Oman, located in the Middle East, in the southernmost part of the Arabian Peninsula, is a fascinating land, ancient and rich in history, a wonderful mix between past and future.
Although most of its territory is occupied by the desert here you will find real corners of paradise, such as beautiful beaches, cities in the middle of the desert, large mosques, castles and strongholds overlooking the sea.
Before arriving, however, it is important to inform yourself well about the transport systems and when it is practically mandatory to rely on a local guide, as in the case of excursions in the desert.
Here is a practice for you guide on how to get there and how to move in Oman.
- Where it is
- Security, visa and necessary documents
- Main geographical areas or tourist areas Oman
- Useful Tips
- User questions and comments
Where it is
Oman is a country that is part of the Arabian Peninsula, in the Middle East, occupying the southern area together with Yemen, with which it borders to the west. To the south it borders on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while on two sides it is bathed by the sea of the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea.
Security, visa and necessary documents
- Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of at least 6 months; compulsory tourist visa, from 21 March 2018 it is no longer possible to apply for it at the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Italy and at the border, but it is mandatory to perform the entire procedure online, including payment, on the official website of the Royal Oman Police
- vaccinations: no vaccination required
- Restrictions: Prohibited to import alcohol (only two bottles allowed for non-Muslim passengers), weapons (including spearfishing rifles), replica firearms (including toy weapons), remotely piloted aircraft (drones), artwork offensive to local morality and religion; It is forbidden to export jewels, furniture, antique handicrafts of particular historical value, pieces of coral; it is not allowed to photograph oil or military installations in any part of the country and not to photograph people without first asking for their consent
- Safety: relatively high security rate, with a low crime rate and tranquility in most of the country, except in the border area with Yemen, the only area to be avoided due to the strong tension between the two countries; however always maintain a vigilant and attentive attitude; before leaving, consult the official website of the Farnesina in the Oman section
- Useful Tips: keep a vigilant and attentive attitude, especially if you find yourself in the midst of demonstrations, gatherings and places of worship, the latter on weekends and on Fridays of prayer; for excursions in the desert absolutely rely on a specialized guide, never go alone; likewise, do not go to isolated areas without a guide; adopt appropriate behavior and respect for local habits and Islamic customs, also wearing appropriate clothing
Main geographical areas or tourist areas Oman
The territory of Oman is mainly desert, the cities are mainly concentrated on the coast and the main poles are two, which also correspond to the two major international airports of the country: the capital Muscat, on the south-eastern coast overlooking the Gulf of Oman, e the city of Salalah, on the southern coast overlooking the Arabian Sea, towards the border with Yemen.
For travel between the various areas, especially inland and in the desert, it is always recommended to contact organized tours and local guides, for a matter of safety and above all of orientation, as outside the cities there are only sand dunes for kilometers and kilometers and the connections with public transport are not always the best.
But let's see specifically how to orient yourself and move within the country:
1 - Muscat and northern Oman
L'Muscat International Airport it is the largest in the country, which is located a few kilometers away from the capital.
In Italian Muscat, is a beautiful city where antiquity and modernity come together, you will be fascinated by contemporary Islamic architecture, a great example of which is the Sultan Qabbot Grand Mosque.
And if you are in this part of Oman, be sure to include in your trip a desert excursion of Wahiba Sands and the particular sand canyon of Wadi Shab, the Ras al Jinz Turtle Nature Reserve and the city of Niwza, a real oasis in the middle of the desert.
The climate is desert type, with high temperatures, sunny all year round and almost non-existent rainfall.
The best time is from December to January, when temperatures are high but bearable. In summer, in fact, these can easily reach 50 °, especially in the desert. And if you are looking for beach life, don't worry, the sea is warm and perfect for swimming all year round!
How to get to Muscat
To visit this area the best place to base is the capital Muscat, where Muscat International Airport is located well connected with Italy thanks to the company Oman Air, which operates several direct flights between Muscat and the cities of Rome and Milan (Compare flights starting from € 688,00 -)
There are many other companies, but they have at least one stopover, such as Emirates (stopover in Dubai), Qatar Airway (stopover in Doha), Turkish Airlines (stopover in Istanbul) or Lufthansa (stopover in Munich) (flights from Rome starting from € 358,00-)
The airport is about 25 kilometers from the center and to reach it you have various possibilities:
- almost all hotels offer a transfer service to / from the airport, a convenient and convenient system, so inquire with the structure where you are staying;
- alternatively you can take the bus, of the company Oman National Transport Company and which makes various stops along the main road of the city, the Sultan Qaboos Highway, the journey time is about half an hour;
- finally by taxi, which will take you directly to your hotel, with an average cost of about 10 OMR (about € 23,00).
Getting around Muscat and surroundings
In the city you can move on foot or take a taxi, the means most used by tourists. These have a basic rate of 1 OMR (about € 2,34) to which 0,20 OMR (about € 0,50) must be added for each kilometer traveled. In the city, locals travel by minibuses, which carry up to 15 passengers, but they don't have a license plate, timetables or route and the stops are not marked, so it could be really confusing to use them.
To get around the area, you can use the buses of the company Oman National Transport Company, but our advice is to rely on organized tours that will take you to discover the area in total safety!
There are so many tours, both half-day and daily, which start from € 50,00 up to € 200,00, depending on what you want to see. And in all, most importantly, transport is included - book your tour online
- Reference airport: Muscat International Airport - Compare flights to Muscat - from € 400,00
- Recommended means of getting around: taxi or organized tours
- Where to sleep nearby: Hotel and b & b starting from € 50,00 per room -
- Muscat: Private Half-Day Tour Nizwa: Full-Day Tour from Muscat From Muscat: Jabal Shams and Inland Treasures Tour
2 - Salalah and Southern Oman
L'Salalah International Airport it is the second largest airport in the country.
This area really is little frequented by tourists, who prefer to stay in the capital and its surroundings. Salalah, Oman's second city, is a excellent base for exploring this part of the country. Here you will find beautiful beaches to relax and indulge in water sports such as snorkeling and diving. From here, moreover, you can set out to discover the Quarto Vuoto, the largest sand desert in the world! Always rely on a local agency and an organized tour.
The climate is desert type, but with a more temperate summer than in Muscat: temperatures are still high and sunny all year round, but there is a little more rainfall, especially in July and August.
The best time is from December to January, when temperatures are high but bearable. Here too, in summer, these can easily reach 50 °, especially in the desert.
How to get to Salalah
The best place to base is Salalah, where the International Airport is located, from which unfortunately there is no direct connection with Italy, but one or more stopovers are required. The airlines to choose from are: Oman Air (stopover in Muscat, or double stopover in Dubai and Muscat), Emirates (stopover in Dubai), Qatar Airways (stopover in Doha), British Airways (double stopover in London and Muscat) and Ethiad Airways (double stop in Abu Dhabi and Muscat). Ticket prices are higher. Flights with a stopover take between 8 and 10 hours, those with two stopovers even over 15 hours (Compare flights from Rome from € 517,00 -)
The airport is located just 5,5 kilometers from the center of the city and to reach it you have various possibilities:
- many hotels offer a transfer service to / from the airport, we advise you to inquire with the structure in which you are staying;
- alternatively you can take the bus, transport always managed by the company Oman National Transport Company;
- the taxi, which will take you directly to your hotel.
Getting around in and around Salalah
As for travel within the city, you can walk or take a taxi, always the most used by tourists. The fare is the same: base of 1 OMR (approximately € 2,34) to which 0,20 OMR (approximately € 0,50) must be added for each kilometer traveled. Be careful though, some taxis may not be equipped with a meter, so negotiate the price with the driver before getting on.
Also to move in this area, our advice is to rely on organized tours that will lead you to its discovery in total safety! Also because here we are in a border area, in fact only 160 kilometers away is the border with Yemen, and the two countries are going through a period of strong tension - book your tour online
- Reference airport: Salalah International Airport - Compare flights to Salalah - from € 520,00
- Recommended means of getting around: taxi
- Where to sleep nearby: Hotel and b & b starting from € 30,00 per room -
- Salalah City Tour Salalah: Best of West Half Day Tour Wadi Ayun: 1 Day Tour
The two areas we have chosen as a base, Muscat and Salalah are connected to each other both by domestic flights operated by OmanAir and SalamAir that fly between the two cities even several times a day, with a duration of about an hour and a half, both with buses of the company Oman National Transport Company, even at night, whose ticket costs only 7 OMR (about € 16,00) and the journey time is about 12 hours.
For excursions, we repeat that the best thing to do is to rely on organized tours and specialized guides, do not go alone in the desert and in areas far from the most important cities.
- the best thing is to arrive in Muscat, connected to Italy by direct flights, and use the city as a base to then discover the rest of the country
- rely on organized tours, especially to go to the Oman hinterland
- if taxis do not have a meter, negotiate the price with the driver before boarding
Travel informed: useful information
- Inhabitants: 4.177.125
- Capital: Muscat
- Languages: Arabic and English
- Local currency: Riam Omani (OMR) / € 1,00 = 0,43 OMR
- Weather: desert, with a very hot and humid summer from April to September, with a minimum of 27 ° and a maximum of 48 °, and a still hot winter from October to March, the most temperate months are December, January and February, with temperatures from 17 ° to 27 °; very rare and scarce rains
- Time zone: + 3h compared to Italy, + 2h when daylight saving time is in force in Italy
- Travel / health insurance: recommended.