Embarking on a journey to the enchanting country of Oman is like stepping into a realm where history and beauty seamlessly coexist. During my week-long road trip across Oman, I explored this magnificent land, hopping from one city to another, visiting awe-inspiring fortresses, and witnessing the endless beauty that defines this country. While Oman may not be the first destination that comes to mind for backpackers, it offers a treasure trove of experiences, even though renting a car is essential for exploring its wonders.
Muscat, Oman’s serene port capital, is a perfect starting point for your journey. Spend at least three days here, soaking in the city’s beauty and preparing for your road trip.
Another gem is the Royal Opera House, an Islamic-Italianate-style complex that comes to life under artificial lights at dusk. You can also explore the tranquil Mutrah Corniche, where you can enjoy a stroll, dinner, and ocean views.
Muscat’s Mutrah Souq offers a taste of traditional Arabian markets, minus the bustling touts. Don’t miss the Al Alam Palace, Al Mirani Fort, and Al Jalali Fort, each with its historical charm. Three days in Muscat will be well spent.
Located just an hour’s drive from Muscat, Nakhal is a charming town that boasts the impressive Nakhal Fort, dating back to the 9th century. While Nakhal Fort is smaller than some of Oman’s other fortresses, it offers an intimate and uncrowded glimpse into the nation’s historical significance and colonial past. Climb to one of the fort’s towers for panoramic views of the surroundings; it’s a view worth the effort. A visit to Nakhal will take you about an hour, and it’s an excellent starting point for further exploration.
Rustaq, a small town west of Nakhal, is home to the grand Al Rustaq Fort, a more expansive and impressive fortress. Here, you’ll find fewer crowds than in Nakhal, which adds to the experience. The fortress comprises multiple towers interconnected by crisscrossing hallways, leading up to an 18-meter-high wind tower. The panoramic view from the top is simply breathtaking. Rustaq is ideal for leisurely exploration, with countless rooms and corners to discover. As you explore this historic site, you may feel like an adventurous explorer unearthing lost civilizations. Plan for about an hour and a half to explore Rustaq thoroughly.
Bahla, situated before Jebel Shams, the highest mountain in Oman, is home to two remarkable attractions—Bahla Fort and Jibreen Castle. Both sites are worth a visit. Jibreen Castle, one of the first forts to be restored in Oman, offers a captivating history lesson. Equip yourself with an audio guide and explore room by room to learn the fascinating stories behind this castle. Bahla Fort, the larger of the two, presents an intriguing labyrinth of sections, rooms, and towers, making it ideal for an extended exploration. It’s a vast structure with hidden rooms and sections waiting to be discovered.
Jebel Shams is a personal favorite and an absolute must-visit in Oman. A scenic drive of about an hour and a half from Misfat al Abriyyin takes you to the top of Jebel Shams, where you’ll be greeted by a jaw-dropping view of the Grand Canyon of Oman. The colossal rock formations will leave you in awe, and the viewpoint is simply breathtaking. Sometimes, comparisons to other renowned canyons seem exaggerated, but Jebel Shams stands up to its reputation. The panoramic view here does justice to the vastness and grandeur of the landscape.
Oman offers a unique blend of historical sites, magnificent forts, and breathtaking natural wonders. As you plan your journey, consider visiting these remarkable destinations to experience Oman’s endless beauty and rich heritage. Exploring these places is just the beginning of an unforgettable adventure. The road trip experience in Oman is unlike any other, revealing the profound beauty and history of this enchanting land. So, prepare your itinerary, rent a car, and set forth on a journey to discover the endless beauty of Oman.