Beautiful, historic and understated
Largely an undeveloped country until the 1970s, Oman has since turned into a veritable mecca for tourism, education and commerce.
Part of the country's appeal lies in its rich cultural heritage. Throughout the centuries, it's been known as a seafaring nation. But aside from this, you'll find delightfully friendly locals, spectacular mountain ranges, ancient towns and cities, a beautiful coastline and dreamlike desert plains.
Flights to Oman tend to go to Muscat International Airport just outside the capital, putting you at the north east of the country. From there, you can explore the breathtaking Al-Batinah coast, and the Hajar Mountains among other natural wonders.
Places to go
From its impressive gates, Muscat is a city that screams history and intrigue. Nestled along the Arabian Sea with the dramatic Hajar Mountains as a backdrop, there's no better place to start your trip. Here you'll find the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, museums, and cultural spots like the grand Royal Opera House.
For a change of pace from the buzzing capital, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bahla. Set in the north of the country, you can easily get across from Muscat and it is a stunning fort that's well worth the trip.
To experience a more rural side of Oman, make sure to pop to Masirah Island. This curious place could have been lifted straight from a picture book with its wild sandy shoreline and turtle colonies. Or see the rolling desert dunes at Wahiba Sands for surreal landscapes at their best.
Food and drink
Omani cuisine has a real fusion of influences, from Turkish to Arabic, ranging from spicy curries to whole, fresh fish. There are also plenty of coffee shops across the country, which also sell snacks, making them a perfect spot for a budget-friendly bite to eat while you're on the go.
When it comes to going out, note that drinking in public isn't allowed, and only a few restaurants serve alcohol. If you fancy a couple of drinks, do the tourist thing and buy the tipple of your choice to enjoy in a secluded area in private, whether that's while you're camping along the beach, or up in the mountains after a day of exploring.