Oman has the lot when it comes to family holidays – guaranteed good weather, natural wonders, beautiful beaches, friendly people, ancient forts, stunning palaces, deserts, souks, wadis and oases. English is spoken widely (there is a large expat community) and the vibe is relatively tolerant. Plus there are some cracking resort hotels, from good-value luxury to out-of-this-world extravagance.
A few things to remember: Drinking in public is not permitted, although alcohol is served in hotel and club restaurants and bars; the dress code bans revealing clothing except on the beach or by the pool; it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women or take pictures near military installations.
|Flying Time||8 hours|
|Carbon Footprint||6.73 tonnes CO2|
|Local Currency||Omani Rial|
Hire a car or a 4x4 and discover Oman’s natural wonders – mountains, scenic dunes and desert-scapes, wadis, waterfalls and even lush orchards. You can explore miles of undisturbed coastline. Wadi-bashing can be a rough ride but is great fun; alternatively, sit on a sand dune and watch the sun set.
Visit Muscat, a shopper’s paradise with all its old souqs (traditional Arabic marketplaces) and modern malls offering everything from designer clothing to native dresses, perfumes to frankincense, watches to traditional jewellery. Muttrah is of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman. There are also many museums in and around Muscat preserving Oman’s rich heritage and folklore, while the Grand Mosque is a must-see.
See the goat market in Nizwa.
Snorkel – the shimmering blue ocean holds a wealth of exotic fish, dolphins, turtles, and some of the best coral formations in the world.
Go on a dolphin-spotting trip.
Oman offers cuisine to suit all tastes – the international hotels, between them, offer meals of just about any kind, which can simplify family holidays with fussy eaters. Chicken, fish and mutton are regularly used in local dishes, together with spices and marinades. Make sure to sample some delicious Omani dates.
Oman's tapwater is safe for drinking.
Summer in Oman falls between April and September, when the weather is hot and humid – too much so for family holidays with younger kids. Between October and April, temperatures average 25-35°C during the day and 17-19°C at night.
Muscat is served from London Heathrow airport by Gulf Air, which has an in-flight nanny service, and with British Airways via Abu Dhabi.
Direct flights take about 7hrs and Oman is 3hrs ahead of the UK, which means jet-lag is normally minimal.
Though you can pick up relatively inexpensive flight deals, the lack of hotel capacity means that Oman is not a low-budget, mass-market destination for family holidays.
Fantastic accommodation for family holidays in Oman includes a number of five-star properties with great kids' clubs.
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