Taking the perfect photo in Oman is a challenge – because there are just so many unique spots to choose from! In addition to bounty beaches, travelers to the sultanate will find architectural highlights, green oases, mountain ranges, fragrant soukhs and desert landscapes. We present the top 10 most Instagrammable places in Oman.
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marhaba! At a nine-hour flight from the Netherlands, travelers in the Sultanate are Oman immersed in a world of 1001 Nights. The Indian Ocean country once played a key role in the development of maritime trade routes between Asia, EasternAfrica en Europe† Today, the rich cultural heritage is complemented by modern, sustainable developments.
Visitors can look forward to more than 5.000 years of history, five UNESCO World Heritage Sites and many cultural attractions such as the impressive Royal Opera House and the Grand Mosque of Sultan Qaboos in the capital Muscat.
In addition, Oman offers several natural riches: The more than 3.000 kilometers long coastline is home to dream beaches for various water sports, dramatic cliffs and striking vantage points for spotting marine life such as dolphins, whales and sea turtles. The huge Hajar Mountains cut through the interior – at 3.075 meters, Jabal Shams is the highest mountain in the Arabian Peninsula; Jabal Akhdar, on the other hand, is enchanting with its hanging gardens. Lush oases, hidden wadis and meter high sand dunes invite outdoor enthusiasts to activities such as climbing and hiking. Various spices and flavors characterize the versatile cuisine of the country.
1. Bimmah Sinkhole
Also called the world's most beautiful natural pool. Travelers reach the Bimmah sinkhole in about 1,5 hours from the capital Muscat. In Oman, this sinkhole is known as 'Hawaiyat Najm', or shooting star. The Omani believe that this natural pool was formed after a meteorite hit. This natural swimming pool is located about 600 meters from the sea and the seawater flows into it. Once you have taken a dive, your toes may start to itch. The 'Garra Rufa' fish, which are also called nibble fish, also swim here. These are the fish that can also be found in many spas, so a free spa treatment! From the top, the view is spectacular: dry earth with the occasional palm tree and deep turquoise waters filling the sinkhole.
2. Jabal Shams
Jabal Sham, with the majestic Wadi Nakhar, known as the Grand Canyon, is the highest mountain not only in Oman but in the entire Arabian Peninsula. The mountain is part of the Hajar Mountains, in the north of the country. The summit reaches a spectacular 3.000 meters. It is therefore not surprising that this is a paradise for hikers and photographers. The so-called 'Balcony Walk' offers countless opportunities to take beautiful pictures. This hike takes about three to four hours and offers fascinating views of deep canyons and steep rock faces. At the end of the route is a waterfall, where travelers can cool off.
3. The Great Sultan Qaboos Mosque
Once you have arrived in Oman, a visit to the Grand Sultan Qaboos Mosque should not be missed. The mosque is located in the capital Muscat and is a true fairytale that seems to come straight from Aladin. It took exactly six years to build this mosque, before it opened its doors in 2001. The mosque has five minarets and the largest is 91,5 meters long. Fun fact: the largest candlestick is not hanging in France, but in this mosque. The candlestick is 14 meters high and has about 600,000 Swarovski crystals. But the mosque holds another record; it is home to the world's largest one-piece carpet. From the impressive carpet to vistas with beautiful arched constructions and from mosaics to the glittering candelabra, travelers are amazed.
4. The Royal Opera House of Muscat
Travelers should certainly not leave Muscat too soon. In addition to the Mosque, they will also find the photogenic Royal Opera House in the capital. This building also dates from 2001 and hosts performances by many of the great names of opera, ballet and jazz. From the outside, the gigantic Royal Opera House looks like a huge white palace. The inside is equally spectacular: from marble to ornate wood decorations and crystal chandeliers on soaring ceilings.
5. Nizwa Fort
And from the new buildings we continue to an old jewel: the Nizwa fortress. This fort was built in 1650, in the then capital of Oman 'Nizwa'. It was the seat of government of the imams and walis. Travelers should definitely climb the tower. With a height of about 30 meters, the tower offers a spectacular view of the city and mountains. And while they are there, they take a deep breath. The fort is located next to the Nizwa soukh, where travelers can taste the most delicious dates, among other things. Tip; visit Nizwa on a Friday when the locals from the region gather for the goat market. Not only fun but also very Instagram-worthy!
6. Wahiba Sands
Hair blowing in the wind, a magical sunset and camels resting in the endless mounds of sand. Wahiba Sands has dunes up to 200 meters high in colors ranging from yellow to red, saturated sea sand blowing from the east coast into the desert where both sand types mix. It is considered one of the most beautiful deserts in Oman and with 16.000 km2, there is some 'sand' to discover here. Very impressive for a traveler to walk here or go on a jeep safari with a 4×4. After a visit to the Wahiba Sands it is definitely time to recharge the camera…
7. Wadi shab
If travelers are looking for a picture-perfect oasis, Wadi Shab is the place to be! 'Wadi' means valley in Arabic and Oman has many beautiful valleys that will delight hikers as well as photographers. Wadi Shab is just over two hours drive from the capital Muscat. From turquoise water to rocks, cliffs and greenery, Wadi Shab has it all. To reach this valley, travelers have to take a boat and cross a river. They then walk for about an hour, provided they can resist not making photo stops along the way. At the end of the route is one of the most beautiful waterholes in Oman, where you can splash and swim to a cave with a waterfall. This is the good life.
8. Al-Haffa in Salalah
A beach day on Al Haffa beach is reminiscent of a day in the Caribbean. This endless white sand beach, lined with coconut palms, is located right next to Oman's undiscovered southern largest city 'Salalah'. It is also famous for its beautiful sunsets. At the eastern end of Al Haffa beach are the ruins of the ancient city 'Zafar' which are also worth exploring.
9. The fishing village of Sur
About a two hour drive from Muscat lies the picturesque fishing village of 'Sur'. This was once the main port of Oman. Now it is a quiet coastal town with romantic views. Visit the fort and enjoy the view over the beautiful lagoon and city or walk to the lighthouse and look out to sea. Dhows, traditional Arabian sailing ships, are still made on the beach today and travelers can see this up close.
Musandam is also called the Norway from the Middle East mentioned and that is not surprising. In Oman's northernmost region, travelers can spot 2.000-meter mountains, beautiful fjords and the occasional dolphin. A spectacular setting to capture on camera, if you're fast enough to capture a leaping dolphin… Marine fossils are hidden in the rocks along the sea. Besides discoveries on land, there is also much to discover in the underwater world of Musandam. From stingrays to squid and 900 different fish species to beautiful coral and shark encounters. Snorkeling with a GoPro Camera is therefore highly recommended.