This seven-day tour of the Sultanate of Oman takes in historic mosques and fortresses, majestic mountains, stunning deserts and lush valleys. This fascinating tour packs a huge range of unforgettable sights and experiences into just seven days. You'll explore the natural beauty of Oman's contrasting landscapes, with a trip to the desert one day, then a visit to a lush oasis the next, as well as learning more about the country's culture, history and way of life, with visits to traditional villages, souks and museums.
Your trip begins as you're met on arrival at Muscat International Airport and transferred to your hotel to relax after your journey.
Dolphin watching – Muscat at Night
After breakfast, you'll set out early this morning for what will hopefully be a memorable dolphin-watching experience. You can expect to see a variety of dolphin and whale species, with spinner and bottlenose dolphins being the most common, but even if these intelligent creatures are a little shy today, the boat trip is a delightful experience in itself. After some time to relax back at the hotel, after sunset you'll take a tour of Muscat, beginning with a drive to the Grand Mosque – a spectacular sight by night as it's illuminated by spotlights. After a chance to take photos, you'll continue to the Corniche which runs along the edge of Muscat's historic town, Muttrah, close to the souk. Here you'll stop to browse for souvenirs and enjoy the views of the harbour, where you may see His Majesty the Sultan's personal yacht. From here, it's on to Bait Al Zubair Museum to learn more about the culture and lifestyle of the local people, then finally on to the Sultan's Palace and the two 16th-century forts which guard it.
Grand Mosque – Birkat Al Mauz – Jebel Akhdar
Your first stop today is at Muscat's stunning Grand Mosque, completed in 2001, to admire the glittering Swarovski crystal chandelier and the intricate Persian silk carpet, as well as the fine Italian marble detailing. The mosque's five minarets symbolise the holy five vows taken by every devout Muslim. You'll then leave Muscat to drive to the mountains, stopping en route in Birkat Al Mauz, a tranquil settlement of ancient clay houses renowned for its banana and date plantations, watered by a traditional irrigation system. Your next stop is at Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain), where you'll take a 4x4 trip to take in the breathtaking views of mountains, canyons and lush, terraced plantations. You'll then continue to Nizwa, where you'll stay overnight.
Al Hamra (Bait Al Safah) – Misfah – Jebel Shams –
Today's first stop is at Al Hamra, a 400-year-old town in the region of Ad Dakhiliyah that's home to some of Oman's oldest houses. Here you'll admire the traditional buildings, with ceilings made of palm beams and fronds, covered with mud and straw, and visit Bait Al Safah Museum to learn more about the traditions of this region. Next you'll continue to Misfah, a typical Omani village, to gain an insight into the way of life here and learn about the falaj irrigation system which enables the villagers to grow mango, papaya, banana and dates despite the dry climate. Your next destination is Jebel Shams (Sun Mountain), Oman's highest mountain at over 3,000 metres and home to Oman's Grand Canyon. Here you'll take in the unforgettable views of the rugged landscape, dotted with shepherds and their sheep. Then it's on to Jabreen, home to a 17th-century castle which was once a focal point for education and learning. Here you'll admire the beautiful ceiling paintings and wood carvings, before returning to Nizwa.
Nizwa – Wahiba Sands
This morning you'll explore Nizwa, Oman's old capital, famous for its souk and fort. You'll take in the lively open-air goat market then, by way of contrast, the modern Nizwa souk complex, where you can buy traditional Omani jewellery and silver khanjars (hand-carved daggers). You'll also visit the 17th-century fort, now a museum, to take in the impressive views of the town and the surrounding mountains. From here it's on to Wahiba Sands, a breathtaking landscape of red and white sand dunes, stretching as far as the eye can see, for a tour by 4x4. In the heart of the desert, you'll stop to visit a Bedouin home.
Wadi Bani Khalid – Sur – Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserv
Today's first destination is Wadi Bani Khalid, a lush valley that couldn't be more of a contrast to yesterday's desert landscape. Here you can bathe in the clear waters, or just relax in the shade of a palm tree until it's time to continue to the coastal town of Sur. Here you'll visit the harbour to watch the local fishermen in action before continuing to the dhow building yard, where these iconic wooden boats are still built by hand.
Finally you'll continue to Ras Al Jinz, where you'll have time to rest in your hotel before tonight's beach visit to see nesting green turtles.
Wadi Shab – Finns Beach – Bimmah Sinkhole - Muscat
This morning you'll make a quick visit to Qalhat to see the photogenic Bibi Miriam's tomb, before proceeding to Wadi Shab, where you'll have the chance to stroll amongst the banana plantations and date palms, take a dip in the magnificent natural pools and visit the cascading waterfall before continuing to the white beach of Finns. You'll then return to Muscat, where you'll stay overnight.
Your tour comes to an end after breakfast this morning as you transfer to Muscat International Airport for your onward flight.