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Best Things To Do In Muscat: 9 Must-sees


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Ulrikaumeko Marriott


Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque is one of the most iconic landmarks in Muscat, Oman. Officially known as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, it is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture. The mosque was built in 2001 and can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers at a time. It is considered one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the world.


As you step inside the Grand Mosque, you’ll be mesmerized by its grandeur and beauty. The main prayer hall is adorned with intricate carvings, stunning chandeliers, and a handwoven Persian carpet that covers the entire floor. The carpet alone took four years to complete and is one of the largest single-piece carpets in the world.


One of the most impressive features of the Grand Mosque is its massive dome, which stands at a height of 50 meters and is adorned with delicate tile work. The dome, along with the minarets, beautifully reflects the Arabian architectural style.


Visitors to the Grand Mosque are required to dress modestly, with women covering their shoulders and knees, and men wearing long trousers. Women are also required to cover their hair with a headscarf. If you don’t have appropriate attire, the mosque provides abayas and scarves for visitors to borrow.


In addition to the main prayer hall, the Grand Mosque also houses a library, classrooms, and a lecture hall. Guided tours are available, providing visitors with interesting insights into Islamic culture and architecture. Remember to check the visiting hours before you go, as the mosque is closed to non-worshippers during prayer times.


Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the stunning Grand Mosque when you’re in Muscat. It offers a serene and awe-inspiring experience, with its architectural marvels and the spiritual ambience that fills the air. Whether you’re a devout Muslim or simply appreciate fine craftsmanship, the Grand Mosque is a must-visit attraction in Muscat.


Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House in Muscat is a cultural gem and a testament to Oman’s commitment to the arts. This magnificent architectural masterpiece is not only a world-class opera house but also a center for showcasing various performing arts, including music, dance, and theater.


Opened in 2011, the Royal Opera House is the first opera house in the Arabian Peninsula. Its design showcases a blend of Omani and Islamic architecture, with a contemporary twist. The exterior is adorned with intricate geometric patterns, while the interior is lavishly decorated with ornate chandeliers, plush seating, and beautiful artwork.


One of the highlights of visiting the Royal Opera House is the chance to enjoy outstanding performances by international artists as well as local talents. The opera house hosts a diverse range of shows, including opera, ballet, orchestral concerts, and traditional Omani performances. The acoustics of the auditorium are impeccable, providing an immersive and unforgettable experience for the audience.


Even if you’re not attending a performance, a visit to the Royal Opera House is still worthwhile. The beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the opera house provide a peaceful retreat, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. The opera house also houses a music library, art gallery, and a variety of restaurants and cafes, offering a complete cultural experience.


Guided tours of the Royal Opera House are available, allowing visitors to explore the various performance spaces, backstage areas, and learn about the history and significance of this grand establishment. The tour provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of opera and the behind-the-scenes workings of a world-class performing arts venue.


The Royal Opera House is a must-visit attraction for both culture enthusiasts and architecture aficionados. Whether you’re attending a performance or simply exploring the stunning premises, you’ll be captivated by the beauty and grandeur of this cultural hub. Immerse yourself in the world of arts and music by experiencing the Royal Opera House during your visit to Muscat.


Mutrah Souq

One of the must-visit attractions in Muscat is the Mutrah Souq. This vibrant and bustling traditional marketplace offers a glimpse into the rich heritage and vibrant culture of Oman.


Located in the heart of the Mutrah district, the souq is a maze of narrow alleyways filled with shops selling a wide array of goods. As you wander through the colorful lanes, you’ll find a myriad of items such as traditional Omani clothing, beautiful jewelry, intricately designed handicrafts, aromatic spices, and stunning textiles.


The Mutrah Souq is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, making it a haven for locals and tourists alike. The shopkeepers are always ready to engage in friendly banter and showcase their products with pride. Bargaining is a common practice here, so don’t be afraid to negotiate for the best prices.


One of the highlights of the souq is the fish market, where you can witness the locals haggling and selecting fresh catches of the day. The vibrant colors and the lively ambiance of the market create a truly sensory experience.


After exploring the shops, take a leisurely stroll along the Corniche, a beautiful waterfront promenade that offers stunning views of the Arabian Sea. The Corniche is lined with cafes and restaurants, providing the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a cup of traditional Omani coffee or indulge in some delicious local cuisine.


The Mutrah Souq is an excellent place to immerse yourself in Omani culture and find unique souvenirs to take back home. The vibrant atmosphere, colorful stalls, and friendly locals make it an unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the kaleidoscope of colors and lively scenes that define this vibrant marketplace.


Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, located in Muscat, is a testament to Oman’s rich Islamic heritage. Named after Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the mosque is a stunning architectural masterpiece and one of the most significant religious sites in the country.


The grandeur of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is unmatched. The main prayer hall covers an area of over 4,000 square meters and can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers. Its stunning chandelier, crafted with Swarovski crystals, is one of the largest in the world. The mosque’s interior is adorned with intricate designs, stunning mosaics, and handmade carpets that add to its visual splendor.


One of the most remarkable features of the mosque is the main prayer carpet. Woven by skilled craftsmen, it spreads across the prayer hall, covering an astonishing area of 4,343 square meters. The carpet holds the Guinness World Record for being the second-largest hand-woven carpet in the world.


Visitors to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque are welcomed with open arms. The mosque’s beautiful gardens, pristine courtyards, and serene atmosphere beckon locals and tourists alike to explore its sacred grounds. It is advised to dress modestly when visiting the mosque, with women covering their heads with a scarf and both men and women wearing full-length clothing. Abayas and scarves are available for visitors who do not have the required attire.


Guided tours are also available, providing visitors with a deeper understanding of Islamic traditions and Oman’s cultural heritage. Knowledgeable guides will take you through the various sections of the mosque, explaining its unique architectural features and sharing interesting facts along the way.


Whether you are a religious pilgrim or simply appreciate extraordinary architectural landmarks, a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a must. It offers a glimpse into Oman’s religious and cultural heritage and provides an opportunity for peaceful contemplation in a truly spectacular setting.


Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts

Perched atop the rugged cliffs of Muscat’s coastline, the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts stand as a testament to Oman’s rich history and strategic significance. These majestic forts, built during the Portuguese occupation in the 16th century, offer a fascinating insight into the city’s maritime past.


The Al Jalali Fort, located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Arabian Sea, is an imposing structure that once served as a fortress and a prison. Its strategic positioning provided a vantage point to monitor the activities of the harbor and protect the city from potential invaders. Today, the fort is not open to the public but stands as a symbol of Oman’s resilience and strength.


The Al Mirani Fort, situated opposite the Al Jalali Fort, is equally impressive. Its commanding position on the cliff offers breathtaking views of Muscat’s picturesque coastline. Unlike its counterpart, the Al Mirani Fort is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its historic ramparts, climb its heights, and soak in the panoramic vistas.


Both forts have witnessed significant historical events, including sieges and battles. The Al Jalali Fort, in particular, has an intriguing past, having served as a prison for political prisoners during different periods. Its walls hold stories of intrigue, resilience, and triumph over adversity.


A visit to the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts offers an opportunity to delve into Oman’s rich maritime history and the legacy of its past rulers. The forts’ picturesque settings and historical importance make them a popular attraction for both history aficionados and photography enthusiasts.


While exploring the forts, take a moment to admire the intricate architectural details, including the decorative motifs and Arabic inscriptions carved into the stones. The forts offer a glimpse into the architectural influences of different eras and the resilience of the Omani people.


From the top of the forts, you can enjoy panoramic views of Muscat’s coastline, the bustling harbor, and the azure waters of the Arabian Sea. Capture the beauty of the city as the forts stand as silent guardians, keeping watch over Muscat’s rich history and vibrant present.


A visit to the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts is not only a journey into the past but also an opportunity to appreciate the strategic importance and architectural splendor of these remarkable structures. Immerse yourself in Oman’s history and experience the awe-inspiring presence of these forts in Muscat’s stunning skyline.


Bait Al Zubair Museum

If you’re interested in delving into Omani culture and history, a visit to the Bait Al Zubair Museum in Muscat should be on your itinerary. Located in the heart of Old Muscat, this private family-owned museum is a treasure trove of artifacts, showcasing the rich heritage of Oman.


The Bait Al Zubair Museum offers a comprehensive collection of exhibits that span various aspects of Omani life, including traditional dress, weaponry, jewelry, and household items. As you explore the museum, you’ll gain insights into the country’s customs, traditions, and historical events.


One of the highlights of the museum is its distinctive architecture. The building itself is a traditional Omani house, known as a “bayt al-zubair,” which has been meticulously restored to preserve its original charm and character. The combination of the architectural beauty and the captivating exhibits creates a unique and immersive experience.


Among the exhibits, you’ll find displays of traditional Omani costumes, showcasing the intricate designs and vibrant colors that reflect the country’s diverse cultural mix. There are also exhibits dedicated to Omani jewelry, presenting delicate silver and gold pieces adorned with gemstones and intricate filigree work.


The museum also provides a glimpse into Omani daily life, with exhibits that showcase traditional household items and crafts. From pottery and woodwork to textiles and basketry, you’ll witness the skills and craftsmanship that have been passed down through generations.


In addition to the permanent collection, the Bait Al Zubair Museum frequently hosts temporary exhibitions, providing a dynamic and ever-changing experience for visitors. These exhibitions often explore specific themes related to Omani culture, art, or history, offering a deeper understanding of the country’s heritage.


Guided tours are available at the museum, offering informative commentary and personal anecdotes that bring the exhibits to life. The knowledgeable staff members are passionate about sharing their insights and answering any questions you may have.


A visit to the Bait Al Zubair Museum is a journey through the cultural tapestry of Oman. It allows you to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the country and gain a deeper appreciation for its traditions and customs. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Omani culture, this museum is a must-visit in Muscat.


Qurum Beach

For those seeking a relaxing escape by the sea, Qurum Beach in Muscat is the perfect destination. Located in the upscale Qurum neighborhood, this beautiful stretch of coastline offers pristine sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, and stunning views of the Arabian Sea.


Qurum Beach is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. Its tranquil and inviting atmosphere makes it an ideal place for families, couples, and solo travelers to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of Muscat’s coastline.


With its soft golden sands and gently lapping waves, Qurum Beach is a haven for sunbathing and picnicking. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, read a book, or simply relax under the shade of a palm tree, there are plenty of spots along the beach for you to find tranquility.


If you’re feeling more adventurous, Qurum Beach also offers opportunities for water sports and activities. You can rent paddleboards, kayaks, or jet skis to explore the sparkling waters, or join a boat tour to catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming in the sea.


One of the highlights of Qurum Beach is its picturesque promenade, which stretches along the waterfront. Take a leisurely stroll, jog, or bike ride along the promenade and enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and stunning views. The well-maintained pathways are lined with lush greenery, making it a peaceful and scenic route.


As the evening sets in, Qurum Beach comes alive with a lively atmosphere. Families gather for sunset picnics, friends enjoy barbecues on the beach, and couples stroll hand in hand, taking in the romantic ambiance.


There are also plenty of dining options near Qurum Beach, ranging from local seafood restaurants serving traditional Omani dishes to international eateries offering a variety of cuisines. Savor the flavors of Oman and indulge in a delicious meal while overlooking the stunning ocean views.


Qurum Beach is easily accessible and offers amenities such as restrooms, showers, and designated picnic areas. It’s a peaceful retreat away from the city’s hustle and bustle, where you can unwind and rejuvenate surrounded by nature’s beauty.


For a memorable beach experience in Muscat, make sure to include Qurum Beach on your itinerary. Relax, unwind, and create unforgettable memories along the shores of this captivating destination.


Wahiba Sands

Located in the heart of Oman, Wahiba Sands is a vast desert that stretches for hundreds of kilometers, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure and the beauty of untouched landscapes.


The golden dunes of Wahiba Sands are a true natural wonder, with their undulating patterns and shifting sands. As you venture into the desert, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking vistas and the sense of solitude that surrounds you.


Exploring Wahiba Sands is a thrilling experience, and there are various ways to do so. You can opt for a guided tour, where experienced drivers will take you on an exhilarating dune-bashing adventure in 4×4 vehicles. Feel the adrenaline rush as you traverse the steep sand dunes, creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Another popular activity in Wahiba Sands is camel trekking. Embark on a journey through the desert on the back of a camel, immersing yourself in the slower pace of life and enjoying the serenity of the vast expanse around you. Watch the sunset over the dunes, casting a warm glow across the landscape, and marvel at the star-filled skies that illuminate the night.


For those looking for a more immersive experience, spending a night in a traditional Bedouin camp is a must. These camps provide a glimpse into the Bedouin way of life, offering comfortable accommodations and cultural experiences such as traditional music, dance performances, and delicious Omani cuisine cooked over an open fire. Fall asleep under a blanket of stars, serenaded by the silence of the desert.


Wahiba Sands is also home to a diverse ecosystem, with various plant and animal species adapted to survive in this harsh environment. If you’re lucky, you may spot desert wildlife such as Arabian oryx, gazelles, and desert foxes as you explore the dunes.


Visiting Wahiba Sands is a chance to disconnect from the outside world and connect with nature in its purest form. The stillness, the vastness, and the raw beauty of the desert will leave you in awe and provide a newfound appreciation for the resilience of life.


Remember to come prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing for protection against the desert heat. Respect the fragile ecosystem and leave no trace of your visit, ensuring that this incredible natural wonder remains untouched for generations to come.


Embark on an unforgettable journey into the soul of Oman by exploring Wahiba Sands. Lose yourself in the vastness of the desert and discover a world of adventure and tranquility that will leave an indelible mark on your heart.


Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts

Perched majestically on the hills overlooking Muscat’s vibrant harbor, the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts are iconic landmarks that showcase Oman’s rich history and strategic importance. These imposing structures have stood as guardians of the city for centuries, testaments to the resilience and military prowess of Oman’s rulers.


The forts were built during the Portuguese occupation in the 16th century and played a crucial role in defending Muscat against maritime invasions. The Al Jalali Fort, situated on a rocky outcrop, served as a fortress and later as a prison. The Al Mirani Fort, located opposite, acted as a lookout post, providing a strategic vantage point to monitor the activities of the harbor.


Visiting the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts offers a glimpse into Oman’s historical past and the turbulent events that shaped its present. As you ascend the steps and pass through the well-preserved gateways, you can sense the echoes of the past and imagine the battles fought and victories won within these ancient walls.


Although the Al Jalali Fort is not accessible to the public, its mere presence is awe-inspiring. Its towering walls and commanding position evoke a sense of strength and fortitude. The fort has a fascinating past as a political prison, where prisoners of importance were held captive and plots were unraveled.


On the other hand, the Al Mirani Fort offers a more interactive experience. Visitors can explore its rugged ramparts and climb to the top, where panoramic views of the city, the harbor, and the sparkling turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea unfold. It’s a perfect spot to capture breathtaking photos and soak in the beauty of Muscat’s coastline.


Both forts stand as silent witnesses to Oman’s rich maritime history. Their magnificent architecture showcases a blend of Omani and Portuguese influences. Intricate carvings, defensive battlements, and watchtowers are a testament to the craftsmen who built them and the leaders who strategically positioned them along the coastline.


As you wander the forts’ halls and admire their architectural features, take a moment to imagine the lives of soldiers and inhabitants who once called these forts home. Explore the strategic tunnels and hidden chambers, and envision the stories of battles fought and legends forged within these historic walls.


Visiting the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts is not just about exploring historical landmarks; it’s about connecting with Oman’s rich heritage and understanding the integral role forts played in the country’s defense and cultural identity. These majestic fortresses present an opportunity to step back in time and appreciate the resilience of Oman’s past rulers.


Remember to respect the forts and the historical significance they hold. Be mindful of the signs and guidelines provided by the authorities when visiting, as they help preserve these architectural wonders for future generations to admire and appreciate.


Make sure to include a visit to the Al Jalali and Al Mirani Forts on your Muscat itinerary for an enriching and awe-inspiring experience that brings Oman’s history to life.