Oman is famous for its colorful bazaars, fresh sea air, and sprawling desert, but this fascinating country of western Asia has plenty of other delights. You’re sure to want to try the country’s tasty Omani bread, which is hard to find outside of Oman. You’ll also want to sample halva, the famous Omani sweets. But it's Oman’s terrain and historic sites that provide the best attractions. Explore peaceful mountains, lie on hot white-sand beaches, or visit the sprawling expanse of the country’s hot desert. Check out Oman’s many mosques, forts, castles, and museums to witness the nation’s mind-blowing architecture. There are also plenty of hip hangouts where you can enjoy live music and unique cocktails.

01The Al Alam Palace

King`s Palace illuminated at night. Muscat, Sultanate of Oman typhoonski / Getty Images

You may not be allowed to go inside the Al Alam Palace in Old Muscat, but it’s still worth a visit. The elegant but humble building is the ceremonial palace of Sultan Qaboos. It was built over 200 years ago by the sultan’s ancestor Imam Sultan bin Ahmed. In 1972, the palace was rebuilt to include its striking gold and blue façade and other elements. Today, Al Alam Palace holds official functions, such as receiving distinguished international guests.