Al Rustaq Oman has become famous thanks to the 3 forts on the Rustaq Loop - Not far from Muscat, you can admire the Rustaq Fort, The Nakhal fort and the Al Hazm castle. A great drive to include in your Oman Road Trip! Below is my guide to help you plan your trip.
The Region of Rustaq Oman
Just West Of Muscat is a road called the Rustaq Loop.
For those interested in historical structures, it includes 3 forts:
- the Rustaq fort,
- the Nakhal fort
- and the Al Hazm castle.
It make for a great day trips from Muscat.
PLANNING TIPS - Rustaq Loop
Getting to Rustaq Oman - Map of the Loop
- 40 min West of Muscat is Barka, turn inland on Road 13 until Rustaq and turn back towards Road 1 and the see on Road 11
- or do the opposite
- Below is a quick map I draw to show you the Rustaq Loop
Visiting the forts of the Rustaq Loop
- Without any stop the loop Barka to Barka takes 2h40
- Check each section below for information about the forts and their access
- Avoid Fridays to do this loop as a lot of places are closed
- All stops with their GPS coordinates are included in my eBook:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
The Rustaq fort
About the Rustaq Fort
Rustaq used to be a significant town in Oman due to its strategic position between coast and mountains. This is why the Rustaq fort is one of the largest in the country. It is also one of the oldest forts in Oman which has been expanded several times in its history.
It is a large complex with its own irrigation system, mosque and prison. It has 4 towers, the tallest reaching 20 meters in height.
Together with the Al Hazm castle, they have bee submitted to the World Heritage list but from what I can see, they have not been nominated.
Best view of the Rustaq fort
You can admire the imposing structure from further away by taking the road up to a mausoleum (GPS coordinates in the eBook) You will get the views of the Rustaq fort you can see below.
The fort of Rustaq
The fort opened to the public Saturday to Thursday (at least 9am to 4pm) and Friday (8am to 11am).
I was there on a Friday at prayer time so I could not enter it. But I could see all the local men converging to the Mosque inside the fort. So instead I took the time to walk all around the castle. The walls surrounding the complex really gives it a charm and intriguing effect.
Love forts? Discover more on the the most significant Forts in Oman article
Al Hazm Castle
About Al Hazm
The Al Hazm Castle is located not far from Rustaq. It is a large military fort from the beginning of the 18th century. It is a 2 story rectangular fort with 2 towers.
So from the outside the fort is less intriguing.
Visiting Al Hazm
The fort can be visited - Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday (at least 9am to 4pm) and on Friday (8am to 11am).
Plan quite a lot of time with all the corridors and rooms to discover. Displays are set up in different rooms to show how life used to be. Bathrooms for the public. They also proposed audio guides.
It is considered one of the best forts to visit.
The Nakhal Fort
About the Nakhal fort
The 3rd major fort on the Rustaq Oman Loop in the Nakhal fort. It makes me think of the Nizwa fort but situated on higher grounds.
Located on a hill it was designed around it and re-built in the 17th century.
Visiting the Nakhal Fort
It can be visited - Saturday to Thursday (at least 9am to 4pm) and Friday (8am to 11am) - and offers great views of the surroundings.
Want to see more of Oman's beauty?
Do you enjoy visiting castles and forts?