Welcome and marhaba to Muscat, Oman. The city that once gave its name to the country, now symbolizes all of its glory, history and heritage.
Muscat is located on the gulf of Oman Coast, surrounded by rugged plutonic mountains that almost melt in the scorching heat of Arabia. That, however, makes this city a perfect destination for an Arabian Nights lover, and one of the best Muslim-friendly holiday spots!
We present to you 10 best things to do in Muscat:
A Muslim’s journey always starts and ends in a mosque where connection with divinity feeds the soul. The grand mosque of Sultan Qaboos is such an amazing religious construction that inspires awe in the beholder. With a capacity of 25,000, the size of this mosque is but one aspect of its grandeur. Up until a certain time, this mosque was home to the largest carpet and chandelier in the world!
As Muscat’s most iconic mosque, the interior of Sultan Qaboos Grand mosque does not fail to display the quality and level of precision and detail in decorating the walls and pillars of this holy place. The tilework and mosaics are astounding and flawless, to say the least. The mosque is open for non-Muslim visitors too! Of course, everyone is entitled to a chance of spirituality while seeking leisure in life.
Photo from The Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House in Muscat is the hub of almost all artistic activity in Oman. The building itself is an amazing construction that features traditional arabesque architecture, and houses theatres, auditoriums, and restaurants. If you are lucky enough during your stay in Muscat, you may get a chance to attend an enchanting performance of the local arts.
Photo from Experience Oman
Your visit to Muscat would be made much more exciting if you visit the museum of Bait Al Zubair. Located at the Old Muscat, this museum is a heritage and cultural foundation that aims at maintaining the Omani cultural and historic values.
The museum displays thousands of artifacts: ancient weaponry, costumes and household equipment. This reflects the Omanis’ disposition to preserve their cultural identity, and they are right to do so; there is so much authenticity and connection with an old prosperous past in this corner of the world.
Built by the Portuguese in the harbor of Muttrah in Old Muscat during the 16th century, Muttrah fort is one of the most visited sites in Oman. It sits on top of a mountain overlooking the sea and offering beautiful broad views. The fort has a giant tower supported by two walls that whirl along each of its sides in the fashion of China’s great wall, making it a great place to visit!
Of course, this fort is but one of many ancient defensive structures such as the Fort of Sohar in the south and Ar Rustaq that have endured centuries of time and that continue to fascinate visitors here in Muscat.
Photo from Experience Oman.
When in Oman, seize the chance to get a feel of the beaches in Arabia. Qurum beach in Muscat is a beautiful clear-water beach, and a great chance to spice up your visit. The weather is generally a hot one here, a really hot one! But this makes the sea waters all the more inviting.
You’d find it quite useful to spend some quality time at the beach. There are watersport activities here that could be very appealing to you: jet skiing, parasailing and kayaking, and so much more to excite your lust for adventure and good moments!
Your Arabian journey would not be quite complete without a shopping experience at one of the local souqs. We recommend you visit the souq of Muttrah, one of Muscat’s best shopping locations. This place is a lively colorful market, full of goods and all sorts of commodities, from clothing to jewelry, spices and incense, antiques and souvenirs. The commercial activity has never ceased here (and it’s been over 200 years)! If you prefer to just watch, there is so much for your eyes to discover as you walk the narrow streets of this marketplace.
Sailing and boat cruises are one of the best things to do in Muscat. There are vast seas here that await to be sailed and explored by anyone adventurous enough to subdue the winds of the Arabian sea.
Going on a boat cruise in these parts of the world must have something special about it. Perhaps, it is the history and the legends that give a place its charm. Retrace the steps of Sinbad the Sailor and be part of the legends!
If you like dolphins – and who doesn’t – there are dolphin-watch boat cruises that you can go on to watch the dolphins. And why not go swimming with them?
Chicken Majboos. Photo by @cooking_tadka on Instagram
Treating yourself to good food while on a holiday is a well-earned comfort. This time, we have prepared for you, in the form of delicious words, some of Oman’s most popular and delicious dishes. Let us feast!
The first choice on our menu would be Majboos: an ample rice and meat dish seasoned with saffron and cardamom, you will not skip over this choice!
The next choice is Mushaltat: a soft thin bread stuffed with honey, meat and cheese, excellent choice!
Our last choice, but not least, is the Omani Halwa: a sticky sweet dessert made of brown sugar, honey, eggs and different spices, the taste is quite special, it is worth a try!
Al Alam Palace is the main ceremonial palace in the Sultanate of Oman. This palace has a splendor of its own, seen in its giant marble surface polished in gold and blue, and flowing harmoniously with its elegant design.
Although visitors are not allowed in, a walk around this palace is quite worth it. The palace has hosted many dignitaries such as the Queen of England and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. You are by no means less welcome than royalty in Oman!
The Bimmah Sinkhole is a natural beauty. A big hole, clear blue waters, the hot sun, and a thirsty adventurous traveler (that’s you!): the perfect ingredients of a memorable fun moment. Within less than an hour from Muscat, you can experience that fun moment!
Nizwa is located 165km from Muscat. It was once Oman’s Capital city, and is now a very popular tourist destination with its ancient forts, vast oases, valleys and waterfalls, bustling souqs, and a laid-back Arabian vibe that will make you mellow out at every moment.
Feel free to visit our travel blog for more exciting places to visit and for more great ideas to plan your trip!