With the ocean, mountains, and desert all within hours of the city, Oman’s capital makes an ideal base for exploring the rest of the country. Here are your options for day tours from Muscat.
Quriyat—81 miles (130 kilometers) southeast
The mountain roads south along the coast to Quriyat make an excellent road trip. It’s a route lined with farmlands, picturesque wadis, and quiet fishing villages, and you can stop along the way to admire views of Wadi Shab or take a swim in the Bimah Sinkhole.
Rustaq—85 miles (136 kilometers) southwest
The mighty Rustaq fort is an impressive example of Omani Islamic architecture that dates to the 18th century. Most tours combine a visit with the nearby Nakhal fort and Al Hazm castle, a circuit known as the Rustaq Loop.
Nizwa—98 miles (158 kilometers) southwest
Exploring the famous souks and forts of Nizwa is one of the most popular Muscat tours. A full-day tour often includes the landmark Nizwa fort, the largest in the Arabian Peninsula; the UNESCO-listed Bahla fort; and the nearby Jabreen fort, world renowned for its exquisite Islamic carvings and inscriptions.
Wadi Bani Khalid—142 miles (228 kilometers) southeast
The beautiful wadis and vast sea of sand dunes that make up the Wahiba Sands provide a mesmerizing backdrop for a road trip, and Wadi Bani Khalid is one of the most scenic. Camel treks and 4x4 desert safaris are the most popular ways to explore, while night tours offer the rare opportunity to sleep out in a traditional Bedouin encampment and wake up early to catch the desert sunrise.
Jebel Shams—151 miles (243 kilometers) southwest
Escape Muscat and head into the surrounding Hajar Mountains, where you’ll get to sample traditional Omani culture as you stop off at rock-hewn mountain villages, scenic plateaus, and historic forts. One of the most popular choices is a trek to the 9,934-foot (3,028-meter) summit of Jebel Shams, the Mountain of the Sun, which is the highest point in Oman and offers spectacular views over Wadi Ghul, known as the Grand Canyon of Oman. Alternatively, visit nearby Jebel Akhdar, nicknamed the Green Mountain for the dense forests that blanket its hillsides.