Luxury Multi Centre Holidays
Oman is a fabulous destination in its own right, but as it is well on the way to the Indian Ocean and the Orient, you could well be tempted to combine your trip with somewhere further afield. There are direct flights from Muscat to many stunning Indian Ocean destinations, including the Maldives, Zanzibar and Sri Lanka, and to even more via Dubai, a short hop away. Alternatively, you can arrange a delightful multi-centre holiday in other parts of the Arabian Gulf that provide an exciting contrast to Oman, such as Dubai, Fujeirah and Abu Dhabi.
Featured Hotels in Oman
Luxury Oman Holidays
Oman is still almost undiscovered by the Western traveller, and has an astonishing treasure house of delights and surprises in store. Its spectacular landscapes remain largely unspoilt by over-development, and cultural traditions continue remarkably intact, making Oman one of the best places in the Middle East to experience the real Arabia. With its year-round sunshine -- its climate especially delightful during our winter months -- and over 1,000 miles of coast and beaches, Oman is truly the place to discover for a luxury holiday.
In fact, most Westerners have no idea of the astounding beauty to be found in Oman, from its vast golden deserts to its craggy towering mountains and awe-inspiring ravines. Scattered among these splendours are mediaeval towns, that retain their traditional charm, Bedouin villages, and a wealth of ancient forts, providing an abundance of rich heritage to explore. More than almost any other country in the Middle East, Oman offers the chance to experience the true Arab world, without the distortion of excessive affluence.
Where to Begin
Most visitors stay in Muscat, which is well supplied with fabulous Arabian-style hotels, and this is where they are likely to begin their exploration of Oman. Muscat, the mountain-encircled capital overlooking the sea, sprawls along 35 miles of coastline, across low rugged red hills. The areas of most interest, Old Muscat and Muttrah, are in the east, and many visitors like to start the day in the souqs of Muttrah, packed with the exotic wares of the Orient, before it gets too hot. The heart of Old Muscat is ringed by an amphitheatre of jagged bare rocks, overlooked by two imposing 16th-century fortresses, and has museums housed in forts and old mansions, displaying the country's history.
Outside the capital, Oman's most historic and attractive town is Nizwa, in the midst of the majestic mountains of the Western Hajar, including Jebel Shams -- the Mountain of the Sun -- Oman's highest peak. Around here there are endless attractions, including the stunningly picturesque traditional villages of the Saiq Plateau, the serpentine Wadi Bani Awf, winding dramatically down the mountains to the coastal plain, and the jaw-dropping Wadi Nakhr Gorge, cutting right into the heart of Jebel Shams. Close to here are two of the country's most fascinating forts, Bahla Fort, dating from pre-Islamic times, and the 17th-century Jabrin Fort, with perfectly preserved interiors.
Some of the most spectacular landscapes are to be found right in the northern tip of the country, around the Musandam Peninsula, where the Hajar Mountains tumble down into the Gulf, creating a series of fjord-like sunken valleys. The longest and most dramatic of these fjords, or khors, is the Khor ash Sham, which can be explored by a leisurely dhow cruise through the incredibly sheer cliffs and crystal clear waters. There is a strong likelihood of spotting dolphins, which often swim alongside the dhows.
To the South
South of Muscat is the Sharqiya region, a beautiful area of dunes and mountain canyons formerly known as the Wahiba Sands. This area is home to the nomadic Bedu people, and provides an enticing opportunity to glimpse a genuinely traditional way of life. The best way to explore the area is by staying at one of the desert camps, where your tent will be air-conditioned and have a double bed, shower, and Persian rugs.
While here you must not miss Ras al Jinz, at the north-eastern tip, one of the great nesting grounds for green turtles. Every year, thousands of turtles return to nest and lay their eggs, creating one of the supreme spectacles of the natural world. Between September and November, it is possible to witness both nesting and hatching.
A Different Scene
If you have the chance to travel to the far south of the country, you can see a very different landscape. The subtropical city of Salalah, Oman's second city and once the heart of the frankincense trade, experiences an annual monsoon rainfall, when the surrounding hills turn a lush green, and cascades of water from the mountains create rivers, waterfalls and rock pools. From here you can explore the rugged Dhofar Mountains, and the great desert sea of the Rub' Al Khali.
Whether you wander through Oman, or stay in the capital and relax, you cannot fail to be impressed by the hospitality, kindness and generosity of the Omani people. During the 45 years of the Sultan's rule, Oman has been turned into a modern and truly luxurious travel destination, combining traditional values with the most up-to-date opulence. Oman offers sunshine, rich culture, and an incredibly diverse landscape, to enjoy in the most luxurious comfort.