If you’re looking for the ultimate road trip itinerary through Oman, then you’ve come to the right address! This wonderful country in the Middle East is the perfect one for a self-drive holiday and it’s one of the safest and most stable countries in the Middle East.
During this road trip in Oman you’ll drive along a coastline with some of the clearest blue water, jagged mountain peaks, endless sand dunes and dusty roads winding through old towns of ancient civilizations.
And to think hardly anyone knows about this incredible country. Truly a shame because over the past years the tourism industry has been picking up on the hidden gem that is Oman. Resulting in more tour companies offering their services in Oman and luxury hotels and resorts dotted around the country to make your stay even more memorable.
Another big plus about a road trip in Oman is its modern and well developed road infrastructure. All highways are in pristine condition, driving rules are respected and its a pretty easy country to navigate all around.
And to top it all off the Omani hospitality and cuisine is literally out of this world. I went on a road trip with my mom and both of us had an incredible time and felt safe during our entire trip.
The Ultimate Oman 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary
Up until this day I still can’t comprehend why Oman isn’t a more popular tourist destination. But to be honest that was also one of its best features. Imagine exploring ancient cities and having them nearly all to yourself. This way you can actually get a sense of what this ancient civilization looked and felt like.
Wether you’re a history buff, you love to be exploring the outdoors or you love to indulge yourself in some lavish luxury. A road trip through Oman will not let you down!
And within this 7 day Oman road trip itinerary you’ll find all of my personal recommendations. The best places that you should stay during your trip, which top attractions in Oman you definitely can’t miss and how to safely get around the country.
How to get around Oman
The best way to get around Oman is to simply rent a car.
🚘 I always use SunnyCars when booking a rental car cause their company policy makes me feel the most at ease.
There’s never any hidden costs with them and free cancellation up to 1 hour before rental start. Their price is transparent and everything is included. So no worries about any extra costs when you pick up your rental. You won’t need any extra insurance cause its all covered in the original price.
Where to stay in Oman
Below you’ll find my favorite accommodations for each and every stop that we did during our 7 day road trip itinerary in Oman.
Muscat – Shangri-La Al Husn: a stunning luxury hotel only 20 minutes away from the city centre of Muscat. The perfect place to stay and discover the entire area. Oh and it’s adults only!
Jebel Shams – SAMA Al Khutaim-Heritage Home: The best place to stay to hike the Balcony Walk in Jebel Shams and watch the sunrise and sunset above the spectacular canyon.
Jabal Akhdar – Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort: One of the most luxurious hotels in entire Oman where you can enjoy the best views over Jabal Akhdar straight from your room.
Nizwa – Antique Inn: An authentic hotel in the heart of Nizwa and only 2 minutes walking from its main attractions.
Wahiba Sands – Desert Nights Resort: The perfect place to experience the desert dunes in Oman.
📖 READ NEXT – THE 8 VERY BEST PLACES TO STAY IN OMAN
Is Oman worth visiting?
Oman is definitely worth visiting! Especially if you love a holiday that’s a bit of a mix of everything.
One day you can be relaxing by the beach in a 5 star luxury hotel or go swimming with dolphins. The next day you can be hiking alongside the cliffs of the biggest canyon in Oman.
Oman is also a safe country for a woman to go solo traveling but also has a lot of romantic bucket list experiences that you can do as a couple.
And of course it’s also the perfect country to explore with your kids. Which kid wouldn’t love running down a sand dune or go snorkling in some of the bluest water in the world.
The best time to visit Oman
Oman is the perfect destination to escape those winter blues in the Northern hemisphere of the world.
The best time to visit this desert country is from October through March when the temperature is warm (between 17°C and 35°C) but not too hot so you would miss out on a lot of activities. These months see little to no rainfall, making it an ideal time for enjoying outdoor events
Of course this also means that it’s high season which means flight prices will be expensive and hotel rates will go up. I found hotels in Oman on the more expensive side, especially when you’re staying in the more remote areas. So make sure to book well in advance if you’re planning your holiday to Oman!
Definitely avoid the summer months from June to August cause by then the temperature will be scorching hot and all you can do is stay inside an air conditioned building. Not ideal when planning an adventurous road trip!
The Perfect Oman Road Trip Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival in Muscat
To reach Oman you’ll fly into Muscat International Airport where you can also pick up your rental car and local SIM-card. We arrived in the middle of the night and all of these services are open 24/7.
🚘 Every single time that I need to book a rental car I choose SunnyCars to do so. There’s never any hidden costs with them and free cancellation up to 1 hour before rental start. Their price is transparent and everything is included. So no worries about any extra costs when you pick up your rental. You won’t need any extra insurance cause its all covered in the original price.
On our first full day in Muscat we decided to stay at a hotel that was only 10 minutes walking from the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
The mosque opened in 2001 and it’s the only mosque in entire Oman that is also open to non-muslims.
Opening hours – Every day except Friday from 8am until 11am. Try to come at opening time cause tourist groups will start arriving from 8.30am and the mosque will become pretty crowded.
Entrance fee – Free to enter. There will be a lot of locals offering their guiding service but you’re not obligated to visit with a guide.
Dresscode – As a woman you need to cover up your shoulders and legs and also wear a headscarf. You can also rent an abaya at the entrance for 4 OMR.
After our visit we returned to the hotel to have breakfast and to check out. Next on the itinerary was some luxury mother-daughter time at the exquisite Shangri-La Al Husn.
We decided to stay here for 2 nights to fully relax and prepare ourselves for the upcoming days of this whirlwind trip!
The Shangri-La Al Husn is a 5 star luxury resort at the Muscat Bay and is only 20 minutes driving from the centre of Muscat.
Day 2 – Muscat
Our second day in Muscat started with an incredible breakfast overlooking the cliffs at the Shangri-La Al Husn. An activity you can have organized especially for you. Another option is to have said experience in the evening for an even more romantic atmosphere.
Next we simply indulged in everything the hotel had to offer:
- I got a massage, catered especially to my pregnancy
- An incredible lunch, overlooking their private beach
- Some mother-daughter time that was long overdue at the beach
- An exquisite dinner at their Indian restaurant
Day 3 – Muscat & drive up to Jebel Shams
For our last day at the Shangri-La Al Husn they organized a fun excursion for us where we would go dolphin watching near the coast of Muscat. After 20 minutes driving we arrived to the harbor of Muscat where our tour guide was waiting for us. What I especially loved about this tour is that it wasn’t on a big boat with a lot of people. There were only 7 of us in total which made it almost feel like a private experience.
After checking out we started our nearly 4 hour drive towards Jebel Shams. On the way there we made a quick stop at a beautiful viewpoint over Muscat called Yiti Round Point.
The drive up to Jebel Shams will take you along all kinds of road in Oman. You’ll start by driving through Muscat and then taking the highway. Make sure to watch out for all of the speed cameras because they are literally everywhere.
Once you’re off the highway you’ll start driving more towards the mountains on a paved road. Here it’s not so much the speed traps that you have to look out for but more the speed bumps. Whatever you do, do not underestimate them cause they will be brutal on your rental car!
The last 1,5 hour driving isn’t on a paved road anymore but on a dirt road with a myriad of holes, rocks and washboards.
This is also the reason why it’s not recommended driving up to Jebel Shams without a 4×4.
We arrived to our accommodation SAMA Al Khutaim-Heritage Home just in time to freshen up a bit and to watch the sunset over the most impressive canyon in all of Oman.
Day 4 – Balcony Walk, Al Hamra and driving up to Jebel Akhdar
This morning we will tackle the exceptionally beautiful Balcony Walk at Jebel Shams. And we’ll do it at sunrise! This is also the main reason why I chose to stay at SAMA Al Khutaim-Heritage Home since our room pretty much looks over the start of the hiking trail.
The Balcony Walk is about 8 km long in total and has an average elevation of around 400 meter. The hiking trail is very well marked and there’s pretty much just one road that you can follow. Nevertheless there are markings along the entire route so you’ll definitely won’t get lost.
Important to know is that the Balcony Walk is at an elevation of 3000 meters so you might become a little bit faster out of breath than usual.
But the trail itself is already breathtaking on its own and definitely lives up to the hype. If you’re an outdoorsy person and you love hiking then you simply have to add the Balcony Walk. inJebel Shams to your Oman road trip itinerary!
Next up is the old village of Al Hamra which is on our route towards the mountains of Jabal Akhdar.
The town of Al Hamra is nestled at the foot of the mountains and here you’ll find some of the best preserved mud-brick buildings in Oman. Stop for a walk and feel history as you walk through the alleys, discovering houses dating back to 3 centuries.
If you have some time, enter the Bait Al Safah old house. In there, the locals have settled a living museum to show visitors Omani traditions and old way of living: bread making, oil extraction, coffee bean roasting.
Next up is the spectacular and nail biting drive up to Jabal Akhdar. Please note that you can only drive up with a 4×4!
Upon entering the steepest road in Oman you’ll also pass a check post where everyone had to stop and listen to the following driving instructions: When driving back down make sure to do so in 4×4 mode and in manual transmission in low gear. This will make sure that your car also uses its engine to break and you won’t go through your breaks.
After a whirlwind of hairpin turns we finally made it up to the spectacular Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. This is by far one of the best luxury hotels in Oman and if you have to choose one of the more expensive hotels in the area make sure to choose this one.
Day 5 – Jabal Akhdar, Birkat Al Mouz and Nizwa
One of the best features of Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort is their lavish breakfast spread. Never in my entire life have I seen an extravagant breakfast like here. After breakfast it was time to check out and drive back down the mountain.
Next up is a secret viewpoint over the beautiful mud village of Birkat Al Mouz. To get there you’ll have to drive to the Overlook Point and hike up the small hill towards the transmission tower.
After taking some photos it was time to drive to Nizwa and check into our hotel. I chose Antique Inn for its authentic charm and its proximity to all of the most important tourist attractions in Nizwa.
We started by visiting the Nizwa Souq. Sops are open everyday from 8am until 1pm and from 4pm until 10pm. During the hottest hours of the day pretty much all of the shops will be closed. If you’re looking for an authentic Omani souvenir to take home with you then you should do it here. The items here are of much better quality than the ones compared at the Mutrah souq.
Afterwards we headed inside the Nizwa Fort. Nizwa Fort is open for visitors from Saturdays to Thursdays from 8:00am to 6:00pm, and Fridays from 8am to 11:30am, and then from 1:30pm to 6:00pm. Entry fee is 5 Rial Omani for adults, and 3 Rial Omani for children above the age of 6 years.
Nizwa Fort is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Oman due to the fact that it is an amazing example of old Omani architecture that provides an illustration of the way Omani people used to live in ancient times.
Nizwa Fort has seven wells, a number of prisons, and prosecution ground. The main tower features many defense mechanisms Omanis used in the past such as pitfalls, honey traps, and gun shooting windows.
But probably the most stunning part is the Nizwa Castle, which is also included in your entrance fee. Originally built in the 9th century and renewed in 1624, it contains rooms for the Imam, his family, his guests and the royal guards.
After visiting Nizwa Fort it was time to head back to our hotel, Antique Inn, which is only 5 minutes walking. We enjoyed a spectacular sunset from their main terrace and a delicious sunset dinner to end the day.
Day 6 – Jabreen Castle, Bahla Fort and Wahiba Sands
The following day was another early start where we first visited the stunning and more unknown Jabreen Castle. It’s only 20 minutes driving from Nizwa and one of the best places in Oman for photography. I could have spent hours in this castle photographing every nook and cranny.
The castle is open from Saturday to Thursday from 9am to 4pm and on Friday from 8am to 11am. Entry fee is 500 baizas for adults.
There were only a handful of other people so we pretty much felt like we were the only ones there the entire time.
Afterwards we drove up to Bahla Fort, which is only 10 minutes driving from Jabreen Castle. Bahla Fort comprises the ruins of a typical Omani military fortress, built by the local Banu Nabhan tribe that ruled between the mid-12th and 15th centuries.
Despite it being UNESCO World Heritage listed the entrance fee to Bahla Fort is only 1 OMR, a lot cheaper compared to the nearyby Nizwa Fort.
Bahla Fort is located in the heart of the city of Bahla and definitely a must to add to your road trip around Oman. Parking at Bahla Fort is free and there’s a pretty big parking lot right at the entrance of the fort.
The Bahla Fort complex is pretty massive and to see it all you’ll definitely need a full hour. While we were there we only bumped into a couple of other tourists which made the entire experience even better.
Bahla Fort is open every day from 9am until 4pm.
Next up it was time to explore one of the more unique places in Oman! But first we had a bit of a drive in front of us to reach the small town of Al Wasil. Here would be our meeting point to reach the Desert Nights Resort.
Looking back we could have easily done the drive up to the camp with our 4×4 but since I had never driven in the desert before I also didn’t want to risk getting stuck.
After checking in we joined their free daily activity of driving up the sand dunes to watch the sunset. And while the view was amazing, so was the wind. I think even now, 2 months later I still find sand in my backpack from that particular evening.
💡 TIP – Make sure to bring sunglasses with you to protect your eyes.
Day 7 – Wahiba Sands, Wadi Bani Khalid, Sur, Bimmah Sinkhole, Mutrah
A better idea when exploring the dunes of Wahiba Sands is to do in the morning. I would have loved to book the breakfast experience at the Desert Nights Resort but since we were visiting during Ramadan this wasn’t possible.
Instead we opted for their sunrise Jeep tour and this time there was no wind in sight which made for a far better experience.
After breakfast we drove up to Wadi Bani Khalid, one of the most beautiful wadi’s in Oman. Upon navigating make sure you choose the location linked above cause there are two mentioned on Google Maps and one will lead you in a very narrow street.
Wadi Bani Khalid is free to visit and not as touristy compared to Wadi Shab. Wadi Bani Khalid is only 45 minutes driving from most desert camps. So even if you’re planning to spend another night in the desert this makes for the perfect day trip.
Wadi Bani Khalid is also an easy oasis to visit. You simply park your car and start walking on a paved sidewalk before you arrive to a beautiful oasis.
You can then keep on hiking to a small waterfall and a really good swimming area.
Do know that as a woman you have to cover up your shoulders and upper legs so make sure to wear a T-shirt and shorts before swimming.
Next up was a 2 hour drive to the town of Sur. Sur used to be an important shipbuilding center of vessels that crossed the oceans. It is the most easterly city in Arabia and the first one to witness the sunrise in this part of the world.
I honestly didn’t find Sur that spectacular but it might lso be due to the fact that it was Ramadan and that pretty much everything was closed during the day.
Before heading back to Muscat we made another pit stop at the Bimmah Sinkhole. It’s a beautiful natural pool only 1,5 hour driving from Muscat that is also very easy to visit.
Bimmah Sinkhole is located in Hawaiyat Najm Park and is free to visit. There is however a pretty high wall surrounding the sinkhole and at first I thought it was new but apparently people have been climbing over it non stop and even jumping down fro it into the water below. This of course led to fatalities so please be smart when visiting.
It’s much easier going down the stairs if you want to go for a swim!
Now it was time to head back to Muscat to catch our flight. But since we were only leaving. at2am we still had plenty of time to explore the Mutrah area of Muscat.
The Mutrah Corniche is one of the most beautiful places in Muscat and a must visit during your Oman road trip itinerary.
For sunset we chose to hike up the Mutrah Fort which granted us an incredible view over this part of the city and the entire bay. The entrance fee for Mutrah Fort is only 0.5 OMR but do know that they only accept cash payment.
We also visited the Mutrah Souk but I don’t highly recommend it. The air here was super thin and the items they’re selling are a lot less beautiful compared to the Nizwa Souk.
I hope you enjoyed reading this Oman road trip itinerary! And if you have any questions feel free to drop me a question below!
Have the best time exploring this beautiful country!
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.