From Muscat to Fanja
From Muscat, the drive to Nizwa is just over 150km on the well-paved Highway 15. To break up the journey, there are some sights worth seeing along the way. Just 25km outside of Muscat, Fanja is famous for a crumbling village on top of a hill. Locals with a 4x4 vehicle can even drive down to the riverbed for a BBQ.
From the highway, take the exit towards Fanja. After the bridge across the river, turn right onto the side street. If you are not comfortable with navigating the narrow streets, park at the mosque and continue walking in. Otherwise, drive deeper in, where you will see a narrow passage to the left within the date palm plantations leading to the old town walls and a small parking lot.
I played it safe and walked in, passing by residences with nicely-decorated doors and friendly locals.
It is an easy walk uphill along the paved road, and you can't miss the crumbling village to the left. Interestingly, it is still inhabited and residents are friendly to come out for a chat.
From the top, views of the town and its green carpet of date palms are stunning.