Peter Orsel

The Best Photography Spots of Oman

Oman is one of the most beautiful countries the Middle East has to offer. One thing that surprised me about this country is its diversity. Mountains, ocean, wadis, wildlife, Oman has it all. In this post, I will share the best photo spots of Oman! Please note that I visited in 2022, when tourism hadn’t fully recovered yet. The information about the amount of tourists I saw on this trip can be different with the current situation.

In This Post

A cultural note on photography in Oman

I want to start with this. Even though Omanis are proud of their country and wear beautiful clothes, it’s not appropriate to take photos without consent. According to article 16 of the Cyber Law, this could even lead up to a fine or imprisonment. Taking photos in a mall is very inappropriate, but why would you do that anyway? Be cautious (read: just don’t) when pointing your cameras at women, as the Arabic culture is different than many other cultures.

Desert Lodge in Oman
Staying in Desert Wonders Camp was a great experience.

Tips on finding accommodation in Oman

Staying the night in Oman doesn’t have to be expensive. My biggest advice would be to go wild camping, but if you’re on your own, it might be cheaper to choose for guest houses. I spent on average 8 to 10 Rials for a night, maybe $25 USD, excluding the expensive stays in Wahiba Sands and Jebel Shams. Booking.com has great options and I used it for all of my bookings in Oman.

Car on a dirt road in Oman
You're gonna need a car, and this sedan did very well!

Renting a car

In Oman, the best way to get around is by rental car. You don’t need a 4WD, a sedan is fine. I advice to take the car straight on arrival at the airport. The prices are good and it shouldn’t cost you way more than 12 Rials / $30 dollar a day. I personally prefer the medium or bigger sized cars, which will make it easier for driving in the mountains. Petrol is very cheap and the road conditions are very good. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the speed limits, as there are automatic speed controls everywhere in the country.

Make sure you pick up your car at the airport and not in the city, so you can drive from the airport to your hotel.

Fun fact: Driving in a dirty car is an offence of the Omani law. So if you leave the desert or the mountains, make sure you stop at one of the petrol stations to get your car cleaned. This takes up to an hour, but it will be cleaner than you’ve ever seen it before.

I usually book my cars through Rentalcars. They have a wide range of options and great flexibility.

Can I fly my drone in Oman?

As I’m very passionate about drone photography, I’m always checking drone laws before I enter a country. My drone got confiscated once in Morocco and it’s a big hassle, so better safe than sorry. I brought my drone, but didn’t intend using it, as it’s not allowed. You need a commercial permit and when you have it, it’s only allowed to use it for commercial purposes. I had no problems entering the country with my drone, but I’ve heard that they are very strict at the land border from Oman to Dubai and vice versa. Supposedly one of the only questions they have is: do you have a drone? I didn’t want my drone to be stuck at the border between these countries, so I decided to fly from Muscat to Dubai to continue my travels there.

There are rumours that Oman will make flying a drone easier soon. As soon as it’s confirmed, I’ll write about it here!

Sunset around Al Hamra in Oman
No matter when you visit, sunsets are a guarantee in Oman

The best time to visit Oman

It gets pretty hot in Oman during the summer months. The best time to visit Oman would be between late September and late March. I personally visited in January and it was the perfect month. 25 degrees Celcius during day time and around 22 at night. It does get chilly in the mountains, so bring some layers of clothes for your the early and late hours in the mountains!

Visiting Oman during the Ramadan

If you plan on visiting Oman, make sure you check the Ramadan schedule for the year. If you’re going to Oman during the Ramadan, it’s forbidden to eat in public during daytime. Many restaurants and sights will be closed as well, so you’re not able to enjoy the country to the fullest.

Ramadan dates 2025: 28 February – 30 March

Ramadan dates 2026: 18 February – 19 March

Traditional house in Oman with a stunning mountain backdrop
Traditional house in Oman with a stunning mountain backdrop

Spots Around Muscat

The capital of Oman is the place you’ll most likely arrive and leave the country. It’s a great place for a stop and to take some amazing photos. In fact, you could easily spend a week in Muscat and around, as it has many amazing photo spots to offer. A lot of beautiful mountain sights are within a 30 minute drive of the city! I didn’t take too much time to wander around in the capital, but I still got to take some nice photos. If you want to be sure to get some great photos, visit at least a couple of these spots below on arrival or before departure. 

 

Photo of a fort with mountains in the backdrop in Mutrah, Oman
Mosque with palm tree and mountains in the backdrop in Mutrah, Muscat

Mutrah

Mutrah used to be the center of commerce in Oman. It’s where you find the old souqs, a perfect place for a market stroll and of course to take some photos.  Besides that, the Mutrah Corniche is something you can’t miss. Where Muscat is more of a corporate city, you’ll find traditional small streets in Mutrah. This location is especially beautiful during sunrise, as the light will hit the old town beautifully. I didn’t get the chance to visit during sunrise, but I’m sure it’s worth it. If you’re planning to capture the vibrant souqs, be aware of the opening hours of the shop as sthey close during the heat of the day. The opening hours are from 9am to 1pm and from 4pm to 10pm. 

Navigate here for Mutrah

 

Royal Opera House Muscat

The Opera House of Muscat is a stunning building and the leading arts and culture hub of Oman. Even though it looks old, it just has been there since 2007! The Opera House looks great in both day and night, but I particularly loved to see it during the night. The shiny tiles reflect the building and its light beautifully. If you want to see the interiors, you can! There are tours running during the non-running hours of the Opera House. Combine it with a tour to the other spots of Oman! 

Navigate here for the Royal Opera House, there’s a parking garage next to it. 

 

Lake with people swimming in Oman

Bimmah Sinkhole

If you’re on your way from Muscat to Wadi Shab or Sur, you’ll pass Bimmah Sinkhole. A deep crater lake, formed by a huge meteorite. It’s a nice stop for a swim and some photos. The downside of this spot is that it’s located in a park with gates around it, meaning you can only visit it during the opening hours. Nevertheless it’s a great stop and a simple stop for taking some photos as well! You’ll find Bimmah Sinkhole here

 

Wadi Shab during mid afternoon
Person swimming in turquoise water of Wadi Shab, Oman
After a short hike it's time for a swim

Wadi Shab

Just a 1 hour and 45 minute coastal ride from Muscat, will lead you to Wadi Shab. A place mentioned in any travel guide. Not just because it’s so close to Muscat, but also because it’s one of the best places to have a swim! It’s the perfect stop for a road trip to a place like Sur, or a great destination to escape the city for a bit. 

Navigate here to get to the parking spot of Wadi Shab. 

To get to the part where you can swim, you have to take a small boat first. After that, it’s a 20-minute walk to the waters. You can swim and follow the waters until you reach a cave with a waterfall inside. There are some parts where you have to walk for a bit. Be careful, as it can be slippery. 

In my opinion, it’s best to visit this place in mid afternoon. Most people and tours will arrive in the morning, so it gets less crowded during the afternoon. I only saw a handful of people when I was in the canyon, which made the experience even better! 

Spots Around Wahiba Sands Desert

Watch tower and mosque in Sur, Oman during a sunset
The sunset vibes in Sur are something else

Sur

I loved staying the night in Sur, after leaving from Muscat in the morning. It’s a local village located at the North East coast of Oman. The market with traditional clothes is beautiful and you usually don’t see to many tourists here. The last hour before sunset, people gather around the beach. The watchtowers are amazing to capture and the vibe is just on! After spending the night here, you can move on to either Wahiba Sands, one of the other wadi’s or a town like Izmir or Nizwa. 

Navigate here to get to the parking spot of Sur Beach

Person walking on sand dune in Oman Desert
Sunsets and sunrises in the desert are just the best

Wahiba Sands

Deserts are magical and don’t need a long introduction if you ask me. If you’ve never stayed the night in a desert, this is your chance! To stay in the desert, you can book one of the desert camps. Please keep in mind that you need to book transportation as well, unless you feel comfortable enough to drive your own vehicle (4WD) through the sand dunes. I’d always recommend to use the pick up service. 

To get the best photos, you have to climb some sand dunes to find your best view. Make sure you wake up for sunrise and be out for sunset, as these will give you the best photo opportunities. 

Stars at night in the Wahiba Sands desert of Oman
20mm / ISO 3200 / f/2.8 / 25s.

Another recommendation: bring your tripod to capture the stars. With barely any light pollution around, you get to witness one of the starriest skies you will ever see, so get creative and take some great photos at night! 

You can book your camp through Booking.com and arrange the transportation with your accommodation as well. 

A local friend saying hi during a stop along the way

Spots Around Nizwa

While Muscat is the capital of Oman, I’d call Nizwa the tourist capital of the country. And that’s not even a bad thing! There’s so much to see and to do, so make sure you plan at least two or three nights in Nizwa, to enjoy the area to the fullest!

If you decide to visit Nizwa, make sure you park here and not in Old Town. I tried to drive up to my apartment and had one of the scariest rides of my life. The roads were getting narrower and narrower, until I got to a point that I 2cm left on both sides of my car. Thank God I made it out of the streets without scratches. 

 

A beautiful sunset over Nizwa Fort in Oman
The best time to visit Nizwa Fort is obviously during sunset

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort is one of the most beautiful and best kept forts I’ve seen, and the city offers so many stunning views for photography. It dates from the 17th century, a must visit! It’s safe to say that I took one of my favourite photos ever in Oman, just under the thick walls of Nizwa Fort. Unlike the other forts, there’s a slightly high entrance fee. I paid 5 OMR to enter the fort, about $12 USD. I went one hour before sunset, to see the sunset from the upper part of the fort. 

Man walking through the souqs of Nizwa
Capturing things that feel like a movie set

Nizwa Town

Nizwa Fort might be the eye catcher, but there’s so much more to see in Nizwa. One of the main reasons people visit Nizwa, is to see the traditional goat market. Every Friday morning when the first sunlights hit, the market is full of tradesmen and customers buying or selling goats. It’s a great place to experience some typical culture and to capture amazing photos! Keep in mind that you need consent to take photos of people, even though you surely won’t be the only tourist or photographer here. 

Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to visit the goat market, as my flight out was at a Friday. Whenever I visit again, I’ll make sure to visit the goat market! 

Arab man walking towards the light in Nizwa, Oman
One of my favourite photos ever taken

Nizwa is the town where I took one of my all time favourite photos as well! It’s taken right around the corner of Nizwa Fort and I waited for about 15 minutes until the perfect subject for my photo appeared. What do you think? 

Other Forts

Oman is rich in forts and something that amazed me, is the condition of all these forts. The entrance fee is usually very, very low and the condition of the castles is very good! If you search on Google Maps, you’ll find lots of forts throughout Oman, so see if there’s any interesting options on the map! Or, do it my way: keep your eyes open and if a sign says fort, go and see if it’s worth it. 

In The Mountains

Not a bad place to stop on the way to the top of Jebel Shams

Misfat Al Abreyeen

The view as seen from Misfat Al Abriyeen

It takes a zigzag ride to get up, but Misfat is one of those beautiful villages you can visit in Oman. It’s just a small town, but full of history and amazing views. The town relies mainly on agriculture and the local population is growing a variety of fruits in the mountains. Especially their ‘in-rock’ watering system is impressive. 

Misfat Al Abreyeen is a great stop for a couple of hours, but you don’t need to spend a full day or even night here. Also keep in mind that it’s forbidden to enter this town in shorts, so bring some long pants and respect the people’s culture as we’re just visitors. 

Beautiful view on town and mountains in Oman
Random views like this pop up around every corner

Al Hamra

Al Hamra is the last big town before Jebel Shams and makes a great place for multiple sights in the area.  I spent the night here because it was cheaper than staying in Misfat and I wanted to continue my journey to Jebel Shams the day after. At sunset, I drove around to some small rocky hills around the city. I parked on the side of the road and climbed the 20-30m high hills, which gave me a stunning sunset view. There were photo opportunities all around! 

I found a lodge in the old part of Al Hamra and it turned out to be one of my favourite accommodations. I could easily get lost in the traditional Omani style house and for sunset all I had to do was visiting the rooftop terrace, giving me an amazing view. Look at the photo below, taken from the rooftop terrace right after sunrise! Want to have the same experience? Book Bait Aljabal Hospitality Inn here.

View on Omani houses with mountains in the backdrop
One of the best views I've had from a guest house

Jebel Shams

Mountain goat in Jebel Shams
One of the many mountain goats of Jebel Shams

If you want to visit one of the mountain ranges, Jebel Shams is a great option. The road is open for any car and it’s fairly easy to get up. I wasn’t sure if I could make it with my 2WD sedan and I usually don’t take unnecessary risks, but I didn’t have any problems. The first part of the road is a regular mountain road, the second part it changes in a decent dirt road. You don’t need a 4WD to get up, but it’s good to have some mountain driving experience. 

For the best photos, head over to the Balcony Hike. A fairly easy but incredible hike along the canyons of Jebel Shams. They call it the Grand Canyon of Oman for a reason! The best time to hike is during the earliest hours of the day, and sunlight will be best around this time too. 

Jebel Shams
They call it the Grand Canyon of the Middle East

In terms of photography, I love to use my 70-200 lens to capture the backdrop on the mountains! And of course, don’t forget to take some photos of the mountain goats. You’ll see them everywhere!

In Jebel Shams you can stay in some of the resorts, or camp by yourself. I stayed in the Jebel Shams Resort and it was the perfect spot for the night! If you decide to go for another hotel or resort, make sure they’re at least at the top of Jebel Shams, so you don’t have to do the mountain ride before sunrise or after sunset. 

Places I haven't visited but would recommend

Daimaniyat Islands

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash.

The Dimaniyat Islands or Dimaniat Islands are a tropical getaway from the Omani mainland. With crystal clear water, it’s the perfect place for snorkeling and spotting some turtles or whale sharks if it’s the season! Bring your Gopro or underwater housing to capture it the best way possible. The whale shark season in Oman is from July until late September, the hot season in Oman. To go to the islands, it’s best to book a tour. I’ve got good experiences with GetYourGuide and you can book the experience through this link! 

Photo by Niklas Weiss on Unsplash.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

If you’re looking for things to do in Muscat, your first hit will probably be the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. I personally didn’t visit, but if you want to learn more about the Muslim culture, or just admire the architecture, it’s a place you can’t miss! The mosque opened in 2001 and broke several records upon completion. Make sure you wear appropriate clothes before entering the mosque. If you want to be guided through this location, consider a tour! This half day tour by GetYourGuide will give you loads of information and all the spots you can’t miss. 

Jebel Shams
Photo by Chris Linnett on Unsplash.

Jebel Akhdar

One of the best mountain ranges of Oman is Jebel Akhdar. I didn’t go here, as I came with a sedan and there’s a check point you can’t pass without a 4WD. The only other option would be with a tour, which I skipped this time. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing spot for extreme sports, hikes, amazing views and some ultimate mountain vibes.

If you want to go to Jebel Akhdar, but you don’t have a 4WD or you’d rather not drive, you can book a tour through GetYourGuide. There are tours from Muscat, bringing you safely to the top and back. Click here for the Muscat to Jebel Akhdar tour.  

Photo by Marwan Alfarsi on Unsplash

Salalah

The last spot I haven’t visited but recommend is Salalah. A beautiful coastal town with probably the best nature of Oman. It’s located far from all the other spots, which makes the main reason that I didn’t get to visit yet. To get to Salalah, you can either fly in to their airport or take the drive all the way from Muscat area. The journey is about 1000km and should take you about 10 hours without stops. 

Salalah is a place where you can find greens and beautiful beaches. On my next trip I’m sure I want to visit Salalah, and I might use this guide from Condé Nast Traveler as my inspiration. 

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