Misfat al Abryeen
While larger cities in Oman can appear very contemporary, smaller villages like Misfat al Abryeen help capture a more traditional atmosphere. This mountain village is made up of stone buildings in shades of orange and brown, and it can look more like an Italian mountain village than something you might expect to find on the Arabian Peninsula. Misfat al Abryeen, however, is a beautiful example of mountain life in Oman. A steep road leads up the mountain, and you can walk among the buildings to admire banana trees and lush greenery. There’s an ancient watchtower above the village that you can climb to see Misfat al Abryeen as well as the surrounding fields and dams filled with water.
Just off the coast of Oman is Masirah Island, a unique destination for travelers in search of sun, beaches, wildlife and history. Masirah Island is home to an Omani air base, but the towns are relatively small. That means few crowds and lots of secluded spots to explore. Regular ferries are available to get you to and from the mainland. On Masirah Island, the top pastimes include swimming, checking out the abundance of shipwrecks just off the coast and watching the more than 30,000 turtles that appear annually in hatching season.
Jebel Akhdar can be translated to Green Mountain, and it is a part of the Al Hajar Mountains. Don’t expect a traditional mountain top, and don’t let the green misnomer fool you. The Jebel Akhdar region is a primary limestone and contains the highest point in the entire country of Oman. While not covered in lush forests, the elevation makes for cooler temperatures and more agricultural growth than in the desert below. The area is now protected, and you can hike through beautiful terraces and even spot trees laden with fruit. Hiking might not seem like an appealing activity in the deserts of Oman, but it is the perfect pastime in Jebel Akhdar.
The Musandam Peninsula is the northernmost portion of Oman, and it is separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates. Parts of this region are very isolated, and they have long served as the home to residents in mountain villages and coastal communities. The Musandam Fjords stretch north and offer spectacular views. If you visit the Musandam Fjords, the highlights can include things like boat trips to explore the coasts and peaks rising up from the water, spotting dolphins from a Dhow, or traditional Omani boat, and scuba diving out at sea. The population is sparse and wildlife in abundance, making this region one of the best places to visit in Oman for nature lovers.
If you only visit one place in Oman, it is likely to be Muscat. This city is home to forts, palaces, museums and markets, offering something for everyone. While you can’t visit the interior of the Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace, you can head to the harbor to get a close view of the amazing structure. Standing guard over the palace are the twin forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani, which have been converted to museums and are open to the public. Non-Muslim travelers can also visit the breathtaking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque on most mornings, admiring features like an enormous crystal chandelier, marble wall panels and the second largest Persian carpet in the world.