The Omani city of Sur, nestled along the Arabian Sea, has been selected as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2024. Two hours away from the country’s capital, Muscat, Sur is a coastal gem known for its rich history and culture, traditional architecture and warm hospitality.

As the Arab Tourism Capital for 2024, Sur stands as a testament to Oman’s commitment to preserving its heritage. The city was selected following several criteria such as the availability of infrastructure and tourism resources, the diversity of tourism activities and policies for preserving the environment. 

From pristine beaches and historic landmarks to vibrant souks and traditional dhows, Sur offers an immersive experience that visitors should not miss if visiting Oman this year. Here are some must-visit places in Sur:


Sur Old Town: history and souks

Steeped in tradition and heritage, Sur Old Town offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural tapestry through its ancient architecture, bustling souks and vibrant community life. As well as several well known historical landmarks, Sur Old Town is home to traditional Omani houses (with whitewashed walls, wooden doors and carved balconies); lively souks full of spices, textiles and jewellery stalls; and cultural experiences – visitors can join a local artisans’ workshop as well as sampling traditional Omani cuisine.

Bilad Sur Castle: historic fortress

This historic fortress stands as a remarkable example of Omani architectural heritage and as a testament to Sur’s past. The castle played a significant role in the city’s defence – it was built in early 19th century as a fortification against maritime invasions. Today, Bilad Sur Castle stands as a cherished cultural heritage site, attracting visitors who admire its architectural beauty and learn about the region’s rich history. The castle’s well-preserved interiors offer insights into life in medieval Oman, showcasing exhibits on weaponry, governance and daily life.

Sur Lighthouse

The Sur Lighthouse is one of Sur’s most prominent landmarks. It was built in early 20th century to guide ships navigating the waters near the city. Its structure is characterised by its tall tower and distinctive white-and-red colour scheme. The tower is topped with a lantern room housing the lighthouse’s beacon, which emits light signals to aid navigation. In addition to its practical function, the Sur Lighthouse offers visitors panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and the Arabian Sea.

Fatah Al Khair: historic shipyard

Fatah Al Khair is a historic shipyard which serves as an open-air museum dedicated to Sur’s shipbuilding lineage. The ship served as a vital centre for maritime trade and shipbuilding along the Arabian Sea coast, contributing to Oman’s flourishing maritime industry. Visitors to the shipyard can witness firsthand the craftsmanship involved in building traditional Omani dhows and gain insights into Sur’s maritime history.


Ras Al Hadd: sea turtles 

Just a short drive from Sur, Ras Al Hadd is a picturesque coastal village renowned for its rugged coastline, pristine beaches and clear turquoise waters – ideal for beach lovers. However, as well as for its beaches, Ras Al Hadd is known as being a nesting site for green and hawksbill turtles. The village is home to the Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, where visitors can observe endangered turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs – an unforgettable wildlife experience. Guided tours are available.

Khor Jarama: floating chalets

The impressive lagoon of Khor Jarama, just outside Sur, is characterised by its serene waters, rugged cliffs and lush mangrove forests, creating a picturesque landscape for visitors. Two of Khor Jarama’s defining features are its extensive mangrove ecosystem – which support a diverse array of flora and fauna – and its “floating chalets.” These are houses right at the water that serve as accommodation for visitors looking for something off the beaten track. The floating chalets are equipped with modern amenities and are built with eco-friendly materials. Floating guests can enjoy a wide variety of activities including swimming, snorkelling and fishing.  


Marvelous Sur: secluded sandy beach

Marvelous Sur is a famous white-sand beach known for its crystal-clear waters and stunning natural scenery. As it is relatively secluded, accessible by a short car drive from Sur, it retains a sense of tranquillity and seclusion away from the crowds. Visitors can swim, snorkel or simply sunbathe while enjoying the privileged views of the Arabian Sea. Sunrises and sunsets over the horizon are truly recommended.  

For more information about Oman, please visit:

About Oman:

Found on the East Coast of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a taste of the real Arabia, offering visitors a mixture of history, culture, luxury and adventure. Oman boasts over 3,000 km of Indian Ocean coastline plus endless mountains that provide escapism and cooler temperatures during the hotter summer months. The desert also holds a place for all – adventurers, relaxers and culture-lovers. The diversity of these landscapes gives way to an astonishing array of activities for all sort of visitors.

For further media enquiries, please contact Enrique Martin and Helen Coop at Oman Ministry of Heritage and Tourism’s representative office in the UK:

Follow Experience Oman on social media: @ExperienceOman

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