It would probably take months to do Oman right, but with a week in Oman, you’ll still get a well-rounded taste of what the country can offer. From turquoise color wadi pools to millennia-old forts, this is an Oman 7 day itinerary that will leave you wanting for more.
As the most laid-back country in the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a combination of vibrant culture and a captivating natural landscape. Bordered by the UAE to the north and the Gulf of Oman to the south, this Oman 7 day itinerary combines the best of its mountainous terrain and endless beaches. Be it the forts, castles, or souqs, the kingdom is home to artifacts that will give you a glimpse into the traditions and heritage that have carried over from centuries before.
Although a week in Oman is short, with careful planning and an understanding of what you’d like to visit, even a short trip of 7 days in Oman will allow you to sample the natural wonders of this country. Here is a detailed itinerary that will tick off some of the must-sees in Oman so that you can experience a bit of everything the country has to offer!
I recommend that you rent a 4×4 as some of the roads in Oman are best tackled by a four-wheel drive. Since public transportations in Oman only exist between bigger cities and towns, it won’t be easy to get around by relying solely on buses.
Due to the opening hours of Sultan Qaboos Mosque, aim to start your first day at 9:30 am! The rest of the week can be a bit more relaxed, though I’d recommend starting each day at around 10 am.
Oman 7 Day Itinerary Day 1: Muscat
You can easily spend weeks in Muscat. But if you’ve only 7 days in Oman, here are some of the highlights. The first thing you should do in Muscat is to visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The mosque is spectacular and definitely worth the early rise. Explore the intricate designs of the interiors, wander through its well-maintained square, and stop at the library. Once you finish touring the mosque, head to the Old City of Muscat.
Visiting Hours for Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Non-Muslims can visit the Sultan Qaboos Mosque from Saturday to Thursday between 8 am and 11 am. The library is open from Saturday to Wednesday between 9 am to 2 am and from 4 pm to 9 pm (it is only open during the morning hours on Thursdays).
Remember to wear something that covers your whole body. For women, a scarf is especially handy since your hair needs to be covered.
In Muscat’s Old City, the first thing you should do is visit the Mutrah Souq, where you can shop and have a bite at a nearby restaurant. The souq has hundreds of years of history and holds thousands of souvenir-potentials. It also gives you a glimpse of the controlled chaos as offered by a typical bazaar in the Arabian Peninsula. Following the souq, head outside and stroll along Mutrah Corniche towards the Al Alam Palace. Since it’s a 3 km walk, you can opt to drive towards the Palace and leave your car at the parking lot nearby.
There are a number of attractions around the Palace. You can spot the Al Jalai Fort and Al Mirani Fort nearby, as well as the Bait Al Zubair Museum a few streets over. Spend some time wandering around the beautiful premises before driving up the hilly roads for a view of the Old City below.
For the rest of the day, you can tour the gorgeous Royal Opera House Muscat, seek out a great seafood restaurant, catch the sunset at the Crown Plaza Hotel, or rent a quad bike up one of the nearby sand dunes. Remember to grab some fresh juice at one of the small shops and have a bite of Mishkak at night! Here’s a bunch of things to do in Muscat for some inspiration!
If you don’t have a car, I’d recommend that you take part in a half-day tour or opt for a hop-on hop-off bus to experience the best of Muscat.
Where to Stay in Muscat
Since one day in Muscat is quite tight, it’s best to stay in an area that can easily access your main points of interest. Travelers usually prefer Qurum or Mutrah. The Crowne Plaza Muscat in Qurum has a beautiful balcony bar that overlooks the beach and sunset. I prefer Mutrah, which is a traditional neighborhood that overlooks the Gulf of Oman.
Day 2 in Oman: Muscat – Nakhal – Al Hajir
If you have only a week in Oman, I’d recommend leaving the second day for exploring Nakhal and Al Hajir. We will visit the historic Nakhal Fort, soak up in the hot spring, and set foot in two ancient villages.
Nakhal lies 100 km away from Muscat. Spend a few hours exploring the ancient Nakhal Fort, a large fortification in the Al Batinah Region of Oman. The fort offers a beautiful view of the surrounding elevation and has a museum that holds plenty of historic artifacts. The Nakhal Fort also hosts a weekly goat market, so you might happen upon an interesting sight!
You can opt for take a dip at the Al Thowarah Hot Spring nearby. However, if you’ve time, head towards the Al Kasfah Hot Spring that sits an hour away from the fort. Al Kasfah is said to have healing powers and a dip here will surely prepare you for the trip ahead.
Nakhal-Wukan-Wadi Bani Auf (2.11 hrs)
Following Nakhal, drive along Wadi Mistal towards the beautiful village of Wukan. You can opt for a short trek through the village, which offers incredible sights of the fields and a breathtaking view of the valley. Remember to pack some snacks and food, since a picnic on top of the hills will be a great way to enjoy the day!
After lunch, drive along Rustaq Road through Wadi Bani Auf. The roads swirl through the mountain and are quite fun to cruise on. You will pass by Snake Gorge (Wadi Bimah) in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region of Oman. Snake Gorge is incredibly popular with hikers. You can choose to hike the trek and take a dip in the water pools.
Wadi Bani-Al Hajir (7 mins)
Following the gorge, you will arrive at the picturesque village of Bilad Sayt, which sits on the slope of Al Hajar Mountains near its highest peak in Oman, Jebel Shams. The village is surrounded by imposing mountains and blue skies. Enjoy the view and backtrack a little before turning right, passing the village of Al Hajir. Most of these roads require a 4×4! Prepare yourself for an adrenaline rush as you drive up the gigantic cliff face through the mountains!
Misfah Old House is a great choice to spend the night. Remember to bring warm clothes as it can get really cold at the top. Also, the road may be closed after it rains so remember to ask about the road conditions before tackling the drive!
Day 3 in Oman: Misfah Al Abriyeen – Jabrin – Bahla – Jebel Shams
The third of your Oman 7 day itinerary will be spent admiring a castle and a fort, the latter of which is a UNESCO site. We will spend the night in the mountains, which will also offer an incredible view of the sunset.
Misfah Al Abriyeen – Jabrin
Following breakfast at Misfah Old House, make your way down to the quaint village of Misfah Al Abriyeen, which is surrounded by spectacular date palm trees and rolling hills. Take a stroll along the Falaj Irrigation Channels.
From Misfah, drive towards Jabrin Castle, which was constructed by Imam Bil’arab bin Sultan, who ruled the region between 1679 and 1692. You can visit the castle with an audio guide that is provided at the entrance.
Bahla – Jebel Shams
Afterwards, head towards Bahla Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site believed to have been built between the 12th and 15th century. The fort is one of the four ancient fortresses that sit at the bottom of the Jebel Akhdar mountain ranges. Have some local bites at Wahat Al Tabiya TRAD and head up to the Mountain of the Sun, Jebel Shams. Here, you can look over the Grand Canyon of Oman for some magnificent views. The sunsets are not to be missed!
Stop for the night at the Jebel Shams Resort on top of the elevation. The resort offers Middle Eastern style chalets, bike rentals, and jeep tours. You can bike or hike through the mountains.
Day 4 in Oman: Balcony Walk – Nizwa or Jebel Akhdar
On your 4th day in Oman, we will tackle the breathtaking Balcony Walk, one of the most trekked trails in all of Oman. Following the hike, we will head to Nizwa, a town with the most popular fort in the country. We can choose to stay here for the night or spend another evening in the mountains.
Balcony Walk Trek (3 hrs)
After breakfast at Jebel Shams Resort, drive the short journey to Khateem, which is also known as the starting point of the Balcony Walk. The Balcony Walk is one of the most hiked trails in Oman. It meanders along just below the edge of the Grand Canyon, spirals through the cliffs up Wadi Nakhr, and ends in the abandoned village of As Sab. The hike to the southern summit (2997 m) and back can take up to three hours. Despite its epic setting, the trail itself is not difficult to hike along.
Balcony Walk-Nizwa (7 mins)
Following the hike, drive back down the mountains to Nizwa, the largest and one of the oldest cities in the Ad Dakhiliyah Region. Nizwa served as the capital of Oman from the 6th to 7th century and sits at a strategic location that connects Muscat to Dhofar. May I add that Ibn Battuta visited Nizwa during his 30-year journey trip in the 14th century?
The two main attractions in Nizwa are the Nizwa Fort and the Nizwa Souq. Nizwa Fort was built in the 1650s and took over a decade to complete. Nizwa Souq sits near the fort. The souq is rebuilt and preserves its authenticity, in that most of the products sold are purchased by locals. From fruits and vegetables, meats to fish, the Nizwa Souq is a great place to experience the traditional routine of Omanis. You can also purchase souvenirs, such as vacuum-sealed dates to take home.
Depending on your budget, you can opt to stay the night in Nizwa, or drive up to Jebel Akhdar.
Day 5 in Oman: Wadi Bani Khalid – Desert Camp
On the 5th day of this one-week Omani trip, you will experience the diverse natural setting that makes Oman so captivating. From high mountains to low wadis, to lush plantations and barren deserts, this country is full of surprises.
Nizwa-Wadi Bani (1.5hrs)
If you chose to stay in Nizwa, head towards Jebel Akhdar first thing in the morning. Enjoy the panoramic view of the valley below.
The next destination will be Wadi Bani Khalid, one of the most visited wadis in Oman. This wadi has deep blue pools surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges and layers of date palm trees. It’s a great place to enjoy the sun! Due to its popularity, Wadi Bani Khalid can be quite busy on the weekend or during local holidays.
Remember to pack some swimming gear! A swim in Wadi Bani is a great way to experience the beauty of the country.
Wadi Bani-Wahiba Sands (2.11 hrs)
After Wadi Bani, head towards the Wahiba Sands, where you should stay for the night. You can choose one of the Desert Camp Resorts in the area or bring your own tent. Either way, the Wahiba Sands offers a great escape from the chaos of life as we know it. Make sure to arrive in the late afternoon so you can enjoy the sunset over the golden sand dunes!
If you are looking to camp in the sands, remember to bring some grills and food so you can cook a hearty dinner. Otherwise, Desert Camp-Resorts usually offer a traditional Bedouin dinner. Whichever the case, a night in the desert amongst the stars is a must!
Day 6 in Oman: Sur – Wadi Shab
The second last day of this Oman 7 day itinerary will be dedicated to the coastline of the country. After a night in the desert, drive to port city Sur. Sur is a beautiful stop that sits along the Gulf of Oman. It has a long history, at one point serving as the center for trade between Africa and Asia. The town is also famous for its hand-built ships and dhows, which can be viewed at a nearby Dhow Factory of Sur. Here, you will see workers putting together massive wooden boats with their hands.
Later, head to Wadi Shab. This is a gorgeous destination that you shouldn’t miss even if you’ve only one week in Oman. A hike along Wadi Shab is not very challenging, however, it can get very slippery along the top of the rocks. Remember to bring shoes that can sustain the environment! To reach the beautiful waterfall at the end of the hike, you must swim through two small pools and a bigger cave. If you aren’t confident about swimming, it may not be the best idea to go without a life jacket. Bring a waterproof camera if you have one!
Day 7 in Oman: Wadi Shab – Bimmah Sink Hole – Wadi Arbeieen – Muscat
This Oman 7 day itinerary will end with a few more wadis, which is the defining landscape of the country. We will swim in turquoise pools, bypass old towns, visit lush date plantations, and cruise along the coastline.
After breakfast along the coastline, head towards Bimmah Sink Hole, a water-filled depression that is located in Hawiyat Najm Park. The sinkhole is a great place for a swim. Otherwise, opt to sit and goggle at the mountain ranges and date palm trees on one of the benches in the park. Hawiyat Najm Park is really relaxing and never too crowded!
After cooling off, drive along the coast, through the mountains to Wadi Arbeieen. The large rock pool and the waterfall are magnificent here. If you’d like another dip in the waters, it is really fun to jump off the rocks and swim as far as you can against the current of the waterfall. From Wadi Arbeieen, head through a geological wonderland and emerge surrounded by date plantations in Wadi Dayqah.
After lunch, head back to Muscat via Wadi Mayh. The drive through Wadi Mayh gives a snapshot of the Omani way of life, as it is filled with old houses and lush date plantations.
It’s no surprise that 7 days in Oman is short. However, this Oman 7 day itinerary will give you a taste of what this country has to offer. You will surely fall in love with the peace and serenity that Oman exhibits. Hopefully, you will come back for a longer trip, especially to Salalah during the rain season! Below are a few additional resources that may help with your trip.
The biggest expense during your one week in Oman will be accommodation and car rental. Hotel in Oman will average USD 50-100 a night, depending on the place you stay at. If you prefer backpacking, you can also camp in the country since wild camping is legal in Oman!
Rentals in Oman cost between USD 200-350 for a week, depending on the car.
Food in Oman can vary between 700 baisas for a shawarma, and OMR 2 for a nice meal.
In total, two people can average less than USD 400 for a week by camping, snacking on cheap food, using a cheap rental, and choosing a few monuments to visit.
The cost can also go as high as USD 1360 if you choose better accommodation, rental, and more up-scale restaurants.