It’s around 140km from Muscat to Nizwa, an easy drive along the fast, modern Highway 15 which is now dual-carriageway virtually the whole way – a fine drive up into the mountains, or an even more exhilarating downward swoop when descending from Nizwa towards the coast.

The route covered by the modern highway is one the most significant in Omani history, winding through a gap between the towering uplands of the Jebel Akdhar on one side and the more modest peaks of the eastern Hajar on the other. This was once perhaps the most important commercial conduit in the country, and the principal trade artery between the highland capital of Nizwa and Muscat on the coast, ­its former importance signalled by the extraordinary surfeit of forts, watchtowers and fortified settlements which still flank the modern highway. These include the massed watchtowers and hilltop village of Fanja, the fort at Bidbid, the walled town at Izki, and the oasis-smothered valley and massed fortifications of Sumail, all of which offer rewarding diversions from the main road up into the hills.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Oman features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

12 of the most beautiful places in the Middle East

The Middle East is a paradox. Located at the cultural crossroads between east and west, the region nowadays tends to make headlines for all the wrong reasons, b…

16 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman

10 reasons to visit Muscat, Oman

Compared to flashy Emirati neighbours like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the capital of Oman is a breath of fresh, sea air. Muscat is famous for dazzling souks and super…

21 Jan 2016 • Anita Isalska insert_drive_file Article
The most spectacular deserts around the world

The most spectacular deserts around the world

Rub’ al Khali (Empty Quarter), Saudi Arabia Part of the Arabian Desert, the Empty Quarter is made up of 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq miles) of sand …

16 Jun 2014 • Helen Abramson camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month