Read about the Best things to do in Muscat city tour or best places to visit in Muscat, Oman.
Muscat is the largest and the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman and is blessed by a beautiful rugged brown mountainscape surrounding one side and the deep blue Gulf of Oman on the other side. This famous port city is associated with fascinating historical and cultural pasts.
List of Excellent Hotel stays in Muscat, Oman
- Chedi Muscat
- Ramada Qurum Beach Hotel
- Somerset Panorama
- Holiday INN Al Seeb
- Levatio Hotel and Fraser Suites
You will find 16th-century Portuguese hilltop forts, cliffs, fjords, and whitewashed houses clustered between the rugged mountains, arches, and deep blue sea as the prominent features of this city. These stunning sights form a beautiful skyline in Muscat. Experience Oman while reading about what to do in Muscat. In this post, I will list the best things to do on Muscat City Tour or read about the most important places to visit in Muscat.
Best Things To Do In Muscat City Tour | What to do in Muscat
SULTAN QABOOS GRAND MOSQUE
A modern Islamic-styled architecture, a marble-clad mosque with 50m domes is the most beautiful attraction of Muscat. The significant features of this mosque are stunning and rich interiors with a famous prayer carpet that used to be the largest single carpet but is now second in the world after the Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi. The beautiful chandelier in the central dome is also the world’s second-largest chandelier, and this mosque can hold 20,000 worshippers.
ROYAL OPERA HOUSE MUSCAT
Muscat’s elegant, stunning and premier venue for music, arts & culture. Built-in Omani-styled contemporary architecture, this Opera can hold approximately 1100 people. It is one of the best things to do in Muscat city tour.
Click here to book your favorite show at this beautiful building of Muscat.
AL ALAM PALACE
A ceremonial residential palace of the Sultan of Oman located in old Muscat has rich exteriors of golden and greenish-blue. With a rich history of 200 years, this palace is surrounded by two Portuguese forts from the 16th century. This palace is not open for visitors for an inside tour, but you can enjoy the exteriors, and palatial gardens from the outside.
AL JALALI FORT
A Portuguese fort in Old Muscat harbor was built in 1580 to protect Oman from Ottoman forces. During the 20th century, this fort was used as a prison but is now transformed into a private museum. This fort is located less than a kilometer from Al Alam Palace.
The views from the fort are stunning and hence very popular on the Muscat city tour.
It is the most historical part of this city, with an ancient commercial center running to date. One of the most important ports of Oman, where you find the houses, buildings, and shops of traders/merchants from the 19th century. Evenings at Mutrah corniche are lovely with the backdrop of mountains, an ancient style of Arabic buildings with special lighting, lanterns styled street lights all along the blue sea.
Mutrah Corniche walk is one of the best things to do in Muscat with family.
The local name of this souq is Al Dhalam(which means darkness in Arabic), and is one of the oldest souqs in the Middle East or the Persian Gulf. The strategic location of Oman port between India and China plays a vital role in developing trade in this region. From ancient times, mostly all trades were made here; therefore, this area is a merchant or trader area.
Narrow streets with colorful shops are spread like a maze. So get lost in this fascinating maze and shop for beautiful Arabic-style items like Arabic oil-based perfumes known at Attar, readymade embroidered garments, spices, Omani silver articles and jewelry, Omani dagger known as Khanjar, embroidered traditional caps, clay pots, paintings, small wooden arches/doors, at very affordable prices.
AL MIRANI FORT
Overlooking the Sea of Oman, this fort forms a beautiful skyline of Muscat city. Built-in the 16th century by the Portuguese is located on a rocky hilltop. This fort played an important role in ending the Portuguese empire from Muscat in the 17th century. Not open for visitors for internal tours but can be admired externally.
BAIT AL BARANDA
Baranda means Veranda(balcony) is located beside Mutrah Souq in an old city area. It was the house of a famous merchant from the 19th century but now transformed into a private museum which depicts the geological information to the present day with the display of tectonic plate movement past 750 million years ago. It also includes the history of the Sultanate of Oman where you can the glimpse of rich Omani heritage and cultural items.
ENTRANCE FEE – Adults 1 OMR
Children – 0.5 OMR
THE CITY GATES
From the 16th century till the 1970s the gates of the walled city of Muscat were locked after sunset. Now the doors/gates are removed and preserved in the National Museum of Muscat, but arches are still at the threshold of old Muscat city and new Muscat city. These gates stand at the border of the old and new city, and through these arches, you pass from old to new or new to old.
OLD MUSCAT CITY
Located at the eastern tip of Muscat, you can see white houses in clusters on rugged brown mountainscapes. This exciting area forms a distinct Old Quarter of Muscat. This old quarter is bubbling with Arabian charm, 500 years old city walls, arches, forts, a maze of colorful streets, Arabic-styled houses & shops. Old Muscat city is one of the best places to visit in Muscat Oman.
It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the Persian Gulf region. The Bhatia-Gujarati merchant community from Kutch settled in Oman many years back and built this temple. This temple was supposed to be made approximately 100 years ago with a well inside that never dries in the city.
AL QURUM BEACH
4 kilometers of the upscale beach in Oman is famous among water sports lovers. The tides are not very high, and the waves are small, so it is recommended to swim or bathe here. This white sandy beach with palm trees is one of the centers of attraction in modern Muscat. Here you will find many famous beach resorts and many international dine-in options.
AL QURUM NATIONAL PARK
The public garden and nature reserve of Muscat is liked by locals and tourists for picnicking.
There are also many exciting museums in Muscat – The National Museum, Bait Al Zubair Museum, Children’s Museum, National History Museum, Omani Museum, Sultan Armed Forced Museum, and many more.
As you may know, the OMAN is also called NORWAY OF GULF as there are many fjords in between the cliffs; there are many exciting day trips from Muscat which are recommended.
FIRST DAY TRIP FROM MUSCAT
Muscat – Nearby beaches – Fjords – Wadi (prominent in Oman) – Bimmah Sinkhole – Muscat. 4WD is preferred for this trip as there are many rough patches while going to Wadis(dry riverbed with an oasis of water). You can also book your full day coastal tour by 4 X 4 vehicle by clicking here.
Oman also has many sandstone castles, forts, and historical cities so go for the second-day trip to tour all these attractions.
SECOND DAY TRIP FROM MUSCAT
Muscat – Nizwa Fort with souq – Al Hoota Caves – Hajar mountains (Great Canyon of Oman) – Al Bahla Fort – Jibreen Castle – Muscat. You can drive on your own, and Google maps are always there to guide to reach these historic forts and castles. Or you can book full-day Nizwa tour with castles and forts by clicking here.
TIP – For these day trips, start early as they the roads are on mountainous slopes and for some attractions you have to go by rough patch so preferably go by 4 X 4 vehicle.
GENERAL INFORMATION – BEST THINGS TO DO IN MUSCAT CITY TOUR
- CURRENCY – Omani Rial (OMR)
- LANGUAGES – Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, and English (There is no language problem as English is widely accepted)
WHEN TO VISIT
OCTOBER TO APRIL
HOW TO TOUR IN MUSCAT CITY
Public Taxis, rent a car or Book your tours by clicking here for Full day Muscat Tour or Half Day Muscat tour by Big Bus.
HOW TO REACH
1.) Through International Airport at MUSCAT. Oman is very flexible for a Tourist Visa. Many nationalities get visas upon Arrival at International Airport, or you can get Omani Visa online by clicking this. OMAN AIR is the official air carrier of this region. Read my review of Oman Air Business Class Fly with Style.
2.) If you are self-driving from Dubai, then
- take UAE – HATTA border to reach Muscat. At the border, you will have to cross two checkpoints.
- First, you will exit the UAE checkpoint, and then after a few meters drive you will have to pass OMAN entry point.
- Here you have to get down from your vehicle and proceed to a small Immigration office where you get Omani Visa (for UAE Residents only). If you have already done with your online Omani visa, this process becomes simpler and a time saver.
- Keep your Car Insurance policy papers valid in Oman ready with you.
WHERE TO STAY – Best things to do in Muscat City tour
There are many luxury hotels or beach resorts where you can opt to stay. Also, far away from the city, there are many hilltop resorts too. This time I stayed in city center at Levatio Hotel and Fraser Suites.
There are more options like
Watch out 4 Day 3 Nights Oman road trip from Dubai
What to look out for special in this city – Watch the lantern-styled street lights of this city. The special lighting effect on mountains, forts, and street lights makes this city more beautiful. Also, arched passages or arches everywhere in the city makes it very unique.
General Guidelines –
- Do not offend the social customs of Oman and dress decently with not too much of skin showing.
- Protect flora and fauna. Don’t pollute the Falaj system, a major irrigation system of Oman.
- During monsoon, it can be misty, so carefully drive on sloppy hilly roads.
- Oman is very safe for solo travel and family travel. You can hire local guides, and tours, book taxis to tour around the Muscat.
Other places to visit in Oman is Weekend getaway to Khasab from Dubai.
I hope you loved reading about the best things to do in Muscat city tour, and now you all know some of the best places in Muscat, Oman.
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So, till then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………
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Hello Yukti 🙂 I’ve been to Oman several times, and its surprising to know that there’s still a lot to explore. Thank you for sharing your insights 🙂
This time Diorella, visit many more places
Hello Yukti 🙂 I’ve been to Oman several times, and its surprising to know that there’s still a lot to explore. Thank you for sharing your insights 🙂
I’ve never heard of Muscat before but it’s beautiful. I’d love to visit Shiva Temple and Al Qurum Beach. 4km long is amazing!
Yes 4km beach is amazing and most favorite among locals in Muscat
wow! Muscat is so intriguing and beautiful. I thought I was in love with Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the beauty of the ceilings and dome, but then you shared that gorgeous photo of the Opera House, which is spectacular. So much fascinating architecture, and everything is so clean and perfect.
Yes Muscat has many interesting architecture and also the city is very clean.
Those ceilings and chandeliers looks so grand! Glad you had an amazing time. Sign me up please!
Everything looks so clean and orderly in Muscat! I did not realize there is so much to do and see in the city, this would be a great side trip while visiting Dubai.
Yes Kelly from Dubai you can easily drive or take a bus to Oman.
Really nice photos Yukti. And super job providing valuable advice for visitors from visa, to driving, to customs. We just came back from a trip to Qatar and there I filmed a performance group from Oman in the Souq Waqif – marching, singing and playing traditional instruments. They were super and upon talking to one, he said “You must come to my country too, you will love it.” After that invite, and your post, Oman and Muscat are now firmly on the “to visit” list.
Thanks Michael as you would surely love Oman.
First of all, your pictures are absolutely gorgeous! I have never visited a mosque in my life and I had no idea that it can look so incredible inside. Waauw! The dome with that chandelier is amazing! Oman has such a rich culture and it shows. You included some very useful facts that makes planning a trip to Oman much easier. Muscat seems to have it all: stunning beach, forts, Palace, beautiful buildings, rugged nature…
Thanks Lola, Muscat is wonderful, and you must visit this place someday.
This is the first post I’ve ever read about Muscat. There is so much to see and do and all of your tips are very helpful. Will definitely remember to cover up when visiting religious institutes and renting a 4×4 for those rugged roads 🙂
Thanks Candy and you will surely enjoy Muscat.
Muscat is actually on my list for this year and this article comes at the right time. I found so many cool suggestions in this post! Thank you for sharing.
Thanks Daniel that this post is useful to you for planning your trip
It’s hard to believe there is a mosque that fits 20,000 people. That’s impressive. I have always wanted to visit a souq but I am in love with the name Al Dhalam. It sounds dark, mysterious and beautiful.
Thanks Jenn and yes some Islamic names are very beautiful
What an incredible city to visit. I just love the culture and the architecture there and it’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to visit. We’ve been to Dubai and it was fun of course but to be honesty we didn’t really like it as a place and the bits we did enjoy seem to be what Muscat is all about!
The details of the different structures are truly amazing! Picturesque sceneries are also abundant! What an amazing place to visit!
Didn’t realise there was so much to do and see in Muscat! Would definitely want to visit the Mosque, Islamic styled architecture is stunning. We have visited the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and were blown away. A day at the beach sounds great too!
Yes it is always great to see some Islamic styled architecture.
I have been eyeing up Muscat for sometime and after reading your advice and seeing the beautiful photos, a think a trip to the country and Muscat is a must. I love how pretty the Grand Mosque is, especailly from the outside.
Thanks Danik and yes Muscat is wonderful place with beautiful nature and lovely architecture.
I’ve never really fancied visiting Oman before now, but you are really inspired me to look into it in the future. Pictures are incredible, it really looks like a beautiful place to visit! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for reading through
Funny enough, I have a post of 201 places to visit and Muscat is one of them lol. I loved pics of the Coriche, fort and the souqs. Hope to visit one day.
To be honest, I had never even considered visiting Oman before reading this guide. It looks gorgeous and sounds like an interesting experience. Definitely on my list now!
I haven’t read many blog posts on Muscat.So, everything you have mentioned here is fascinating, since I am yet to visit the place. The old quarters is definitely on my list now as I am interested in architecture. The Shiva temple is again a pleasant surprise.Did not know about the settlement of the Gujjus there. Interesting how the well does not dry up! Nice post.
Thanks Meenakshi and even I was not knowing that Gujjus settled here many centuries ago before visiting this place.
I have never been to Muscat but I would love to visit Oman’s port capital surrounded by mountains and desert. I liked your recommendations and I think I would enjoy visiting the high-rises and upscale shopping malls with cliff top landmarks such as the 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, looming over Muscat Harbor.
Thanks Richa, Oman has a great combination of nature and history which makes it a worth visiting place.
Wow this mosque looks amazing! So clean and impressive! I would definitely love to take pictures of this place.
Oman’s architecture looks amazing.. Never really considered going but you have definitely changed my mind… The views from the Al Qurum Beach looks refreshing! Can you visit the Al Jalali Fort? Are tours inside allowed?
Thanks Marvi and we cannot we see from inside
Great post! I love the tips on what to wear, this is always something I am conscious of when I travel somewhere new. Thanks for the info!
I would love to visit Oman and its capital Muscat. Thanks for sharing these precious tips on how to plan a perfect vacation there.
Thanks Federica for reading through
I’d was not familar with Muscat before reading this post, but now I want to visit. It looks beautiful! Thank you for opening my eyes to a new place.
I will be ravelling to Muscat soon! A friend of mine who has recently been there said me a lot of things!
So if you are traveling Muscat soon then save this guide as this will help you a lot, hopefully!
I’ve never heard of Muscat before. But the city is delightful! Great architecture, fabulous mosaics, shining floors and this amazing landscape around. Muscat looks like a dream destination for me.
Thanks for sharing! I love the architecture and your pictures are gorgeous. Sounds like an interesting trip!
It looks like our family could spend an entire week just exploring the architecture! The architecture is absolutely stunning!
Great post. I love exploring the Middle East, yet never made it to Muscat. Now it’s on my bucket list!!
I always love to visit this region but haven’t have a chance. Must do it soon. Thank you for the post!
There is so much to Muscat that appeal to the senses. From nature to culture and heritage the experiences seem spellbinding. The Grand Mosque of course seems to be the jewel in the crown with its magnificence. I never knew that there is such an old temple in Muscat that dates back to more than a century ago.
Thanks Sandy and before visiting Muscat, even I was not knowing that there is a century old temple
wow this country seems truly beautiful. To be honest, I have heard so many good things about Muscat, so I am thinking about going there someday soon. I do really love your photos and this article, very well explained everything!!!! Very informative. Saving to the future.
This is the first time I read a posting about Muscat , Oman. I would love to pay a visit , the mosques look so grand and well worth a visit. The architectures remind me of the ones in southern spain – I’m going to have to read up on it to see if they were built around the same time. Great highlights in the interesting things to do here!
Thanks, yes Oman is great place and I can understand why it reminds of southern Spain, as there was Portuguese rule for smale period in 15th – 16th century
This is the first time I read a posting about Muscat , Oman. I would love to pay a visit , the mosques look so grand
I found this guide to do the best things in Muscat city very comprehensive. I haven’t been to any of the Middle East countries and would love to visit Muscat someday.
With the middle east fast developing into a tourism hub I am not surprised with the amount of things there s to see and do in Muscat . I had never thought of visiting this country from a tourism purpose but you post has made me rethink about it. There is so much on offer from the grand mosque which is certainly in line with the one in the Emirates to the opera house and the beaches. The architecture is beautiful and I must say that the food must be at par as well. The photos are just complimentive of the post so great work and keep sharing new places.
Thanks Amar and yes Oman has lots of Touristic potential
Wow! All the architecture in Muscat is so ornately beautiful! This city has never really been on my radar before but I would love to visit just for that alone.
Thanks Shane, not many people know about beauty of Muscat but it is really worth visiting
Muscat sure is a beautiful place to explore. I remember receiving perfumes as gifts from my relatives who stayed there. The Sultan Qaboos Mosque looks absolutely stunning. Loved the clear blue waters too.
Thanks Pooja and yes those authentic oil based perfumes are worth purchasing from old souks
I would love to see the Al Alam Palace in its pure beauty when it’s lit up at night. While I enjoy viewing buildings like the palace, Eric will be excited to venture outdoors. Even if he can’t go inside, he will still be excited to see the Al Mirani Fort’s exterior.
The Al Alam palace is so amazingly beautiful, wow! Thanks for the tips on visiting mosques in Oman too. I just went to my first mosque in Turkey recently, it was a wonderful experience. I’ve heard Oman is lovely – thanks for sharing all your guidance!
Thanks Eileen and yes Oman is wonderful
Oman looks so pretty. I always wanted to visit Muscat when I lived in Kuwait but never got a chance. After reading this post, that wanderlust has awakened again. Oman is so full of culture and history. I love all your pictures of the grand mosque – it looks so serene. I had no idea there was a Shiva temple too. I would not have expected it, so it is a pleasant surprise.
Thanks Soumya and yes Oman is really beautiful with ancient historical stuff and beauty of nature. There is not only one temple but two more in Muscat.
Yukti, I love the style of how you arrange all the information of a place in an orderly fashion like places to see, currency, language, when to visit, how to reach, where to stay, etc. Loved the magnificent design of the Grand Mosque and also the beautiful forts – how historical Muscat is! I would love to spend a week there.
Thanks Shreya and yes it would be great to spend a week here as there are lot many things to see nearby Muscat. I went there for 4 days and was in short of time.
Muscat is super high on my bucket list and I really can’t wait to visit Oman one day. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is stunning, especially the interior of the dome. Thanks for tip about when non-Muslims can visit and the appropriate dress. I would hate to be offensive! The palace is gorgeous and you’re right, the colours are stunning at night. The souks look so vibrant and happening. Did you buy something nice for yourself? And the water….how blue is it? Thanks for igniting my bucket list!
Thanks Amy for a lovely comment. I bought Omani cap for my son and some locally made perfumes. The water is very very blue and clear too.
There is so much to do and see in Muscat. It is high on our travel list – especially the Souks and the architecture in the Old Town. You have presented a great itinerary. Thanks.
Never knew that Muscat has such amazing things. Such beauty and so wide and open. But I am curious, how do they know hindi 😊
India and Oman used to do business since ancient ages and since then many Indians settled there, so knowing each other’s language is not a big deal. Trade also encourages cross-cultural exchange.
This is great 👍