Welcome to Nizwa


Only half a century ago, British explorer Wilfred Thesiger was forced to steer clear of Nizwa: his Bedouin companions were convinced that he wouldn’t survive the ferocious conservatism of the town and refused to let him enter. He would have been amazed to find that Nizwa is now the second-biggest tourist destination in Oman. The seat of factional imams until the 1950s, Nizwa, or the ‘Pearl of Islam’ as it’s sometimes called, is still a conservative town, however, and appreciates a bit of decorum from its visitors. It was named the Capital of Islamic Culture in 2013 for good reason.


Top experiences in Nizwa

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Nizwa activities

$159.50 Day Trips & Excursions

Private 4x4 Safari - The Mountain of the Sun

In Nizwa you will visit the famous 17th century fort and the souk with its excellent Bedouin jewelry. Continue to Misfah, a village seemingly hewn out of rock. Your next stop will be in the picturesque Al Hamra, one of the last loam villages in Oman. From Al Hamra the path leads to Jebel Shams, the "Mountain of the Sun", from a height of nearly 9,843 feet (3,000 meters) you will have an outstanding view deep into the "Grand Canyon of Oman". A stop for a picnic lunch will be made en-route.

$218 Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trip to Oman's Grand Canyon: Jebel Shams

The tour begins by driving through the beautiful embassy quarter of Muscat en route to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. You will stop to visit the mosque, a splendor of unique Islamic architecture. A popular visit to Nizwa, the former capital of the interior and the birthplace of Islam in the Sultanate of Oman. Nizwa is enchanting with forts, the most famous being the Round tower Fort, built in the 17th Century and its Souq is renowned for its intricately hand-carved “Khanjars (daggers) and ornamental silver jewellery. The tour then heads to Wadi Nakhel, which is situated at the bottom of the Jebel Shams, Oman’s Grand Canyon and on to Misfah, one of the oldest mountain villages in Oman. You will be taken along the mountain road to Jebel Shams with a stop at another farming village called Wadi Ghul, where you can catch one of the best views of the highest peak in the Jebel Shams range about 3000 meters above sea level. The tour proceeds to Al Hamra, a 300 year old town lying on the edge of a sprawling oasis. An off road tracks to the secluded 13th Century village of Misfat Al Brein, which clings to the edge of the Canyon and return to Muscat. You will then be returned to your hotel in Muscat.

$123.45 Day Trips & Excursions

Muscat to Nizwa Private Day Trip Shore Excursion with Guide

When your cruise ship docks at the Port of Muscat, meet your private guide and travel southwest to Nizwa. Sit back and relax on your journey, admiring the scenery of the towering Hajar Mountains overlooking the lush oases of Fanjah and Birkat Al Mauz.After just less than two hours on the road, arrive in Nizwa and hop off your vehicle to explore the historical town. See Nizwa Fort, a 17th-century fort built for Sultan bin Saif al-Yaruba, an early leader from the Ya’aruba dynasty. Admire its 131-foot (40-meter) tower that dominates the town center, and gaze out at the palm oasis that stretches out around it.Visit Nizwa Souk to marvel at the antiques and Bedouin silverware on offer. Enjoy a break to explore the center at leisure and have lunch (own expense), and then meet your guide at the pre-arranged time to continue your tour.Leave Nizwa and travel west to the nearby town of Jabrin, passing a series of old battlements at Tanuf and Bahla. Jabrin’s pièce de résistance is Jabrin Castle, one of the best preserved fortresses in Oman. Explore with your guide, admire the elaborately painted ceilings and see if you can find any of the famously hidden rooms of the fortress.Return to your vehicle and travel back to Muscat, finishing your tour at the start point. Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your timely return to the Port of Muscat for this activity. In the rare event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

$517 Outdoor Activities

Jebel Shams, Wadi Ghul, Wadi Nakhr: Full-Day Private Tour

At 08:30 hrs you will be picked up from your hotel or accommodation in Muscat city to board a 4x4 to travel via Fanjah, Izki and Nizwa. You will stop at Nizwa for a stroll through the Old Capital of Oman before moving onto Al Hamra. Once you have reached the region of Al Hamra you will visit the scenic Wadi Ghul and stop at the old village of Ghul to see the abandoned Persian ruins. Moving on you will drive along Wadi Nakhr, also referred to as the Grand Canyon with breathtaking views. At the end of the Wadi is a village where rugs with bright colors and designs are made by local weavers. Visit the local weaver and haggle for their wares. You will then have a picnic lunch.After lunch you will make your way up to Jebel Shams, the highest peak in Oman at 3000 metres. From there you will have an outstanding view deep into the Grand Canyon of Oman. On your way back to Muscat, you will stop at Misfat Al Abrein, a picturesque village strapped on to the side of a mountain. As you walk around this beautiful village where time has come to a standstill, you will be moved by the simplicity and friendliness of the people. Return to Muscat by 16:30 approximately.

$218 Cultural & Theme Tours

Small Group Day Trip to Nizwa Fort and Jabreen Castle from Muscat

The tour begins by driving through the beautiful embassy quarter of Muscat en route to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. You will stop to visit the mosque, a splendour of unique Islamic architecture. Next stop at the Bahla fort, the oldest and first Omani fort to be built in the Islamic style. The tour continues to Jabreen Fort, another famous landmark in the Al Dakhliya region, is considered one of the finest and most picturesque structures of its kind. It was built in the 17th Century, not as a fort but as a palace for the imams (Muslim clerics or prayer leaders). The design was later modified and the palace became a fort. It has been restored and thus one gets a good sense of what it looked like in its prime.After lunch the tour continues to the honoured as the capital of Oman during the 6th and 7th Centuries, Nizwa is one of the oldest cities of the Sultanate and being the trade capital it is commonly known as the ‘Pearl of Islam’. Nizwa Fort, which was completed in the 1650s, is among Oman’s largest and oldest forts as well as one of the most visited national monuments. This historical edifice is hailed as a stunning example of ingenuity of Omani architecture and it is also a powerful reminder of the town’s invincibility through turbulent periods in Oman’s history.It took 12 years to build this magnificent military bastion and its sole purpose was to prevent marauders from looting Nizwa’s abundant natural wealth, as well as to protect its strategic location on the crossroads of vital caravan routes. The fort is characterised by its height, solid fortification and unique location in the middle of Nizwa town. Also not to be missed is Nizwa souq with its distinct Omani character, selling a wonderful array of silver jewellery, antiques, leather goods and household utensils. You will then return to your hotel.

$1807 Outdoor Activities

7 Day Oman Adventure

DAY 1 SundayBe picked up from your hotel or the airport. This day offers free time for you to explore and relax in walking distance to the beach and dining possibilities. Overnight Ramada Muscat. DAY 2 Monday (B,L) Highlights of Muscat. Today you visit the 5th largest mosque in the world, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Passing by the diplomatic quarter, you will be taken to the oldest and largest market in the country, Muttrah souq. Finally, see Muscat on a boat cruise while sipping your first ever Omani kahwa a way to wrap up the day! Overnight Ramada Muscat. DAY 3 Tuesday (B,D) Coast, Wadis and Turtles. We start the day with a leisurely hike through the twin wadis of Shab and Tiwi. Arriving to the fishing town of Sur, the home of Omani traditional Dhows (boat). At night, you will get the opportunity witness sea turtles coming to the shore and laying eggs! Overnight Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve. DAY 4 Wednesday (B,D) Sand & Stone. We embark on a stunning coastal drive this morning before reaching Wadi Bani Khalid where water flows all year round. And for the main destination of the day, you traverse through the elevations of the vast Wahiba desert. Overnight Sama Al Wasil Camp. DAY 5 Thursday (B,D) The Green Mountain. Get in your 4wd and drive towards the nearby town of Ibra. The drive now takes you to Jebel Al Akhdar, the home of Omani rosewater. From Saiq plateau, you will have the perfect view of the terraces. Just at the foot of the mountain is Birkat Al Mauz, a magical place particularly during sunset. Continue to Nizwa for the night. Overnight Nizwa Hotel Apt. DAY 6 Friday (B,L,D) Nizwa. The Cultural Capital Explore the cultural capital of the country- Nizwa. As it is a Friday, you have the opportunity to watch the bargaining at the animal market where the herders bring their cattle to be auctioned once a week. This is followed by a photo stop at Nizwa Fort (entry to the fort is optional). Another beautiful castle, Jabreen, and another UNESCO site, Bahla Fort (photo stop only) are in your way before driving to Al Hamra. To the west of Al Hamra lies the road winding up Jebel Shams, the mountain of the sun. Enjoy the breathtaking views before checking in at your mountain resort. Jabal Shams Resort  DAY 7 Saturday (B) Wadi Bani Awf to Muscat. Another reason to get up so early: old village of As Sab on top of the mountain. Your rugged route to Muscat consists of a stop at the charming village of Bilad Sayt, followed by one of the most exhilarating off-road ride through Wadi Bani Awf. Visit the hot springs of Nakhl before heading towards Muscat, where your unforgettable journey ends.

Nizwa in detail