10 Amazing Things To Do In Muscat, Oman

Oman’s unique history has emboldened Muscat to become a rising destination, full of colors and flavors. 

Of all the countries on the Persian Gulf, Oman might be a fan favorite. Vastly different from the other surrounding countries by history, Oman was invaded by the Portuguese and the Ottomans while both Qatar and the UAE were protectorates under Great Britain. Its intriguing past has fostered Muscat into a rich and cultural destination to visit. Here are some of the best things to do in the capital city, with surely more to come in the future.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jetset Times (@jetsettimes)

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Sultan Qaboos St, Muscat, Oman

The absolute must-see in Muscat is the stunning Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, originally a gift to the country from the former Sultan of Oman: Qaboos bin Said Al Said, used his own money with the aim to construct the most beautiful mosque in the world. Today, it’s the largest mosque in the country featuring both Omani and Islamic designs with 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone and an intricate Persian carpet which expands 70 meters by 60 meters. There’s a separate praying hall for women, while the main praying hall accommodates up to 20,000 worshippers.

Be sure to dress appropriately, women need to cover both arms and legs. Tight clothing isn’t allowed, and head scarf is needed for females above the age of seven. 

Royal Opera House Muscat

Royal Opera House Al Kharjiyah Street مسقط OM، 103, Oman

The breathtaking Royal Opera House Muscat is a magnificent masterpiece of architecture all on its own with modern Omani style. The structure showcases the forms of modern Omani palaces with circular patterns. The first opera house in the Arab peninsula can seat up to 1,100 attendees, and includes: theater, auditorium, gardens, market, restaurant and shopping mall.

Mutrah Souq

سوق مطرح مطرح، مسقط،، Mutrah Market, near Mutrah Corniche, Muscat, Oman

Mutrah Souq is an exciting place to be, especially for travelers seeking to bring home local souvenirs. It’s emblematic of a traditional Arab market, with a plethora of vendors selling Omani textiles, spices, accessories, snacks, antiques…and more. Bartering is expected here, and don’t forget to sip on Arabian coffee at one of the café stands at the entrance of the market.

Not too far away from the souq is The Corniche (see later on this list,) and the Gold Souq where shoppers can browse through numerous stands selling gold and silver jeweleries.

Mutrah Souq, Muscat, Oman
Mutrah Souq. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Al Alam Palace

JH8V+9V8, Muscat, Oman

Another fascinating edifice in Muscat is the Al Alam Palace, where the sultan welcomes foreign dignitaries, politicians and heads of state. The exterior design is bold with bright blue and gold pillars, created by Indian architects Shapoorji Pallonji. Although visitors cannot enter the palace, photos can be taken from the outside. Despite that the Sultan owns the palace as it has been so over eight generations, this location is solely used for ceremonial purposes. If the flag is raised, it means that the royal family is inside.

Al Alam Palace
Al Alam Palace. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Al Jalali Fort

JH8X+P4V, Al Bahri Rd, Muscat, Oman

Al Jalali Fort was built in 1580s by Philip I of Portugal as a defense after the Ottomans twice attacked Muscat. Once the Omani took over the fort in 1650, it was twice invaded by the Persians during civil wars in the 18th century. In 1983, the fort was transformed into a museum displaying various cultural artifacts.

Al Jalali Fort, Muscat, Oman
Al Jalali Fort. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Al Mirani Fort

JH8V+W95, Muscat, Oman

Another fort to admire in Muscat is Al Mirani, which is situated next to Al Alam Palace. Prior to the Portuguese’s arrival, it was already in existence. After reconstruction by the Portuguese, the fort was the first in Oman to use cannons. Despite that visitors cannot enter, Al Mirani is now part of the beautiful skyline of Muscat by the water.

Al Mirani Fort, Muscat, Oman
Al Mirani Fort. PHOTO WENDY HUNG

Bait Al Zubair Museum

JH7Q+QRG, Muscat, Oman

In the heart of Old Muscat is Bait Al Zubair Museum which boasts an expansive collection of ancient artifacts housed inside a restored home. An authentic peek into Omani culture since the museum showcases: furniture, weapons, handicrafts, coins…etc. Outside of the building, there’s a lively souk to wander through.

Mutrah Corniche

JHFF+45M, Mutrah Corniche, Muscat, Oman

Mutrah Corniche
Photo by Mr MaroX on Unsplash

Mutrah Corniche is a three-kilometer stretch of promenade with a charming vista of the Omani buildings and mosques on the waterfront. Here is a good mix of old and new, travelers can discover globally-renowned restaurants as well as Omani cafés. It’s a delightful spot to take a break, snack on some local fruits and witness dhows anchor as fishermen transport their catch of the day to the market. There’s also a retired training ship, Shabab Oman, gently sitting at The Corniche for photo ops.

Natural History Museum

Muscat, Oman

To further understand the resources and landscape of such wonderful scenery, head over to National History Museum of Oman. Opened in 1985, the museum covers Oman’s botanical gardens, animals, caves, flora and fauna. Don’t miss the enormous sperm whale skeleton, from the mammal which appeared on the coastline in the 80s. In addition to sections devoted to ancient animals as part of the geological history of Oman, the museum also dedicates areas highlighting the solar system and planets.

Day trip to Nizwa

One of the best things to do in Oman is to drive through the rest of the cities outside of Muscat. If you’re short on time, a quick day trip can be done in Nizwa where nature lovers can gaze at the statuesque Hajar Mountains. These are some of the most incredible landscapes in the country, with a simple 90-minute road trip. As the old capital of Oman, Nizwa welcomes travelers with a 17th century castle and numerous souqs at the bottom.

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and St. Bart's because they were all so different!

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.