Nizwa, located in the heart of Oman, is a city known for its rich history and traditional architecture. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and is easily accessible from the capital city, Muscat. If you’re planning a trip to Oman, visiting Nizwa is a must-do on your itinerary.
Here’s a detailed guide on how to visit Nizwa on a day trip from Muscat on your own.
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Where is Nizwa located in Oman?
Nizwa is located in the Ad Dakhiliyah region of Oman, which is located in the northeastern part of the country. It is approximately 165 kilometers (about 102 miles) away from the capital city of Muscat.
What is Nizwa known for?
Nizwa is one of Oman’s most popular tourist destinations, known for its rich history, cultural heritage, traditional markets and architecture, and natural beauty. The most iconic landmark of Nizwa that attracts many visitors to the city is the 17-th century Nizwa Fort.
How to get from Muscat to Nizwa?
There are several ways to get to Nizwa from Muscat, including public transport, rental car, or taxi. Renting a car is a very popular and convenient option for exploring Oman. Still, this article will focus on visiting Nizwa on a day trip from Muscat by public transportation.
There is a direct bus that runs from Muscat to Nizwa and vice versa two times per day. The journey takes around 2:30-3 hours, and a return trip costs around 3.400 OMR. For a schedule, visit the Mwasalat website.
The bus stops are on both sides of the route.
How much is a taxi from Muscat to Nizwa?
The fare for a one-way trip is around 35-40 OMR, and the journey takes around 2-2.5 hours. However, taxis can be expensive, especially if you’re traveling alone, so I would advise you to either rent a car or travel by bus.
When is the best time to visit Nizwa?
The best time to visit Nizwa is during the cooler months of the year, which are from October to March. During these months, the weather is mild, and the temperatures are comfortable, making exploring the city’s outdoor attractions easier without the fear of getting a heat stroke.
Is Nizwa worth visiting?
Yes, in my opinion, Nizwa is definitely worth visiting. If you have limited time in Oman or don’t have a car to move around yourself, the easily accessible Nizwa is a great option to explore more of the country, its history, and what it has to offer. Nizwa is very different from Muscat, so it definitely makes for an exciting city trip.
Things to do and see on a day trip to Nizwa from Muscat
One day is enough to explore the main attractions of Nizwa. Here’s what to include on your itinerary to make the most out of your visit:
Explore Nizwa souq
One of the top things to do on a day trip from Muscat to Nizwa is visit the famous Nizwa Souq. Nizwa Souq is a traditional marketplace where you can find a wide range of traditional Omani products, such as handicrafts, silver jewelry, pottery, spices, and dates. If you want to buy souvenirs from your trip to Nizwa, this is the place for shopping.
The souq is open every day except Friday mornings, when it is closed for the weekly cattle market, where locals and traders from surrounding areas come to buy and sell livestock, including goats, sheep, cows, and camels.
Opening hours: every day from 8 am to 1 pm and from 4 pm to 10 pm
Get lost in the narrow streets
Nizwa’s streets are lined with traditional buildings, many featuring traditional intricately carved wooden doors and balconies, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich architectural heritage. Wondering through the narrow streets, you’ll find a range of small shops, charming little restaurants, and cafes.
Visit Nizwa’s top attraction, the Nizwa Fort
A highlight of any day trip to Nizwa is a visit to the Nizwa Fort. The fort played a significant role in the history of Oman, serving as a military stronghold and a center for governance and administration. Nowadays, the Nizwa Fort is a well-preserved example of traditional Omani architecture and design, attracting thousands of tourists.
When visiting Nizwa Fort, you can explore its numerous rooms and exhibits, including a museum showcasing traditional Omani weaponry, costumes, artifacts, a prison, a library, and more. Two of the most impressive places in the fort are the top which offers a 360° view of the surrounding area, and the ”balcony” which presents the most picturesque spot with a view of its massive circular tower, which is over 30 meters high and 36 meters in diameter.
Opening hours: Every day from 8 am to 8 pm (closed for 2 hours between 11:30 am & 1:30 pm on Fridays)
Tickets: 5 OMR
Suggested duration of the visit: 1-2+ hours
How old is Nizwa Fort?
Dating back to the mid-17th century, the Nizwa Fort is around 400 years old. It was built under the rule of Imam Sultan bin Saif Al Ya’arubi, who ruled Oman from 1624 to 1648. Throughout the centuries, the fort has undergone several renovations and restorations to maintain its impressive structure and ensure it remains an important historical landmark for Oman.
The next and perhaps last stop on your day trip to Nizwa could be the historic irrigation system Falaj Daris. It is one of Oman’s largest and most impressive falaj systems and has been in continuous use for over 1,500 years.
Additional things to do on a day trip to Nizwa from Muscat
Located approximately 40km from Nizwa, Bahla Fort is one of Oman’s oldest and most impressive forts and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bahla Fort features a complex system of walls, towers, courtyards, a mosque, and several wells. The fortress is constructed from adobe bricks and is known for its intricate designs and carvings, which showcase traditional Omani architectural styles.
Opening hours: every day from 9 am to 4 pm
Tickets: 3 OMR
Some 10km from Bahla Fort is situated in one of the most well-preserved castles in Oman, the Jabreen Castle. The castle was built in the late 17th century, and it served as a center for education and learning, with a library and classrooms for teaching Islamic law, language, and science. Jabreen Castle features a range of architectural styles, including Islamic, Persian, and local Omani design elements. The castle’s many rooms and courtyards are intricately decorated with murals, carvings, and calligraphy, showcasing the region’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.
Located in the village of Tanuf, 20 km from Nizwa, Tanuf Ruins is one of the most significant archaeological sites in the region. The ruins date back to the 6th century CE and offer a unique glimpse into the region’s pre-Islamic history. They include the remains of a fortress, a palace, and a system of irrigation canals used to support agriculture and farming in the region.
A few comments on Muscat to Nizwa day trip
If you decide to spend an overnight or two in Nizwa, you should also visit Jabal Akhdar Mountain and Al Hoota Cave. Please note, however, that visiting those places would either require you to rent a car or sign up for an organized tour – the same goes for the Bahla Fort, Jabreen Castle, and Tanuf Ruins. You can also get a taxi to any of those places, but that would add a lot to your budget.
These are the top things you can do in Nizwa in one day. While it’s not possible to see everything in a day, this itinerary will give you a good introduction to the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty. If you have any additional questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below, and don’t hesitate to contact me.