Arabia at its most welcoming
Oman seems to be the country on every travel magazine’s lips at the moment, with everyone from Condé Nast Traveller to Lonely Planet singing its praises.
While neighbouring emirates like Dubai and Abu Dhabi reach ever more record-breaking heights, Oman takes a step back and plugs into a laid-back element of Arab culture that can be hard to find in the fast-paced cities.
The capital, Muscat, is a salt-white port city that wanders between the mountains and Gulf of Oman. It’s home to one of the most impressive mosques on the planet: the elaborate Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
The Hajar Mountains peak and trough behind Muscat. Jebel Shams is the highest point – it dishes up plummeting views of the Wadi Ghul (AKA the Grand Canyon of Arabia).
As you travel even further south, Oman segues into a dune-peaked landscape called the Wahiba Sands. You’ll find the tallest dunes stacked up against the east coast, reaching up to 100 metres tall.
Muscat is the north coast capital city of Oman. It squeezes an ancient harbour and characterful neighbourhoods between dune-like mountains that sweep right up to the sea.
Jabal Akhdar is a spectacular slice of the Al Hajar mountain range. Boutique hotels and rose terraces sit at over 2,000 metres above sea level, peering down at hamlets, canyons and orchards.
Flight time from the UK to Oman starts at 7 hours 30 minutes.
The best time to visit Oman is in autumn and spring. Temperatures waver between 23°C and 30°C, although nights can cool down considerably. That’s down to the desert climate, which also contributes to Oman’s very dry summers. The winters see occasional rainfall that appears in short, sharp bursts.
Temperatures frequently soar past 40°C between June and September. Wondering where all those dunes come from? Winds blow through between March and August, whipping up the desert sands.
You can expect plenty of sunshine all year round, too: at least eight hours a day on average.
British nationals don’t need to get a visa in advance. You’ll receive one when you arrive in Oman.
It’s best to tip around 10% in high-end or hotel restaurants. Elsewhere in Oman, a tip isn’t expected – but rounding up the bill to the nearest rial for good service is appreciated.
Check with your GP for up-to-date information on vaccinations.