8 Things to Do in Muscat:
Muscat, beautiful Muscat… a great place to relax for a break, but also a fabulous place to explore! Here’s 8 things to do while you’re there…
1. Muttrah Souk
It’s a great souk to go and have a wander around because not only can you sate all your shopping desires, but it’s housed within a beautiful traditional wooden frame with some beautiful glass features. As far as shopping goes, you’ll find plenty of Omani silver gold, frankincense and myrrh along with all sorts of souvenirs there, but also everyday items too, and my personal favourite – an enormous range of scarves and pashminas!
2. Muttrah Corniche
The architecture along the Muttrah Corniche is also well worth a look too, with some beautiful buildings very reminiscent of parts of India and the old Colonial days. It’s a nice place for a pre or post shopping stroll if the weather’s not too hot. You’ll also get a good view of one of the impressive hilltop forts from the area.
3. The Sultan’s Palace – Al Alam Palace
The Sultan’s Palace with a history of over 200 years is one of very few palaces that you can get surprisingly close to since it’s now only used for ceremonial purposes. The existing exterior was built in 1972 when the palace was remodelled as a royal residence – and you certainly can’t miss it for its bright blue and gold colonnades.
Guarded on either side by a pair of impressive hilltop forts, it makes for a very picturesque spot indeed. Which leads me to…
4. The ‘Twin Forts’ – Fort Al Jalali and Fort Fort Al Mirani
Muscat Old Town is made particularly impressive by the presence of the two 16th century Forts originally built by the Portuguese that have long since guarded the harbour and Sultan’s Palace.
And whilst you can take pictures of the exteriors, sadly it’s not possible to visit the forts as due to their proximity to the palace, they are still used today for military purposes.
5. Muscat Gate
If you’re staying on the side of the city where the Al Bustan Palace and Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah resort are located, and if you do venture out, keep your eyes open en-route to the corniche for Muscat Gate which marks the edge of the old walled city and remained in use until the 1970s.
6. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
The mosque was gifted by Sultan Qaboos to the people of Oman and completed in 2001 and boasted the world’s largest carpet and chandelier until the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque here in Abu Dhabi was built!
7. The Royal Opera House Muscat
The order to build the Opera House was given by Sultan Qaboos in 2001 and was finally completed in 2011. It’s not one I’ve visited myself, but built by the same architect as the Grand Mosque, it’s a grand building that is worth a look even if you’re not stopping to catch a performance.
8. Relax on the beach
Of course as well as lots of interesting things to do, Muscat is also a great place to do nothing at all! With plenty of hotels to choose from with gorgeous beaches and amazing scenery, you’ll be happy to spend time relaxing and taking in the view after all that shopping and sightseeing!
And Muscat aside, Oman has plenty more to explore for those who want to venture a bit further afield to Al Hoota Caves or Nizwa and beyond. As for me, that’s on the list for next time. Well, it’s only a 45 minute flight from the UAE so it’s a pretty easily accessible weekend destination for us from here!
If you have a favourite spot or place in Muscat I’ve not mentioned, do let me know, I’d love to hear it and add it to my list for next time!