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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.

Al Fizayah Beach

Stunning white sand

Located west of Salalah, past Mughsayl Beach, a hairpin road leads to the stunning white sand of Fizayah Beach.

Fazayah Beach (also spelled as Al-Fazaiah or Al-Fizayah) is one of the best beaches in Oman. Its a 5 kilometers long pristine white sand beach with clear water and a stunning landscape at the back-ground. Experienced driver in 4×4 vehicle will take you there. The journey of Salalah is incomplete without a trip to white sand beaches of Mughsayl and the blowholes overlooking Marneef cave. The blowholes are also referred as Mughsayl Natural Fountains by the tourists. The water jet from the blowholes vary according to the season, but can get as high as 28m in the sky in Khareef season. Unique path leads you to journey by foot where you start your walk from beach and go up to a cave and end up at blowholes.
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Al Husn Souq

Discover a souvenir

Located near the Sultan's Palace, Al Husn Souq is best explored in the evening when it is bustling with locals and visitors seeking locally produced Frankincense, perfumes and other souvenirs.

On the beachfront, right next to the sprawling Sultan’s Palace (Al Husn), is the marvellous Al Husn Souk (also known as Al Haffa Souk, after the district in which it’s situated), a pretty little area of small shops arranged around a neat grid of pedestrianized alleyways. This is one of the most interesting souks in Oman, particularly famous for its frankincense, bukhoor and attar (perfumes). Various rare types of local frankincense can be found here: shazri, sha’abi, najdi and, perhaps finest of all, hawjari (or hasiki) from the wadis around Hasik.
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Ubar – Lost City

a fabled lost city

This fabled lost city, also known as the Atlantis of the Sands, is tucked away in the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter) and rumoured to have been found near the oasis of Shisr. Ubar once played a vital role as frankincense trade hub and was mentioned in “A Thousand and One Nights” collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales.

In February 1992, the New York Times announced a major archaeological discovery in the following terms: “Guided by ancient maps and sharp-eyed surveys from space, archaeologists and explorers have discovered a lost city deep in the sands of Arabia, and they are virtually sure it is Ubar, the fabled entrepôt of the rich frankincense trade thousands of years ago.”
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Samharam – Khawr Ruri

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Set in Dhofar’s largest nature reserve, the ruins of Samharam are part of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO World Heritage Site. The port played an important part in trade over 2000 years ago. Overlooking Khawr Ruri, the history of the settlement and port is showcased at the on-site museum. The Queen of Sheba is said to have once had a palace at Samharam.

Khor Rorī (Arabic: خور روري‎) is an ancient south Arabian archaeological site near Salalah. The fortified city was founded as main port for Frankincense trade at the end of the first century BC, initially it was founded primarily with defensive function then developed later into a city in the first century AD. The foundation of the city by the king of Hardamaut is closely associated with rising importance of sea trade at the end of the first century BC between the Mediterranean and India. In this period, the Hadrami kingdom was economically and politically dependent on its ability to control the coastal region. History Inscriptions at Khor Rori report that the town of Sumhuram was founded on royal initiative and settled by Hadhrami emigrants. The Dhofar region was the main source of frankincense in the ancient period, and it seems likely that the foundation of the settlement by the Hadhramaut was in part motivated by wish to control the production of this valuable commodity. Most scholars identify Khor Rori with the frankincense exporting port of Moscha Limen mentioned in this region in the first century CE merchants guide, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
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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.

Al Alam Palace, Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts

Located in the heart of Old Muscat

The ceremonial palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Al Alam Palace was rebuilt as a royal residence in 1972 and is located in the heart of Old Muscat. It is flanked on either side by the impressive twin Jalali and Mirani Forts originally built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Both of these majestic buildings are still in use, and although they are not open to the public, tourists can admire the architecture from the yard and at the gates.

At the heart of Old Muscat is Al Alam Palace (“Flag Palace”), the most important of the six royal residences of the ruling monarch, Sultan Qaboos, which are dotted around Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. Built in 1972, the palace is Oman’s most flamboyant example of contemporary Islamic design, with two long wings centred on a colourful, cube-like central building, its flat, overhanging roof supported by extravagantly flared blue and gold columns. The palace isn’t open to the public, although you can get a good view of the facade from the iron gates at the front. The palace complex is impressively stage-managed, approached via a long pedestrianized boulevard framed by two arcaded colonnades, with copious amounts of highly polished marble covering every available surface. On either side stretches a cluster of impressive government buildings: huge, snow-white edifices sporting crenellated rooftops, traditional wooden balconies and window shutters. Look right as you approach the palace and you’ll also see a fine section of the original city walls snaking up the hillside, punctuated with three large watchtowers en route.
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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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Oman Natural History Museum

Located at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture

The Oman Natural History Museum provides a fascinating insight into the geological heritage of the Sultanate and its impressive flora and fauna, with displays of mammals, insects and birds as well as a beautiful botanical garden outside.

Highlights include the Whale Room, which features the large skeleton of a sperm whale which washed up on Oman’s shores in the 1980s. Natural History Museum of Oman was opened on 30 December 1985,  . The Museum shows the Omani environment diversity through offers of terrain, geology, plants, insects, wild animals and marine life. Despite the small size of the Museum but abounding of facts dealing with biodiversity of the Sultanate of Oman. The Museum features stuffed animals rarely found in the wilds of types and species living in the land of Oman, skeletons of marine organisms, birds and reptiles lived in Omani environment.
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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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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.

Dhow Cruises

a great way to experience Musandam’s coastline

Dhow cruises are a great way to experience Musandam’s coastline in the traditional sense. Many marinas and tour operators provide dhow cruises that can include island visits, swimming, barbecues, and more.

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Wadi Ghul

A beautiful view of the Wadi Ghul,

Jebel Shams is most known for its beautiful view of the Wadi Ghul, that lays deep below it. The wadi is an attraction in its own right, leading through a number of traditional villages that can only be accessed by 4WD.

Wadi Ghul is an abandoned village, located to the northwest of Al Hamra in Oman. The area is referred to as the "Omani Grand Canyon" or "The Grand Canyon of Arabia". It is near Jebel Shams, the highest mountain peak in Oman.
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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.

Read MoreRead Less
Samharam – Khawr Ruri

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Set in Dhofar’s largest nature reserve, the ruins of Samharam are part of the Land of Frankincense UNESCO World Heritage Site. The port played an important part in trade over 2000 years ago. Overlooking Khawr Ruri, the history of the settlement and port is showcased at the on-site museum. The Queen of Sheba is said to have once had a palace at Samharam.

Khor Rorī (Arabic: خور روري‎) is an ancient south Arabian archaeological site near Salalah. The fortified city was founded as main port for Frankincense trade at the end of the first century BC, initially it was founded primarily with defensive function then developed later into a city in the first century AD. The foundation of the city by the king of Hardamaut is closely associated with rising importance of sea trade at the end of the first century BC between the Mediterranean and India. In this period, the Hadrami kingdom was economically and politically dependent on its ability to control the coastal region. History Inscriptions at Khor Rori report that the town of Sumhuram was founded on royal initiative and settled by Hadhrami emigrants. The Dhofar region was the main source of frankincense in the ancient period, and it seems likely that the foundation of the settlement by the Hadhramaut was in part motivated by wish to control the production of this valuable commodity. Most scholars identify Khor Rori with the frankincense exporting port of Moscha Limen mentioned in this region in the first century CE merchants guide, the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea.
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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.

Muscat Gate Museum

One of the most photographed landmarks

One of the most photographed landmarks in the Sultanate, this museum is set over a road that marks the entrance into Old Muscat. Visitors can view general and historic information about Oman and enjoy stunning views of Muttrah corniche from the terrace.

Spanning the road between the old walled city of Muscat and the Corniche nestles the Muscat Gate Museum. The museum transport visitors to a different world, an enriching journey of the emergence and evolution of the Sultanate of Oman, also stands testament to Muscat’s history and artifacts. The gates of the museum formerly marked Muscat city’s boundary for the city was once enclosed within the fortified walls. The gateway was used until 1970 to keep intruders out of the walled vicinity. Though the museum houses limited exhibits, it is more popular for being an excellent vantage point offering breathtaking vistas of the Diwan and the Corniche. Once you are done exploring the historical artifacts, take a drive up to the aerial mast to the neighboring hillock to enjoy a panoramic view of the Muttrah area and the Muscat city before it merges with the horizon of the Al Riyam Park.
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Oman Children’s Museum

a scientific museum

Set in two distinctive domes in the north of Qurum, the Oman Children’s Museum is a scientific museum that delves into biology, interesting optical illusions, and other interactive displays for children.

The Oman Children's Museum is a children's science museum, located near Qurum Nature Park. The museum was established by the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture and opened on November 17, 1990 by Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said on the 20th National Day celebration in Oman. The museum has 45 exhibits and two demonstrations and comprises 10,000 square feet (930 m2). It was the first science museum in Oman. The museum has many hands-on displays. These include experiences of a fake electric shock, trigger a lightning bolt, launching a hot air balloon, photographing your own shadow, and sending message through a whisper dish. There is also a display named "Eye Spy", which is series of perception panels with illusions designed to offer some insight into how your eyes and brain see things differently.
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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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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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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.

Amouage Factory

Amouage is a world-renowned luxury fragrance brand

Founded over a quarter of a century ago, Amouage is a world-renowned luxury fragrance brand with origins in the Sultanate. In the Amouage Factory, visitors can get behind the scenes and garner an insight into the creation of some of the world’s most exclusive scents.

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Hallaniyat Islands

historic shipwrecks that dot the sea bed

Humpback whales and other marine life have made the water surrounding the Hallaniyat Islands home. These, together with several historic shipwrecks that dot the sea bed, provide great opportunities for any diving enthusiasts.

The Hallaniyat Islands offer untouched dive sites, and new ones are being discovered all the time. Tourism in the area is relatively new and the islands are only visited by liveaboard, giving you the chance to be one of the first to explore this untouched area. The reefs are covered with hard and soft corals with colourful residents including plenty of macro life. The seascapes include walls, spur and groove and some overhangs with a lot of fish life. Diving highlights are undoubtedly the opportunity to be in the water with the resident population of humpback whales but may also include encounters with manta rays and other whales. Anything is possible here. The islands boast a healthy marine life and you’ll see huge schools of fish at most dive sites. Huge pods of dolphin are often seen as are honeycomb morays and green turtles. There are also opportunities to explore some wrecks. The diving in the area is exploratory and suited to experienced divers.
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Salmah Plateau

Camping Hot Spot

For a real off-road adventure, a trip to Salmah Plateau offers a great mix of panoramic views, traditional villages and sights such as the Beehive Tombs of Al Jaylah/Shir or the entrance to Majlis Al Jinz, one of the largest cave chambers in the world.

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Al Rustaq Fort

Al Rustaq was the capital of Oman

Originally built in the 12th century, Al Rustaq Fort was reconstructed to its present state in the 16th century when Al Rustaq was the capital of Oman. With three levels and four watch towers, it is one of the largest forts in the Sultanate and open to the public.

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. The Old Souq of Al Rustaq is located right next to Al Rustaq Fort but it was also undergoing renovations during our visit. Shoppers can go to the new temporary souq to buy locally made handicrafts, agriculture produce and pure Omani honey. A popular destination in Al Rustaq is Ain Al Kasfa hot water spring.
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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.

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.
Read MoreRead Less
Muscat Gate Museum

One of the most photographed landmarks

One of the most photographed landmarks in the Sultanate, this museum is set over a road that marks the entrance into Old Muscat. Visitors can view general and historic information about Oman and enjoy stunning views of Muttrah corniche from the terrace.

Spanning the road between the old walled city of Muscat and the Corniche nestles the Muscat Gate Museum. The museum transport visitors to a different world, an enriching journey of the emergence and evolution of the Sultanate of Oman, also stands testament to Muscat’s history and artifacts. The gates of the museum formerly marked Muscat city’s boundary for the city was once enclosed within the fortified walls. The gateway was used until 1970 to keep intruders out of the walled vicinity. Though the museum houses limited exhibits, it is more popular for being an excellent vantage point offering breathtaking vistas of the Diwan and the Corniche. Once you are done exploring the historical artifacts, take a drive up to the aerial mast to the neighboring hillock to enjoy a panoramic view of the Muttrah area and the Muscat city before it merges with the horizon of the Al Riyam Park.
Read MoreRead Less
Al Alam Palace, Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts

Located in the heart of Old Muscat

The ceremonial palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, Al Alam Palace was rebuilt as a royal residence in 1972 and is located in the heart of Old Muscat. It is flanked on either side by the impressive twin Jalali and Mirani Forts originally built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Both of these majestic buildings are still in use, and although they are not open to the public, tourists can admire the architecture from the yard and at the gates.

At the heart of Old Muscat is Al Alam Palace (“Flag Palace”), the most important of the six royal residences of the ruling monarch, Sultan Qaboos, which are dotted around Muscat, Salalah and Sohar. Built in 1972, the palace is Oman’s most flamboyant example of contemporary Islamic design, with two long wings centred on a colourful, cube-like central building, its flat, overhanging roof supported by extravagantly flared blue and gold columns. The palace isn’t open to the public, although you can get a good view of the facade from the iron gates at the front. The palace complex is impressively stage-managed, approached via a long pedestrianized boulevard framed by two arcaded colonnades, with copious amounts of highly polished marble covering every available surface. On either side stretches a cluster of impressive government buildings: huge, snow-white edifices sporting crenellated rooftops, traditional wooden balconies and window shutters. Look right as you approach the palace and you’ll also see a fine section of the original city walls snaking up the hillside, punctuated with three large watchtowers en route.
Read MoreRead Less
Yiti Beach

Frequented by locals as well as tourists

The Yiti Beach, located beyond the village of Yiti, is a small beach - about one kilometre long - that can be easily reached by car. Frequented by locals as well as tourists, it is a great spot to enjoy barbecues, camping, and fishing.

Jagged rocks formed by sea salt winds and waves stick out of the Sea of Oman creating the sheltered bay of Yiti Beach. Just 28-kilometres from the centre of Muscat, the beach is known as a place of solitude and relaxation – an escape from the hectic city. The sand takes on an orange hue and the water changes to a deeper blue as the sun sets and the light changes. Lay on the rocks overlooking the beach at twilight or find an area along the strip of soft sand.
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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.