Lonely Planet Writer

Pathfinders pics: the highlights of Oman


Lonely Planet Pathfinder Oneika Raymond recently took some time to explore Oman, one of our Best in Travel destination picks for 2017. Here she shares her experience.

Oman may not be as popular as its glitzy neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a look. Quite the contrary, in fact. Oman, found on the shores of the Persian Gulf, is great for a visit and so easy to get to from the Emirates that a hop over to the Arab state isn’t just recommended, but necessary.

Mosque magic

Oman’s capital Muscat is home to the Grand Mosque, an impressive structure commissioned by Sultan Qaboos and completed in 2001 after six years of construction. Of particular note is the Persian carpet found in its interior which carries the distinction of being the second largest handwoven carpet in the world, and took over four years to produce.

Souk Shopping

Known also by Omanis as the Market of Darkness due to its winding alleys and chock-a-block stalls that prevent the sun from shining in, Muscat’s Mutrah Souk is the perfect place to hone one’s bargaining skills. Dating back 200 years, it’s one of Oman’s oldest and most popular markets.

Old Muscat

After you’ve finished at the Mutrah Souk, take a step back in time with a walk through Muscat’s old town, which has remained distinct from the rest of the city. Framed by a wall on its southern and western sides, the mountains (located in the north) and the Gulf of Oman (to the east) provide the perfect backdrop for an area steeped in so much history.

Wahiba Sands

Wahiba Sands is a vast desert made up of fine golden sand and dunes measuring up to 330 feet high. Found between Muscat and Sur, 3000 bedouins call the Wahiba home.

Navigating Nizwa's Fort

The historic city of Nizwa is the site of Nizwa Fort, Oman’s most visited national monument. Completed in the 17th century, its architecture and strategically placed rooms and corridors made it one of the most intelligently constructed fortifications of its time.

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