Things to Do in Nizwa

Nizwa is the largest city in the Al Dakhiliya region and is only located 2 hours from Muscat.

Being one of the oldest cities in Oman, Nizwa carries a history of trade that is shared with Sur and Muscat. At one point Nizwa was the center for arts, education and religion, which has earned it a reputation for formerly being an Islamic learning center.

Nizwa was once the capital of Oman during the 6th and 7th century AD. Furthermore it has been praised for its sophistication by the infamous Ibn-Battuta.

There are many things to see in Nizwa. From Culture, to heritage, to eating some of the best dates in the country, you will find it all here.

Thing To Do In Nizwa in 2 days- Nizwa Travel Guide

Here you will find:

  • Places to visit in Nizwa
  • Where to stay in Nizwa
  • Directions from Muscat
  • Transportation in Nizwa
  • Other Practicalities

Things to do in Nizwa in 3 days

Nizwa is the cultural hub of Oman.

While Oman is known for being the cultural equivalent of Dubai, there is no place that this is as evident as is in Nizwa.

Keep in mind that Nizwa is more traditional than Muscat. Therefore, covering up is important as it shows a sign of respect to the locals.

Places to visit in Nizwa

What to do in Nizwa – Day 1

Nizwa Souk

Nizwa is the epicenter of ancient trade between coast and mountains in Oman.

In the past, the spice trade would find itself landing at the ports of Muscat and Sur. Meanwhile, many of Omanis still inhabited the mountains found on the mountains of Jebel Shams, Jebel Akhdar and Wakan Village. As a result, trade would happen at the Nizwa Souk.

Despite there also being another prominent Souk in Muscat, it does not compare to that of Nizwa. The Nizwa Souk still maintains it cultural prevalence and importance to traditions.

You will be able to explore Omani heritage through the Nizwa Souk. An experience that is lost within Muscat.

Similar to Italians and Spaniards, Omanis enjoy their siestas (courtesy of the weather). Therefore, keep in mind that the shops will be open from 6am-1pm on reopen from 4pm until 10 pm during the week.

Friday is a religious day and most shops will open early and close before the prayer hours at 11am. Beware that if you miss the souk on this day you will not be able to visit until Saturday.

Nizwa Livestock Market

Nizwa Livestock Market, otherwise known as Nizwa Goat souk, is a chaotic and lively event to witness within Nizwa.

This embodies a traditional Arabic traditions where trade would happen from on sight. In fact, this is the only place in the Arabian gulf where you will be able to witness such event without anyone trying to capitalize over your presence.

Goats are paraded on this day in an open auction like market. People gather around the animals to inspect each of them before a bidding war ensues.

The best price gets to leave with the animal as the deal is closed in a handshake manner.

Sometimes you might find that cows are being auctioned as well.

The goat souk happens only once a week on Fridays. The event starts at around 6am and comes to a close by 9am as the Omanis prepare to attend the Friday prayers.

Nizwa Fort

Nizwa Fort is one of the most visited forts by tourists in Oman.

It also happens to be the most Instagrammable as well.

its beauty lies in that it embodies the Islamic architecture that is unique to Omanis. It is made unique by the cylindrical shape of the main tower which is the be biggest in any fort or castle in Oman.

Within this fort you will be able to experience a taste of Omani life in the old times.

The fort is filled with beds, real cannons, honey traps and more of the defense mechanism used by the Omanis in old times.

While visiting Nizwa fort you will encounter a lot of informational materials on the history of Oman throughout. You will also be able to buy a souvenir from the gift shop on sight.

Nizwa Fort has been reported to cost $12 for entry as of January 2019.

Falaj Daris

Throughout Oman village exist an extensive irrigation system used to water it agriculture. The systems are referred to as Falaj.

Falaj’s can be found in Nakhal, Muqazeh, Rustaq and elsewhere in the interior regions.

The people of Nizwa built the irrigation systems to bring water from the mountain and reservoirs surrounding it during old times.

What makes Nizwa’s Falaj Daris special is the fact that is the most extensive Falaj system in the country. Moreover, it has been recognized as a UNESCO world heritage.

Birkat Al Mouz

Birkat Al Mouz, translated to Pond of the Bananas from Arabic, is an infamous banana plantation known to the locals of Oman.

Birkat Al Mouz is located en-route to Jebel Al Akhdar, the green mountain, en-route from Nizwa. It is located at the bottom of the mountain that overlooks it with great might.

Unfortunately, unlike what the name suggests you will not encounter as many banana trees as palm trees. Nonethless the city is lined with palm trees in every corner.

Withing Birkat Al Mouz you will also find that there are a number of ruins of old houses to be found.

The ruins village was once home to a vibrant life. Remains of the skillful craftsmanship exhibited by the Omani people can still be reminisced today from the houses that still stand.

Keep in mind that the houses are made of mud and are are slowly collapsing. You can walk on the foundations but be sure not to wander to far into the middle of the old town

Inside one of the house you will find that a Falaj is still passing through. The Falaj is also UNESCO protected site.

What to do in Nizwa day 2

Now that you have experienced the on sight Nizwa attractions, it is also worth checking out the nearby spots that surround Nizwa.

Tanuf Ruins

If you have been drinking bottled water in Oman long enough you will probably recognize this name as the source for Tanuf water bottles.

Tanuf Ruins were inhabited by Omanis up until the 1950s when it was abandoned as the result of the wars in Jebel Akhdar at the time.

This attraction is a must for exploring the gorgeous remnants of Omani architecture that find themselves clinging through the hardships of time.

You will find ample opportunities for pictures when visiting this location.

Bahla Fort

Bahla fort is another Omanis attraction that is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage. Bahla fort is the only fort to earn this title.

The fort has been under restoration starting from the 13th century. It has been finally restored in 1988 by the current Omani government in an effort that lasted until 2012.

Bahla Fort is arguably one of the biggest forts in Oman. The Fort boast a number of wells, mosques and ancient towers.

The fort also host a collection of rooms within it which resemble the living quarters of Omanis in the old days.

Expect to spends 2 hours or more if you plan on exploring this fort to its entirety.

Jebel Shams

Jebel Shams, otherwise known as the mountain of sun in Arabic, is the highest mountain peak in Oman.

Jebel Shams is must visit for camping, hiking and goat watching in Oman. It is referred to as the Grand Canyon of Oman.

The mountain has a very easy hike trails where you can take the Balcony Walk and camp on the valley edge.

During the night the mountain is pitch black. Star gazing is at its best at this point.

Jebel Shams is notorious for mountain goats which can be seen all around when you hike.

If you do not fancy camping, Jebel Shams is less than a two hours drive back to Nizwa.

What To Do In Nizwa Day 3

As you conclude your stay in Nizwa you would be most likely returning to your base in Muscat. On the way to Muscat you will have to visit one of the two popular attraction that are in the neighboring vicinity.

Wakan Village

Located at the Western Hajjar mountains, the same mountains that Jebel Shams overlooks, Wakan village is an upcoming destination for travel within Oman.

Wakan Village is located within 3 hours from Nizwa or 1.5 hours from Muscat by car.

The village is know for its hike that overlook the Hajjar mountains. It is more so famous for being an oasis of pomegranate fruits and pleasant smells all throughout the village.

Although geographically the village is near to Nizwa, there is yet to be a road constructed that would allow for easy access to the village [as o January 2019].

Misfat Al Abriyeen

Misfat Al Abriyeen has recently risen to the become one of Oman’s unique attractions.

It is a mountainous village that is near Qalhat and Al Hamra in the Al Dhakhiliya region. This village has gained its fame for its condensed homes and rocky architecture and fascinating alleyways that resemble those found in Marrakech or Rome.

The village is only a 50 minutes drive from Nizwa and is on the way to Muscat.

Walk around the village and explore the plantations and its many goats before calling it a day.

As of 2018, it was announced that Oman’s longest zip line will be built in Misfat Al Abriyeen. As of January 2019, there has been no construction started.

Balad Sayt

Balad Sayt is a small village that is located near to Al Hamra and Wadi Bani Awf, otherwise known as the “Snake Canyon.”

If you are feeling like exploring a place for one hour or so, Balad Sayt is a good location to stop by in.

You can walk through the mazes that this village has and get lost in small town Omani life.

You can enjoy the sight of traditional houses amid the Hajjar mountains in a place that remains relatively unknown to tourists today.

Balad Sayt is located 2 hours from nizwa. Similar to Wakan, despite its proximity to Nizwa and Misfat Al Abriyeen there is still no readily accesible road between both.

Note: If you visit Misfat Al Abriyeen first keep in mind that it is 2 hours to Balad Sayt as you would have to drive around till you reach the entrance.

Where to stay in Nizwa

Budget- Nizwa Hotel Apartments

Mid-Range- Golden Tulip Nizwa Hotel

Luxury – Anantara Jebel Akhdar resort

Anantara Jebel Akhdar is one of Oman’s and the region’s best resorts. It is commonly frequented by influencers and luxury travelers alike.

Directions from Muscat

Bus If you choose to travel by bus than Mwasalat in the local Omani bus operator that you should take. The Bus from Muscat Al-Athaibah station will cost you around $15-20 each way for a two hour drive.

The bus will drop you off on the outskirts of Nizwa where you should expect to have to order a taxi for another $5-10 to arrive to your final destination.

Total cost: $40-$60

Metro There has been talks of a metro being built in Oman. Unfortunately, as of now there is none.

Taxi Most taxi drivers will agree to drive you towards any destination within Oman if you plan ahead of time. However, it will be expensive but relatively cheap in comparison to what it would cost to have a personal driver in a European country.

I would say that any offer under $180 is perfectly acceptable as you can view all the attractions with a personal tour guide.

Total cost: $120-250 (depending on your negotiation skills).

Other Practicalities

Water many of the villages that you will visit will not have a grocery store to supply you with water. Make sure to carry water with you at all times.

Respect the culture When you leave Muscat be aware that the rest of the country is traditional and mostly conservative. What that means is that while no one will say anything to you, people’s feeling will be hurt if you dress up in overly revealing clothes. This also applies to men who wear short shorts and reveal their armpits.

Safety Like the rest of Oman, Nizwa is extremely safe. It is debatable that it is safer than Muscat due to the local customs and hospitality. However, you will not notice the difference as you will feel comfortable in both.

Wifi Forget about having WiFi unless you are in the hotel.

Transport Asides from taking you from Muscat and into Nizwa and back, public transport will not get you far especially if you are visiting any of the places listed above on day 2 and 3. Renting a car is highly recommended.