There is much to see in Muscat, the capital of Oman is one of the biggest attractions in the country. Not only do hundreds of tourists arrive day by day on cruises that travel through the Arabian Sea, but also many others come directly to explore this country that until very a few years ago was completely closed to foreigners and curious. Today there is much to see in Muscat and in the country, being easy and safe to visit.
A revolution in the political power of the country and the overthrow of the former Sultan by his own son led Oman to begin advancing in leaps and bounds, being today one of the most tourist-like places in the area. Their traditions are deeply rooted and present, but they know how to mix them perfectly with the arrival of modernity and the connection they can now have with the outside world. Omanis are kind and you can tell their desire to show you their country, so it’s hard that you feel uncomfortable in any way. If you want to know more about Oman go to this link.
If you are going to travel to Oman and want to know what things not to miss in Muscat, the capital, here we leave you a list of the top 10 places to visit in Muscat.
- 1 Tour the Sultan Qabook Grand Mosque
- 2 Go see the Royal Opera House of Muscat
- 3 The beach, a lay stop in Muscat.
- 4 Walking and shopping at the Muscat New Market: A must-see in Muscat
- 5 Visit the Muttrah Gold Market
- 6 Walk along the Corniche and go to the top of Mutrah Fort
- 7 Visit Riyam Park and view the Riyam Incense Burner monument.
- 8 Enter the Muscat Gate Museum: Something to see in Muscat if you like museums
- 9 Marvel at the “Al Alam Palace”
- 10 Walking around the palace: Muscat National Museum and view from Fort Al-Mirani
Tour the Sultan Qabook Grand Mosque
This mosque is a real wonder. Unlike others that have hundreds of years of history, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque was inaugurated in 2001 after the Sultan (Qaboos, who is currently in power) decided that the country needed a large and majestic mosque. The architecture is simply stunning, all made of completely white Indian sandstone. The interiors of the prayer rooms and other spaces of the mosque are also impressive, with huge hanging chandeliers (the plant measures 14 meters high) and, in the main prayer room, you can find a carpet that weighs 21 tons and took 4 years in Make. Without a doubt, this is a must-see in Muscat during your trip to the capital of Oman.
Admission is free, and to enter the use of a burka completely covered is mandatory for women (including covering their hair). Men are not saved in the dress code neither, they must also enter covering completely their arms and legs. Most tours lend you the traditional dress (white coat for men and burka for women), but you can also make sure you don’t have a problem there and wear something yourself to cover.
To enter to the prayer rooms you must remove your shoes and try to keep as quiet as possible in a sign of respect for anyone that may be practicing the religion and not snooping around like you.
Go see the Royal Opera House of Muscat
The Royal Opera House of Muscat is another must-see in Oman. This complex is built in modern Omani architecture, which maintains some influences of the past such as the colors and large pillars. Once you enter you will be impressed with the architecture and elegance of the place. Opened in 2011, it is the most important music and art center in Oman.
The entrance to the building is 8 dollars (OMR 3) for adults and for children 2.6 dollars (OMR 1). The place opens between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Also, Ii you want to go to see a real opera (like the complete show) prices start at OMR 250 (about 650 U.S. dollars) and may cost more than $2,500 dollars in the best locations.
The beach, a lay stop in Muscat.
If you want a beach day under an umbrella then this is not your ideal destination because on the public beaches you won’t find people bathing or sunbathing in swimsuits; is not part of the culture of Oman. But it is advisable to approach one of the beaches especially because of the panoramic view you can have of the coast and to walk for a while on the sand, enjoying the sea breeze on hot days.
If you want to actually bath in a Muscat beach , there are hotels that have private beaches where you can bathe without any snooping eyes of the locals and enjoy quietly of your sea day.
Walking and shopping at the Muscat New Market: A must-see in Muscat
This market is really huge and one of the best places to see in Muscat where you can find all kinds of products and memories to take home. It’s miles and miles (literally) of labyrinths with shops on both sides selling everything from typical sweets to furniture and crafts. Impossible to see the whole place, but it’s not necessary because after a couple of kilometers the shops and products tend to repeat themselves.
Bargain is 100% necessary here, you will always be able to buy for at least a 60% of the upfront price, but remember never to abuse and always pay a price that you think is fair to support Oman’s economy and be a responsible traveler.
Just the experience of going for a walk in the market is a unmissable in Muscat, even if you don’t feel like buying anything you can not stop visit the Muscat New Market when traveling to Oman.
Visit the Muttrah Gold Market
If you like jewels, then you can’t leave the city without visiting Muscat Gold Market (or Muttrah Gold Market as it is known by the locals in the city). Here you can find very good prices on jewelry and precious stones. It is advisable to have some kind of experience buying this type of luxury goods, because as everywhere you may end up paying more than you should or it may happen that the sellers don’t give you the product of the promised quality, and change it for another of a lower one or just cheat on you. Look only for businesses that have some kind of certification and find out on the internet before you actually get to Oman which is the best and most recommended.
Walk along the Corniche and go to the top of Mutrah Fort
“Corniche” is the name given to the coastal walks, and walking along the coast of central Muscat is a must-do when traveling to Oman. From here you can have great views of the Arabian Sea and also some areas of the city. It is best to walk east in direction to the Mutrah Fort. Entering on going up to the top of the fort is free, but keep in mind that there are several stairs. It is worth completely the effort, the views from a high altitude of this area of Muscat are just wonderful, with their white buildings bathed by the sea. In the fort you can also find ancient canyons and several viewpoints; it was formerly used as a surveillance point to protect the territory from invaders during the Portuguese invasion on the 16th century.
Visit Riyam Park and view the Riyam Incense Burner monument.
If you are looking for green areas then you can visit the Riyam Park. Here you can see more closely Omanis family and their culture. Many locals come to enjoy especially on weekends. The most striking thing about this place is a huge sculpture that seems to have some religious connotation, but actually, don’t. It is known as the “Riyam Incense Burner” and looks like a huge chalice. If you like photography then you just can’t miss this place , it’s quite photogenic!
In the park, there is an “amusement park” with games such as a carousel, small roller coasters and others like that. Truth being told is not a unmissable to see in Muscat, but if a good place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and the crowds because tourists often omit it.
Enter the Muscat Gate Museum: Something to see in Muscat if you like museums
If you like to know the history of the places you visit, then the Muscat Gate Museum will delight you. It is a fairly simple museum located on one of the main roads of the city, just inside the Muscat New Gate. In it you can find exhibits of the history of Oman (but mainly of the capital of the country) from the Paleolithic era to the present. From its culture to its geography and architecture, a brushstroke that will leave you satisfied and make you understand better the country.
It’s open Sunday through Thursday. Admission for children and adults it’s free, which makes it very eye-catching for tourists who don’t want to spend too much time it but do want to know it.
Marvel at the “Al Alam Palace”
A facade decorated in gold and blue tones gives this beautiful palace a sensation that it was taken from Disney’s movie Aladdin. It’s construction is quite recent (the mid-1970s) and is the official residence of the Sultan of Oman, though he rarely stays here. You can imagine that , since here lives the sultan you can only see the place from the outside and walk through the gardens and outdoor spaces. However, just see it from the outside is a must-see thing to do in Muscat when you travel to Oman, your visit to the city will not be complete if you do not go to this place.
Walking around the palace: Muscat National Museum and view from Fort Al-Mirani
Al Alam Palace is guarded by two forts, the Al Jalali Fort and Al Mirani Fort. Both were built in the 16th century during the years of the Portuguese invasion of Oman. You can’t go inside any of them, but from the Al Mirani Fort you can find a panoramic view of the coast and see the back entrance door to the palace; if you’re already in the area it’s a must-see in Muscat.
The area also has other buildings you can visit, for example, the National Museum of Oman. It was inaugurated in 2016 and contains the largest collection of historical objects in the country. The idea of this place is not just be a sign of what Oman was, but also a door to innovation and what the future of the country will be. For the sultan (who inaugurated this museum), publicizing cultural traditions is important not only within his country, but also internationally; something that previous sultans never wanted to do.
Admission for foreigners costs OMR 5 (about 13 US dollars) and can be visited from Saturday to Thursday between 10:00 and 17:00, on Fridays it opens at 14:00 and closes at 18:00.
In this map, you will find all the points that we mention so that you can plan your itinerary. The roads are great, so even if you see the different places are far away from each other, the actual transportation times from one place to another do not exceed 20 minutes.