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Best activities, excursions and day trips in Oman

Sometimes overlooked by its glamorous neighbor (United Arab Emirates), Oman is a hidden gem in the Middle East – think ancient cities, sweeping sand dunes, and glistening beaches.

From taking on desert landscapes in a 4×4, spotting dolphins as they glide through the Arabian Sea, climbing historic forts, to sleeping under the stars, you won’t be short on epic excursions and fun activities in Oman.

To help you plan your adventure, we’ve put together a handy guide on the best activities, excursions and tours in Oman, most of them being easy day trips from Muscat.

Looking for a place to stay? Check my guide:
How to find the right place to stay in Muscat

activities in Oman

Overview – Top tourist activities and day tours in Oman

Desert safaris in Oman
Water activities in Oman
Cultural activities in Oman
Adventure and outdoor activities in Oman
Multi-day trips in Oman
Activities in Musandam
More information

Don’t forget to check my Oman travel guide

Best desert safaris in Oman

Going to Dubai? Check the best desert safaris to do in Dubai

Here’s a selection of the best desert tours you can do in Oman, from Muscat.

Best 1-day desert safari tour in Oman: Wahiba Sands and Wadi Bani Khalid safari

This desert safari has a little bit of everything, you’ll be busy from start to finish, making it a great day trip from Muscat.

Explore the beautiful desert oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid, a sparkling emerald green pool surrounded by picturesque date palms, that just begs you to jump in for a swim.

After you’ve cooled off, you’ll head to the golden sands of Wahiba for an exciting dune bashing session in a 4×4, the perfect way to take in the breathtaking desert scenery.  

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 240km / 2.5 hours  

Exploring the desert is one of the most adventurous activities to do in Oman

Best desert safari in Oman with camping – Wahiba Sands overnight tour

Camping in the desert is one of the best activities to do in Oman. Unleash your inner Lawrence of Arabia and sleep under the desert stars. Head out to the expansive and breathtaking Wahiba Desert where you’ll begin by jumping in a 4×4 Land Cruiser and hitting the dunes.

You’ll then hop on a camel for a ride across the sand, meet local Bedouins and learn about their desert lifestyle, sample shisha and Arabic coffee, before enjoying dinner and tea under the sparkling sky as you camp out. 

Duration: Overnight
Distance from Muscat: 240km / 2.5 hours

Camping in the desert is a unique experience to do in Oman

The best water activities to do in Oman from Muscat

Best snorkelling activity to do in Oman: Dimaniyat Islands Snorkeling Tour

With its crystal clear waters, abundant sea life and eye-catching corals, snorkeling spots don’t get much better than the UNESCO-protected Dimaniyat Islands.

After an exciting boat journey past Muscat’s coastline, you’ll spend an afternoon with your head under the water where you could see clownfish, sea turtles, Arabian butterflyfish, sharks, eels and dolphins.

It’s not just the wildlife that’ll catch your eye, the rare coral reefs are beautiful too. 

Duration: 6 hours
Distance from Muscat: 70km / 40 minutes

Snorkelling around these islands is one of the coolest experiences to do in Oman

Easiest tourist activity to do in Oman: Dolphin watching tour from Muscat

If you’ve always dreamt of getting up close and personal with a porpoise or two, this trip is your chance. Spend time out on the sparkling water keeping your eyes peeled to spot one of these beautiful mammals.

You might find them swimming alongside your boat or, if you’re lucky, even see one take flight and leap from the water.

And not all dolphins are created equal, there are a whole host of different species to spot here!

Duration: 2 hours
Distance from Muscat: N/A 

Checking out some dolphins is an easy and cheap day trip from Muscat

The best coastal excursion in Oman: Full-Day Coastal Delights Tour from Muscat

Oman has some of the best beaches the Middle East has to offer and this day tour from Muscat will allow you to discover some of them.

First, get off the beaten track by going to the quaint fishing village of Quriyat to take in the sights before heading inland to the picturesque Wadi Shab where you’ll enjoy a picnic.

Next up is the scenic Wadi Tiwi where you can take a dip before heading off to the famous turquoise waters of Fins Beach. 

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 150km/1.5 hours 

This makes for a pretty unique excursion in Oman, visiting places few travelers did

Best cultural activities to do in Oman

Top cultural tour to the most touristic city in Oman: Private tour of Nizwa

Nizwa is the most visited town after the capital, making it for a great excursion from Muscat

Sometimes known as ‘The Pearl of Islam’, Nizwa is an ancient city and a must-visit for history buffs. This tour will give you the chance to explore the famous forts, mosques and souk with an experienced guide to help you delve into the city’s fascinating past.

You’ll then take a drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bahla Fort, known for its striking architecture and mud bricks. You’ll get one last bit of culture on your way back to Muscat with a stop at Jabrin Fort. 

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 160km/2 hours 

The trip to Nizwa is the top-rated tour in Oman

The best sightseeing tour in Muscat: Private Muscat City Tour 

This half-day private tour of Muscat will lead you on a whistlestop trip, taking in some of the city’s most famous sights.

The beautiful Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and its incredible architecture will be your first stop for the day before you head off to Old Muscat to visit a waterside market, stroll along the Muttrah Corniche and pick up all manner of souvenirs in the famous souk.

You’ll take in the Portuguese forts of Al Jalali and Al-Mirani and then onto the official royal residence, Al Alam Palace.

Duration: 4 hours
Distance from Muscat: N/A

The Muscat City Tour is a must for those wanting to get to know the city well

Excursion to the best fortress in Oman: Nakhal Fort Day Trip

Thought to be approximately 1500 years old, Nakhal Fort is a great excursion in Oman for history and culture lovers.

The fort is set within a palm oasis at the foot of nearby mountains and was built by the Sassanids to repel Arab tribes.

Today you can see where some of the defenses would have been – like where boiling honey would have poured from to deter attacks.

You’ll then take in Al Thowarah Hot Springs before heading to another fort in the former Omani capital of Rustaq.  

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 85km/1 hour

This tour from Muscat offers the chance to check one of the most beautiful fortresses in the Middle East

Jebel Akhdar the Green Mountain Tour

Another great activity to in Oman is visiting Jebel Akhdar, one of Oman’s most famous sights (The Green Mountain), a must-visit for those traveling here.

The altitude of this mountain means it receives a lot more moisture than its arid surroundings, grows an abundance of fruit and stands out like a gem in this dry region.

You’ll also have a chance to visit the beautiful Saiq Plateau as well as Wadi Bani Habib, Shrejaya, Al Ain and Aqur.

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 170km/2.5 hours

A village in pretty Jebel Akhdar

Best adventure and outdoor excursions in Oman

Top outdoor activity in Oman: Day trip to Wadi Shab and Bimah Sinkhole 

The perfect way to discover some of Oman’s most top areas of natural beauty, this day tour from Muscat will lead you to both the famous Wadi Shab Canyon and the cooling waters of the Bimah Sinkhole.

The emerald green pools at both areas have to be seen to be believed and you’ll have ample time to get a relaxing swim.

You’ll also drive through the seaside village of Quriyat and have a chance to wander along the white sands of the stunning Fins Beach. 

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 150km/1.5 hours 

Visiting Wadi Shab is a popular tourist activity in Oman

Top adventure activity in Oman: Visit Jebel Shams – Oman’s Grand Canyon

Jebel Shams is the top-rated outdoor activity in Oman. Blend adventure and culture on this trip into Oman’s Al-Hajar mountain range

You’ll be driven along the winding mountain roads and take in the vertiginous peaks which soar up to 3000m, creating sweeping valleys below – the views are breathtaking.

You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the ancient city of Nizwa, learning about its long-reaching history, and visit the peak side village and town Al Hamra and Misfat Al Brein. 

Duration: 8 hours
Distance from Muscat: 240km/3.5 hours 

Trekking in Jebel Shams is the top-rated outdoor activity in Oman

Top overnight adventure tour in Oman: Beach Camping and Kayaking

You’ll take to the water on this adventure as you hop into a kayak to paddle the fjords of Bandar Khayran and the magnificent sights that surround them.

Your trip will be perfectly timed to watch the sunset over the water as you drift past hidden coves and secret inlets.

After, you’ll head to your secluded beach camp where you’ll feast on a barbecue dinner and swap stories under the sparkling night sky. After a night of camping, you’ll enjoy breakfast on the beach before heading back to Muscat

Duration: Overnight
Distance from Muscat: 50km/40 minutes 

Wild camping in Oman is top

Best multi-day tours in Oman

Top 4-day private tour in Oman: Oman’s highlights

This experience will whisk you through some of the most famous tourist attractions that Oman has to offer.

You’ll enjoy a spot of culture exploring Nizwa and the Nakhl Fortress, take in the natural beauty of Wadi Bani Awf, Jebel Shams, Wadi Bani Khalid and Wadi Shab, visit the turtle sanctuary at Ras Al Jinz and head to the desert to drive the dunes and camp out under the stars.

In Oman, there are plenty of ancient fortresses

Top 3-day tour in Oman: Jasmin Tour

This 3-day tour around Oman shows off some of the country’s most beautiful sights, leading you from local markets, to desert camps, to canyons and oases.

You’ll have the chance to wander the streets of Fanya, Old Town Mudhairib, Ibra and Sur to learn more about the region’s history, take to the dunes for an overnight desert adventure and explore the havens of Wadi Shab and Bamah Sinkhole where you can take a cooling and revitalising dip. 

Definitely, one of the best multi-day tours available in Oman.

best time to visit Oman
Visiting a wadi is one of the best tourist activity to do in Oman

The best tours in Musandam

The Musandam Peninsula is an enclave of Oman within the United Arab Emirates and whilst it might be small, it has plenty to offer visitors looking for adventures. The below tours depart from the port city of Khasab.

Check my Musandam travel guide

Khor Sham Dhow Boat Cruise

Take to the water for a full-day cruise on Khor Ash Sham fjord as you sail peacefully on a dhow boat.

You’ll stop at picturesque spots like Telegraph Island, the village of Sham and Sibi Island to learn more about the area and take in the sights.

You’ll also have ample opportunity to jump into the turquoise waters for a swim and a snorkel, keeping your eyes peeled for colorful corals and local sea life. 

Duration: 6 hours


Half-Day Mountain Safari to Jabel Harim

Leave the city of Khasab behind as you take a 4×4 up into the nearby mountains to the peak of Jebel Harim, 1800m above sea level.

From here you’ll have an incredible vantage point overlooking the Musandam Peninsula and down towards the Indian Ocean.

You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the local Bedouin people to learn more about their lives and discover the famous 3000 year old rock paintings near the village of Sayah. 

Duration: 3.5 hours


City Tour With Khasab Fort

Khasab doesn’t just have to be a jumping-off point for other adventures, take some time and explore this historical port city for yourself.

This tour will lead you through the old streets where you’ll visit the Portuguese Khasab Fort, learn about the local history in the museum and then head out to Wadi Qadah to view prehistoric rock carvings thought to be over 2000 years old. There’s something for everyone. 

Duration: 3.5 hours

Musandam at sunset, Oman
Musandam at sunset

More information to complement your excursions in Oman

Touring and doing excursions around Oman can be fun and comfortable but, do you wish to travel independently? Check:

Additionally, check this list of the best hotels per area of the city in Muscat

Traveling to Saudi Arabia? Here you can find all my articles and guides to Saudi Arabia

And here’s a 7-day itinerary for the United Arab Emirates, starting in Dubai

… and the best activities, day trips and excursions from Dubai

Iran is so close to Oman, are you going there? Remember to check then my tips for visiting Iran

excursions in Oman