If you are looking for a unique place to escape during the winter, you might want to explore little bit less known travel destination in the Middle East – Oman. If you ask us, Oman is a true paradise for everyone interested in strong history, tradition, adventure and wilderness.
Forget about backpacking around Oman, as your best choice is renting a car and drive your own adventure. The petrol is cheap and you will truly have a blast renting a 4WD, which will take you to hidden corners of this amazing country. To spice everything up, our Oman travel itinerary is based on wilderness camping, which is allowed around the whole country and can make your Oman travel on a budget.
Luckily for you, best of Oman tourist attractions can be found pretty close to each other, so having 7-10 days to explore, you will be able to see and experience a lot.
Self-drive travel itinerary around Oman
Day 1: Arriving to Muscat
You will land in Muscat, the capital of Oman, and you might want to have a day for yourself here, to overcome the jetlag and just to prepare yourself for the tour. If you will land at Muscat international airport in the evening or during the night, your best option for the hotel is somewhere near the airport.
Day 2: Muscat – Wadi Dayqah dam – Bimmah sinkhole
Use the morning to buy things you will need on your roadtrip around Oman. Your best choice is to stop at the largest shopping mall in Muscat, where you will find Carrefour. Carrefour is perfectly stocked with groceries and also camping things, you might need. There are some grocery shops outside Muscat, but we did not find any so well stocked as this one.(Coordinates: 23.36.04.5 / 188.8.131.52)
Before leaving Muscat, stop at the Sultan Qaboos mosque, which is the only one in Oman, non-Muslims can visit. Women travelers should be properly dressed (loose and long sleeved shirt and trousers. A head scarf will not be a bad idea as well). The Sultan Qaboos mosque is closed on Fridays. The rest of the days you can only visit it in the morning from 8:30 to 11:00, so plan ahead. (Coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 220.127.116.11)
Continue your travel over the Hajar mountains and stop at the Wadi Dayqah dam (Coordinates: 23.05.00.2 / 18.104.22.168). You can have your lunch break at the fishing town of Quriat (Coordinates: 23.16.01.2 / 22.214.171.124). In the afternoon you will only have one more stop you should not miss – Bimmah sinkhole with its beautiful torques color, which is close to Wadi Shab. (Coordinates: 23.02.09.9 / 59.04.18.4)
Pitch your tent somewhere on the coast, near Bimmah sinkhole / Wadi Shab.
Day 3: Wadi Shab – Sur – Ras Al Jinz
After your outdoor breakfast, visit the beautiful Wadi Shab. You will park your car at the parking place and a small boat will take you across the river. The Wadi Shab is perfect for trekking and even swimming in its natural pools – for women travelers swimming is advised only if there are no locals nearby. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 188.8.131.52)
After the short trekking in the Wadi Shab, you will reach Sur, the coastal town, just in time for lunch. We loved the town of Sur. Its white color houses can be so charming and walking around the area, where dhows (traditional fishing ships) are made, can be a true experience.
Use the afternoon to reach Ris Al Jinz, which is mostly famous for sea turtles. (184.108.40.206 / 59.50.05.9) You can spend another night as wilderness camping or you can treat yourself in one of its hotels / resort.
Day 4: Ras Al Jinz – Wadi Bani Khalid – Wahiba Sands
Get up early in the morning – before the sunrise and walk yourself to the beach – you might be lucky and found the beach full of sea turtles. After the unforgettable experience, continue your roadtrip to Wadi Bani Khalid. (Coordinates: 220.127.116.11 / 59.05.59.9)
Passing picturesque villages you will finally arrive to the parking place, which is only few walks away from the beautiful natural pools. If there are no locals around, you can even swim inside, but otherwise it is nice to respect the tradition and religion of Oman. If you are a reall traveller, this should not be difficult.
The rest of the day will be for reaching the famous Wahiba Sands. (Coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124) You will not need to go far into the desert to see the magnificent sand dunes as some of the highest can be found already at the entrance into the desert. Find a perfect spot under the high sand dune and enjoy your million stars hotel.
Day 5: Wahiba Sands – Nizwa
You might be awakened by camels in the morning, which will give you the perfect setting of the desert. You will spend this day driving, to reach the Nizwa town. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 188.8.131.52)
Visit Nizwa market, see the Nizwa fort from the inside and enjoy some local food from street vendors in the evening. You can pitch your tent somewhere outside the town or you can relax in a hotel. You might want to wash off the sand from last night.
*If you have few more extra days to spend for your Oman travel, we would highly recommend that after the Wahiba Sands and before reaching the Nizwa town, you make a stop at the remote Masirah Island. The island has amazing beaches, including with sea turtles. Masirah Island is also known for kitesurfing.
Day 6: Nizwa – Bahla – Jabrin – Jebel Shams – Al Hajir valley – Bylad Said
This day will be one of the longest, so get up early. Start with visiting the Bahla fort, which is under UNESCO World Heritage protection (Coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 220.127.116.11) and use your stop for a quick stroll around the town – we loved the market and pottery workshops. Before reaching the road, taking you towards the highest mountain peak in the country – Jebel Shams, make a stop at Jabrin fort as well. The Jebel Shams surrounding is perfect for hiking / trekking around the Omanis canyon. (Coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124)
After descending, explore the Al Hajir valley and wonder around the abandon stone town. (Coordinates: 23.08.19.9 / 126.96.36.199) The Al Hajir valley will give you a surprise at the end – a small workshop of traditional rugs, which are made by men. (Coordinates: 188.8.131.52 / 57.12.00.6)
Continue your travel towards Bylad Said village (Coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 220.127.116.11), which is known as the most beautiful village in Oman. The road leading there is steep and narrow, and you will definitely need a 4WD to overcome it, but it is worth it for sure.
You will need to pitch your tent somewhere in the mountains, on the way to Rustaq town.
Day 7: Rustaq – Nakhla – Muscat
You will reach the Rustaq town in the morning, what is the perfect timing for its picturesque local market. (Coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124)
If you want to have a bath, you can also find natural thermal pools in the town, which are separated for men and women. They are used as public bath and are walled, so even women travelers can now get a change to some relaxation. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 188.8.131.52)
If you are into forts, there is another one in Rustaq. After seeing it or not, your next stop is the Nakhla fort (Coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 220.127.116.11) and its hot springs, which are only appropriate for men to use, as lots of locals are there all the time – perfect spot for picnics.
You will reach Muscat in the late afternoon / evening, where you will finally be sleeping in a hotel again and wash the dirt off from you. Find accommodations in Muscat here.
Day 8: Muscat
You will have complete day to yourself. You can enjoy relaxing at the hotel pool or you can explore the city of Muscat. The Muttrah area is nice for its local bazar / market and beautiful Chornice with an interesting fish market. (Coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124) Don’t leave Muscat before admiring the unique Al Alam palace. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 188.8.131.52) You can read more about Muscat and its tourist attractions here.
Day 9: Departure home
Oh yes, every travel comes to an end and unfortunately it is time to go home. But, if you can spend few extra days, you surely won’t mind enjoying and relaxing at some nice hotel / resort at the beach. Our reader, who did its Oman travel according to this itinerary, enjoyed in a small place Yiti, which is around 30 kilometers far from Muscat International airport. You can check hotels here.
Oman is still a little bit less known travel destination, but it won’t stay like this for too long. After all, Lonely Planet declared Oman as one of the best destinations to travel to in 2017. Oh and yes, Oman is completely safe, in fact, it is known as the safest destination on Arab Peninsula.