Beyond the capital, the country opens up as a land of ancient castles, striking mountains, sweeping desert and never-ending beaches that disappear into the horizon.

Boasting a unique and diverse culture, Oman will undoubtedly enchant you with its old-world charm. Now with direct flights to Muscat from London and Manchester, it is the obvious choice for both those seeking a short break in the winter sun, or a longer self-drive holiday along its scenic highways.

In Muscat, there are four ‘must-sees’ for travellers: the awe-inspiring Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque; the opulent Royal Opera House; the National Museum, devoted entirely to Oman’s heritage; and last, but possibly first for many people, the sweeping Corniche sea road of Mutrah that leads to the vibrant and almost hassle-free suq.

Beyond the capital, the country opens up as a land of ancient castles, striking mountains, sweeping desert and never-ending beaches that disappear into the horizon.

Take the highway from Muscat to the ancient capital of Nizwa and join the locals at the Friday suq, venture south to the Dhofar region, home of the UNESCO-listed Land of Frankincense, or cruise the coastal road to the quintessential Arabian Sea town of Sur and see the craftsmen constructing traditional wooden dhows.

It’s these regions, with their small oases of date palms overlooked by almost impenetrable mountains, that have been, for many explorers, the most memorable in Oman.

Tony Walsh and Diana Darke

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