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Overview

Famous for its pungent frankincense, majestic hilltop forts that rise out of fertile date palm oases, and atmospheric souqs, Oman is the closest you'll actually come to an Arabian Nights fantasy in Arabia (aside from Yemen perhaps). While its alluring capital, Muscat, boasts a beautiful harbor bobbing with dhow boats, crumbling Portuguese watchtowers atop craggy hills, and an attractive Corniche lined with elegant whitewashed merchants' houses, the rest of Oman offers up even more enticing attractions. The country's restored forts — such as Nizwa, Nakhal, Jabrin, and Barka — are without a doubt the highlight. Often spectacularly situated ...

Famous for its pungent frankincense, majestic hilltop forts that rise out of fertile date palm oases, and atmospheric souqs, Oman is the closest you'll actually come to an Arabian Nights fantasy in Arabia (aside from Yemen perhaps). While its alluring capital, Muscat, boasts a beautiful harbor bobbing with dhow boats, crumbling Portuguese watchtowers atop craggy hills, and an attractive Corniche lined with elegant whitewashed merchants' houses, the rest of Oman offers up even more enticing attractions. The country's restored forts — such as Nizwa, Nakhal, Jabrin, and Barka — are without a doubt the highlight. Often spectacularly situated amidst an oasis, against a magnificent mountain range, within the heart of an old town, or by the sea, their exteriors may be imposing, but the labyrinthine interiors with their splendid decor and intricate detail are even more engaging. Oman's exotic souqs are also seductive, from Muttrah's narrow alleys in Muscat to the lively market at Sinaw and the livestock souq in Nizwa where you can buy yourself a goat. They're all fascinating to explore, even if you don't like shopping. But its Oman's natural splendors that are the country's star sights, such as the awesome fjords of the Musandam Peninsula and massive Jebel Shams mountain, sub-tropical Salalah and the lush Dhofar region, and the stunning camel-colored dunes of the Sharqiya (formerly Wahiba) Sands.

Lara Dunston
About the Expert

Lara Dunston and Terry Carter have traveled to over 60 countries and written more than 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Rough Guides, Footprint, and others on destinations in the Middle East, Europe, and South America.

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Lara Dunston for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Oman is bordered to the North by Saudi Arabia, and to the West by Yemen
  • Language: Arabic
  • Currency: Omani Rial
  • Research: Oman | Oman
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight