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3 Day Culture Itinerary

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Whether an extended weekend, stopover or short city break, three days in Oman can deliver lasting memories and build anticipation for your next visit.

Day 1

Sur

Located less than two hours from Muscat, Sur is a great place to visit thanks to its rich cultural heritage. Sur is home to the last remaining Dhow yard in Oman, where visitors have the unique chance to witness how traditional Dhows are made by hand. Close to the Dhow factory, the Sur Maritime Museum focusses on the city’s maritime history as trading and Dhow building centre. Travelling in the direction of the lagoon, visitors can see Al Ayjah and its lighthouse overlooking the sea.

National Museum Oman

Rich in history and heritage

Opened in 2016, the National Museum of Oman is located opposite the Sultan’s Palace in Old Muscat and showcases the Sultanate’s rich history and heritage, from its earliest settlement through to present day.

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Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre

Learn about the oil and gas industry

The Oman Oil and Gas Exhibition Centre highlights the journey of the discovery, extraction, and use of fossil fuels in Oman through interactive displays.

Established in 1995 under Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the centre particularly appeals to visitors interested in learning about the oil and gas industry and how it has contributed to the growth of infrastructure throughout Oman.

The PDO planetarium lies adjacent to the centre and boasts a “full dome” digital system to teach kids and adults about astronomy in an engaging way.

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Al Ansab Wetlands

a protected area

Set in the middle of Muscat, the Al Ansab Wetlands are a protected area and an ornithologists dream. Over 293 species of birds stop over at different times throughout the year, with over 80 resident species.

Muscat: Colours and fragrance fill the air at Al Ansab Wetland where winter sees the best of plants and trees bloom. The wetland has 113 species of Omani trees and shrubs. “The wetland has been there since mid- to late 80s but it was not the way it is now. At that time, may be it was used for treating purposes. Since 2011, The company ( Haya ) started focusing more on it and made a lot of changes. It is now all treated water and therefore you do not have any smell in the wetland areas. “With the addition of shrubs and trees, the area of wetland is attracting more birds. Initially, 150 bird species were reported. Now, it is more than 300.” The wetland has five lagoons, the biggest of which has a depth of four metres. The water, besides attracting birds, also supports greenery. Most of the trees and shrubs are naturally grown. But Haya Water team planted 300 trees to create a forest area, which have all grown and today provide extended shade. In the process, there have been other trees that have sprouted naturally such as banyan trees and date palms. A little further away, adjacent to the nursery of the wetland, the team planted more trees.
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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

An architectural masterpiece

This architectural masterpiece is Oman's pride and joy. Located in Bawshar, the mosque is home to the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet as well as a one of the largest chandeliers in the world which is decorated with hundreds of Swarovski crystals. The mosque is open to the public from Saturday to Thursday between 8am and 11am and a dress code applies.

Quietly imposing from the outside, this glorious piece of modern Islamic architecture was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to mark his 30th year of reign. The main prayer hall is breathtakingly beautiful. The Persian carpet alone measures 70m by 60m wide, making it the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world; it took 600 women four years to weave. Mwasalat buses stop outside the mosque. The mosque, which can accommodate 20,000 worshippers, including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall), is an active place of worship, particularly for Friday prayers. Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering arms and legs and avoiding tight clothing. Women and girls (aged seven and above) must cover their hair. An abaya (full-length dress) and scarf can be hired from the mosque cafe and gift shop for OR2.5; some form of ID is required as a deposit. Tours are available.
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Day 2

Sharqiyah Sands

Head towards Sharqiyah Sands and the town of Bidiyah, which is a great place to start a desert excursion. Local tour operators offer day-long excursion into the desert by 4WD vehicle or camel. Truly an unforgettable experience.

Ras Al Jinz

A famous nature reserve

Thousands of sea turtles migrate yearly to the shores of Oman to lay their eggs. Ras Al Jinz is a nature reserve famous for the opportunity to witness the endangered green sea turtle in its natural habitat during nesting and hatching season.

Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, a unique natural landscape, unspoiled shorelines, golden deserts, luxuriant green oases and rugged mountains. Ras Al Jinz is world renown for the nesting of the endangered green turtle (Cheloniamydas), probably the most important nesting concentration on the Indian Ocean. This is the only place where public can watch the nesting process of these amazing sea-giants. A once in a lifetime opportunity.
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Wadi Bani Khalid

One of the Sultanate’s best-known wadis

One of the Sultanate’s best known wadis, Wadi Bani Khalid is a geographical wonderland of pools, caves and mountains. Unlike other wadis, it enjoys a constant flow of water all year round - perfect for visiting any season.

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Al Mudayrib Village

This traditional village is home to an old centre

Complete with aflaj (waterway) system, watch towers and mud brick buildings. The village is surrounded by date palms and its heritage souq has recently been restored.

Al Mudayrib has managed to keep its atmosphere and character. The historical center is surrounded by small hills with watchtowers which are visible from afar. Al Mudayrib is still inhabited as it always was, although here too new buildings are emerging around the old settlement. In the middle of the hollow the houses cluster around the only falaj. The oldest extant buildings in Al Mudayrib are from the 18th century. The comparatively good condition of the walls is thanks to the solid manner of construction – the stones were bound together with a mixture of clay and plaster. The large buildings equipped with defensive towers were used by the various clans as meeting points. In times of war they served as a defensive refuge for individual members of the tribe or for large families.
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Jalan Bani Bu Ali

A town steeped in history with old watchtowers

Jalan Bani Bu Ali is a town steeped in history with old watchtowers, an old fort and ornate carved wooden doors at every turn. However, it is most famous for the souq, which is open every Friday morning and sells a variety of modern and traditional goods.

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Day 3

Nizwa

Home to Nizwa Fort and Souq – both of which are attractions in their own right. With its massive circular watchtower and interior living spaces, this is a great example of an Omani fortification. The fort is surrounded by a sprawling souq, where visitors can spend hours bargaining for local pottery, handicrafts and jewellery. The wadi and village of Tanuf is a 20-minute drive away from Nizwa Fort. Here you can explore old ruins and walk along the river before setting out for your return to Muscat.

Ain Al Kasfa – Al Rustaq

said to have therapeutic qualities

Located at the heart of Al Rustaq, Ain Al Kasfa is a hot spring said to have therapeutic qualities. Purpose-built bathing rooms are available close by for visitors to use, as swimming in the spring itself is not allowed.

Al Rustaq is famous for two impressive and historically important landmarks: Al Hazm Castle (حصن الحزم) and the imposing Al Rustaq Fort (قـلعة الرستاق). Al Hazm Castle is at the outskirts of Al Rustaq and is one of the most famous castles in the Sultanate. The castle was built by Imam Sultan bin Saif II in the early 18th century, who is buried in this castle along with his son.  Al Hazm Castle features a massive beautiful wooden door with intricate writing and it is unique among other Omani castles for having its roof held by columns instead of the traditional wooden roof supports. The massive Al Rustaq Fort, a much older fort dating back to the 13th century, is near the city market and be can be seen from the surrounding hills. The fort is cradled by four tall towers, the tallest being more than 18 meters tall. The fort also has its own falaj water system within it. Both Al Rustaq Fort and Al Hazm Castle are included in the Tentative List to be nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage List. Unfortunately, they were both also closed for renovations during our visit (with typically no foreseen re-opening dates!), but if you climb up the mountain overlooking Rustaq you can see amazing views of the city and Al Rustaq Fort as it is clearly the most dominant feature of the landscape.
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Qurum Beach

clear waters and swaying palm trees

This impressive stretch of sand is a local favourite with its clear waters and swaying palm trees. An array of water sports is on offer to visitors, including jet skiing, banana boating and parasailing, as well as snorkelling and scuba diving excursions. Along the popular coastal road, there are a wide range of restaurants and coffee shops that look out over the beach.

Escape the heat, hustle and bustle of the city and head to the coast. And where better to go than the popular Qurum Beach? Catch some sun on the beautiful sandy beach or lie in the shade of a palm tree. It’s free to enjoy as you wish. Need to cool off? Then submerge yourself in the clear waters of the Gulf of Oman. And once it’s time to rehydrate you’ll find a great choice of cafes and coffee shops close by. Our Hop-on, Hop-off Muscat Bus Tour takes you almost right onto the sand. Then jump back on board for a ride to the neighbouring Mangrove Lagoon. A thriving city beach Located in the upmarket neighbourhood of Qurum - the beating heart of modern Muscat – the beach here is a busy centre of activity. Ride the waves on a jet ski or see and be seen along the coastal road – a classic, scenic strip popular with strolling locals. Other interesting facts about Qurum Beach, Muscat
  • Qurum Beach stretches for four kilometres (2.5 miles) along the Muscat coastline
  • Watersports like jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking can be booked at the Crowne Plaza end of the beach
  • You can also book snorkelling and scuba diving excursions here
  • There’s no great tidal range and waves are small, so bathing is relatively safe at Qurum Beach
  • There’s a good selection of international refreshment and dining options along the coast road
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Bait Na’aman Castle

perfect for visitors to catch a glimpse at past times

Constructed in the 16th century as private residence for visiting imans, Bait Na’aman Castle is perfect for visitors to catch a glimpse at past times. This is thanks to the many traditional furniture and fittings on display, as well as other features such as the underground falaj system.

Rather more interesting than Barka’s fort is the beautiful old fortified house of Bait Na’aman. The unusually tall and narrow house, with alternating square and round towers, is thought to have been constructed around 1691–92 by imam Bil’arab bin Sultan (or possibly his brother, and successor as imam, Saif bin Sultan), and was used by both imams during their visits to the area. According to one tradition, this is also where Sultan Said bin Sultan murdered his unpopular predecessor Badr bin Saif in 1806 with a single blow from his khanjar. The entire building was beautifully restored in 1991. Unlike most of Oman’s forts, the house has been fitted out with a lavish selection of traditional furnishings and fittings, giving the place an engagingly domestic atmosphere and making it much easier to imagine what life was like for its former inhabitants than in most other Omani heritage buildings. Downstairs you’ll find the original bathroom and stone toilet, both connected to an underground falaj which formerly brought water all the way from Nakhal. There’s also a storage room, in which dates were pressed (the holes in the floor were used to siphon off the juice), as well as a pitch-black ladies’ jail. The main living areas are situated upstairs, with a sequence of rooms attractively furnished with traditional rugs, cushions, crockery and jewellery. These include the men’s and ladies’ majlis, plus a quaint bedroom with four-poster bed and a wooden hatch in the floor through which water could be drawn up from below. Nearby is the private majlis of the imam, equipped with a secret escape passage, and a watchtower with pit-like jails for miscreants. Further stairs lead up to the roof. The main tower is supported by beautiful teak beams, with old pictures of ships scratched onto the walls. The tower originally housed six cannon, backed up by three more cannon in the house’s second tower – an impressive array of firepower for what was essentially a private residence rather than a proper fort. To reach the house, drive around 5km north of the roundabout by the Lulu hypermarket along the main coastal highway then turn right off the highway, following the signs to A’Naaman and (just afterwards) the Barka Health Center, following the road as it twists back towards the coast. The house is about 3km down the road on your left – it’s not signposted, but is instantly recognizable.
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Sohar Fort

The Sohar Fort is completely white

Rather than the usual mud brick colour associated with forts in Oman, the Sohar Fort is completely white. Built during the 13th century, Sohar Fort now houses a small museum in its largest tower but an original 10km long tunnel that served as an escape route in the event of a siege is still intact.

Built in the 13th century, Sohar’s distinctive square-towered fort allegedly boasts a 10km tunnel intended as an escape route during a siege. Easier to find is the small museum in the fort’s tower, which outlines local history, and the tomb of Sayyid Thuwaini Bin Sultan Al Busaid, ruler of Oman from 1856 to 1866. The fort has recently been well restored, with several rooms furnished to give an idea of military life in 19th-century Oman.
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  • 1 Day
  • 3 Days
  • 7 Days
  • 12 Days
  • - 1 Day

    1 Day

    One day may not feel long to experience everything Oman has to offer but with some careful planning and clever selections you can certainly make the most of every minute.

  • - 3 Days

    3 Days

    Whether an extended weekend, stopover or short city break, three days in Oman can deliver lasting memories and build anticipation for your next visit.

  • - 7 Days

    7 Days

    If you have a bit more time, why not head to Oman’s far south and explore Salalah – the gulf’s only tropical destination.

  • - 12 Days

    12 Days

    A longer trip to Oman allows you to go further, see more and do more. With 12 days, you can fully appreciate the wonders Oman has to offer from boat trips to mountain hikes, immersing yourself in the culture and creating an unforgettable experience.