The jewel of the Arabian Peninsula

 

Whether you want a beach holiday, a bustling city break or a desert adventure, the unique destination of the Sultanate of Oman can provide it all

There are few places where you can lie on a deserted beach one day, enjoy the hustle of a capital the next,then escape to spend a night sleeping under desert stars. All of this and more are possible in Oman.

The second largest country on the Arabian Peninsula after Saudi Arabia, and roughly the same size as Germany, the Sultanate’s landscape is a diverse mosaic unique to the region. Its breathtaking scenery extends to the spectacular fjords of the northern region of Musandam peninsula, the lush green valleys of the southern region of Dhofar, 3,165km of pristine coastline and sandy beaches as well as the stunning Hajar Mountains and the vast desert.

Just seven hours’ flying time from the UK with award winning national carrier, Oman Air, visitors to Oman can be assured of a warm welcome and will soon be immersed in an authentic slice of Omani life.

One of the many highlights of any trip to Oman is a tour of its atmospheric capital, Muscat, voted Arab Tourist Capital 2012. Gazing out over the azure waters of the Gulf of Oman, it is framed by the Hajar Mountains and its coastline is fringed by dramatic rock formations. Thanks to careful conservation, Muscat still retains its unique sense of history, architecture and culture and is an enchanting fusion of old and new, dotted with historic sights and landmarks such as the beautiful Sultan’s Palace.

The 4km Muttrah Corniche is Muscat’s most impressive seaside promenade, lined with historic Merchant’s Houses and palm trees, perfect for a stroll or a picnic. Don’t miss the chance to wander the labyrinthine alleys of the 200-year-old Muttrah souk, a fascinating glimpse into local life with stalls selling everything from handicrafts to silks and spices like the celebrated frankincense.

At one end of the Muttrah Corniche is picturesque Old Muscat, a captivating slice of the old Oman topped by the spectacular Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts and protected by thick, 17th century walls. This is a wonderful place to wander its lanes and alleyways admiring the houses and soaking up in the unique Omani heritage of the city.

Muscat also gives visitors the chance to experience a more contemporary and cosmopolitan side to the city with numerous restaurants, bars and cafes as well as some stunning examples of modern Islamic architecture like the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the new Royal Opera House, inaugurated last October.

The ideal year-round getaway, be it for a short break, escaping the winter chill or for a longer holiday, Oman’s warm temperatures, blue skies and huge array of attractions and natural wonders means there is something for everyone.

If you are simply seeking some relaxation and rejuvenation, you could not pick a better destination than Oman. Its beaches are unrivalled and its growing number of golf courses and luxurious spas have already gained a reputation for being among the best in the world. Gourmands can also choose from an array of world cuisines. As well as sampling some of the local Omani specialties.

Explore the extraordinary biodiversity of the country’s many wadis like the stunning Wadi Shab and discover some of Oman’s unique flora and fauna both on land and underwater at one of its many diving sites that are arguably some of the finest in the world. Oman supports five of the eight species of turtle on the planet and nature-lovers can visit one of several beaches such as Ras Al Jinz that is home to nesting Green Turtles.

Enjoy a cruise along the beautiful coast. Families will adore Oman’s safe, clean beaches fringed by gin-clear water as well as thrilling outdoor activities like sand-skiing and desert safaris among the extraordinary, undulating landscape of the vast, Wahiba Sands.

Then there is the silver city of Nizwa, Oman’s former capital, with its celebrated fort, mosque and souk or the southern city of Salalah, which was once famed for its thriving trade in frankincense.

More intrepid travelers can venture into the Oman’s interior to enjoy a pristine beauty that has remained virtually untouched for centuries. You can even sleep in Arabian Nights-style luxury under the desert stars at one of a number of tented camps. Just a few of the many unique experiences visitors can discover with a stay in Oman – the Arabian Peninsula’s best-kept secret.

Luxury Hotels

Oman has an array of luxurious hotels and resorts like the Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, Six Senses, Intercontinental, GHM and Hyatt. Other exciting debuts include hotels by Kempinski and Fairmont, which will form part of The Wave, a prestigious complex, which sits on a 6km stretch of beach outside Muscat. Overlooking the Arabian Gulf, Jebel Sifah is another glamorous project with its own marina. Its Sifawy Boutique hotel offers stylish surroundings and great facilities, while the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and the Hotel Missoni are two other hotly anticipated future openings. The Sahab Hotel and The View are located in the Hajar Mountains and are a popular choice for short-breaks. Salalah Beach Resort will soon have a new landmark with the Juweira Boutique Hotel, an intimate fivestar destination.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Automotive Service Advisor - Franchised Main Dealer

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful, family owned m...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Advisor - Automotive

    £17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to the consistent growth of...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Automotive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ex...

    Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive - Automotive

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity exists for an ou...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable