak and swim in the fjords.
8. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is known as one of the most beautiful modern mosques in the world. The grand mosque is the largest in Oman, is full of beautiful mosaics and Islamic art, and is surrounded by manicured gardens.
The mosque was built in 2001 and is one of the only mosques in Oman that permits visitors.
9. Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most popular wadis to visit in Oman, and unlike Wadi Shab, it is very easy to access – it’s only a five-minute walk from the car park.
There is a large main pool, a canyon you can swim through, and a few smaller upper pools – all of the pools are a clear, emerald green and look super inviting.
10. Ras Al Hadd
Ras Al Hadd is all about beautiful beaches and turtles – and who doesn’t love both of these? The remote beaches of Ras Al Hadd are mostly deserted with little to no amenities and crystal clear waters which are perfect for swimming.
If you are visiting between April to August you will see large sea turtles nesting on the beach – it’s one of the best places in Oman to see them.
So, what did I miss? Are there any other must-visit beautiful places in Oman that I have to visit? Tell me!
Further to my last email. I noticed you didn’t respond to my comment about retirement.
I didn’t mean to offend you in anyway.
I just thought that you would be a great source of information on retirement as you have travelled to extensively.
Love your content and all the best.
Hi Jay, you haven’t offended me, I haven’t been online for a few days. I haven’t really looked into places to retire because it’s about 30 years off for me. I believe Thailand has retirement visas that aren’t too hard to get so I would look into that.
further to my last post – can be anywhere in the world
This is a bit off topic, but what places would you suggest to retire? Ideally where its safe, warm, good medical coverage, lower cost of living, beautiful (preferably near a body of water), preferably english speaking, good amenities etc.
You also need to explore other places:
1) Wakan Village
2) Mountains and Wadis around Rustaq with places such as:
-Wadi Al Hoqain
-Wadi Bani Auf
-Wadi Bani Kharus
-Ain Athawarah (Athawarah Spring)
3) Quriyat :
-Rocky Beach At Al-Finz
-Igraren Rocky Beach
– Widespread with eroded rocks at the coastal beaches
Thanks Faisal, I will definitely add these to my list of things to do in Oman when I visit!
There are many places to visit and explore and every region has its places of interest from ruins of old history town, wadis, cultural and traditional. For those who reside in Oman can explore by region to ensure they had cover almost all places. For outsider can plan as well based on which region there visiting
Thanks for your comment Nasser, I am sure there will be many more places I want to experience in Oman as well as these 🙂
You have not mention other places like nizwa fort
I did mention Nizwa Fort but thanks for the suggestions on the other places to visit.
Ras al hadd is a nice place to visit and also for trekking. Happy to see the photo taken by me used in this article.
Oh wow, your photo was on pixabay or unsplash? That is where I sourced my photos. Which one is yours?
Very good information. At present I am living in Oman,but I not seen all these places.Now I am trying to these places.
What a beautiful country to live in, enjoy!