Beauty has an address
Oman has a quiet confidence that's refreshing in the Gulf region -- its sights are set firmly on the future, but it shuns mass developments and high-rise blocks. Instead, it showcases its many natural highlights, from rugged mountain landscapes to crystalline waters lapping golden-orange sands.
A rich heritage
One of the most important trading nations in ancient Arabia, Oman offers a glimpse into the past thanks to its wonderfully preserved Bedouin settlements, mountain-top mudbrick villages and bustling souks whose wares haven't changed for centuries -- you'll find fragrant frankincense, plump dates and shimmering rose gold.
There's a no skyscraper policy in Oman's capital, Muscat, but what the city's buildings lack in height, they make up for in authenticity and beauty. The past six years has seen the opening of both the Royal Opera House Muscat and the National Museum, adding a strong arts and culture element to the city's offering.
Something for everyone
The country is speckled with towns that each have a unique identity. Two hours from Muscat, Nizwa is a gateway to historic forts and mountain trails. The Musandam Peninsula wows with dramatic scenery and houses world-class spas for isolated relaxation. In the south, Salalah has acres of sacra trees imbuing the air with frankincense.
Hit the road
Escape the city, and out of the empty deserts appear deep canyons, soaring mountains and lush wadi valleys. Head to the Empty Quarter, close to Salalah, for whale-watching adventures or scuba diving in some of the world's best waters. Take a 4x4 to the Sharqiya Sands and spend hours dune-bashing or camel trekking.