The Sultanate on the Arabian Peninsula, which lies on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman - surprisingly not overrun with tourists and seems to have come straight out of a fairy tale book. What images come to mind when you  think of 1001 Nights? Silhouettes of mosques in the setting sun, camels strutting leisurely through the desert or people in long robes with artfully draped turban on their heads. If you want to experience the magic of 1001 Nights in real life with road trips, untouched nature and encounters with friendly people, then Oman is the right place for you. 

On a road trip through Oman you will experience not only old customs but also an impressive and varied nature: barren, rough and rugged mountain landscapes, deeply incised fjords, wadis with turquoise natural pools, endless golden-yellow sand deserts, impressive canyons and the azure blue ocean - the Sultanate is definitely a paradise for nature lovers and photographers! And the great thing about it: Oman can be explored easily on your own and, for example, can also be connected with the United Arab Emirates in a great way, which also has advantages: Flights to Dubai are much more attractive in terms of price and you can also enter Oman with a rented 4x4 all-wheel drive vehicle. The border formalities are noticeably easier. 

On my round trip through Oman I first aimed at Musandam. The exclave, separated from the rest of the Sultanate, is located at the northern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. The 3 hour drive alone is a small adventure. Arriving in Oman, a winding, steep coastal road carved out of the rock leads to Khasab, the main place of the exclave. Musandam is a fascinating, rough, rugged and beautiful place. A huge limestone mountain range rises over 2,000 meters into the sky and has created a fjord-like peninsula. Here I can warmly recommend a boat trip with a traditional dhow. Constant companions on the trip through the fjords are schools of dolphins. For dinner a delicious meal is served - as usual in Oman you sit on the ground and are allowed to use your hands - and there is also time to marvel at the colorful underwater world with fins and snorkel.

In a day trip via U.A.E. one reaches the capital of Oman. By the way, the roads are very well developed - the signs are also in Latin letters for Europeans ;-). 

Mingle with the local population in Muscat, which is best done on the Mutrah Souq in the winding streets of the old town. Here it smells of incense, various spices and exotic fruits; a sea of colours everywhere - silk scarves, soaps, nuts, rosewater - a true feast for the senses. In no time at all, you feel like you've been transported back in time. The great Sultan Qaboos Mosque is definitely worth seeing. It is one of the largest in the world. The men's prayer room alone has room for more than 6000 believers. Also huge are the hand-knotted Persian carpet with more than 4,000 square meters and the chandelier in the middle of the room, which cannot be overlooked with its more than 1,000 lamps and Swarovski crystals. If you have a little more time, treat yourself to two days of relaxation by the sea.

From Muscat you then take the new motorway south to Sur. Along the route there are two beautiful wadis, Shab and Tiwi, of which you should explore at least one and take a swim in a natural pool with crystal clear water for refreshment. Next stop - Sur, which delights with its seaside location, beautiful promenade, traditional dhows and a relaxed atmosphere. From here it is not far to Ras al-Hadd and the famous turtle beach, which you can visit as part of a guided tour. Every year thousands of sea turtles come to the coasts of Oman at night to lay their eggs in the sand and bury them.

With a bit of luck you can also watch baby turtles just hatched on the most dangerous journey of their lives: the few metres from the sand to the sea, constantly on the run from foxes, sea crabs and hungry birds seem endless. Before heading into the desert, you have another chance to cool off in Wadi Bani Khalid.

For this little desert adventure I recommend to join a tour operator - a trip on your own is too dangerous. With low tyre pressure we drive over dunes and through deep sand. The goal: Simple straw huts with comfortable beds grouped around a fireplace. The ideal place to enjoy the vastness and silence of the desert and in the evening to lie in the cooling sand next to the crackling fire and look up at the starry sky. The magic of the desert is something you have to experience for yourself!

With inflated tires we head for Nizwa, the old capital of Oman. The oasis with its mighty fort, the blue and gold dome of the Sultan Qaboos Mosque and the clay-coloured houses is idyllically surrounded by gardens and palm groves at the foot of the Jebel Akhdar. Especially worth seeing is the hustle and bustle of the weekly animal market.

Not only to escape the heat, a detour to the Jebel Akhdar is worthwhile. The mountain as well as the surroundings are above average fertile, because it rains here comparatively often. 

In Birkat al Mouz you should definitely take a walk through the village. The green gardens and palm groves are irrigated by a 36 km long Falaj system. At the top, at almost 2000m above sea level, the overwhelming view from Diana's Point is worthwhile - it is said that Princess Diana enjoyed a picnic here. Spend a night up here and enjoy a drink in the whirlpool on the edge of the plateau with a fabulous view of the green terraced fields of the mountain villages and the rose cultures, which you can also see up close during a hike. 

Via Al Ain, which is already back in the United Arab Emirates and where you can visit the local camel market, you return to Dubai on a well constructed motorway. 

How you get there:
with SWISS or Emirates to Dubai or directly with Oman Air to Muscat

How long am I supposed to go:
14 days

Best travel time:
in winter half year: October - April

Muscat, Wadis, Musandam, desert experience, Jebel Akhdar, turtle beach

Car rentals and more: ​​​​​​​

Desert tip:

More info:

Realised by Michael Bachmann
Further travel pictures under