Rustaq enjoyed a spell as Oman’s capital in the 17th century, and it remains an important regional centre. An imposing fort dominates this friendly town and some famous hot springs (Ain Al Kasfah) feed into neighbouring public baths (open until 9pm). Turn right at the traffic lights on the way into town and you will find them beside the mosque at the end of the road. Call into the old souq opposite the fort; it is used for livestock, but some silver items are for sale here too.
Rustaq is an important access point to the mighty Wadi Sahtan, which threads along the base of the Hajar Mountains behind the town and eventually connects with Wadi Bani Awf via an impressive rock arch. With Jebel Shams towering above the wadi, and impossibly lofty villages perched on high-altitude ledges, a drive through this region is an off-road highlight that remains strictly 4WD-only at present.