Nakhal Fort was probably my favorite castle/fort near Muscat, Oman.
Not only is it super photogenic from a distance, but going up to the rooftop also gives you some incredible views of the surrounding area.This travel guide will explain how to get there, and everything you need to know before you go!
Best Oman Tours
First of all, if you're wanting to explore Oman with a tour guide/driver and private car, my top recommendation would be Klook.
Oman is not the cheapest country to travel, but Klook has Rustaq day tours starting from $65 USD, and Nizwa tours for similar prices. Both of these tours start from Muscat, and they'll allow you to see some of the best Omani castles, forts, and traditional markets.
We've used Klook for lots of tours and activities around the world, and they're great! Highly recommended.
Visiting Nakhal Fort
This fort was originally built in pre-Islamic times (as early as the 9th century), but a lot of the current fortifications were added onto it in the 17th century.
The walls are pretty impressive, and the top of the fort is lined with cannons and other defenses. You can even see the rocky Al Hajar mountains stretching out in the distance.
Before you tour the inside of the fort, I think it’s worthwhile to walk in a loop around the outside to get a better look at the walls.
These are really cool, and they kind of make you feel like you’re back in medieval times.
When you go inside the fort, it’s a bit like a mini-museum, because a lot of the rooms have period decorations and Omani weapons from back when the fort was used.
Nakhal is one of the few forts in Oman that has an audio guide, and even though I didn’t use this I’ve heard it’s super informative and done in clear English. It’s also completely free!
There are designated places in the fort where you can use the audio to get some extra insight into 17th century Omani life and how the fort was used over the years.
Bring water! The walk up to the top of the fort can be extremely hot depending on the season.
Nakhal Fort is located near Rustaq, so it’s pretty easy to visit if you’re planning to go see Rustaq Fort or Al Hazm Castle! I’d say it’s very worthwhile!
There’s an entry fee of 0.5 Omani Rials ($1.30 USD), but most tours seem to include this in the price.
How To Get To Nakhal Fort
The fort is near Barka, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) from Muscat.
You can drive there yourself with a rental car, or there are prepackaged day tours to Rustaq from Muscat that include the castle as part of their itinerary.
EXTRA: Al Thowarah Hot Springs
This is a natural hot spring very close to Nakhal Fort.
The springs are nice, but I think an even better reason to come here is for the surroundings. Check out those mountains!
Best Tours In Oman
Where I Stayed
I stayed at the 2-star Mutrah Hotel in Muscat, in a private room for $38 USD per night. Oman is not the cheapest country to travel, but the room was big and clean, and the A/C was nice and cold.
The location was a big plus. There was a mini-mart right across the street, and it was near the Mutrah Souq (traditional market) and some other interesting places.
Prices may fluctuate from time to time, so just keep an eye out for a good deal.