There’s no shortage of things to do in Muscat, but it isn’t always the most relaxing city.
Sometimes you just feel the need to get closer to nature, whether that be by diving into pools of water in wadis, hiking to see the lush greenery in the mountains or driving to the sand dunes of the desert.
Read on for our top ten recommendations for day trips out of the capital.
There’s only one way to describe Bilad Sayt – jaw-dropping. This tiny village, nestled in the Hajar mountain range, is filled with traditional houses and friendly locals. Head here if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Muscat for the day.
Bimmah Sinkhole, inside Hawiyat Najm (the Falling Star) Park, is one of the most recognisable spots in Oman. This beautiful lake was formed when the limestone beneath dissolved, although some locals believe it was created by a falling star, hence the name. This beautiful spot is just 600 m from the sea, so if you get bored of swimming in the turquoise waters you can head to a local beach.
If you’re a keen diver or snorkeler, a visit to the Daymaniyat Islands is an absolute must. The nine islets and their surrounding coral reefs are home to green turtles and a number of birds, with the government declaring the area a protected nature reserve in 1996.
The Green Mountain is one of the highest points of the Hajar mountain range and lies around 150 km away from Muscat. Head here for lush greenery (duh), beautiful views and a pleasant hiking experience.
We doubt there’s a better view in all of Oman than from the top of Jebel Shams, the highest mountain in the Sultanate. The Mountain of Sun was given its name because it’s the first place to see the sun at dawn, and the last place it touches at dusk.
Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman and is filled to the brim with history. The Nizwa Fort, built in 1668, is a popular tourist spot, as is the souq, where you can pick up dates that were grown in the local area. Its convenient location, near Balad Sayt and Jebel Shams, mean you can combine a trip to the city with a number of other activities.
A fantastic place for hiking, rock climbing, and jumping into water pools. But make sure you go with an experienced guide as this area definitely isn’t for the faint hearted and may require you to abseil at points.
Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve
Renowned as a nesting site for the endangered green turtle. Make sure you visit between May and September, as this is the peak time for turtle hatching. You can watch the hatching in the early hours as part of a tour, or visit the museum to find out more about the turtles found here.
The big draw of Wadi Shab is the pools full of clear blue water that can be reached after a short hike. This family friendly spot is filled with people enjoying barbecues or going for a swim to cool off in the heat.
No trip to the Middle East would be complete without a trip to the desert, and the Wahiba Sands, or Sharqiya Sands, are just a two hour drive from Muscat. Drive around huge sand dunes, or stay overnight and do a bit of stargazing.