- Jewels of Oman
Immerse yourself in the historical and cultural riches of this spectacular country. Witness the convergence of the ancient and the modern in Muscat and Nizwa and marvel at the humbling natural wonders of Ras Al Jinz and Sharqiya Sands on this once in a lifetime experience.
Depart London in the evening on your scheduled overnight flight to Muscat.
Arriving early in the morning, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. After a morning of leisure, embark on an enthralling tour of the city beginning with the majestic Royal Opera House - Muscat's premier venue for musical arts and culture, before taking a walk through the vast corridors of history and culture at Bait Al Zubair Museum. Next, meander through the narrow alleys of the Old Quarter for a unique sensory experience, taking in the tropical smells of sandalwood, whilst navigating the bustling activity of the renowned Mutrah Souk - one of the oldest in Oman. Engage in some friendly haggling with local vendors and capture the magic of this colourful Arabian market. A brief photo stop follows at the spectacular Al Alam Palace - the official abode of the Sultan of Oman and the adjoining 16th century Portugese forts, Jalali and Mirani. Bring your first day in Oman to a tantalising close by savouring the array of traditional culinary dishes on offer at the welcome dinner, before returning to the hotel.
Breakfast & Lunch
Begin your day at the Grand Mosque - a colossal structure that can accommodate a staggering 20,000 worshippers and stands as one of the largest mosques in the world. The sheer scale of the building is not the sole reason it is a must see; the intricate interior designs, comprised of magnificent stained glass windows and charming chandeliers underlines its opulence. A short distance from the Gulf of Oman, the Barka Fish Souk is a vibrant hub of activity which sees local merchants bidding for fish of all colours, shapes and sizes. Move onto Nouvelle Nakhal for an experience encompassing a raft of standout moments, including a delightful drive through the date palms to a quaint village where the pre-7th century Nakhal Fort is situated. Built in the Omani architectural style of the early 18th century, it offers up some truly incredible panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Move on from man-made wonders to natural wonders and revel in the exquisite beauty of Nakhal Springs, encountering cascading waterfalls, lush palm trees and sprawling mountains that encircle this tranquil paradise. Bring the day to an end with a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow ship. Set sail from the Marina and glide along the Muscat coast, breathing in the fresh sea air whilst enjoying the onboard refreshments.
Set off on a drive to Bimmah Sinkhole - a spectacular limestone crater with a depth of up to 20 meters, stunningly brought to life by its emerald green lake. Head south along the coast to reach the equally awe-inspiring mountain ravines, Wadi Shab and Wadi Tiwi. Stop off at both to stroll through villages laced with verdant date plantations and banana palms, before continuing the incredibly scenic drive through the coastal mountains onto Sur city. Marvel at the construction of traditional wooden dhow ships at a local building yard, before arriving in Ras Al Jinz, the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula and the nesting site for the endangered green turtle. After checking in, spend the evening on the beach in search of these charming creatures on a guided tour.
Breakfast & Dinner
Embark on a trip inland to the astonishing sand dunes of Sharqiya Sands via the equally alluring Wadi Bani Khalid - an exotic haven awash with a tremendous diversity and array of colours that will certainly catch the eye. The clear turquoise spring pools, ribbons of green palm trees and boulder formations set against an azure canvass contrasts beautifully with the golden-red, rolling hills of the Sharqiya Sands that you will visit shortly after. Bask in the glorious sights, dive in for a swim, or navigate the vast 'sand sea' on a dune buggy. End the day by watching the sunset over dinner from atop the sand dunes at the Arabian Oryx desert camp.
Breakfast & Dinner
Travel to Nizwa - the former capital of Oman and a city adorned with several treasures illuminating its ancient past. A trip to Birkat Al Mouz marks a moment to explore age-old local traditions, as the process of date cultivation is brought to life at a date farm by your tour guide. Next, journey to a Falaj irrigation system, part of a collection of ancient water channels that run throughout the region and are one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Set off for the truly captivating Nizwa Fort; one of the jewels in the crown of the city, the fort dates back to the 1650s when it was built to defend the city against invading forces. The architectural brilliance of the fortress will astound, as you walk around its ramparts and delve deep into its history. Be sure to take advantage of the numerous vantage points from which the sweeping rustic beauty of Nizwa can truly be appreciated. Descend on the New Souk complex, with an elegant facade modelled on the traditional Omani style and sample a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for every palate, as well as a host of herbs and spices. Later, venture to the magnificent Jebel Shams, Oman's very own Grand Canyon, the third highest mountain in the world. Before arriving here, stop off at Wadi Ghul - an abandoned village in a nearby mountain range with a plethora of breathtaking views that, like Jebel Shams, is bound to capture the imagination. Take the short drive to Misfat Al Abreeyn to walk through a maze of shaded passageways, beautiful gardens and open terraces that make up the tremendous village trails. Visit Misfah Old House to experience tremendous Omani style hospitality and reflect on the amazing architectural feats of the mud and stone houses excavated from the mountains that decorate the trails. Next, walk back in time on a trip to the quaint town of Al Hamra, before arriving at the local museum, Bait Al Safah, founded by local villagers and showcasing a number of artefacts depicting their way of life over the past 400 years. Sit down with the curators, sip on a local brew of coffee and taste some delicious dates, as they demonstrate longstanding customs. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Breakfast & Dinner
Take a tour of the exceptional Jabrin Fort, undoubtedly the finest castle in Oman. Coupling contemporary strategic features such as false doors, underground passages and secret rooms with captivating artwork of Islamic motifs adorning the ceilings, a walk through this 17th century educational hub and former dwelling of the Imam will be an unforgettable experience. Later, drive past the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the historic Bahla Fort, renowned for its 15 gates and staggering 132 watchtowers, aspects that date back to the pre-Islamic period. Arrive back in Muscat for your farewell dinner and final night.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your flight back to the UK.
Paul Coathup17 Mar 20
The hotels in general were very good
The guide Faisel was excellent and deserves a special mention. Overall a great trip providing a good insight into Oman
A Visa is required for your entry into Oman. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an eVisa for travel to Oman. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays' The cost of the visa is approximately £46 per person. It is only a 10 day single entry stay from the date of arrival. If you are doing an extension in Oman, you will need a 30 day single entry, the cost of this is approximately £76. You can only apply for a visa 30 days prior to your date of travel. Alternatively, you can apply for a visa online at https:// evisa.rop.gov.om/.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
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It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.