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Oman makes the Telegraph's 20 best destinations to visit in 2017

Oman ranks 18 in this list, proving it's value to tourists from around the World


Embracing modernisation while preserving the past is no easy task, but it’s something that Oman, on the south-east corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is managing with aplomb. While neighbouring Dubai favours man-made marvels and eye-popping luxury, the Sultanate remains a heady blend of ancient traditions, humble hospitality and spectacular scenery, with excellent infrastructure to boot. 

The low-key capital, Muscat, is a jumble of whitewashed low-rise buildings punctuated by minarets and backed by craggy mountains. Two hours’ drive away, Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) rises nearly 10,000ft at its peak and is famed for its damask roses. The interior desert, part of the fabled Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter) that covers a third of the peninsula, is wild and untamed, while the unspoilt coastline stretches some thousand miles. In the south, the summer khareef (monsoon) turns Salalah, once the centre of the ancient frankincense trade, gloriously green.

Adding to its charms, in 2017 Oman will be even easier to access. On April 1, Oman Air will launch daily flights from Manchester to Muscat, following the introduction last year of a second daily Heathrow service. British Airways recently began direct flights between Heathrow and Muscat, eliminating a stop-off in Abu Dhabi. The arrival of two Anantara resorts – on the edge of a canyon in Jabal Al Akhdar and by the beach in subtropical Salalah – provides compelling reasons for visitors to venture further afield. It’s not the only big name to make its debut. Kempinski is set to take up residence near the Greg Norman-designed Almouj golf course in Muscat, while Jumeirah will open a spa resort in a secluded cove at the other end of town. Go now, before word really gets out. (Lara Brunt)

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