Christmas in Oman

Anyone wanting winter sun at Christmas should strongly consider Oman. Granted, we’re not talking scorchio temperatures, rather a December average in Muscat of around 22°C, but given what temperatures could be like back home, the attraction is obvious.

And on the subject of attractions, Oman has many. The capital, Muscat, is home to several of the finest beachfront hotels in the Middle East, each perfect for either families (the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah) or couples (the Chedi or the Al Bustan). It's perfectly possible to spend a relaxing winter week at any of the above, but that would be to miss out on Oman's serendipitous mix of landscapes and fun ways in which to explore it.

If you can tear yourself away from the beach, the dramatic Hajar Mountains behind Muscat are a must visit, with a clutch of luxurious hotels with excellent views and facilities now open or coming soon. Beyond the mountains the intriguing city of Nizwa is Oman's ancient capital and well worth a visit, particularly as part of a longer road trip to include the Wahiba Sands, a wonderful sea of dunes where you can try you hand at desert driving, camel riding or just relax at a very comfortable desert camp.

Back in Muscat, the souq and Grand Mosque are worthy of exploration, and we can arrange dhow trips, dolphin watching boat rides or diving and snorkeling at the nearby Daymaniyat Islands.

Further north, in the Omani exclave of Musandam, Zighy Bay is another excellent 5* hotel that is reached from Dubai Airport rather than Muscat, and which offers another excellent excuse to cancel Christmas and enjoy some much needed winter sun.

One final thought - you'd be amazed how many months ahead of Christmas and New Year the best hotels and flights get booked up, so we would strongly recommend planning WELL in advance.

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Isabel is our 'Christmas in Oman' expert and as a seasoned traveller has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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