Things to do in Oman

Oman’s buildings never rise more than ten stories high thanks to a long-standing decree by His Majesty the Sultan to ensure that the nation's magnificent mountain backdrop, arguably it's most stunning attraction, is never overshadowed by man-made structures.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an example of local architectural ambition, occupying a an enormous area with a prayer hall capacity of 6,600. Around 35 Swarovski crystal chandeliers bedeck the interior so it's well worth a visit if you are interested in lavish tastes.

Other attractions include Mazirah Island, which is perfect for surfing, kite-surfing and windsurfing, the Mutrrah Souk, the city of Nizwa with its impressive fort, the Rass Al Jinz Turtle sanctuary, the traditional dhow buildings in the centre of Sur and the picturesque Telegraph island.

Al Mirani and Al Jilali Forts

Pride of place on Muscat’s skyline are its twin forts of Al Mirani and Al Jilali, which are perched atop the headlands on either side of Muscat Harbour. They represent the many forts and watchtowers from the past which can be seen on the magnificent mountains surrounding the capital city of Muscat.

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Grand Mosque

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Oman's most iconic and remarkable architectural achievement. The mosque occupies a 416,000 square metres site with the main prayer hall taking 6,600 worshippers at any one time. In the interior, the main crystal chandelier comprises 1,122 lamps and weighs a hefty eight tonnes.

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Mazirah Island

Off Oman’s east coast is Mazirah Island, a booming kite-surfing and windsurfing destination which offers opportunities for fishing, diving and turtle watching. The island was historically used as a RAF base before it was handed over to the Royal Air Force of Oman. This adventure playground is a one-hour ferry ride from the coast.

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Muttrah Souk

Muttrah Souk provides an insight into a way of life which has remained largely unchanged with people still selling frankincense, silver jewellery and Bedouin handicrafts in its many stalls. Fragrances waft through the air and the sight of Omani men in their traditional dishdashas sharing chatter over cups of qahlwa makes for a unique cultural experience.

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The capital of Oman in the 6th and 7th century, Nizwa is now most famous for its towering fort, which has been restored to its former glory. Its interior now serves as a museum to showcase traditional Omani life and it has an imposing central tower that's 35m above the rest of the structure. From the top, visitors have a fantastic view over the surrounding countryside.

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Rass Al Jinz Turtle Sanctuary

A modern, interactive visitor centre provides an educational background to one of nature’s true spectacles: the nocturnal nesting of sea turtles on a stretch of unspoiled beach. Guided tours by specially trained staff allow visitors to get really close to the turtles and their eggs without any danger of disturbing the animals or their precious nests.

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Sur is the home of Omani dhow building. These traditional Arabic boats use a distinctive timber hull, the design of which has remained unchanged for centuries. They are still made using the same techniques, with tar for waterproofing and timber dowels favoured over screws. The museum here tells the story of the dhow.

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Telegraph Island

Telegraph Island, or Jazirat Al Maqlab, is a popular part of the Musandam region for snorkelers. It combines awe-inspiring scenery above the water with a bounty of treasures beneath. Dhows run regularly to the area for visitors to view the island's ruins and swim in the beautiful blue sea. Dolphins are regularly spotted in the calm and sheltered inlet.

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