Perched on the Gulf of Oman, Muscat is a hugely important Arabic city that’s quickly becoming one of the region’s hot spots to visit. Not only that, but there’s also a heap of the best things to do in Muscat that are dotted around the city and its surroundings.
Overlooked by the domineering Al Hajar Mountains, Muscat is a hive of contemporary and traditional culture and design that make for some amazing places to experience.
Whether it’s your first time visiting Oman, or your first visit to the Middle East, Muscat has some incredible sites you should definitely consider seeing.
This is especially true as it doesn’t feel as glossy as other Middle Eastern cities like Dubai and has a long history that you can explore.
With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best things to do in Muscat on your next trip. Have the best time.
1.) See the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
As the sun sets; the immense golden dome of the Grand Mosque is lit up and creates an ethereal glow that you can’t miss.
As an important mosque in Muscat (and Oman, obviously), this beautiful building is impeccably designed and stands proudly iconic overlooking the city.
Inside the mosque, the incredible level of details is quickly evident – the central dome has a fantastic blue patterned design that is just gorgeous.
It’s easily one of the most beautiful buildings here and one of the best things to do in Muscat.
2.) Watch a show at the Royal Opera House
Complete in 2011, this grand structure is arguably thought of as the most beautiful in Muscat (next to the Sultan Grand Mosque).
This gorgeous opera house is made from white marble and stone and its front façade has a myriad of pointed arches and symmetrical towers that are stunning to see. If you have some evenings free, make sure to book for a performance that is truly amazing!
Alternatively, if opera isn’t your thing, head out into the Al Hajar Mountains on an organised tour of the region. It’s one of the best things to do in Muscat.
3.) Explore Bait Al Zubair
After visiting the Grand Mosque (above) in the morning, take the afternoon to stroll around Bait Al Zubair.
Located in Muttrah, the Bait Al Zubair Museum has an extensive collection of ancient artefacts, from around the region. Notable items include the fine display of traditional Khanjar ceremonial daggers gilded with gold, and a full-scale reconstructed Omani Village and Souq.
Honestly, though, if museums don’t get you excited, you might want to give this one a miss! You’ll find a heap of other best things to do in Muscat that won’t bore you!
4.) See the Old Fort and Swim at Qurum Beach
Due to the scorching hot weather that Muscat regularly experiences, a little time on the beach isn’t a choice, it’s almost essential (well, that’s my excuse, anyway).
Shatti Al Qurum Beach is one of the prime stretches in Muscat and has miles of golden sands lined with quality restaurants and cafes to explore. If you’re wanting to make the most of the sunshine and sea in Muscat, here’s the place to go.
Alternatively, if you still want to head to the shoreline and not jump into the ocean, take a visit to the Old Fort that clings onto the edge of the shoreline.
5.) Take a day trip to Nizwa
A few hours inland from Muscat is the historic town of Nizwa.
This ancient city was once a key trade route across the region with the 17th Century tower still guarding the city itself. I know it’s not technically Muscat but you shouldn’t miss it when visiting the region.
Head across on a day tour by car or with a guide and explore the souk that makes some of the best silver jewellery in the country.
6.) Indulge in some retail therapy?
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of shopping when on holidays, but if you fancy a break from the glaringly hot sunshine and fancy a little retail therapy, head over to the Oman Avenues Mall.
The mall itself offers many of the same brands you’ll find in London and New York all within some icy cold air conditioning! Ha!
If ll the shopping has worked up an appetite, head over to Ubhar Bistro that creates the most delicious Harissa and Showa.
7.) Explore Mutrah Corniche
Mutrah is a commune of Muscat and can be found approximately 15 minutes to the east of the city. This charming coastal town has a well-developed seafront and promenade known as Muttrah Corniche.
Walk by the water and admire the expanse of the Gulf of Oman, or enjoy a fine meal and drink at one of the many quality restaurants and bars lining the seafront.
This part of Muscat has a laid back atmosphere and is a great place to visit for an evening out. It really is one of the best things to do in Muscat.
8.) See the sperm whale at Muscat Natural History Museum
Whilst many of the museums in Oman centre on the country’s history and people, this Natural History Museum centres on the geology, wildlife, and landscape of this stunning area.
Aside from the immense collection of fossils and taxidermy, there is also a magnificent Whale exhibit that houses a colossal skeleton of a sperm whale that was washed up on the coastline during the 1980s.
If museums aren’t your thing, head out to the streets where you’ll find lots of small stalls to peruse.
9.) See the Muscat Gate
Located within the actual monumental city gate outside Muscat, this museum offers a combination of stunning architecture and informative exhibitions.
The structure itself spans the quad carriageway that heads into Muscat and features immense stone archways.
Inside the museum, you can find an interesting selection of displays regaling the history of the development of Muscat.
10.) Explore the Mutrah Souq
For an authentic shopping experience, head over to the commune of Mutrah and its Souq. Located just behind the Corniche, this bustling marketplace is bursting with a myriad of colourful stalls selling items of clothing, fresh fruit, pottery and other wares.
The smell of incense will invade your nostrils and you will be amazed at the sheer amount of trinkets to buy is amazing. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Muscat if you want to buy an authentic souvenir to take home.
The amazing smells of incense will actually invade your nose. Just make sure to take an extra bag with you, I guarantee you’ll buy lots whilst you’re here.