LE DESTINAZIONI

Le Destinazioni

Guide pratiche e dettagliatissime su Paesi, città e destinazioni. Cosa vedere, quanto stare, in quale quartiere prenotare l'albergo, come spostarsi, che tempo fa. I miei suggerimenti su come organizzarti e tanti links utili dove cercare info aggiornate. Da stampare e portare in viaggio.

I MIGLIORI ALBERGHI DOVE ALLOGGIARE

Guida ai Migliori Alberghi del Mondo

Le mie recensioni ragionate sugli alberghi più belli da prenotare in viaggio, non necessariamente gli hotels più lussuosi ma quelli meglio situati e con il miglior rapporto qualità/prezzo. Con la descrizione dettagliata e tutti i pro ed i contro di ogni albergo, per stare bene cercando di contenere il più possibile i costi.

I POSTI DA URLO

Posti da Urlo: i Posti Più Belli del Mondo

Quali sono i posti più eccezionali del pianeta? Quei posti da urlo assolutamente da non perdere? Una serie di articoli, sintetici e veloci da leggere, con la descrizione delle attrazioni più belle, quei posti speciali che non devi mancare durante il tuo viaggio. Con le cose da sapere ed i miei consigli su perché andare a visitarle, dove si trovano, come arrivare e quanto tempo dedicare a ciascuna attrazione.

I VIAGGI

I Grandi Viaggi

Veri e propri programmi di viaggio spiegati in dettaglio, giorno per giorno, con tutte le informazioni ed i links che occorrono per poter prenotare, da solo e sul web, alberghi, trasferimenti e voli interni.

IL CLIMA

Quando Andare

Il tempo che potresti trovare, Paese per Paese, regione per regione, quasi mese per mese. Quando è meglio andare e quando è più saggio starsene a casa. I links dove controllare forecasts ed averages di temperatura e piovosità.

LA SALUTE IN VIAGGIO

La salute e le malattie in viaggio.

Sei in partenza per un viaggio? Sei preoccupato per malaria, febbre gialla e dengue e cerchi informazioni su vaccinazioni e profilassi? L’attenzione sulla malattie e sulla salute in viaggio e di conseguenza l’informazione aggiornata sulla situazione sanitaria nel Paese che si intende visitare è un vero e proprio must per qualsiasi viaggiatore.

PASSAPORTI E VISTI

Passaporti e visti

Le informazioni su passaporti e visti, formalità valutarie e doganali, ambasciate e consolati, l'ESTA, il Timatic Web e gli ultimi avvisi per il viaggiatore

The 4 Best Oman Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Muscat

The 4 Best Oman Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Muscat

The 4 most exciting guided tours and day-trips in Oman from Muscat. What are the best guided day-tours from Muscat? And, above all, which are the most interesting and beautiful places in Oman that you can reach and visit from Muscat with day-trips leaving the capital of Oman in the morning and returning in the late afternoon? Where to go and which tours to choose among the numerous guided day-tours offered by the tourist agencies of Muscat? Are you looking for an excursion by private car and a personal guide or do you wish to join a group tour? Your complete guide to the very best guided tours and day-trips in Oman from Muscat with my reviews and all pros and cons of each tour. The city tour of Muscat to visit with a guide the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Corniche and the intriguing souq in the Mutrah district. The 4WD desert safari from Muscat to see the great sand dunes of Wahiba Sands and to swim in the crystal clear water of beautiful Wadi Bani Khalid. The guided day-tour from Muscat to visit the important city of Nizwa, Bahla Fort and Jabrin Castle. And the day-tour to explore the mountains and villages of Jebel Shams with the Grand Canyon of Oman. The comparison and detailed description of the best tours you can book in Muscat to visit the most beautiful places in Oman, with direct links to compare costs and book easily online with credit card.

Wadi Bani Khalid and Wahiba Sands Desert Tour, Oman

Wadi Bani Khalid and Wahiba Sands Desert Tour, Oman

Photo Credit: Prasad Pillai

What Are the Best Oman Guided Tours and Day-Trips from Muscat?

The 4 Best Guided Tours and Day-Trips in Oman from Muscat

Do you want to visit Muscat on an organized tour with a guide? Would you like to visit the magnificent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and then explore the charming Mutrah district with the Corniche and the fascinating souq? Would you like to take a 4WD tour to the Oman desert to see the great sand dunes and swim in one of the most scenic wadis? Or to book a guided tour to visit the city of Nizwa with the fort of Bahla and the castle of Jabrin? Or even reach the spectacular mountains of Jebel Shams to admire the impressive abyss of the Grand Canyon of Oman from above?

  • Among the many city tours of Muscat and the numerous guided day trips departing from Muscat to reach the desert and the Nizwa region that you find proposed by the travel agencies of Muscat and bookable online, I have chosen 4 different tours
  • The first one is a guided city tour of Muscat to visit the best of the capital of Oman. The second excursion is a 4WD desert tour to reach the majestic dunes of Wahiba Sands and take a swim in the crystal clear water pools of Wadi Bani Khalid, among rocks and beautiful palm trees. The third is an excursion to visit the important city of Nizwa, admire the fort of Bahla and the castle of Jabrin. The last one is a tour to discover the spectacular mountains of Jebel Shams with the impressive abyss of the Grand Canyon of Oman. 
  • These are not the only tours you can book but in my opinion they are among the best and most complete guided day-trips available on the market to explore Oman leaving Muscat in the morning and returning in the late afternoon.
  • All tours are described below, in a very detailed way, with my considerations, some suggestions and all the pros and cons of each tour
  • If you go to Muscat, you want to visit some of the most beautiful places in Oman, you have little time available and you are looking for a guided excursion, I think these tours are a good solution. Have a look and see if there is a tour you like.
  • You can book all tours easily by credit card through Get Your Guide and Viator. For the great majority of tours you get instant confirmation, while for some, tour confirmation is subject to availability and will be given within 48 hours of your booking.
Dune Bashing, Wahiba Sands Desert Tour, Oman

Dune Bashing, Wahiba Sands Desert Tour, Oman

Photo Credit: Sankara Subramanian

Muscat Half Day City Tour

It is the classic half-day tour to visit Muscat, perfect for visiting the best of the capital of Oman accompanied by a guide. Depart in the morning from your hotel, the first stop is the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the true wonder of Muscat, and then move to the characteristic Mutrah district to take a look at the fish market, stroll on the Corniche and visit the souq; the last stop is in what used to be the Old City to admire from the outside the forts of Mirani and Jalali and the Al Alam Palace, the Sultan’s Palace, and finally visit the small museum of Bait Al Zubair with an interesting exhibition about Omani history and culture. You see practically all of Muscat’s most beautiful attractions in just 4 hours, then if you have more time you can continue to explore Muscat on your own. This tour is arranged by Gray Line – Kurban Tours and offered by Viator, the TripAdvisor-owned company specializing in the sale of online tours.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: departure and return to your hotel in Muscat.
  • Duration of the tour: about 4 hours, departure around 8 with return to the hotel at 12 or 12.30.
  • Guide: the tour operates with an English-speaking guide but an audio guide is available in several other languages, select it during the booking process.
  • Features: usually the tour is carried out on a shared basis together with other participants, sometimes it happens to be lucky and have an exclusive car and driver/guide all for yourself.
  • Price: enter the date and number of participants to get a correct quote; the cost includes transport, the assistance of a guide, the audio guide and also the entrance fees (where necessary) to all the attractions visited during the tour.
  • Pros: pick-up and drop-off at your hotel so as not to have to deal with the expensive taxis of Muscat; being able to get a good idea of the capital of Oman in just half a day and at a very reasonable price.
  • Cons: I would say none, and considering that taxis in Muscat are anything but cheap and during the excursion there are many trips, the tour is worth all the money it costs.
  • Good to know: to enter the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque you need adequate clothing, ie legs up to the ankles and arms covered and for women also covered hair and clothes that are neither tight nor transparent; if you want at the entrance to the mosque, you can rent a traditional abaya to cover up as required by Islamic tradition, but this obviously only applies to women, men must arrive already prepared. Keep in mind that if things have not changed the mosque is closed for visits to non-Muslims on Fridays.
  • Recommended: if you want to visit Muscat with a guide who tells you about the history and customs of Oman.
  • Are you arriving in Muscat on a cruise ship? There is a half-day Muscat city tour specially designed for cruise passengers with pick-up and drop-off at the port, this is the link to investigate Viator | Muscat Shore Excursion: Private City Highlights Tour; the tour operates every day and at the end of the excursion the return to the port is guaranteed in time to re-embark on the cruise ship, in the unlikely event that the ship has already sailed the local agency will arrange the transport to the next port of destination, read the details in the description of the tour in the link above.
  • Boat tours in Muscat: two different excursions to admire the capital of Oman from the sea; the first is Viator | Private Tour: Muscat Sightseeing Tour Including Dolphin Watching Cruise, it is a full day tour, from morning to late afternoon, and combines the traditional visit of Muscat with a private car and a guide to a 2 hour boat cruise together with other participants to observe the capital from the sea, and if you are lucky to see dolphins and whales; the second is a sunset cruise on a traditional boat, the dhow, has a very reasonable cost, lasts from mid to late afternoon and includes, in addition to navigation with free non-alcoholic drinks on board, also the pick-up and return to your hotel, this is the link to book Viator | Sunset Dhow Cruise from Muscat. Please take into consideration that for the Covid, these as well as other tours presented in this post, may be temporarily suspended.
  • Do you want to see Muscat at sunset? Two unusual tours departing from your hotel around 4pm to explore the capital in the late afternoon and early evening; you will certainly not be able to enter the Great Mosque but you will photograph it from outside and then admire the suggestive Royal Opera House all lit up and explore the Corniche and the Mutrah souq at the moment of maximum animation; the excursion Viator | Private Tour: Muscat by Night is more expensive but it is strictly on a private basis, it lasts longer and above all already includes dinner; the excursion GetYourGuide | Muscat: Guided Evening Tour is shorter, does not include dinner and is therefore less expensive. Please note that this last tour does not always operate.
  • Video: the city of Muscat with the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Mutrah souq, the Royal Opera House and the Corniche in the evening in the beautiful images of transazja:

Wahiba Sands Desert Safari with Wadi Bani Khalid from Muscat

This is the tour not to be missed in Oman, the most scenic and spectacular one. A long day from Muscat to reach by 4WD the desert of Wahiba Sands, with beautiful sand dunes up to seventy meters high, the desert more close to the capital of Oman. In addition you visit the unusual natural environment of Wadi Bani Khalid, a canyon with magnificent natural pools of crystal clear water between rocks and lush vegetation. This is an expensive tour but extremely profitable for what you see.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: departure and return to your hotel in Muscat.
  • Duration of the tour: 9 hours, departure around 8 in the morning with return to the hotel in the late afternoon.
  • Guide: English speaking driver/guide.
  • Features: tour by private 4WD exclusively for you, the local operator is the well known and appreciated Sunshine Tours Oman, super rated on TripAdvisor.
  • Price: to find out the real cost, enter dates and number of participants, generally the minimum cost is based on 4 people; includes pick-up and drop-off directly at your Muscat hotel, transport and picnic lunch; confirmation is immediate upon booking.
  • Pros: in a single tour you will see two of the most fascinating landscapes in all of Oman, the wadis and the dunes of the desert.
  • Cons: you travel for almost 600 km, and you must be aware of this before booking, but the access road from Muscat to Bidiyah is almost all highway so the approach and return are relatively fast; there are better and more expert guides who take you by off-road up to the top of the dunes doing dune bashing and others who instead stop on the sandy track at the base of the dunes, but if the guide is really good you only discover it the same day of the tourn, in any case you can still climb the dunes on foot alone.
  • Good to know: although there is no border to cross, bring your passport with you on the day of the tour, some agencies require it and it could be useful in case of traffic police checks; don’t forget your swimsuit if you want to swim in the pools of transparent water of Wadi Bani Khalid.
  • Recommended: if you stay in Muscat for a few days and have only one day to devote to an excursion outside the city, this is the tour you should prefer, at least if you want to see the desert; perfect for families and groups of friends.
  • Small group shared tour of the Wahiba Sands: at the time of the update of this article it is possible to book an interesting shared excursion in small groups which is perfect for those traveling alone or even those traveling as a couple but do not need a private vehicle; the difference with other similar desert tours is the price, being a shared tour the cost is in fact extremely attractive; pick-up and drop-off at the Muscat hotel, 4WD transport to Wahiba Sands and Wadi Bani Khalid and picnic lunch are included, here is the link to compare costs and book Viator | Desert Safari Sharing Tours; the tour is organized by Wabar Tours and the reviews on TripAdvisor are excellent; this excursion is the solution if you are traveling alone or as a couple and want to see the Oman desert at a very reasonable price.
  • Video: the images of the majestic Wahiba Sands dunes in this video by ZigZag On Earth:

Nizwa and Jabrin Castle Day-Tour from Muscat

This is the classic tour from Muscat if you are interested in learning more about the history and cultural aspects of Oman. The first stop is the important city of Nizwa located almost 180 km southwest of Muscat, an ancient city and an important religious and artistic center, here you visit the souq famous for its ceramics, jewels and daggers. The second stop is the Jabrin Castle, one of the most impressive and best preserved in all of Oman, you enter the castle and visit it inside. In the vicinity of Jabrin also take a look from the outside at the beautiful fort of Bahla included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, then return to Muscat by mid-afternoon.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: included for all the hotels located within the city of Muscat.
  • Duration of the tour: 9 hours, departure in the morning around 9 and return to Muscat at 18.
  • Guide: English speaking, plus audio guide in French, German, Italian and Spanish.
  • Features: group tour shared with other participants.
  • Price: includes pick-up and return to the hotel, transport, entrance costs as indicated on the official excursion page, lunch.
  • Pros: it is one of the most interesting tours among those you can book in Oman, in addition to Nizwa, Jabrin and Bahla there is a photo-stop in the village of Birkat Al Mauz; excellent value for money, note the lunch already included.
  • Cons: in my opinion none, certainly do not expect to drive off-road on dirt tracks that cross the mountains, this tour takes place entirely on paved roads and for both the outward and return journeys you use the comfortable and fast multi-lane highway that connects Muscat to Nizwa.
  • Good to know: Oman is not an extremist country but like all Islamic countries it is traditionalist, and here you are always among the people, so dress decently, which means no necklines and covered arms and legs.
  • Recommended: if in addition to Muscat you want to see something else of Oman and are more interested in history and culture than in nature and landscapes; good shopping opportunities at Nizwa souq.
  • For those on a cruise boat: a 9-hour tour to Nizwa and Jabrin Castle specially designed for cruise passengers, departing and returning directly to the port of Muscat, this is the link Viator | Muscat Shore Excursion: Private Nizwa Day Trip; at the end of the tour, the return to the port is guaranteed in time to re-board the cruise ship, in the unlikely event that the ship has already sailed, the local agency will arrange the transport to the next port of destination at its own expense; if, on the other hand, it was the ship that delayed your arrival at the port of Muscat, preventing you from participating in the excursion, you will be entitled to a refund, read the details in the description of the tour in the link above.
Visiting the Souq and Fort of Nizwa, Nizwa Day-Trip from Muscat, Oman

Visiting the Souq and Fort of Nizwa, Nizwa Day-Trip from Muscat, Oman

Photo Credit: Dan

Jebel Shams: Tour to the Grand Canyon of Oman from Muscat

Jebel Shams rises to 3,000 meters above sea level and is the highest peak of the Hajar mountain range, as well as the highest point in Oman. It is not the summit that is important, but the glorious view from the summit plateau on the very deep Wadi Ghul below, a chasm of 1,000 meters. It is known as the Grand Canyon of Oman and the views are truly spectacular, a mineral world of layered rocks without a single tree. And the Jebel Shams plateau reached via a scenic dirt road is the destination of this tour from Muscat which also includes a visit to Al Hamra and the characteristic and somewhat labyrinthine village of Misfat Al Abreyeen, by far one of the most beautiful villages of all Oman, with its palm grove, dark alleys and old houses.

  • Pick-up and drop-off: departure and return to your Muscat hotel.
  • Duration of the tour: the departure is scheduled around 8 in the morning, the excursion lasts about 10 hours.
  • Guide: English speaking driver/guide.
  • Features: usually the tour is carried out with a 4WD off-road private vehicle.
  • Price: enter the date and number of participants to get the correct cost, price includes transport from/to Muscat with a private driver/guide, lunch is included too.
  • Pros: in addition to the panorama from the top of Jebel Shams, the interesting and profitable stop at the village of Misfat, one of the most beautiful and authentic in all of Oman.
  • Cons: tour with a lot of hours of driving, keep this in mind when you book; from Nizwa to the summit plateau of Jebel Shams is 90 Km one-way (of which a part on dirt track) in addition to the 180 Km that separate Nizwa from Muscat, you spend most of the day in your car.
  • Good to know: the limited time at Jebel Shams does not allow you to hike the spectacular and dizzying Balcony Walk, probably the most famous of all Oman hikes, all you can do is walking along the path for a few hundred meters and then go back to your off-road vehicle; on the way back to Muscat try to ask the guide if you can make a short stop in Birkat al Mauz, the ruins of the ancient village now abandoned are very suggestive, you can walk along silent streets between stone and clay houses on the edges of a large palm grove. 
  • Recommended: if you want to take a look at Nizwa but what really attracts you the most are the wild views of the mountains of Oman.
  • Video: the grandeur of the landscape of Jebel Shams and the view of the underlying Wadi Ghul in this very short video taken with a drone, images by Makshumul Hoque:

Important!

  • Before booking read the full description of the tour you like in the official page of Viator and GetYourGuide carefully, please check what is included and what is not, meeting points, times of departure and cancellation policies. 
  • After booking, if you have any queries or doubts, immediately contact Viator or GetYourGuide Customer Service in order to receive assistance.
  • And the day before the tour, please reconfirm the pick-up time with the local supplier. You receive phone and email from the local supplier of the tour immediately after your booking. Maybe your hotel can help.  
  • Read the reviews. If the majority of the reviews are positive that’s a good thing. And always check all the info you read here in the official page of each tour, things change and the official site provides the latest updates.

Published:  June 15th 2022

Creative CommonsFront cover photo credit: Oman desert by Luca Nebuloni. Photos come from Flickr: Creative Commons Attribution Licensed Photos. Please read here the Summary of the Legal Code. Terms of license are valid at the time of publishing this post.