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Far Out Destinations to Get Your Imagination Running

The pandemic has influenced different sectors in significant ways. Perhaps one of the most affected sectors in the tourism industry. The world is packed with exciting destinations that you may want to experience as soon as the pandemic is over. Many of us have been dreaming and desiring to go to some far flung destination, especially while we were all in lockdown. With hopes the pandemic may be over by next summer, here’s some ideas of destinations you can start looking into for your first big post pandemic travel.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi is the capital and the second-largest city in Vietnam. There are numerous amazing destinations in Hanoi, which are split into old and the French quarter. The old quarter is home to a more traditional Vietnamese vibe and atmosphere. The city has a lot to offer from lakes like lake Hanoi to the imperial sites, mountains, museums, and other landmarks. You could also try to rent a car and explore the outskirts of Hanoi or other areas! The government has been working to improve the Vietnam infrastructure to make the country more attractive and modern. The suburbs of Hanoi also provide several important religious places that you can enjoy.

Photo by Nastasia Yakoub / @nastasiaspassport

Kavkhan, Mongolia

Kavkhan is one of the 21 provinces of Mongolia. Located in the west of the country, Kavkhan is one of the best locations to visit because of its calm environment, climate, and wildlife. The province in Mongolia is home to massive populations of livestock and a diverse wildlife population. It also hosts several forests, mountains, birds in migration, and other rare animal and bird species. Kavkhan is home to hundreds of small rivers and lakes where you can enjoy a swim! I’d highly recommend to continue onto see other parts of Mongolia, it’s just so full of nature and culture that you will never get anywhere else in the world.

Perth

Perth is the capital (fun fact for you if you didn’t already know that) of Australia, and one of its largest cities. It is home to some of the most significant pieces of art, cultural and educational institutions in Australia like the Art Gallery of Western Australia, WA Museum, and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts for any art lovers out there! Even if you aren’t into art or design, these museums are definitely worth seeing. The city has also inspired a lot of artistic and cultural work in cinema. Perth’s main tourist destinations are focused around the city center, the coast, and the swan river.

Crete

Crete is the largest, the most populated, and considered by some to be the most beautiful island in Greece. It is surrounded by a myriad of islets that make up the Region of Crete. It is an extremely mountainous island crossing from the east to the west of the region, making it great for mountain activities with

sweeping ocean views that can be found almost everywhere. Crete is significant in cultural heritage for Greece, known for such elements as ancient literature, poetry and music! Not but least, the beaches. The water in Crete possess a beautiful, Poseidon blue color that changes from super clear to a bit darker shade of blue as you move throughout the island’s beaches and water.

Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands is a significant part of the Republic of Ecuador. It is an archipelago of volcanic islands that are distributed on each side of the Pacific Ocean equator. The Spanish islands feature an incredible climate, historical landmarks, and a beautiful and calm atmosphere. Here, you can find a seemingly uninhabited part of the world that you may not even have known to be real!

Each of the destinations mentioned above is an incredible place to visit. They are all far out from the average place, and a visit to any of them could be the most beautiful and exciting experience in your life. They have so much to offer that you are guaranteed to have an incredible experience.

Europe

5 Historical Dutch Cities Beyond Amsterdam – An Insider Guide

The Netherlands is known for its historical cities with canals, brick houses, gothic churches and locals on bikes. But it’s not just famous Amsterdam I’m referring too. There are many more lesser known cities equally or even more characteristic than our capital. These Dutch off the beaten track cities are all in short distances from Amsterdam – as is pretty much anything in the Netherlands actually – and make the perfect daytrip. Make sure to visit at least one of them to enjoy the typical Dutch city vibe without the crowds.

Haarlem

Let’s start with a close neighbor of Amsterdam. Haarlem is only a 20 minute train ride away from our capital. The city is concentrated around its historic market square and church. Close to the central market square are the ‘Gouden Straatjes’ (Golden Streets) with boutique stores, concept stores and small shops. Two highlights of Haarlem are the Teylers Museum for historical science and the Hals Museum with works of the Dutch painter Frans Hals. One of the best parts of Haarlem are the small courtyards – ‘hofjes’ in Dutch –, most of these green city oasis are open to the public.

Delft

One of our favorite Dutch cities is picturesque Delft. Delft is perhaps one of the most visited cities in the Netherlands, tough it won’t get as crowded as Amsterdam. This small town is famous around the world for its Delftware porcelain, or Delft Blue. We’d recommend you to skip the souvenir shops and porcelain workshops though and go for a walk around the historic canals. You might notice that Delft is quite small for a city with this many churches. One of them – Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) – is famous in the Netherlands for having the Royal Crypt. The first member of the Dutch royal family buried here, is known for liberating the Netherlands of its Spanish occupier. He was murdered in Delft and afterwards buried in the nearest church, starting a family tradition. But there are more churches in Delft, as well as canals, small streets, cheese shops, local boutiques and museums.

Leiden

Leiden is one of the most characteristic cities of the Netherlands – and only a 35 train ride away from the capital. The canals, bridges, brick houses and monumental gates make Leiden one of a kind. The best part of this open air museum is the old fortress on top of a hill overlooking the city. It is free to visit and offers nice views of the city. Leiden is packed with interesting museums as well. One of them has Egyptian mummies on display, another one a huge dinosaur skeleton. Leiden is also a popular place for vintage shopping; our favorites are Flamingo, VNTG and Hartendief. The best espresso bar is small Chummie, Logica serves vegetarian and vegan food and ROOS is known for its instagrammable breakfast.

Utrecht

Utrecht is the fourth city of the Netherlands, but still has a cozy atmosphere. You can stroll around the small streets along historical houses from one canal to another. The biggest one is the Oudegracht where you can rent a kajak to explore Utrecht by water. For quite a different view we’d recommend you to climb the famous Dutch icon the Domtoren. This church tower is actually not connected with the church itself since  a big storm 300 years ago. Utrecht has just as many coffee bars, restaurants, concept stores and hotspots as Amsterdam. We’d recommend Meneer Smakers for burgers, Rachmaninoff for interior shopping, Cupp for coffee and Gys for healthy comfort food.

Amersfoort

This historic city is more to the east of Utrecht and almost one hour by train from Amsterdam. It has one big canal, surrounding the old walled city. Amersfoort didn’t have an actual wall though, but it created houses around the city to make it easier to defend. These so-called Wall Houses are still in place and make you feel like back in the old days. But there are more monumental buildings, ancient churches and old gates. If you’re done with all these brick houses and that Dutch history, you might like to walk to an upcoming part of Amersfoort with new restaurants and bars. It’s called ‘De Nieuwe Stad’ (The New City) and even has a small river beach.

 

Europe Food North America

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Travels may be postponed, flights may be cancelled and passports may be collecting some (temporary) dust… but we here at Dame Traveler don’t believe that means adventure must end. We’ve become refined in the art of armchair exploration – either through the pages of an excellent book, viewing a travel documentary or a virtual tour of the world. While we can’t necessarily hop on a plane to experience the world – we wanted to curate a collection of resources and virtual experiences from the best wineries and wine shops around the globe. This is our virtual wine tour you can experience right at home!

Typically, we always love to add a wine tour to our itinerary – especially when we’re in an area that has a deep vineyard culture and history. Let’s raise a glass, remotely! Gather your wine glass, a cozy blanket and get comfy on your couch. Our virtual wine tour brings the beautiful wine destinations we wish we could experience right now. Cheers! You ready? Let’s go!

Under The Tuscan Sun

We had to begin our virtual wine tour with a little taste of Italy! Tuscan wines have drawn millions of tourists for centuries, and there’s no doubt why. The landscape? Insanely beautiful. The food and wine culture? Intentional, historic and downright delicious. Why not escape into “la bella vita” and learn a little bit about the history of Tuscany and its wines?!

Wine has been a part of Tuscan culture for over three hundred years. Some historians believe that the Etruscans brought Asian vines with them when they settled in the Tuscan area. However, others are convinced that the countryside was already ripe with wild graphs before the Etruscans ever settled there. Nevertheless, the Etruscans really mastered the art of cultivating and domesticating Sangiovese and Lambrusco grapes!

Flash forward to the Duke of Tuscany establishing a boundary to focus Chianti production to the Tuscan region, regulating the wine trade in 1716. Wine became a major agricultural product of Tuscany (and Italy!) – in fact, WW2 nearly devastated the region and the national debt when the winery land was decimated.

Tuscany has become more and more associated with excellent wineries! Travelers today flock to the Tuscan region to get a taste of the good stuff, right from the source, to learn about the individual winery practices passed on for generations. It’s simply a must when exploring the heart of Italy!

What To Sip

Tuscany’s rich and deep legacy of wine-making can seem overwhelming, especially when choosing a bottle! We love sifting through a Verve Wine’s  selection of Sangiovese wines because they really explain what and where individual bottles and vintages come from. Traditional, silky, aromatic and delicate – we love a Sangiovese glass to go with a savory dinner.

Verve Wine has the mindset we love – “best part of drinking wine is the discovery of it all.” As adventurous women, you better believe this speaks to our soul! Their commitment to giving access to great wine, regardless of experience and budget (and without any pretentious attitude!) as us so thankful. Their group sources excellent wines for guests and customers, making a curation of bottles that have us feeling excited and informed!

They have a great monthly wine club with delivery, winemaker events, seminars and tastings too. (P.S. Verve Wine has an excellent wine shop – with same day delivery – in NYC and San Francisco. Once we’re cleared to visit, you better believe we’ll be right there to pick up some of their classics!)

Tuscany Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Discover Rosé in Provence

Yes way Rosé! The pink stuff has slowly become one of our favorite wines. Crisp, citrusy, and fresh – its always been a dream of ours to experience a rosé in the sun-drenched, sunflower and lavender kissed land of Provence.

Rosé has an incredible history – aging all the way back to the ancient Greek age. Many of the first recorded rosés were made by watering down blends of white and red grapes. However, it wasn’t until the Romans brought over their field blends to the south of France that rosé really became coveted!

Now, rosé is synonymous with Provence’s rolling hills and rich parcels of land. Provence has been producing wine for over 2,600 years, making it the oldest wine region in all of France! Provence is committed to the art of rosé, as it is the only region to focus on its production and is home to the only research institute dedicated to it.

What To Sip

We’re absolutely obsessed with the legendary Miraval rosé! It’s full of freshness, well-balanced, fruity aromas and citrusy touches too. It’s both refreshing and flavorful, leaving us feeling elegant and celebratory all at once!

Issued from the Miraval Estate’s best parcels of land, right in the heart of Provence – there truly isn’t anything that comes close to having the real thing abroad than this! The château in which the grapes have been issued are the best of the whole of Provence. The vineyard has terraces of clay and limestone, soaking in the cold air pulling throughout the valley, which are truly excellent conditions to make a fresh and elegant rosé. The pure petal pink color have us oohing and ahhing even before our first sip!

Provence & South Of France Travel Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Explore California Wine Country

California’s “wine country” is a gift that keeps on giving. It’s truly the perfect addition to any destination on the West Coast, especially for those who have a love and appreciation for vino! A California wine tour draws visitors from every corner of the world, seeking to soak up the sun and taste the delicious bounty of California’s delicious wineries. In fact, wine tours are the second most popular tourist activity in California (after a visit to Disneyland)!

California wine’s history starts with the Spanish Missions in San Diego, establishing themselves throughout the state and growing Criolla grapes to make low-quality wine. Later, French immigrants settled and planted the very first European grape varieties in the bountiful lands.

There was a huge turning point in California’s wine legacy – known as the Judgement of Paris on May 24, 1976. On this pivotal day, the world’s view of California wines forever changed. A legendary French judging panel titled California wines as higher ranking in Chardonnays and Reds than any other in the world… thwarting expectations and catapulting the production of California wines into a legendary status. Now, California is the leading wine producer in the USA, and the fourth largest producer in the world!

What To Sip

Empathy Wine’s bright and delicious white has us drooling! Its summery, light, with tones of lemon, anjou pear and peach. It has us dreaming of early summer temperatures, BBQing in the back porch, hosting friends and family.

We also love Empathy Wine’s transparency and commitment to sustainability and the quality of their wines. They know the absolute ins and outs of each of their wineries, all the way down to the names of the farmers and growers! Sipping on this fresh white gives us the peace of mind that we’re supporting a family (in this case, the white’s heritage comes from Lodi, California, made by Markus & The Mettler Family) and an industry that cares deeply about their product.

California Travel Inspo

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Adventure To New Zealand’s Lush Wineries

New Zealand – its diverse landscapes, natural beauty and wondrous views have travelers awestruck. For those of us who aren’t quite able to hop on a plane to soak in the beauty of New Zealand, there’s so much to learn about its wine history!

At first glance, New Zealand’s wine culture seems short and sweet, but there’s so much to uncover. The first recorded planting of grapevines ages back to 1819, when Anglican missionaries planted them at the Bay of Islands. Despite the later prohibition movement, New Zealand wine development boomed during WW2 when imported wines became overly tasked. From there, wine production really blossomed until the 1960s (when restaurants were officially allowed to sell wine) and the 1970s improvements to the creation of the Kiwi-classic full dry wines. Less than thirty years ago, there were less than a hundred New Zealand wineries… and now there are over seven times that amount! Wine today in New Zealand are an essential part of growing its thriving food culture.

What To Sip

Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon Blanc is the iconic wine we turn to when we’re craving a little slice of New Zealand’s good life. It truly defined New Zealand’s wine and established the Marlborough wine region globally, especially bringing the Cloudy Bay brand into popularity. Their vineyards are located along the gorgeous Wairau Valley, rolling along the Rapaura, Fairhall, Renwick and Brancott sub-regions. (We dream of taking a real wine tour in this region one of these days, but for now virtual will have to do!) Thanks to the iconic region’s stable warm weather during harvest, Cloudy Bay’s grapes are able to steadily ripen for much longer periods of time.

At first sip, we fell in love with its mouthwatering flavor, filled with lots of juicy stone fruit, tropical flavors and a little taste of lemon acidity. It has us dreaming of road tripping around the North and South Islands, windows open, soaking in a sunset by the beach.

New Zealand Travel Inspo

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Explore Spain’s Catalonia Wine Country

Romantic, lush and downright dreamy than the Spain countryside. The Catalonia region on Spain is flanked by rolling mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, truly an idyllic setting to explore no matter what a traveler’s interests are. In between the modernist architecture of Barcelona, medieval history, verdant valleys and seaside towns – explorers who’ve experienced Catalonia know its undeniable charm.

Catalonia’s wine history has over ten dominant wine regions that focus on full bodied, high alcohol drinks with intense minerality because of its deliciously warm weather. It’s been said that Catalan wine is older than Catalonia itself! Wine production began in the Catalonia region when the Phoenicians and Romans planted the first vines over two thousand years ago. Monks throughout the Arab occupation of the area preserved the wine tradition throughout the region, and nowadays the exportation of Catalonia’s wine is a major part of the regional economy and draws 19 million wine-seeking travelers every year!

What To Sip

There’s nothing quite like a smooth, buttery red straight from heritage Spanish vineyards. Matt Parish’s Spanish Garnacha is intense with flavors of dark cherry and plum, savory and smooth. It’s sourced from the 35-year-old vineyards in the iconic Montsant region of Catalonia. It’s easy to drink, but endlessly bold and flavorful… and Matt was named 2017’s Winemaker of the Year by US Angels! We love serving this up at a dinner party with Spanish style tapas and paella – just like you’d have in Spain!

Nakedwines.com’s mission is to connect wine drinkers (like us!) to the world’s best winemakers, producing hundreds of unique, indie wines we just can’t find anywhere else. Unlike other wine clubs, customers can choose when they’d like to try a wine. Their “angel” members also fund and invest the world’s best independent winemakers by prepaying $40 a month towards their next order. It’s a passion project into discovering more about top-quality wines without inflated marketing costs, and peace of mind knowing that each winemaker is also getting a fair and sustainable deal. It’s one of our go-to resources when we’re feeling curious about distinctive wines out there in the world!

Spain Travel Inspo

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The Heart of Organic Wine Movement

In recent years, there’s been a new trail blazed in the wine industry. Organic wines! What’s this? Essentially, the base of any organic wine must come from grapes from 100% certified organic vineyards. Organic wines reduce the use of dangerous chemicals, and it’s the next addition to any wine tour wine lover should investigate!

Organic wine creation methods began in Europe as early as the 1960’s. Later in the early 1980’s, US vineyards began to adopt and experiment with organic production. However, the acceptance of organic wines didn’t come easily! For years, traditional wine industries saw the organic movement as a threat and suppliers worried about them spoiling without preservatives.

What truly made the change? The purity of the wine in combination with the organic food movement. Artisanal cooking and the farm to table movement directly shifted the perspective of many food and wine aficionados. In the early 2010’s, fine dining establishments began boasting lists of organic wines on their menus… and the rest is history!

What To Sip

Bonterra Organic Winery has an excellent Merlot that we love to cork open when we’re longing for a real treat. Its 2017 bottle has an excellent balance, filled with notes of black cherries, smoke, plums and vanilla spice. Sourced from one of the oldest and most sustainable farmland, this Merlot is the definition of the organic wine movement… perfect for any wine-lover who’s hoping to learn a little bit more about their favorite drink.

Bonterra’s commitment to their wines is inspired by their biodiverse vineyards with extremely healthy soil, which creates flavorful organic wines. Their mindful farming and winemaking process all begins with their devotion to the backbone of their wines – the grapes. Grown organically from select growers, trading tractors for sheep for weed prevention and running on green power, Bonterra is the epitome of the organic wine movement.

Wine Education Inspo

  • SOMM – a documentary inside the intense world of wine and oil tasting
  • I’ll Drink To That! Wine Podcast 
  • Wine for Normal People Podcast
  • Other Virtual Wine Tours Around The Globe

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Pacific Northwest Wines

The Pacific Northwest of America isn’t necessarily the first destination travelers think of when it comes to wine. But, in recent years Oregon and Washington have really made a splash in the wine industry! These two states have what many wine experts believe to be the “best of both worlds.” Meaning, their locations can support New World wines because of their warm weather (which results of ripe fruit) and their cool nights can maintain the acidity needed in Old World wines.

Washington’s wine history does not go back as far as California’s, but as the second largest wine producing state in the US, Washington had a tremendous increase in its quality curve.  Wine grapes weren’t really grown here until a while after Prohibition was repealed.  In fact, it was Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal that gave Washington a chance at viticulture.  The Columbia River Irrigation Project turned what were vast tracks of desert into fertile, agriculture-sustaining farmland.  Even then it took another 30 years for vitus vinefera (the species of grape used for wine making) to gain substantial plantings that supported commercial wineries.  The first guys on the block were the American Wine Growers.  They are now known as Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Washington’s wineries are filled with a large and diverse amount of grapes and areas to explore. Between its eastern region’s High Steppe Desert and the Columbia Valley’s major wine producing area’s six sub-regions west of the Cascade Mountains… there is a new world of wine tasting to be done in the Pacific Northwest!

What To Sip

Domaine Roy, located in the = Lined with vineyards from Bergström, Cameron, and Maresh, the estate’s 2310 vines per acre grow from some of the richest soil in the region. Their essential 2018 Iron Filbert Pinot Noir is a must-try! This vintage is an eclectic mix of florals, like lavender and sage, with aromas of orange and grapefruit citrus peel. It’s a polished yet rich wine with loads of raspberry, pine and rose that will remain one of our absolute favorites.

Pacific Northwest Winery Inspo

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home


Looking for more wine and travel inspiration? Be sure to check out our round up of excellent travel destinations for wine-lovers (once it is safe to travel again)!

Go on a Virtual Wine Tour From Home

Europe Photography

A Photography Lover’s Guide to Zagreb, Croatia 

Have you ever visited a place that took you by surprise? We didn’t expect Zagreb to be so beautiful and photogenic, so we were totally blown away by the amazing photo spots we’ve discovered in Croatia’s capital city. Although Croatia is a very popular destination, most people opt to visit the Dalmatian coast instead of Zagreb. However, Zagreb is totally worth a visit, especially if you like photography. You might not find Instagrammable beaches or stunning waterfalls, but Zagreb offers so many attractions for history, culture and photography lovers. During our Zagreb weekend, we walked all over the old town and new town and put together this photo guide to highlight the best photo spots in Zagreb, Croatia. 

 Zagreb Cathedral  

There is no better place to start this photography guide than with a picture of Zagreb Cathedral (also known as the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The magnificent towers, golden statues and Neo-Gothic style are breathtaking. Don’t forget to have a look inside because the ornamented columns and interior of the church are quite impressive as well. 

St. Mark’s Church and Square 

St. Mark’s Church is another very famous landmark of Zagreb. This ancient church was renovated in Neo-Gothic style during the 19th century, and during that time, the unique and colorful roof tiles were added to the church. It’s definitely one of the best photo spots in Zagreb, and many times you’ll find here a beautiful bride posing against the backdrop of this unique church. 

Panoramic Viewpoint of Zagreb 

Just above Strossmayerovo šetalište (behind St Catherine’s Church), you’ll find a magnificent viewpoint that overlooks the whole area of Kaptol, where Zagreb market and the beautiful Zagreb cathedral are located. Admire the view, sit on one of the benches, add your own love lock to the fence and look for the famous mural, the Whale by Etien. 

Gradec Plateau and Strossmayer Promenade 

Just below the panoramic viewpoint, you’ll find a unique collection of street art. If you continue walking, you’ll get to the lovely Strossmayer Promenade. This is one of the most famous photo spots in Zagreb. Other than the decorated frames where you’ll be able to pose for an Instagram shot, there are also great viewpoints and artistic statues along the promenade.

Lotrščak Tower 

Lotrščak Tower is located in the middle of Strossmayer Promenade, and has an important historical significance. Every day at noona cannon is fired from its upper deck. You can either climb to the top of the tower to admire the view of Zagreb’s new town or just take a picture of the unique-looking tower from the promenade.  

Zagreb Green Horseshoe

After you’ve visited some of the best photo spots in Zagreb’s old town, it’s time to walk along Lenuci Horseshoe or Zagreb Green Horseshoe and photograph some of the beautiful parks, fountains and buildings along the way. Some of the photography spots worth mentioning are Park Zrinjevac, the Art Pavilion and Kralja Tomislav. 

The Croatian National Theatre 

One of the most impressive buildings along Zagreb Green Horseshoe is located in the Republic of Croatia Square. The theatre’s bright yellow color and Neo-Baroque style are remarkable, especially when photographed from a bit further away, so you also capture the groomed gardens around it.  

Antuna MihanovićaFrankopanska and Ilica Streets 

If you want to capture a photogenic picture of Zagreb’s trams against beautiful buildings, you’ll find many opportunities to take your shot while walking along these streets. 

Tkalčićeva Street 

Tkalčićeva Street is a great place to visit during the day or nighttime. This pedestrian street has numerous cafes, bars and artistic displays. It is always busy, day or night, and you can get great shots here every hour of the day.  

Zagreb 360° 

We don’t know about you, but we love drone shots. Although you are not allowed to fly a drone in Zagreb, the next best thing you can do is climb up to the Zagreb 360° viewing platform. This fabulous observation deck is located at Ilica 1a and from there you can get a bird’s eye view of Zagreb. After you get your money shot, you can order a drink and relax at the bar. 

There are many more sights and attractions to explore in Zagreb, but these ten spots were our favorite photography spots in the city. If you are planning a trip to Croatia, consider including a visit to the photogenic capital city in your itinerary! 

 

Advice Middle East Travel Planning

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This Year

There is something very refreshing about choosing to visit a destination you know nothing about and therefore have very few, if any expectations of. Most recently this happened to me when I chose to go to Oman for my honeymoon, not the conventional choice, I know!

I didn’t know anyone that had been there, in fact most people looked at me completely blankly when I told them where I was going. It isn’t the kind of location that pops up on your Instagram feed on the regular either!

When you think of the Middle East, it is hard not to imagine glitzy high rise skyscrapers and attractions that regularly hold the title of “biggest in the world”. Oman is the complete opposite. Stoically understated in design, you will not find a single skyscraper here, in fact, no building is allowed to be higher than fourteen stories in order to preserve the stunning natural beauty of this Gulf country.

Visitors only really started coming here in the 1970s when Sultan Qaboos took over from his father, began to build some infrastructure and set about modernizing the country, before then flinging their doors open to the outside world. The country is now switching gears again in order to increase tourism; a new hassle-free visa process has been introduced for many countries and a huge new airport opened in Muscat in 2018.

A City Break in Muscat

Start your journey in the country’s capital, which will prove beyond a doubt that you don’t need height to have beautiful architecture; just visit the Royal Opera House, Al Alam Palace and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a gift from the Sultan to the people to mark his thirty years of reign. Don’t miss exploring Muttrah Souq as well, thought to be one of the world’s oldest Arabian market places.

The real beauty of Oman comes when you leave the city though. It has some of the most diverse landscape of any country I have ever visited; dramatic mountain ranges, deserted white sand beaches and magical Arabian desert, all within a couple of hours drive of the Muscat.

Jabal Akhdar Mountains

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This Year Take a road trip to Jabal Akhdar, part of the Al Hajar mountain range, for some respite from the heat; up here roses, apricots and pomegranates flourish on the mountainside, where the temperature is around 15°C cooler. It is the views that really take your breath away here though; deep ravines, wadis with abandoned villages clinging to the sides and more greenery than you would have ever thought possible for somewhere in the Middle East (it’s no coincidence that Jabal Akhdar roughly translates to “Green Mountain”).

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This YearYou can visit in a day trip, but watching the sun set here is nothing short of surreal; the total silence around you only accentuating the experience, until all you can see are the glittering lights of the ancient city of Nizwa sparkling in the distance.

There are two knockout hotels up here, the Alila Jabal Akhdar and the Anantara; the latter is built around Diana’s Point where you can take in the views from the same spot as the late princess once did in 1986.

Wahiba Sands Desert

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This YearGetting to Wahiba Sands from Muscat is a very scenic journey in itself, the coastline is stunning and there are miles and miles of deserted and immaculate beaches.

Actually entering the desert is bit of a surprise; one minute you are bouncing along through a village and the next you take a turn and move immediately from road to sand (not sure what I was expecting?!).

Driving through the desert a very freeing and peaceful experience, until you started dune bashing. Here you can visit communities descended from the Bedouins (nomads who lived in deserts of the Middle East and North Africa) and learn about their lives and culture.

There are a few places to spend the night here. Wahiba Desert Nights Camp is on the more luxe side; your accommodation is an individual Bedouin inspired blend of tent and permanent structure, with hot water in the shower and air conditioning!

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This YearYou can occupy yourself with desert safaris, camel riding or star gazing, but honestly, the best thing is just to ride up to the top of the highest dune to watch the sun fall in the sky and the sand change from reddish-orange to a dark yellow. The temperature drops quickly, so return to your camp for a communal dining experience with live music and a barbecue.

Final Thoughts

Oman is a stunningly diverse country with a more understated vibe, which is probably one of the reasons it has flown under the radar for so long. Now is the time to come though; Oman’s continuing efforts to increase tourism means it is an easy country to visit and get around, but it is still so much quieter in terms of visitors. I went in October (shoulder season) and outside of the hotels, didn’t come across many non-locals at all.

Bonus: Top Tips for Visiting Oman

  • A visa is needed for most other countries and is easy to apply for on their e-visa site online. It is only valid for entry within a month of application though, so don’t get ahead of yourself and apply too soon (as I did).
  • As with other Middle Eastern countries, conservative dressing is required. This means shoulders and knees covered as a minimum and you are required to cover your hair when entering any of the mosques.
  • Oman is the safest country to visit in the Middle East with a very low crime rate and a very friendly and hospitable culture, so is great for female travelers.
  • Public transport is not commonplace in Oman and if you are looking to leave the capital, I would recommend getting a driver. You can hire your own car, but driving through mountains and deserts should only be reserved for the most competent and confident drivers.
  • As with other Middle Eastern countries, try not to visit between June and August where the temperature renders it difficult to step outside and many of the tour operators shut down for the season.

Why You Should Plan A Trip to Oman This Year

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