A Break from the City

Day trips from Muscat

Muscat is a beautiful area with many things to see and do, but if you need some time out of the city, here are three day trips to experience more of Oman’s natural beauty, history, and culture.

Barka and Nakhal:

Just an hour drive northwest along the coast from downtown Muscat is another large city in Oman, Barka. While visiting here, be sure to check out the showroom at the Barka Halwa Factory, where you can taste several types of the famous Omani sweet. Next, drive the coastal road to Al Sawadi Beach and enjoy the white sand beaches, calm sea waves, and warm sunshine. When you have soaked in all the sunshine you desire, an hour drive away from the coast will bring you to the small, historical village of Nakhal nestled at the base of the northern mountain range. The centuries-old fort sits at the peak of the village and is open to the public for exploring. Just down the road from the fort is Athawarah Hot Spring, a perfect place to sit and relax or go for a quick hike through the wadi (valley).

Nizwa:

The former capital city of Oman sits at the base of the interior mountains and holds many exciting and historical opportunities for visitors. The Nizwa Fort is one of the largest and oldest fortified buildings in Oman and with a small admission fee, provides interested guests a look into the ancient life of the Omani people. Directly outside of the Fort is Nizwa Souq, a maze of shops selling all sorts of Omani items including its famous pottery, frankincense, incense burners, and assorted souvenirs. For more adventurous visitors, the livestock souq is open at 6am on Friday mornings, in which animals are auctioned off in the loud and exciting environment.

Jebal Akhdar, the Green Mountain:

For more adventurous visitors, and those with 4×4 vehicle access, a day trip up the famous Jebal Akhdar would be a fantastic opportunity to see some of the highest peaks in Oman. The easy two-and-a-half-hour drive from downtown Muscat will wind you through the northern Oman mountain range, and up Jebal Akhdar. (A 4×4 vehicle is required by law and you will go through a checkpoint at the bottom of the mountain) The small village of Sayq is home to the Anantara Resort, which would be an ideal place for late morning coffee or lunch. A short drive from the resort down the main road of Sayq will lead you to the entrance of Wadi Bani Habib. This beautiful wadi is most famous for the two abandoned villages that rest on the face of the mountain, through which visitors can hike and explore freely. After your time in Wadi Bani Habib, continue to climb Jebal Akhdar to the Alila Resort and enjoy the spectacular views from one of the highest accessible points in all of Oman.

The places to explore in Oman are endless in number, but these three ideas will give you a spectacular view into the historical and natural beauty of the Arabian Sultanate.

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