While many only visit Muscat/Oman for a day, if you have more time for holiday (or plan to move to Oman), here’s my top sights to see in two weeks. Check out 1 Day in Muscat sites plus…
Royal Opera House- A stunning building near the beach, this is a popular stop for visitors. You can view the outside and have brunch, or even choose to take tour or see a show. Guided tours are offered 8:30-5:30 Sunday-Thursday.
Snorkeling at Daymaniyat Islands- The boat ride out takes only about 40 minutes, and the snorkeling is lovely. Daymaniyat Shells will take you to several snorkeling spots (weather and season dependent) with beautiful coral reefs and abundant wildlife. This particular tour company is environmentally conscious and perfect for families and sustainable travelers alike. Since the tour leaves around 8:30am and gets back at 2pm, this can be a great last day option for those with a late afternoon/evening flight. Check out of your hotel and store your bags with them (or in your rental), and shower at the airport lounge before your flight.
Bimmah Sinkhole- A short drive down the coast from Muscat you’ll find this natural pool. Stairs make it easy to access and the tiny fish will leave your feet feeling as soft as if you paid for a pedicure. Entrance is free and picnic spots are plentiful.
Wadi Shab- Combo this with a short stop at the sinkhole as it’s a few minutes further down the road. A wadi is a valley, and this one is the most popular in the area. It’s about an hour of hiking and swimming in and an hour out. The path is clearly marked. Entrance is free, but you’ll want to pay a tender to take you across the (purposefully) flooded area near the parking lot (1 Rial/pp). I suggest wearing clothing that you can hike and swim in (I choose a rash guard and quick dry type bermuda shorts.). Leave towels in the car. A camelback and snacks are helpful. My parents (in their 60s) did the hike, but we have not yet taken our children (4 and 5), although many do.
Desert Camping- There are a number of Wahiba Sands camping options that allow you to glamp in the Arabian Desert with relative ease. 1000 Nights and Desert Nights are popular among our friends. You’ll need a 4×4 to drive yourself or you can book a ride through the camp. DO NOT HIRE the men at the gas station to lead you out. Use the map provided by the camp. Deflate your tires at the gas station prior to heading off road. One night is plenty.
Al Hoota Cave- Just outside of Nizwa this cave is a fun stop with kids. They will enjoy seeing the cave fish and bats. There is a train, but I’ve never heard of anyone actually riding it, so be prepared for a short walk to the cave entrance. There is a small playground near the parking lot that is nice after a drive from the city.
Nizwa Souq and Fort- This souq experience is much less touristy and much more laid back than the one in Muscat. Prices are lower and the dates are yummy! The fort is a self guided walk and offers great views of the city. The fort also has cannons, room set ups, and good ascriptive signs. Our kids really enjoyed it.
Jebel Akhdar- The “green mountain” offers a scenic getaway from the busy city. Hiking is lovely, and if visting in the warmer months, this can give you a place to cool off!
Bahla Fort- A UNESCO sight, this fort is the oldest (and biggest) you’ll find. It’s not far from Nizwa, but you’ll want to spend a few hours at this fort, so it might be a bit much to combine with Nizwa in a single day.
Ras Al Jinz- This turtle reserve has both morning and evening outings to view the turtle hatchlings making their way to the water or the mothers making their way to the beach. Many choose a Muscat-Nizwa-Wahiba Sands-Ras Al Jinz-Sinkhole/Wadi-Muscat routing. One night at the reserve is sufficient.
Salalah- If you have extra time (or are an expat living in country), you must check out Salalah during khareef. Everything is lush and green and the weather is a fantastic break from the overwhelming Muscat heat. If you want to buy Frankincense, do it here.