Most things to see in Oman are located in the North West of the country so even though Oman is very big in surface, there’s no need to spend a vast amount of time there to see the main sites. Moreover Oman is not the cheapest country to travel to so if you want to keep your budget reasonable, we wouldn’t recommend staying much more than 8 to 10 days.
Day 1 – 3: Muscat
There are many things to do and see in and around Muscat so this is where you should spend the most time. If you can afford it, we HIGHLY recommend staying at the Kempinski hotel in Muscat. The architecture and the location of this beach resort is just breath-taking, and the service was one of the best ones we ever had.
Sultan Qaboos Mosque:
This is probably the most impressive monument we’ve seen in all of Oman! It’s a grandiose and magnificent bright white mosque which you can spot from pretty much everywhere in Muscat. We highly recommend getting there at the time of opening (8AM) as you will have the place to yourself for about an hour before all the tour busses arrive at 9AM. For the ladies, make sure to dress respectfully covering full legs and arms, and wearing a shawl around your head.
This is another spot that you cannot miss if you visit Oman. It’s about 1h45 mins driving from Muscat and it’s incredibly beautiful and peaceful here! You can park your car at the entrance and will have to take a small boat to cross the river and get to the other shore. From there, it’s a 45 minute hike deep into a spectacular canyon with vertical ridges that climb hundreds of meters above the ground. At the end you will reach turquoise blue pools great for swimming, and can even go further up the water.
Bring enough water and a wetbag if you want to go further up the river as the only way to get there is by swimming! Also, wearing shoes that can go in the water will make your afternoon so much more comfortable 😊
From the three, this was our least favourite visit, but it’s worth the stop as it is on the way to Wadi Shab. It’s basically a deep hole in the ground with deep blue water where you can go swimming, and great for pictures!
Camille wasn’t super comfortable in her swimsuit here as most ladies swim in tshirt and shorts (unlike Wadi Shab where everyone is in a bikini), so it’s worth getting a more ‘covered up’ swimsuit for this stop.
Day 4 – 5: Jebel Akhdar
This was probably our favourite place in all of Oman. From Muscat you should drive to the Birkat Al Mouz police checkpoint from where you can take a road that goes up into the mountains. You can only get passed the checkpoint with a 4×4 ride, even though the road after the checkpoint is incredibly good. Expect vertiginous views and plunging canyons with rocks that become deep red during sunset.
One of most beautiful place to stay at is the Alila Jebel Akhdar resort which is built high up on a vertical wall that plunges kilometres into the earth. The view at this place is sensational!
Day 6: Misfat Aberdeen
We’d recommend staying 1 night in a homestay in a local village to get in touch with the local culture. Misfat Aberdeen is a tiny little village in a very rural area of Oman, about 1 hour driving from the Birkat Al Mouz police checkpoint. There is nothing to do here except walking around the car-free little streets and climbing up to the ruins of and old fort at the top of the village. We stayed at Misfat Homestay – a great local place!
Day 7: Nizwa
Nizwa definitely deserves a stop as well. It is home to a gorgeous old fort full of secret doors, hidden passages and forbidden rooms! We loved getting lost inside this fort and listening to the old stories that took place here.
If you have more time, we’d recommend spending a couple of nights in a camp in the desert of Oman. There are plenty of camps in the Black Sands area, that are worth the visit, but since this is far away you will need to count at least 2 extra nights for this.
How to get around?
The best way to get around in Oman is renting your own car. Roads are extremely good and there’s almost no traffic so it’s really the easiest way to get from one spot to the other. If you plan to visit the Jebel Akhdar mountains, you need to rent a 4×4 as there is a check point at the bottom of the mountain and they will not let you pass if you have a regular car. The price of a 4×4 however is more than double the price of a regular car, so one way around this renting a regular car, and once you arrive at Birkat Al Mouz (where there is the checkpoint), you park your car (there are plenty of parkings) and ask the hotel to come and pick you up. They may charge you a small fee for this, but it will be cheaper than renting a 4×4 for the entire duration of your trip.