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Why Oman Should Be Your Next Middle East Travel Destination

Here’s why you need to visit the Pearl of Arabia: Oman.
Hi, I'm Nicole!

Nicole Brewer is an English language teacher, travel blogger, author, and freelance writer. She has traveled to over 50 countries and lived abroad in South Africa, Germany, and South Korea. She has lived in Oman for eight years, is the co-founder of the I Luv 2 Globe Trot travel site, and has features in The Guardian, BBC Travel, Forbes, and National Geographic Traveler.

Oman is a fusion of both ancient traditions and modern appeal. Home to architectural wonders like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat and stunning sites such as Wadi Shab and Wahiba Sands, Oman offers the best of both worlds when it comes to cultural experiences and unique landscapes. A visit to this Middle Eastern gem is an immersive adventure of historic UNESCO sites, pristine beaches, endless shopping, and so much more. Here’s why Oman should be next on your travel list.

A rich, unique Omani culture

Brightly painted statues at Bait Al Zubair Museum in Oman.
Bait Al Zubair Museum in Oman is home to artifacts.Bildquelle: Alessandro M / Tripadvisor

Visit a host of museums showcasing Oman’s past and present wonders.

Oman is one of the oldest independent countries in the Arab World. It’s home to the Bait Al Zubair Museum, one of the first cultural and heritage spaces in Muscat. The museum features an Aflaj Irrigation System (an early Omani water channel), a garden with a tiny Omani village, and numerous ancient artifacts from around the country. The Oman National Museum is also a must-see, with over 7,000 pieces, 33 immersive digital experiences, and areas where children can play and explore cultural traditions.

Oasis has a whole new meaning in Oman

People enjoy Qurum Beach in Oman on a sunny day.
Enjoy a long stroll down Qurum Beach.Bildquelle: Philip Lange / Shutterstock

Dip into refreshing wadis and lounge on blissful beaches.

Not only does Oman offer incredible swimming and snorkeling at its sparkling waters, but it’s also home to the Wadi Bani Khalid riverbed, featuring aqua-blue pools flanked with boulders and palms trees, the most popular of the five wadis available in the country. Both Qurum Beach and Tiwi are golden sandy stretches where visitors can enjoy long strolls, swimming, and delicious dining along the crystal blue shores.

Impressive architectural feats

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and its grand courtyard in Oman.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an architectural marvel.Bildquelle: Bernhard Klar / Shutterstock

Oman features both ancient structures and modern masterpieces.

The country is home to the exquisite Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, made up of a golden dome, glistening cream marble, and a magnificent chandelier (one of the largest in the world!). Another architectural marvel is the Royal Opera House Muscat, a cultural center featuring stunning white marble and commanding arches.

Related: Check out some of the top things to do in Muscat.

Vast, stunning landscapes

Two hikers explore the huge canyon at Al-Hajar mountain range in Oman.
Jebel Shams is the highest peak in the Al-Hajar mountain range.Bildquelle: Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock

Explore the boundless natural beauty that the Pearl of Arabia offers.

Coined “The Green Mountain,” Oman features one of the highest mountain ranges in the region: Jebel Akhdar. The best time to visit is spring, when the area is bursting with roses and pomegranates throughout the gorgeous green terrace fields. Tourists can experience seeing locals harvest and extract rose water, perfect as a memorable souvenir to take back home. Use this magical water for everything from cooking to beauty products.

Oman is also home to Jebel Shams, The Mountain of the Sun, the highest peak in the Al-Hajar mountain range. Known as the Grand Canyon of Oman, don’t miss the views of this incredible rocky wonder.

Shopping galore

Shoppers explore the mall in Owan.
Markets in Nizwa are full of diverse shopping options.Bildquelle: oneinchpunch / Shutterstock

Shop and spend in both historic souks and modern malls.

Whether you’re on the hunt for 24-karat gold, aromatic spices, or traditional Arabic textiles, find these items and more in various outdoor markets, souks, and shopping malls throughout the country. From the souk in Nizwa, which features unique experiences such as Friday morning goat markets, to the newly built Mall of Oman, visitors can enjoy a range of shopping experiences.

Traditional delights and international cuisine

Omani dishes being served in bowls.
Local restaurants offer various Omani dishes.Bildquelle: Glen Berlin / Shutterstock

Dig into Oman’s burgeoning food scene.

This Middle Eastern country offers a variety of local dishes, including fresh seafood and local shuwa, which is lamb or beef wrapped in banana leaves baked for hours in an underground oven. Taste this beloved Omani dish and many others at local restaurants like Ubhar and Bait Al Luban.

The one-of-a-kind Empty Quarter

Camels in the dunes at the Empty Quarter in Oman.
Rub al Khali is the largest area of sand in the world.Bildquelle: David Steele / Shutterstock

Head deep into the Arabian desert.

Also known as Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter is the largest area of sand desert in the world. Located in the western region of Oman, the sands span the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Those visiting the area can explore the massive dunes via 4WD vehicles, sip tea with local Bedouins, or camp under the stars to experience unique biodiversity, flora, and fauna based in the area, including Arabian gazelles.

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