The 20 best things to do in Oman

Find here the 20 best things to do in Oman. Include these in your travel itinerary for Oman and make sure you see everything Oman has to offer.

In this post, we want to show you the best things to do in Oman. Oman was the first country we visited in the Middle East, and we immediately fell in love! The country is so diverse and there are a lot of things to do and explore! In this post, we give you a summary of the things you definitely need to include in your travel itinerary for Oman. We have broken down our list according to 4 main regions in Oman (Muscat, Ad Dakhiliyah, Ash Sharqiyah and Ad Dhahirah). Read on, and discover the 20 best things to do in Oman!

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icon read on Read more: Discover our travel itinerary that include the best things to do in Oman

To see all of these places in an time efficient way we recommend renting a 2WD or 4WD car. A 2WD car suffices to see most of the highlights in Oman but if you want more freedom and want to fully experience the mountains and more remote places like the Wahiba sands by yourself then we really recommend renting a 4WD with a rooftop tent.

We always rent our cars through Discovercars.com with free cancellation and insurance included. Discovercars.com is a world leader in comparing prices and offers great deals. We have never encountered any problems regarding their services.

icon rental car Check availability and prices for a 2WD car in Oman HERE

icon rental car Check the iDrive4x4 website for prices of a 4WD car in Oman HERE

The best things to do in the Muscat Governate in Oman

1.      Muttrah

Muttrah is the old port region in Muscat, the capital of Oman. This part of Muscat has a lot of charm and can be easily accessed by car, taxi or bus. First of all, you have Muttrah Corniche. The Corniche is a waterfront promenade that gives you views over the ocean and the harbor on the left side and over the mountains on the other side.

featured image best things to do in muscat oman

Undoubtly, the best things to visit in Muttrah is Muttrah Souq. This is one of the oldest and probably the most famous souqs in Oman. It’s the best place to go shopping for souvenirs. But there’s more to this place than traditional Omani vendors. Visiting Muttrah Souq is an experience on its own. As soon as you enter the souq, you will scent the typical aroma of Oman, frankincense. And make sure to look up as the ceiling of the market is really beautiful.

icon read on Read more: The 12 best things to do in Muscat

Other things to visit in Muttrah are Muttrah Fort, also known as Fort Jalali. This fort lies on a hill and is an iconic landmark in Muttrah. In Al Riyam Park you can find some shade between the palm trees and other greenery. It is also the starting point of the C38 hike that takes you into the mountains that surround Muttrah.

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2.      Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a must-visit when traveling in Oman. It is architecturally stunning! The main prayer room is considered as the most impressive part of the mosque, with the second largest hand woven Persian carpet in the world and the crystal chandelier made of Swarovski, wheighing two-tons. However, also outside the main prayer room, there is so much beauty to discover. We especially loved the minarets and the greenery against the white sandstone.

You can visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque by yourself but having a guide who will give you all the details, stories and anecdotes about this spectacular building surely add up to your travel experience!

prayer hall sultan qaboos grand mosque oman muscat
chandelier prayer hall sultan qabos gand mosque oman muscat
minaret sultan qaboos grand mosque oman muscat
entrance sultan qaboos grand mosque oman muscat

icon book ticket Book the best guided tours for the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque here

3.      Viewpoints near Muscat

Muscat has some stunning viewpoints to offer. Our two favorite viewpoints are the Bandar Al Khairan viewpoint and the Yiti viewpoint. The Bandar Al Khairan viewpoint is located in between the ocean and the sandy mountains and is definitely recommended during sunrise or sunset. At those moments, the mountains are covered in golden light. The Yiti viewpoint offers beautiful views over typical white houses lying in between red-brown mountains. 

Bandar Al Khairan viewpoints outside Muscat Oman

4.      The Daymaniyat Islands

The Daymaniyat Islands are a stunning nature reserve that is perfect to discover while snorkeling. Meet the friendly sea turtles or try to spot Nemo and its friends. If you are lucky, you even might spot one of the shy black tipped reef sharks or a whale shark. The Daymaniyat Islands are often overlooked, but according to us, a tour to these islands is one of the best things to do in Oman.

To reach the islands, you need to book a tour and there are different companies to choose from. Most of the tours take you to two different snorkeling spots where you can see the turtles and some beautiful coral upclose. During the months it is allowed (November to April), they also take you to a beach from where you can explore one of the islands.

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turtle sea daymaniyat islands muscat oman

5.      The Bimmah Sinkhole

The Bimmah Sinkhole, also known as Hawiyat Najm, is a stunning natural pool. It was formed by a collapse of the surface. The crater filled with turquoise-blue water and is now a must-visit and a unique place to have a swim. The sinkhole is approximately 50 meters wide and about 20 meters deep. Steps take you down to the water’s edge and make an easy access to take a refreshing dip. The Bimmah Sinkhole is definitely a great thing to do in Oman!

icon book ticket Book a tour that includes the Bimmah Sinkhole and Wadi Shab

bimmah sinkhole oman muscat top view
bimmah sinkhole oman view stairs

The best things to do in the Ash Sharqiyah Governorate

6.      Wadi Shab

Wadi Shab is one of the most beautiful wadis in Oman. Before your reach the first pools of Wadi Shab, you are treated with a beautiful hike through a stunning landscape. Once you arrive at the pools, you will notice that they are filled with warm, crystal-clear water. Swimming amidst the cliffs of Wadi Shab is definitely a once in a lifetime experience! One of the highlights of Wadi Shab is a hidden cave with a waterfall inside, only accessible via a small opening in the rocks. Definitely an adventure you can’t miss in Oman!

icon read on Read more: Our 3 favorite wadis in Oman

dry bag wadi shab oman mieke
wadi shab oman pools along hike mieke

7.      Wadi Tiwi

Not far from Wadi Shab, you can find Wadi Tiwi. This wadi is a breathtaking oasis nestled within a rocky landscape. The wadi is known for crystal-clear pools surrounded by lush greenery. When driving into the wadi (you’ll need a 4WD) you will discover hidden villages and traditional architecture. 

8.      Sur

Sur is often seen as just a town you pass during your travels through Oman. However, according to us, Sur is a quaint fishing village that deserves some time to explore. There are many different things to do and see in Sur, so it’s a good place to spend at least one night. Make sure to bring a visit to Sur’s lighthouse, where you have stunning views over the Arabian sea. Or visit the souq or a dhow yard and learn how traditional Omani boats are built.

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featured image sur in oman best things to do
lighthouse sur oman matthias

9.      Wadi Bani Khalid

Wadi Bani Khalid is the most accessible and probably most touristic wadi in Oman. But that is well-deserved, as it is beautiful! From the car park, it is only a short walk along a falaj (irrigation channel) to the main pools, surrounded by different date palms. The main pools are the busiest, so we recommend to continue your hike to the upper wadi pools. To reach them, just keep walking into the canyon. After a 10 minute walk the canyon becomes more narrow. Here you discover some stunning pools that are the perfect place for a swim or even a cliff jump!

icon book ticket Book a tour to Wadi Bani Khalid and the Wahiba Sands

10.      Wahiba Sands

In the heart of Oman, you can find some golden sand dunes, called the Wahiba Sands. Spending a night and day in this desert was one of our highlights in Oman. Watching the sunrise was one of the best ways we have ever started a day. And we enjoyed exploring the dunes by foot and take in the most wonderful vistas! There are different camps in the desert that also offer extra activities like camel riding and dune bashing. At night, the sky changes in a carpet full of stars and it will feel like you are dropped in a 1001 nights fairytale.

icon read on Read more: Our travel guide for the Wahiba Sands in Oman

sand dunes matthias walking wahiba sands oman

The best things to do in the Ad Dakhiliyah Governate

11.      Jebel Shams

Jebel Shams is Oman’s highest mountain and stands at an elevation of 3004 meters. The canyon below, the spectacular Wadi Ghul, is often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Oman”. Driving up to Jebel Shams not only gives you spectacular views over the landscape but you can also do a spectacular hike: the Balcony Walk.

This trail takes you along the rim of Wadi Ghul to an abandoned village, the Al Nakhr Village. During this trail, you get awe-inspiring vantage points with deep ravines and rugged landscapes. Along the way, chances are high you get accompanied by one of the friendly, but sometimes importunate goats along the way. The Balcony Walk will take about 3-4 hours and is relatively easy. We also recommend to spend a night at Jebel Shams, so you can witness both the sunset as the sunrise. There are nice places to stay both in hotels as with a tent near the rim of Wadi Ghul.

icon book ticket Book a tour to Jebel Shams and Nizwa from Muscat

Jebel shams grand canyon oman matthias balcony walk

12.      Misfat Al Abriyeen

A place you cannot miss during your itinerary through Oman is the old village Misfat al Abriyeen. We’re sure that spending some time here will be amongst your favorite time in Oman. This village, perched on the foothills of Jebel Shams, definitely takes you back in time. The old town, with its mud houses, is surrounded by date palm trees and lush terraced fields.

Especially the falaj system, an ingenious irrigation system, is not to be missed! To make sure you don’t get lost in the small alleyways, there are different walking trails. We highly recommend doing the W9 walk combined with the W9C walk. This hike will take you through the village and via the terraced gardens to the wadi. We promise you, the views are spectacular! Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a drink at one of the different rooftop cafes in Misfat Al Abriyeen.

icon book ticket Book a tour that includes Jebel Shams, Misfat Al Abriyeen and Nizwa

top things to do in oman misfat al abriyeen garden
sunset misfat al abriyeen oman
misfat al abriyeen falaj water palm tree oman
misfat al abriyeen in oman walk tarraced garden

 13.      Nizwa fort

Nizwa Fort is an old but well-maintained castle right in the middle of Nizwa. It was built in the 17th century and with its big circular tower, it is a landmark in Oman. When you go inside, it’s like stepping into the past. The different rooms of the fort give you a good image on how life was inside the fort. If you climb to the top of the tower, you get an awesome view over Nizwa and the Hajar Mountains nearby.

The way the fort was build in clay and mud makes it so much different from other castles we have ever visited before. Around every corner in the fort, there is something new to see. Make sure to spend some time in Nizwa town as well, as Nizwa has a splendid souk to explore!

Mieke in courtyard of Nizwa fort with tower in the back
matthias coming down a stair at a mud building in nizwa fort
Mieke taking stairs at Nizwa fort
Mieke in front of a the mosque at Nizwa fort

 14.      Jabrin castle

Another fascinating cultural site is Jabrin castle. As Nizwa fort, this castle was built in the 17th century. What makes it a must-visit is the mud and clay buildings in combination with the beautiful wooden carvings. There are many rooms, chambers, and towers to discover while you‘ll learn more about the past of Oman. The castle did not only serve as a defensive fortress but also as a center of learning and culture. Make sure to go on the towers as they’ll give you some panoramic views on the surroundings.

 15.      Birkat Al Mouz

Another old village in Oman you have to add to your itinerary is Birkat Al Mouz. This old mud town, surrounded by banana trees and palm dates is a wonderful place to discover. This old town has a well-preserved falaj system that has sustained the surrounding agriculture for years. Wandering through Birkat Al Mouz drops you back to ancient times and gives you a glimpse of the Oman from centuries ago.

icon book ticket Book a tour to Nizwa and Birkat Al Mouz

featured image best things to do in Oman Birkat Al Mouz
Matthias viewpoint Birkat Al Mouz Oman
Birkat Al Mouz in Oman mud houses palm trees

The best things to do in the Ad Dhahirah Governate

 16.      Wadi Damm

The Ad Dharihah Governate gave us some of the best memories of Oman. Little did we expect that Wadi Damm would become one of our favorite wadis in Oman. Whereas Wadi Shab and Wadi Bani Khalid receive more tourists, Wadi Damm still remains a hidden gem. Before you enter the wadi, you’ll wander through a wide valley where ancient petroglyphs are carved into the rocks. After a while, the gorge becomes more narrow and you reach the different pools of Wadi Damm. There are no clear paths in Wadi Damm, so you’ll be able to explore the wadi in a very authentic manner.

icon read on Read more: Our 3 favorite wadis in Oman

featured image wadis in oman wadi damm pool mieke swimming

 17.      Al’Ayn beehive tombs

Another surprise on our travel itinerary were the Al’Ayn beehive tombs, an UNESCO World Heritage site. These burial tombs date back from the Bronze Age and as they are placed against a giant mountain, they are breathtaking to see. It’s a place that is still not visited by many tourists, but we highly recommend to add it to your things to do in Oman. 

featured image blog itinerary for oman

Top things to do in Oman in general

 18.      Go camping

Not many people know that Oman is an excellent country for camping and outdoor life. If you like camping, we highly recommend considering Oman as your next destination. It is completely legal (even the Omanis go camping on the weekend) and safe. And above all, you’ll be able to pitch your tent in the most stunning landscapes you’ll ever see. And if you prefer some more luxury, consider glamping in the Wahiba Sands!

icon read on Read more: Everything you need to know about camping in Oman

camping in oman sunset featured image

 19.      Enjoy the sunrises and sunsets

One of the best things to do in Oman is watching some of the most spectacular sunsets and sunrises. So make sure you wake up in time, grab a coffee and look for a spot where you can see the sunrise. Or grab a late afternoon snack and watch the sun set. We promise you you’ll remember these for the rest of your life.

pebble beach sunrise camping best things to do in Oman

 20.      Enjoy the Omani hospitality

Last, but definitely not least, you’ll get interactions with the most friendly people you’ll ever meet. The Omani hospitality is famous and never before have we met so many friendly and open people. The Omani hospitality was the cherry on the cake during our travels in Oman.

We hope this post convinced you that there are plenty of things to do in Oman. We promise you you won’t regret visiting this country. Ready to start planning? Then book your trip with the links below!

Happy travels!

Matthias and Mieke

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