Discover history, culture and cuisine in Muscat, the capital of Oman. Get lost in maze-like ancient markets, scramble up cliff-sides to 16th century forts or hang out on a choice of top beaches - there are plenty of things to do in Muscat. Here’s our comprehensive list of the top 10.
1) Bargain hunt at the Mutrah Suq
Wander round one of the oldest markets in the Arab world. Haggle for bargains, breathe in the exotic scents and uncover antique treasures in this unique marketplace. If all that has tired you out, relax and enjoy a traditional coffee in the Suq’s café.
2) Enjoy a performance at the Royal Opera House
Love classical music? Then why not get tickets for a show in one of the most modern operatic venues in the world? Some of the greats have performed here – including Yo Yo Ma and Andrea Bocelli. Built on the orders of the Sultan, it’s an ambitious cultural venue and a real Muscat highlight.
3) Take a walk on the wild side at the Mangrove Lagoon
Discover the salty mangrove swamps of Muscat’s coastline – a unique ecosystem and protected environment. Stroll through the canopy of lush mangroves and keep your eyes peeled for the stunning birdlife that resides here.
4) Hit Al Shatti beach
Hang out on the city’s best and busiest beach. Covered with golden sand and next to the refreshing waters of the Omani Sea – you can really cool off from the heat of the Arabian sun. You’ll also be close to the commercial district of Sultan Qaboos Street, where you can check out the mall.
5) Take the coast road to the Marina
Hop on the Big Bus tour to the Bandar al Rowdha Marina for some of the best views of the ocean in Muscat. Take a boat out onto the water and try and land the catch of the day – then rest your sea legs in the Blue Marlin restaurant overlooking the marina.
6) Sample Indian food in Ruwi
Feeling hungry? Then head to the bustling commercial district of Ruwi where you’ll find a thriving Indian gastronomic scene. Appetising aromas drift through the narrow streets, enticing you to try the sub-continental cuisine. After dark, the neighbourhood lights up with buzzing neon as it becomes the city’s busiest night-time hub.
7) Cool off at Qurum Beach
Escape the heat of the city at Qurum beach. Lie in the shade of a palm tree, take a dip in the water or hang out in a choice of cafes that line the waterfront. Feeling adventurous? Then hire a jet ski and explore the coastline.
8) Promenade along the Mutrah Corniche
Stretching for 1.8 miles (3 kilometres) along the seafront, the Mutrah Corniche is lined with restaurants and cafes where you can sit and drink in the views. The elegant promenade has a fruit market at one end and refreshing fountains along its course where you can relax and people watch. With a distinct fishing village charm, the port area is all overlooked by the historic Mutrah fort.
9) Experience history in the ancient Old Quarter
Overflowing with traditional Arabian charm, if you’re interested in the region’s past then this is the place to visit. Discover not one, but two, 16th century cliff top forts or stroll along the 500-year-old city walls that once protected the city from invaders.
10) Take in the best views from the Mutrah Fort
Rising out of the rock above the port, the 16th century Mutrah Fort was built by the Portuguese during their occupation and has stood guard over Muscat ever since. Climb the rugged steps that cling to the cliff-side and enjoy the majestic views from the top.
Check out any or all of the above on our Big Bus Tour and you won’t be short of what to do in Muscat during your stay.