Oman’s stunning deserts, coasts and mountains are finally getting the attention they deserve. Visit to witness the opening of luxury hotels and restaurants, and a country trekking toward modernity at full speed.
In Muscat, you might be distracted from the beautiful coastline by the plethora of swanky hotels, restaurants and shopping malls, in a city crisscrossed by highways and dotted with office blocks. Visitors will likely want to ensconce themselves in the Arabian Nights mystique of the old quarter, where traditional Arab architecture dominates and old Portuguese forts can be found along the seafront. Muttrah, the port district, is a lively place to spend an evening walking along the corniche or exploring Muttrah Souk.
Outside of Muscat, Oman is mostly empty of people, so you’ll have the sweeping swathes of desert (aim for Wahiba Sands if you can only take one trip) all to yourself. The interior of Sharqiya, south of Muscat, is still home to Bedouin tribes. There are lots of tour companies offering drives through the dunes and camel rides across the sands. In the north, the spectacular Hajar Mountains descend into the Arabian Gulf – take a boat ride to see these at their very best.
Cool off from Oman’s sunshine at Wadi Bani Khalid, a series of waterfalls and deep pools around which plantations and villages have been built. You can swim here, and explore Moqal Cave, if only to hide from the heat.
For those who'd rather seek out the sun than run away from it, Oman’s 1,700km of coast are populated by fishermen, birds and not much else. Round off a trip with a few days of lounging and snorkelling on the white sands of Tiwi Beach.