Commonly overshadowed by its wealthier, more ostentatious neighbours, Oman has slowly but surely been finding its way onto the tourist map, and it’s easy to see why.

Our Oman adventure found us hiking spectacular mountain ranges, exploring the country’s many fortresses, diving a shipwreck in the Gulf, catching mesmerising desert sunsets, swimming through lush wadis, and pushing our 4WD to the limit on some incredible mountain passes.

With so many seriously beautiful places in Oman, it’s tough to know where to start when planning your visit.

That’s why we’ve picked out some of our favourite Oman photos to give you a taste of the places, sights and highlights that shouldn’t be missed.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Images of Oman – one of the monumental sandstone archways of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat.

A gift to the nation from the Sultan himself, the Grand Mosque in Muscat is a truly spectacular complex, with richly engraved sandstone, exquisite tile work, the world’s second largest Persian rug, and the world’s second biggest crystal chandelier.

 

Beautiful oman – the strikingly ornate mihrab of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat.

The Grand Mosque can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers, all of whom pray facing this intricately beautiful mihrab that points the way to Mecca.

Mutrah Corniche, Muscat

Oman city photos – Mutrah corniche at sunset complete with reflections across the harbour.

Joining the locals and enjoying a cool breeze while walking along the Mutrah Corniche as the sun sets and the city lights up is a highlight of a visit to Muscat.

Mermaid Cove, Bandar Kharyan

Oman adventure - a shy clown fish keeps an eye on us from the safety of his anemone home during our dive at Mermaid Cove.>

Half an hour east of Muscat, Bandar Kharyan offers a range of diving and snorkelling sites that are literally teeming with sea life; one site is Mermaid Cove. While conditions and visibility can be changeable, you’re guaranteed to see healthy coral reefs and of course, one or two of the cheeky local clown fish.

Sunset Dhow Cruise, Muscat

Oman photo gallery – a glorious sunset during a dhow cruise along the Gulf of Oman looking back towards a mountainous landscape dotted with fortresses.

With more than 3,000 kilometres of coastline, the sea has always been an integral part of Omani life. The country’s proud seafaring history can still be experienced today with a trip along the Gulf of Oman aboard a traditional dhow boat. Head out at sunset for glorious views back towards a dramatic mountain landscape dotted with historic fortresses.

The East Coast

Oman photography – turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman along the coastal highway between Muscat and Sur.

The dramatic coastal highway between Muscat and Sur provides plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the glittering Gulf of Oman as you skirt the Eastern Hajar Mountains.

Hawiyat Najm (Bimmah Sinkhole)

Beautiful pictures of Oman – the turquoise waters of Bimmah Sinkhole are almost impossible to resist.

Back in 2012, the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper declared Hawiyat Najm the world’s most stunning sinkhole. Just off the Muscat to Sur highway, it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to jump into the inviting turquoise waters of this picturesque inland pool, where tiny fish nibble at your toes.

The City Of Sur

Oman images – Sunset view from Al Ayjah Watchtower across the bay towards the Gulf of Oman.

The photogenic city of Sur lies just two hours southeast of Muscat, overlooking the Gulf of Oman. Steeped in maritime history, Sur remains the centre of Oman’s dhow building industry, with traditional dhow building yards still in operation. It’s also a great base from which to explore local wadis and castles.

Wadi Shab

Oman highlights – the pristine waters of Wadi Shab are a welcome sight after a long hot hike.

One of the undisputed highlights of Oman, Wadi Shab can easily be reached from both Muscat or Sur. After a sweaty 45-minute hike through a stunning gorge, and just when you think you may spontaneously combust in the heat, you’re rewarded with the first of the wadi’s turquoise pools. Wade and swim a little further and you’ll find what all the fuss is about as you pass into a hidden cave complete with rushing waterfall.

Sharqiyah Sands

Oman pics – The burnt orange suns of Sharqiyah Sands at sunset are a perfect place to sit quietly and contemplate the world around you.

It’s worth taking a trip into the Sharqiyah Sands, if for no other reason than to sit atop a huge dune in complete silence as you watch the sand change colour and the sun dip beyond the horizon. The sands are a fantastic place to test your 4WD skills, and to experience Bedouin hospitality with an overnight stay in a camp, where you can marvel at the stars while sipping tea by the fire.

Landscapes Around Nizwa

Explore Oman - The the town of Nizwa is surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Oman.

Surrounded by some of the most memorable mountain scenery in Oman, the journey to, and around, the historic city of Nizwa is an experience in itself.

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Oman – Night scene of the impressive Nizwa Fort.

Just a couple of hours from Muscat, the town of Nizwa is blessed with spectacular scenery, ancient tombs, and and some of Oman’s best preserved forts, like the impressive 17th century Nizwa Fort, with its 40-metre tall tower that dominates the skyline. The Hajar mountain views from the top of the immense tower are well worth the climb.

Al Ayn Beehive Tombs

Oman photography – sunset slowly turns tombs of Al Ayn golden as the mountain backdrop enjoys the last light of the day.

The UNESCO-listed beehive necropolises at Bat and Al Ayn have watched over the rugged mountain landscape near Nizwa for more than five thousand years. While precious little is known about the civilisations that built the tombs, or their purpose, they are an enduring and beautiful reminder of how ancient this land really is. Exploring Al Ayn at sunset was one of the absolute highlights of our trip to Oman.

Al Hoota Cave

Al Hoota Cave with its spectacular stalagmites and stalactites is one of the more unusual places to visit in Oman,

Located in the foothills of Jebel Shams, the Al Hoota Cave and museum is a must-see for geology fans. While only 500 metres of the 4.5 kilometre cave system is open to the public, there’s still plenty of opportunity to see beautiful stalagmites and stalactites, as well as rare blind fish that live in the cave’s waters. As the cave can be subject to flooding, it’s always worth checking ahead to make sure it’s open.

Bahla Fort

Oman Images – The imposing entrance to the Unesco listed Bahla Fort in Oman.

Just a short drive from Nizwa, the UNESCO-listed Bahla Fort dominates the oasis town bearing the same name. That such an impressive structure could have been built using mud bricks on a stone foundation is testament to the power of the Banu Nebhan, the tribe who built it.

Al Hamra

Oman photos – the adobe houses of Al Hamra sitting at the foot of the Hajar Mountains.

Look carefully and spot the ancient mudbrick village that climbs over the side of the Hajar mountain backdrop. This is a view of Al Hamra, famed for it’s Yemeni-style adobe houses, and one of Oman’s oldest villages.

Jebel Shams

Sunset at Jebel Shams, One of the most iconic images of Oman.

Jebel Shams is so much more than Oman’s highest mountain. It’s a gateway to cooler mountain air, epic hikes, exciting four-wheel driving…

 

This spectacular sunset shows why Jebel shams is one of the most beautiful places in Oman.

…and some of the best sunrises and sunsets you could hope to see.

The Balcony Trail

High up near the rim of Wadi Ghul, the Balcony Trail is nothing short of spectacular.

If Jebel Shams is one of the highlights of Oman, then the Balcony Trail is the jewel in its crown. Not for the faint-hearted, the hike snakes along a precarious, but well marked track high up near the rim of Wadi Ghul, Oman’s own Grand Canyon, and ends at the abandoned hanging village of Sap Bani Khamis.

Wadi Bani Khalid

 The emerald pools of Wadi Bani Khalid are a perfect place to cool down on a hot day in Oman.

One of the best swimming spots in the whole of Oman, Wadi Bani Khalid’s inviting emerald pools are the perfect remedy for the Omani heat. The natural pools here are well maintained, and there are bathrooms and a restaurant on site.

Western Hajar Mountains

The stunning 4WD track across the Western Hajar Mountains takes in some of the best scenery in Oman.

If you enjoy 4WD adventuring, then the spectacular route over the Western Hajar Mountains via Snake Gorge will definitely get your heart pumping. This five-hour drive through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery will leave you breathless, while the tight turns, sheer drops and narrow gaps will have you on the edge of your carseat.

Snake Gorge

The shady entrance to snake gorge is particularly enticing on a hot day.

Snake Gorge is a great spot to have a break for those brave (or crazy) enough to tackle the drive over the Western Hajar Mountains. Popular with hikers and climbers, the gorge’s steep sides and emerald pools provide welcome relief from the harsh Omani sun. Check local conditions before hiking however, as the gorge can be subject to flash flooding.

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If you’re thinking of adding Oman to your bucket list, check out our Oman Travel Guide for more practical tips to help plan your visit.