Sur in Oman is a quaint village next to the picturesque coast of the Arabian Sea. As an old fishing port it has historical significance and the labyrinthine alleyways of the old town take you back to old times. Sur is also renowned for its traditional dhow-building yards, where skilled craftsmen have been crafting these iconic wooden boats for centuries. If you want to include some nature, the pristine beaches that stretch along Sur’s coastline are truly spectacular and provide the perfect backdrop for some of the most stunning sunsets we ever saw.
Sur is not only the town you pass by on your way to the Wahiba Sands or back to Muscat. Sur in Oman is a town that deserves some time to explore. This travel blog will guide you through the cobblestone streets, introduce you to the friendly locals, and unveil the hidden gems that make Sur an unmissable stop on your Omani journey. Discover with us what to do in Sur in Oman.
Read more: The 20 best things to do in Oman
Table of Contents
How to get to Sur?
Sur is located 200 kilometers from Muscat. The best way of transportation in Oman is having your own car. Renting a car will allow you to discover Sur and its surroundings at your own pace. We highly recommend to rent a car in Oman through Discovercars.com with free cancellation and insurance included. Discovercars.com is a world leading rental company with great deals and service.
- Driving from Muscat to Sur will take about 2 hours. Make sure to have a stop in between at the wonderful Wadi Shab.
- If you are coming from the Wahiba Sands, it will take about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Sur.
Compare prices and book a car in Oman here
What to do in Sur in Oman
One of our favourite places in Sur was the Al-Ayjah lighthouse. Standing proudly as a beacon on the coastal cliffs, this lighthouse guided sailors and fishermen through the Arabian sea. Due to its location, it offers panoramic views of the coastline and the sea. It certainly is a good place to witness the sunset, casting a warm glow over the sea and this maritime landmark. The lighthouse has a simple architectural design. It is said that because the tower is painted in a distinctive colour, the lighthouse is visible from a far distance. The lighthouse was the first thing we visited in Sur and gave us already a good impression of Sur and its surroundings.
The old town
Located close to Sur’s lighthouse, you can visit the old town of Sur. Take your time to wander through the narrow streets and admire the traditional Omani architecture: whitewashed buildings decorated with carved wooden doors and lattice windows.
Walk along Sur’s Corniche
Just like in Muscat, Sur has a corniche where it is lovely to walk. Enjoy the ocean views and observe the local people.
The souk in Sur is definitely an authentic cultural experience. You can find so many different things here: local crafts, spices, textiles, jewels, … Explore the narrow alleys filled with shops and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere.
Visit the dhow yards
The dhow yards in Sur are a living testament to the art of traditional Omani boat building. At the dhow yards, skilled craftsmen show how traditional boats are manufactured. The dhow yards are located in the Al Ayjah district of Sur. You can reach the yards by car or enjoy a pleasant walk along Sur’s Corniche. Signs will show you the way or you can give this location to Googlemaps. Once you arrive at the dhow yards, you’ll see skilled men transform raw timber into beautiful vessels. Make sure to be respectful to the people working there and ask for permission to make photos.
The Ayjah watchtowers
A lovely place to visit is the Ayjah watchtowers. These 3 watchtowers located at the entrance of the sea once protected the dhows as soon as they entered the harbor. It is possible to drive up to each of them to get a closer look. The best time to climb the largest one is during sunset, as you get stunning views over the harbor in golden light.
Visit one of the forts or castles
In Sur, you can find different forts and castles like the Al-Ayjah castle. This historical fortress build in the 16th century, was crucial role for protecting Sur from maritime threats and invasions. We really enjoyed the fort as it gave us impressive looks over the harbor and lighthouse.
Where to stay in Sur in Oman?
There are plenty of beautiful places to stay in Sur. Especially if you want to enjoy one of the spectacular sunsets, we highly recommend staying at least one night in this old fishing town. Sur is also close to some other stunning places to see in Oman, so using Sur as your base for a visit to visit other sights in Oman like Wadi Shab or Wadi Bani Khalid is an excellent idea.
Below, you can find our two favorite places to stay in Sur:
The Sur Grand Hotel is the place where we watched the great panoramic views over the beach. The rooms are really spacious and clean. All have air conditioning, allowing us to have a very good night sleep. With is good location, the Sur Grand Hotel is the perfect place to start exploring Sur.
- There is a free private parking available, perfect when you are traveling with a car through Oman
- An excellent breakfast is included
See prices and availability on BOOKING.COM
Sur Hotel is located in the center of Sur and close to the souk. We experienced that the rooms are modern and very clean, come with air conditioning and a balcony. The staff is super friendly and it is possible to park your car nearby.
- There is a rooftop terrace where you can enjoy the sun
- We definitely recommend the Arabic breakfast!
See prices and availability on BOOKING.COM
Camping around Sur
Sur is also a great place to pitch your tent, as the town has some lovely beaches. Camping is completely legal almost anywhere in Oman and Sur is no exception. We wrote more about camping in Oman in a previous blogpost and it includes our favorite camping spot near Sur.
The best day trips from Sur in Oman
Sur is also a great place to use as a base for several day trips. Below, we’ll give you our favourite day trips that start from Sur in Oman:
Wadi Shab is a beautiful gorge, known for its crystal-clear emerald waters and dramatic canyon scenery. Hike through the rocky terrain to discover a hidden waterfall, and enjoy the different pools. This wadi offers a blend of adventure and nature and is an incredible experience if you like the outdoors.
Wadi Bani Khalid
Wadi Bani Khalid, lying next to the Omani desert is a stunning oasis with wonderful pools and landscapes dotted with palm trees. It is the perfect place to spend a couple of hours swimming and relaxing in the midst of the most beautiful surroundings.
Read more: Our three favourite wadis in Oman.
Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve
The Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve is located on the eastern coast of Oman and is famous as a nesting site for endangered green turtles. During the nesting season it gives you a unique opportunity to witness the female turtles laying their eggs under the moonlight.
If you are looking for a desert experience, then head to the Wahiba Sands. This vast desert in Oman has an expansive sea of golden sand dunes, stretching as far as the eye can see. It is the perfect place for dune bashing, camel treks, and camping under a starlit sky.
Read more: Our blog post on how to visit the Wahiba Sands?
In a hurry, but you want to discover everything? We highly recommend this tour of Oman!
Matthias and Mieke
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