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7 Day Culture Itinerary

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

Day 1 – 2

Salalah

Oman’s southern governorate of Dhofar is most famous for its trade with Frankincense, a practice that has been flourishing for centuries. As a result, it is deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of the region. A detailed history of the trade of Frankincense in Dhofar can be found at the Land of Frankincense Museum, just a short drive from Salalah International Airport. Al Baleed Archaeological Park is right next door. Altogether, there are four sites that comprise of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the ‘Land of Frankincense’ – the Frankincense trees of Wadi Dawkah, the remains of the caravan oasis of Shisr/Ubar and the ancient ports of Khawr Ruri and Al Baleed. Al Husn and the Al Hafah souq have remained almost unchanged since they were first built and are the perfect place to buy authentic Omani Frankincense. There are also a number of tombs and ruins in close proximity to the city that can be visited before you return to Muscat.

Mirbat

once the capital of Dhofar

East of Salalah, the coastal town of Mirbat was once the capital of Dhofar, trading in frankincense and Arabian horses. Today, visitors can spot dhows heading out to fish, or explore the old merchant houses near Mirbat Fort.

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Umran’s Grave

Right in the heart of Salalah

The long rectangular tomb of Prophet Umran is a sacred site for Muslims, surrounded by a small garden right in the heart of Salalah.

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Diving in Salalah

Spectacular Diving Experience

Salalah is a good starting point for diving and snorkelling excursions offered by local tour operators.

Shallow dive sites accessed by 4 wheel drive and fast boat extend from Salalah to Mirbat along a 40 km stretch of the coast. Marine life is typically Indo-Pacific offering a variety of macro life, brain and table corals and schooling fish, having more in common with its far southern neighbours than the Arabian Sea. The water’s colour is more blue and visibility generally higher than the dive sites located around the Muscat and Musandam regions, offering a great contrast in marine conditions if twinned with a stay in Muscat or Musandam. Due to local prevailing conditions, these dive sites are only open to divers seasonally from October to May. It remains a beautiful area to visit outside of this time, but you are not guaranteed to be able to dive every day though the dive centres remain operational. From May, the seasonal monsoon creates a phenomenon called the ‘khareef’, bringing in moisture rich winds turning the beautifully barren desert plateaux and gullies verdant green.
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Khawr Ruri

Dhofar’s largest nature reserve

Khawr Ruri  Dhofar’s largest nature reserve - is home to  a huge varietyfish, birds and plants. This nature reserve contains UNESCO World Heritage site - Samharam port.  For bird watching enthusiasts, there is the opportunity to see a large number of migratory and local birds, including Pink Flamingos.

It is considered the most attractive to tourists as it contains Khawr Ruri port, famously known as Samharam. Nearby, there are important ruins that date back to prehistoric times. The port was often mentioned in Greek, Hellenic and Arabic historical scrolls, being the main port for the export of frankincense in Dhofar. Therefore the khawr (lagoon) has gained special status, as it is not only a nature reserve, but an important heritage reserve as well, and has been included in the World Heritage List. Before that, it was a natural reserve helping to maintain the biological balance, where many fish, birds and plants live. The lagoon is connected to Wadi Darbat.
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Day 3

Muscat

The capital of Oman and the perfect place to experience the old and new of Omani culture. Old Muscat has a lot to see, from the Al Alam Palace and old forts, to several l museums in the area. Nearby Muttrah Corniche is a great place to visit, especially after sunset, to enjoy sparkling waterfront views and shop at Muttrah Souq. A concert at the Royal Opera House Muscat is always a special opportunity, with artists from around the world and region performing anything from opera to world music.

Bait Al Baranda

historical displays from across the ages

Bait Al Baranda is located in Muttrah in what used to be the residence of a prominent merchant in the early 20th century. Exhibits include art and historical displays from across the ages.

Converted from a 1930s house, this museum details the history of Oman and the Muscat region. Covering topics from the geology of the country and plate tectonics to Oman’s military and political history, a visit to Bait Al-Baranda (translates to ‘villa with a verandah’) is a great way to get an overview of Omani culture and tradition. Multimedia exhibits include interactive screens and videos as well as a photo history and a variety of art and posters on display. There are models of and artifacts from ancient Oman. Tracing history back to prehistoric Oman, the exhibits tells of the country’s early Islamic period, Portuguese occupation and current dynasty. A presentation of dinosaurs’ bones found 10,000 years ago in the Al-Khoud area is particularly noteworthy.
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Place and People Museum

a modern art gallery

Place and People Museum is located along Muttrah’s beautiful waterfront – or corniche – and divided into three different exhibits: an old Omani house showcasing living in the Sultanate in the 1950s to 1970s, a museum highlighting Omani clothing and a modern art gallery.

Place and People Museum is an exclusive addition to the Omani cultural scene, opened in January '2011 Located near the Muttrah Fort, the museum is a dream project of Her Highness Sayyida Dr Ghalya bint Fahr bin Taimour Al Said. The Old house is a group of typical Omani houses from the period of 1950 to 1975 that tell the story of the Omanis and their deeply rooted heritage, customs and traditions. The Wedding, the Kitchen and Display Rooms, the Mother and Children’s Room, the Winter Room, the Majlis (Living Room), Musabbeh’s Room describe the earlier Omani lifestyle which still finds echoes in today’s traditions. The museum displays a subtlety combined with a sense of immediacy (to transport the visitor back in time) in showing Omani life at this period in the form of the historic contents of their homes, their art, artifacts and inventions.
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Hiking – Riyam Walk

spectacular views over the sea

Starting opposite Riyam park, the Riyam Walk begins with a steep climb at the end of which hikers are rewarded with spectacular views over the sea and surrounding area. The path gradually descends into an old abandoned village and takes you through to Muttrah, a great way of exploring the old part of Muscat first hand.

Hiking in Muscat, a capital city? Yes it is possible. One of the particularity of Muscat is that it is composed of neighborhoods separated by rocky hills. This means that you can climb those hills to get nice views, especially on trail C38 between Riyam and Muttrah.
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Royal Opera House Muscat

A beautiful example of modern Omani architecture

The Royal Opera House Muscat hosts world-class shows and brings artists from around the world to Oman, including ballet, operas, musicals and more. Luxury shopping and fine dining is available at the Opera Galleria next door.

Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading arts and culture organization in the Sultanate of Oman.The vision of the Opera House is to serve as a centre of excellence in global cultural engagement. We strive to enrich lives through diverse artistic, cultural, and educational programs. The multidisciplinary work of Royal Opera House Muscat showcases rich and diverse artistic creations from Oman, the region, and the world; provides a space for culture and socioeconomic development reflections and actions; inspires audiences and nurtures creativity with innovative programs; fosters cultural vitality and unleashes talent; promotes cultural tourism; and puts cultural diplomacy into practice by reinvigorating global and multi-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges.
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Day 4

Nakhl & Al Rustaq

Al Batinah has plenty of attractions on offer, here a few highlights for a day trip. Perched atop a large rock, the Nakhal Fort was constructed on the remains of a pre-Islamic structure in the 19th century. The hot springs of Ain Thowarah are just a short drive away, through Nakhal’s beautiful date plantations. Halfway between Nakhal and Al Rustaq is the turn-off to Wadi Mistal and Wakan Village. Though not for the faint hearted, a stopover in this mountain village is definitely worth it. Once the capital of Oman, Al Rustaq was an important trading hub between the Interior and coast. Its fort is one of the largest in Oman. The old souq opposite the fort and the Ain Al Kasfa hot springs are also worth a visit.

Bait Al Zubair

A prominent landmark of Old Muscat

Once a private residence, the owner’s family have since turned Bait Al Zubair into a prominent landmark of Old Muscat. From art to photography and traditional artefacts from daily life, the museum is a must for everyone interested in learning more about the Sultanate’s heritage.

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Pink Lagoons of Al Kahil

A striking bright pink

Found in the central part of Al Wusta, the pink lagoons of Al Kahil and Al Jazir derive their name from the colour the lagoons take on when algae change the appearance of the water and turn the surrounding sand a striking bright pink.

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Telegraph Island

a favourite with tourists

Named after a telegraph station built on the island by the British in the 19th century, Telegraph Island is a favourite with tourists looking to explore the ancient abandoned ruins, snorkel in the surrounding waters or simply enjoy a Dhow cruise to the island to witness the stunning fjords of Khawr Ash Sham.

The expression “going around the bend” is not just an idle phrase. For a handful of British soldiers in the mid-1800s, being stationed “around the bend” was the worst place you could possibly be, a lonely island outpost where soldiers slowly lost their minds in the desert heat. From 1864 to 1869, Jazirat al Maqlab, or “Telegraph Island,” was an active telegraph outpost crucial to communication between India and Britain. For five years after the telegraphy was decommissioned, British soldiers continued to man the isolated outpost. Reportedly, every single man stationed at the outpost “around the bend” of the Musandam peninsula completely lost his mind from the monotony and heat. Stuck for months on the football-field sized island, cut off from the outside world, and subject to intense desert heat, the solders were slowly driven mad. Today the island is a ghostly remnant of the once-great British Empire. The outpost was abandoned in the mid-1870s, and the buildings have crumbled. The island now serves as a snorkeling and fishing destination rather than a strategic communication hub, but the oppressive heat and the lonely atmosphere that helped drive the soldiers “around the bend” remains.
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Thamrit

once a frankincense trade point

The main gateway to Salalah, the town of Thamrit once played an important role in the frankincense trade, bordering the vast Rub Al Khali desert.

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Day 5

Nizwa

Oman’s interior awaits. The historic town of Nizwa is surrounded by date plantations and mountains and the starting point for today’s cultural adventures. Like Muscat, Nizwa holds a sprawling souq – complete with old and new part. Nearby is one of Oman’s most famous forts, Nizwa Fort. Both are worth a visit, especially on Friday, for the weekly animal market. Nestled at the foot of the Al Hadjar Mountains, Al Hamra has numerous mudbrick buildings making up its old centre. Best explored on foot, the settlement includes Bait Al Safah – a museum where locals show visitors first-hand the daily household routine of a traditional Omani house. Misfat Al Abreyeen, a stunning mountain village, is just 8 km from here. Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest mountains awaits with its very own ‘Grand Canyon’ and views that turn any photo into a masterpiece. A 4WD vehicle is required.

Quriyat

a favourite with bird watchers

The fishing village of Quriyat, en route to Sur, is a favourite with bird watchers. Species such as Kingfishers and Grey Herons are known to frequent the surrounding lagoons.

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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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Seeb Souq

a sprawling market

Located along the coastal road in Seeb, this souq is a sprawling market selling anything from stunning traditional jewellery and luxurious perfume oils, to livestock and locally grown fruits.

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Omani French Museum

Established by His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said

Honouring the close relationship Oman and France have enjoyed for centuries, the Omani French Museum was established by His Majesty, Sultan Qaboos bin Said and former French President, the late François Mitterrand in 1992. It is housed in Bait Faransa, the former residence of a French consul in Old Muscat.

With galleries detailing relations between the two countries, this museum provides an interesting snapshot of mostly 19th-century colonial life in Muscat. Of particular interest are a series of old photographs and maps documenting the capital in the last century. There's also a Paris map showing the itinerary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos during his state visit in 1989.
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Day 6

Bahla to Old Minzafah

Bahla Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest fort in Oman – from there, the road leads to Ibra. Having been restored according to ancient methods since 1987, Bahla Fort is now open to the public, just opposite Bahla Souq. Jabreen Castle was built in the 17th century and commands panoramic views of the surroundings date plantations. Over three storeys tall, Jabreen Castle was a private residence, not fortification, and its intricate ceilings and clever layout are a sight to behold until today. The old part of Ibra known as Al Minzafah once enjoyed great prosperity, with merchants building large houses from money made with trade. Today, Ibra’s old quarter lays mainly in ruins, but the surrounding watchtowers and old buildings are evidence of its former importance. Ibra also has a souq which, on Wednesday’s, is only open to women.

Royal Opera House Muscat

A beautiful example of modern Omani architecture

The Royal Opera House Muscat hosts world-class shows and brings artists from around the world to Oman, including ballet, operas, musicals and more. Luxury shopping and fine dining is available at the Opera Galleria next door.

Royal Opera House Muscat is the leading arts and culture organization in the Sultanate of Oman.The vision of the Opera House is to serve as a centre of excellence in global cultural engagement. We strive to enrich lives through diverse artistic, cultural, and educational programs. The multidisciplinary work of Royal Opera House Muscat showcases rich and diverse artistic creations from Oman, the region, and the world; provides a space for culture and socioeconomic development reflections and actions; inspires audiences and nurtures creativity with innovative programs; fosters cultural vitality and unleashes talent; promotes cultural tourism; and puts cultural diplomacy into practice by reinvigorating global and multi-disciplinary collaborations and exchanges.
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Khawr Taqah

a quaint fishing village

West of Taqah, a quaint fishing village, this lagoon (khawr) combines freshwater plants with other varieties that require higher levels of salinity to thrive. The result is an abundance of marine life here, as well as many different types of birds.

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Anti-Gravity Point – Mirbat

Anti-Gravity Point

Not far from Mirbat, people from all around the world come to this Anti-Gravity Point to experience the out-of-this-world feeling of having their car seemingly move up-hill with no driver input or power.

Many people come to Salalah Anit Gravity Point to see their cars going up the hill at Neutral gear (without any acceleration). This is a really amazing experience and a unique one. The car can move at a speed of more than 40 to 60 kilometers per hour without any acceleration. This point is near Tawi Atair / Mirbat and you can visit this place while going to Mirbat. You can also plan to go to this place after visiting Wadi Darbat and driving for aproximately 20 to 30 minutes on the Eastern side.
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Birkat Al Mouz

Home to many banana plantations

Birkat Al Mouz, located off the old Muscat-Nizwa road, translates to 'Banana Pool' as the area is home to many banana plantations. Bait Al Redidah Castle is set within the village and was recently renovated. Birkat Al Mouz is also the gateway to the Saiq Plateau on Jebel Al Akhdar.

Sheltered in the hinge between plain and mountain, this pretty village has retained much of its aged charm (despite recent modernisation). Birkat Al Mawz roughly translates as ‘Banana Pool’, an appropriate name as a drive through the village plantation will reveal.  There are several interesting things to see, including a fort, an active falaj (irrigation channel), some interesting old buildings that are in the process of being saved from ruin, and a thick plantation of date palms that invite a quiet stroll. The village also offers practical assistance to visitors heading up the mountain such as 4WD hire, supermarkets and camping supplies.
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Day 7

Sur to Muscat

This coastal road has breath-taking views and offers plenty of interesting stops to fill the day.

Stal Gallery

modern visual arts

This art gallery was created to promote modern visual arts and aims to bring local talent into the spotlight and provide a platform for internationally acclaimed artists. Visitors can find the gallery in Madinat Sultan Qaboos, close to the British Council.

Stal Gallery is home to many exciting Art Exhibitions. From contemporary artists to famous classic works, hosting local and international art collections - it always has something interesting to see. Explore Stal Gallery Collections, Exhibitions, Artists, Art Classes and Art courses, life painting sessions, Residency Calls for artists.
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Bimmah Sinkhole

a beautiful attraction

Part of Hawiyat Najm Park, Bimmah Sinkhole is a beautiful attraction along the Muscat – Sur road, perfect for a picnic in the park or even a quick photo-stop.

Geologists have confirmed the 65-foot deep pool is in fact a sinkhole, but locals hold on to the legend that a meteorite hit the spot. When the local municipality developed the area into a park to preserve and protect the hole, the name Haweat Najm (The Falling Star) Park was chosen. A large concrete staircase sticks out among the natural landscape, but offers a less precarious way down to the picturesque pool. Many folks just go to admire its beauty, or dip their feet in the vividly blue-green water for a fish-administered pedicure of sorts. Still some take full advantage of the salty water, diving from the cliffs within the cavern.
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Seeb Souq

a sprawling market

Located along the coastal road in Seeb, this souq is a sprawling market selling anything from stunning traditional jewellery and luxurious perfume oils, to livestock and locally grown fruits.

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Camping – Fins

a coastal village

Only a short drive from Bimmah Sinkhole, Fins is a coastal village mainly known for its hidden beaches and coves framed by white sands, turquoise waters and the Al Hajar Mountains as backdrop. Perfect for a memorable camping experience.

It’s legal to wild camp in Oman. And, done responsibly, it’s one of the most rewarding ways to take in the country’s varied terrain.
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  • - 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.

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    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.