Ranked at the top of the destinations to be discovered in 2017 by Le Monde newspaper, the sultanate of Oman has been able to impose its last years. Trapped between Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran, we tended to underestimate this tiny country… and what mistake! Its preserved nature and its heritage is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Arabian Peninsula. Don't hesitate to go and discover its varied and colorful landscapes. Petit Futé offers you its 10 unavoidable sultanate of Oman.
Discovering Nizwa, poets of poets
Nizwa, a former capital of the country, has a special place in the heart of the Omanais as it was the domain of national writers and intellectuals. It is the first city of the sultanate to be converted to Islam, and there are two of the oldest mosques in the world, Shawadinah and Sa 'al, built in 623 and 629. Nizwa is also home to one of the country's most beautiful citadels, the fortified souk, where fish are sold to the crib and jewelry of all kinds, and certainly the most picturesque place in the city!
Trekking on the djebel al Akhdar, the green mountain
Jebel al Akhdar is part of the Al Hajar mountain range. Here, it hardly ever rains, however, as you climb this mountain, the terraced crops follow one another and the roses bloom. This small miracle is due to a skilful irrigation system classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Called "falaj", it is an ancestral network of gullies that bring water from springs to arid areas. A trekking in spring, when the roses blossom, is an unforgettable experience.
Salalah, on the incense road
Salalah is the capital of Dhofar, very close to the Yemeni border. Already in the 13th century, the incense trade was a success on this land, as shown by the writings of Marco Polo. The incense path is now classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will discover, in the surroundings of Salalah, sites recounting this long history such as the wadi Dawkah and its trees that produce the precious resin. Be careful, Salalah is the only place in Arabia to be hit by the Indian summer monsoon. Choose your travel dates carefully!
Joining Mascate, an authentic capital
Divided into three distinct neighborhoods: Mascate, Mutrah and Ruwi, the capital of the sultanate of Oman is very different from its neighbors in the Gulf. Here, no flamboyant buildings but green spaces and preserved authenticity. The Sultan's reception palace, with its large balconies and immaculate facades, is a superb building like the great mosque of Sultan Qaboos. The district of Mutra is worth a visit for its fish market, its souk and its fort on the hill. Open to the sea, between tradition and modernity, Mascate is a capital where it is good to live.
Wadi Ghul, the great Omani canyon
At an altitude of 3,000 m, Jebel Shams is the highest peak in the Sultanate of Oman. This mountain opens onto Wadi Ghul, a canyon more than 1,000 m deep that has nothing to envy its Arizonian counterpart. A short hike along the wall of this natural monster will take you to remote and picturesque villages. There are many camping opportunities available before starting the ascent of Shams. An unforgettable stopover!
Swimming in the emerald waters of Wadi Bani Khalid
Located in the Hajar massif, Wadi Bani Khalid is an idyllic place... This natural basin located in a narrow valley at an altitude of 600 m contains turquoise and warm water all year round. The mountainous desert landscape that surrounds it is also splendid. What more could you ask for?
Cruise on the Musandam Peninsula and its fjords
Known as Norway of Oman, Musandam offers an unexpected landscape. This peninsula, separated from the rest of the Sultanate by the east coast of the Emirates, is home to sumptuous Arabian fjords on its south coast. They are the home of an exceptional fauna composed of Manta rays, reef sharks and even dolphins! You can admire all this small world during a dhow cruise, a typical Omani sailboat. A region with a unique charm, certainly.
The Bimmah Sink hole, a magical abyss
The Bimmah Sink Hole, literally "hole in the sink" is much more poetic than the name suggests. Located in Najm Park Hawijat, in northern Oman, it is called a "doline": a kind of oasis in a limestone desert. A real natural swimming pool, you can access it thanks to a small staircase that runs along the walls. Once in the water, you will be surrounded by thriving vegetation and small benevolent fish... A paradise!
Admire the turtles on Ras al Jinz beach
Along the Indian Ocean, bordering the Arabian Sea, Ras al Jinz beach is one of the wonders of Oman's sultanate. In addition to being a splendid place surrounded by cliffs, it is one of the main spawning sites of sea turtles. In total, they are more than 30,000 coming to nest every year! In the early morning, the show is unforgettable… Little precision, you will not be able to access the beach without a guide: for the welfare of turtles, access is limited to 60 visitors per day - per group of 20 people. A good example of ecological tourism!
Go on a trip to the Wahiba red desert
This is the essential experience during a stay in Oman! Bordered by the Hajar Mountains and the Arabian Sea, these red sand dunes are incredibly beautiful. Shaped by the winds, they are constantly on the move… It is therefore impossible to locate it without the help of a guide! At the same time, you will find out how to live local populations in this arid environment. The desert has remained intact, far from modernization and business as we can see in the other countries of the Gulf: it is one of the most precious jewels of Oman's sultanate.