Best Things To Do In Muscat City Tour

Muscat is the largest and the capital city of the Sultanate of Oman and is blessed by beautiful rugged brown mountain scape surrounds one side and deep blue Gulf of Oman on the other side.  This famous port city is associated with interesting historical and cultural past. You will find 16th-century Portuguese hilltop forts, cliffs, fjords, whitewashed houses clustered in between the rugged mountains, arches, deep blue sea, as the prominent features of this city. These stunning sights form a beautiful skyline of Muscat. Experience Oman while reading about what to do in Muscat.  In this post, I will list the best things to do in Muscat City Tour or read about the most important places to visit in Muscat.

Best Things to do in Muscat city tour

How I pack my stuff during traveling – Some Packing ideas – 

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 dome is the most beautiful attraction of Muscat.  The major features of this mosque are stunning and rich interiors with famous prayer carpet which is used to be the largest single carpet but 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 have a capacity to hold 20,000 worshippers.

Best Things To Do in Muscat City Tour

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hGaWXwYreM
Chandelier in Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
TIP – Non-Muslims can visit the mosque in mornings from 8 to 11 A.M. from Saturday to Thursday. Visitors must dress conservatively, and women require to cover the hair, neck, shoulders, and arms.
Things to do in Muscat City Tour
Garden area of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

ROYAL OPERA HOUSE MUSCAT – Muscat’s elegant, stunning and the premier venue for musical, arts & culture. Built-in Omani styled contemporary architecture this Opera can hold approximately 1100 people.  Click here to book your favorite show at this beautiful building of Muscat.

Best Things To Do in Muscat City Tour

TIP – Strict formal style of Dress code when you are watching the show. Late entries are not allowed after the start of the show.

AL ALAM PALACE – A ceremonial residential palace of Sultan of Oman which is 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, palatial gardens from outside.

Best Things To Do in Muscat City Tour
Evening at Al Alam Palace
TIP – Visit this palace in the evening as special lighting effects on the external facades of the palace make it more stunning.

AL JALALI FORT – A Portuguese fort located in the harbor of Old Muscat was built in 1580 to protect Oman from Ottoman forces. During the 20th century, this fort was used as a prison but now transformed into a private museum. This fort is located less than a kilometer from Al Alam Palace.

Best Things To Do In Muscat City Tour

MUTRAH CORNICHE – It is the most historic 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 very beautiful with the backdrop of mountains, an ancient style of Arabic buildings with special lightings, lanterns styled street lights all along the blue sea.

Best Things to do in Muscat city tour

MUTRAH SOUQ/SOUK – The local name of this souq is Al Dhalam(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 an important role in developing trade in this region. From ancient times, mostly all trades were done through here and therefore this area is merchant or traders area. Narrow streets with colorful shops are spread like a maze. So get lost into this interesting 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, miniature wooden arches/doors, at very affordable prices.

TIP – Here slight bargaining can be done, so try your bargain skills and purchase some authentic handicrafts of Oman.

AL MIRANI FORT – Overlooking Sea of Oman, this fort forms a beautiful skyline of Muscat city. Built in the 16th century by Portuguese is located on the 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.

Best Things to do in Muscat city tour

ENTRANCE FEE – Adults 1 OMR

                                Children – 0.5 OMR

THE CITY GATES – From 16th century till 1970’s 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 there which are 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. 

Best Things To Do In Muscat City Tour

OLD MUSCAT CITY – Located at the eastern tip of Muscat, where you get the view of white houses in clusters on rugged brown mountainscapes. This interesting 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.

Things to do in Muscat city Tour
Old style houses in the Old Quarter of Muscat city

SHIVA TEMPLE – It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in the Persian Gulf region. The Bhatia-Gujarati merchant community from Kutch settled in Oman about many years back built this temple. This temple was supposed to be built approximately 100 years ago with a well inside which never dries in the whole of the city.

Best Things To Do In Muscat City Tour

AL QURUM BEACH – 4 kilometers stretch of upscale beach of Oman is famous among water sports lovers. The tides are not very high and the waves are small, so it recommended to swim or bathe here.  This white sandy beach with palm trees is one of the centers of attraction of modern Muscat. Here you will find many famous beach resorts and many international dine-in options.

Best Things to do in Muscat City Tour

AL QURUM NATIONAL PARK – The public garden and nature reserve of Muscat which is liked by locals and tourists for picnicking. 

There are also many interesting 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 be knowing the OMAN is also called NORWAY OF GULF as there are many fjords in between the cliffs, there are many interesting day trips from Muscat which is recommended.

FIRST DAY TRIP – 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. 

Places to visit in Muscat Oman
Nature tour around Muscat – 1st Day Trip to Natural attractions of Oman

Oman also has many sandstone castles,  forts, and many historical cities so go for the second-day trip to tour all these attractions.

SECOND DAY TRIP – 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. 

Places to visit in Muscat Oman
2nd Day trip to Famous Forts and Castles of Oman

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 Visa on 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.) And if you are self-driving from Dubai then

            • take UAE – HATTA border to reach Muscat. At border, you will have to cross two check-points.
            • First, you will exit 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, then this process becomes simpler and time saver.
            • Keep your Car Insurance policy papers valid in Oman ready with you.  

WHERE TO STAY – 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.

Places to visit in Muscat Oman

There are more options like

Chedi Muscat

Ramada Qurum Beach Hotel

Somerset Panorama

Holiday INN Al Seeb

Watch out my 4 Day 3 Nights Oman road trip from Dubai by 4 X 4

What to look out 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 the flora and fauna. Don’t pollute the Falaj system which is a major irrigation system of Oman.
            • During monsoon, it can be misty, so carefully drive on sloppy hilly roads.
            • Oman is very safe and cost-friendly country. You can hire local guides, tours, book taxis to tour around the Muscat.

Other places to visit in Oman is Weekend getaway to Khasab from Dubai.

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Best Things to do in Muscat City Tour

So, till then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………

All photos are taken by me and use of photos without permission would result in legal action.

DISCLAIMER – The content of the blog is solely my views of a place or a thing. This is not to offend any class, religion, ethnicity or nation. My views can change from time to time. This blog may contain some advertisements or links to commercial products and for that, this site is not responsible after you click those advertisements.  We are the independent owner of this site and views expressed in this are our own. All photographs are owned by me.  There can be slight differences in distances, locations or some details for which I (owner) am not responsible.  This post may contain some affiliate links, means at no additional cost to you.  I will earn if you will click through affiliates and make a purchase

 

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93 Comments

    1. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

    1. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. I will be ravelling to Muscat soon! A friend of mine who has recently been there said me a lot of things!

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. Wow this mosque looks amazing! So clean and impressive! I would definitely love to take pictures of this place.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

    1. Thanks Meenakshi and even I was not knowing that Gujjus settled here many centuries ago before visiting this place.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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 🙂

  29. 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…

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

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