Oman in the Middle East is one of the most naturally and culturally diverse countries. Still not very popular Middle Eastern destinations among the tourists, Oman is gradually making its mark on the world tourism map. There are a lot of different kinds of things to do in Oman. The country is home to a long stretch of a 3000km coastline, the highest peak in the Arabian Peninsula, and centuries-old history of the Frankincense civilization.
Oman is also one of the largest countries in the Arabian Gulf, meaning that in order to explore the country from north to south a minimum of two weeks is required. However, if you’re on a short visit to Oman, here is an ideal three days Oman itinerary to spend a memorable holiday in Oman.
Oman itinerary for 3 days
Muscat (The capital city of Muscat in Oman )
Sultan Qaboos Mosque
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, named after the ruling king of Oman is the biggest and the most lavish mosque in the country. Made up with white marbles, the mosque is located right in the heart of the city. The main praying hall in the mosque hangs the world’s largest chandelier, which is fourteen meters long. There are small chandeliers hung all across the mosque.
The mosque is surrounded by five minarets that guard the main dome of the mosque. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is also the only mosque in the country which is open for people from all nationalities to visit and experience the beauty of the Arabian architecture.
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House of Muscat is the main center of arts and culture in Oman. The opera house is a marvelous white complex with gardens and auditoriums for different arts and culture-related events.
The venue is used for local as well as international cultural events. Visitors are welcome even if they are not attending any show in the opera house. The entire space speaks for Arabesque architecture from every corner of the complex. The place gets even more picturesque after the sunset. There is a different kind of laser show at the Royal Opera House of Muscat every evening.
The area of Muttrah in Muscat is the oldest part of the city. Dating back to the 16th century when Portuguese landed in the Arabian Gulf, Muttrah was developed into a port. However, now the area has been converted into an active tourist hub of Muscat with a beautiful corniche road and long walkway, an old Arabian Souq (market) and a century’s old iconic fort built on the top of a cliff.
Visiting the iconic hub of Muscat on the very first day in Oman is definitely a must-do activity to do in Muscat. The long Muttrah walkway is an extremely picturesque walkway where one can stroll across the Arabian Ocean with views of the mountains one side and life buzzing at the Muttrah Souq on another.
For souvenir shopping, Muttrah Souq is the ideal place to go! It is a congested small with small confusing alleys with locals selling all sorts of Arabic fragrances, jewelry, and clothes. Do not forget to buy a replica of the traditional Omani dagger which symbolizes the Omani heritage.
Breakfast at Shakespeare at Al Mouj Muscat
After spending the first full-day sight-seeing and exploring Muscat, it is recommended to start off the day with a filling breakfast. Head out to Al Mouj Muscat, which is a smaller replica of the Dubai Marina with a mall and a dining street facing the marina.
The Shakespeare Café at Al Mouj Muscat serves the best breakfast in town. The English and American breakfast options at the Shakespeare Café are a great choice to start off the day. Also, the overall vibe of eating the breakfast while sitting across a marina is very relaxing.
After a nice and filling breakfast, you can either take a stroll across the marina or visit the mall. If you happen to visit Al Mouj on a Saturday, so don’t forget to shop from the Souq Al Sabt, which is a street market that happens every Saturday morning at Al Mouj.
Snorkeling at the Daymaniyat Island
After a nice stroll across the marina, it is now time to get a bit adventurous and to explore the underwater beauty of Oman. There are more than twenty islands in close vicinity of the city of Muscat, however, the most popular and perhaps the most beautiful island near to Muscat is the Daymaniyat Island.
The Daymaniyat Island is a nature reserve and home to highly diverse coral reefs and marine life. It is a snorkeling haven and that’s what you will be doing next on your Oman holiday. There are many companies that operate tour to the Daymaniyat Island which is started from Al Mouj Marina.
Snorkeling gear and light refreshment are provided by the tour companies. Just after a short thirty minutes boat ride from Al Mouj is the Daymaniyat Island. The healthy preserved coral reef at the island is home to thousands of marine creatures which are nowhere to be found in the Arabian waters.
Muscat Avenues Mall
Spending an adventurous afternoon snorkeling at the Daymaniyat Island can get a little tiring, so for the evening, a shopping spree at a mall would be a great idea!
The Muscat Avenues Mall is located right in the heart of the city. it is the largest mall in Oman, with a big hypermarket area for grocery shopping, a gold souq, more than hundred local and international retail brands, Oman’s largest indoor amusement park, a food court, and a 7D cinema. To make the most out of your visit to the Muscat Avenues Mall, it is recommended to spend around three to four hours in the mall.
Bimmah Sinkhole (Hawayat Najm)
After exploring the capital city of Muscat for two days, the third day can be used to venture out of the capital and explore the nearest region to Muscat. As Sharqiyah governorate (province) is the nearest governorate to visit from Muscat. Just a three hours’ drive away from Muscat, As Sharqiyah, is considered as the fishing the hub of Oman.
While driving from Muscat to the city of Sur, which is the capital city of Sharqiyah, a major tourist spot comes on the way. The Bimmah Sinkhole or Hawayat Najm in Arabic is a small park which is formed across the one of its kind sinkhole in Oman. This is one of the most popular place to take day trip from Muscat.
The locals believe that the sinkhole was formed when a meteor hit the ground; however, it is just a myth with no scientific evidence. The sinkhole is a great swimming and diving spot in Oman so don’t forget to pack your swimsuit when visiting the Bimmah Sinkhole.
Just ten kilometers after the Bimmah Sinkhole is another famous tourist spot of Oman, the Wadi Shab. Wadi in Arabic means a water stream that flows through the mountains. Due to its close proximity with the capital city of Muscat, Wadi Shab is a famous picnic spot for the tourists and locals alike.
Surrounded by the mountains, Wadi Shab has three big water pools and a few smaller ones that appear only after heavy rain in the area. Wadi Shab is an ideal place for the adventure lovers as the main water pools can be reached only by a small boat ride followed by an easy twenty minutes hike in the mountains.
The big water pools are around five to seven meters deep. Wadi Shab is also the official cliff diving site in Oman. So, if you bear the courage to dive into a natural water pool off a cliff, Wadi Shab in Oman is your place to go!
The Wahiba Sands also known as the Sharqiyah Sands is the second largest desert in the territory of Oman. The Wahiba Sands can be reached from the same highway that connects Bimmah Sinkhole and Wadi Shab.
The main desert camps start to appear as soon as you will reach the small town of Bidayah in the Sharqiyah governorate. The Wahiba Sands is famous for the golden color sand that makes up the desert, which looks like small granules of gold when the sun shines upon it.
The Wahiba Sands can only be reached by a 4×4 drive. If you do not own one or you didn’t hire a four-wheeler for your holiday in Oman, then the best alternative is to visit Al Reem Desert Camp, which can be easily reached by a sedan car.
There are many desert camping companies which have set permanent tents in the desert. They provide three meals with hot water shower facilities too in the desert. However, independent camping is also allowed anywhere at the Wahiba Sands.
Also read about sand dunes of Jaisalmer in India
Best Places To Stay In Muscat
Grand Hyatt Muscat Resort
The Grand Hyatt Muscat hotel is located in the area of Qurm Al Shatt which is right in the center of the city. It is a five-star resort which connects with a public beach just a short five minutes’ walk away from the beachfront dining street of Jawarat Al Shatti. The one night prices of Grand Hyatt Muscat can be on the higher end, however, during the peak summer months of May to August, the prices significantly fall as it is a non-season time in Oman.
The Muttrah hotel is a more budget option to stay at while in Muscat. As the name suggests, the hotel is situated in the corniche area of Muttrah, which is the most popular area to stay at for the tourists. It is a three-star hotel which offers a nice view of the sea and the mountains in the backdrop from most of the rooms. There are many Arabic and Indian budget restaurants to eat from near the hotel. Public transport is also easily accessible from the Muttrah hotel.
About the Author
Rahma Khan is the blogger behind ‘The Sane Adventurer‘, a blog aimed at safe travels and adventures in off the beaten tracks around the world. An engineer by profession and a traveler by passion, Rahma is currently just ten countries old. However, her love for traveling across all the continents is slowly but passionately taking her to new places. She loves nature, adventure, and animals and that’s what she seeks on all of her travels around the globe. You can also check her on Instagram and Facebook.