The Al Hajar Mountains run parallel with most of the coast of Oman, around 50 km inland, giving the country a unique, otherworldly landscape quite unlike its neighbouring countries. Part of the range is The Jabal Akhdar, which is around a three-hour drive from Muscat or 45 minutes from Nizwa. The last part of the journey is particularly exciting as you ascend a spectacular mountain highway. En route, the scenery flits between rocky wildernesses and lush green oases where ancient water channels bring fresh water from the mountains to the villages.
There are a handful of accommodation options in the mountains and The Alila Jabal Akhdar, in particular, is quite special. This luxury resort/retreat is perched on the edge of an astonishingly beautiful canyon and arriving here feels almost like landing on the moon, with incredible views stretching for miles down the canyon towards the town of Al Hamra. We highly recommend a stay here, either as part of a tour of Oman or even as an exciting and relaxing stopover on the way home from India, Sri Lanka, The Maldives or Thailand.
The mountains are sparse, quiet and peaceful and 10 degrees cooler than balmy Muscat (which generally means 30 rather than 40 degrees!) so they’re popular with locals for weekend breaks. If staying at The Alila you could just amble around the resort, relax by the pool or indulge in some luxurious spa treatments. And this is a great destination for active visitors too, from leisurely treks through local villages where pomegranate, peach, juniper (and roses in April) are harvested, to hard-core treks up to the summit of Jebel Shams. If this is your only stop in Oman, then we’d also recommend visiting the Nizwa or Bahla forts from your mountain base.