The port city of Muscat sitting pretty on the tranquil shores of Gulf of Oman, is the laid-back, happy cousin of Dubai. Muscat is known for its elegant and attractively uniform houses coloured white or cream and low-rise buildings with fine lines, arches and traditional designs. Unlike its glamourous neighbouring cities with their jungles of skyscrapers, Muscat looks and feels traditionally middle-eastern. If you’re heading to Oman and don’t have a clue of what to do in this charming city, we have curated a list of the most popular things to do in Muscat.
Admire the magnificence of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, spreading to an area of 416000 square meters and having a capacity of 20,000 people, is an unmissable tourist attraction for all! This Islamic masterpiece has a stunning prayer hall with a Persian carpet measuring 70 meter x 60 meter, thus believed to be the world’s second biggest hand-loomed Iranian carpet. Visitors must dress modestly and carry a photo ID with them.
Learn about the history of Oman in the National Museum (Sultanate of Oman)
Opened in 2016, the National Museum (Sultanate of Oman) is one of the best places to visit in Muscat. This is a good place for history buffs to learn about the Oman’s history and culture. See precious objects belonging to genres such as Earth and Man, Maritime History, Coins, and the Majesty of Islam. Also, there’s a well-equipped lecture hall and education centre for those who might want to delve deeper into the country’s history.
Go shopping at the Mutrah Souq
Want to check out a typical middle-eastern market? Head to the Mutrah Souq, one of the oldest markets in the country presenting multi-coloured shops with traditional clothes, fabulous silverware, delicious Omani sweets and hot spices – this place spells chaos! As you navigate through the narrow alleys, take in the aromatic fragrance of incense and Arabian perfumes that might naturally draw you in to their shops! Travel Tip: Mutrah Souq turns significantly crowded during Eid, avoid exploring it in this period.
Treat your taste buds at Kargeen
Are you a foodie? Then, step into one of the most popular restaurants in Muscat, the Kargeen Caffe that specialises in Omani and Arabic food. Their dishes liberally use aromatic spices like cardamom and cumin. With ethnic interiors, illuminated trees and lovely fireplace, this charming eating venue is considered best for couples. The staff wear traditional clothes with Khanjar, a dagger carried by Omani men for ceremonials since centuries.
Relax in the sun-soaked Qurum Beach
Qurum Beach is well-known in Muscat for its clear waters, small waves, breath-taking views and seaside eateries. Water-based activities such as canoeing and para-sailing are conducted for fun-seekers. This easily-accessible beach is a great spot to fire up a barbecue. You can relax or simply enjoy reading a book in the sun-soaked beach.