The Maldives islands are home to some of the very best scuba diving in the world. Even if you’re not a diver, snorkelling in the warm waters offers wonderful opportunities to spot a wide variety of marine life. Some resorts have their own diving schools, whilst others have their own reefs and you may even see whale sharks.
Oman remains largely undiscovered yet boasts long golden beaches, a beautiful interior and spectacular fjords on the Musandam peninsula. It is home to a number of 5* hotels which offer high standards of service and excellent amenities. Due to the weather, it makes a perfect winter destination and is easily reached by direct flights. As well as beach breaks, Oman offers much for the visitor and the country is particularly proud of its culture and stunning landscapes.
Located on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has terrain encompassing desert, riverbed oases and expansive coastlines on the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman. With its rich heritage and embracing society, Oman has a strong sense of identity, pride in an ancient, frankincense-trading past, and confidence in a highly educated future. Oman’s low-rise towns retain their traditional charms and Bedouin values remain at the heart of the Omani welcome. This country is the obvious choice for those seeking out the modern face of Arabia whilst still wanting to get a feel for its ancient soul.
Mutrah souq: for shopping, haggling and admiring a traditional Arab market
Mutrah corniche: spectacular at sunset when the light casts shadows across the mountains and perfect for an evening stroll or bike ride
Grand mosque: glorious architecture with the second-largest hand-loomed carpet in the world, having taken 600 women over four years to weave
Sultan’s Palace: closed to the public but well worth a photograph from the colonnaded approach
Bayt al Zunair: a privately owned museum exhibiting Omani heritage and also hosting exhibitions
Al Mirani fort: closed to the public but well worth a photograph
Mutrah gold souq: although not to everyone’s taste, it’s astounding to see the sheer volume of gold on display
Weather and when to go
The best months to visit Oman are March, April, September and October when the days are largely warm and dry, with temperatures averaging between 26 and 35°C . January-March is slightly cooler and you are more likely to experience occasional rainfall. During the summer months it becomes very hot and humid – so much so that many hotels close a number of their outdoor restaurants and bars.
Temperatures from November to March hover around 25-29°C with 9 hours of sunshine. Water temperatures are a balmy 25-28°C, perfect for swimming and snorkelling.
Take a city tour of Muscat
Camp in the desert at a Bedouin tent under the stars
Explore the fjords of the Musandam peninsula by traditional dhow