If you only visit one destination in Oman, it is likely to be Muscat. The capital of the Sultanate of Oman, Muscat, is the epitome of all the country stands for – the city is home to forts, palaces, museums and markets, and has access to amazing natural wonders offering something for everyone.
This world-class opera house has hosted some of the world’s finest musicians and performers. This architectural masterpiece, which looks like a palace, is designed in the classic Islamic style and built with local construction materials, such as Omani desert rose stone. It is surrounded by landscaped gardens and set within an 80,000sq meter land. The central room displays a mix of handcrafted decors: carved wooden ceiling with gold leaves, marbles from Italy and crystal chandeliers from Austria. The dramatic colonnades, gold and marble interiors, and hand-carved ornaments, make the Royal Opera House one of Muscat’s most beautiful buildings.
Experience the beauty of the Gulf of Oman, on a relaxed Dhow Cruise as you sail along Oman's spectacular coast on a 'Dhow,' a traditional wooden boat. Hop on to a traditional Omani Dhow at the Marina where the cruise starts and settle on the cushioned seats of the vessel to sip a beverage of your choice and snack on dates as you enjoy the cool sea breeze and take in the spectacular scenery. Be sure to try the Kahwa, a traditional Omani style coffee, onboard.
We take a brief stop at a natural cove so you admire the beauty of nature here. We then proceed to cruise past the sights of the coast including the spectacular Al Bustan Palace and Al Alam Palace before we head back to the marina.
While you can’t visit the interior of the Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace, you can head to the harbor to get a close view of the amazing structure. Standing guard over the palace are the twin forts of Al Jalali and Al Mirani, which have been converted to museums and are open to the public.
Although visitors are not allowed within the gates of the palace, it’s worth visiting to admire the architecture as the palace and surrounding gardens and governmental buildings are an interesting example of contemporary Arabic style. The pillars are painted in turquoise and gold and we’re sure the interiors are even more beautiful.
Located in the heart of Muscat and dominating any list of places to visit in Muscat sits the breathtaking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
Dominating the skyline of Muscat, this mosque is spread across 416,000 square metres and was inaugurated by Sultan of Oman in the year 2001 to celebrate the 30 years of the Sultan's reign. The mosque can accommodate over 20,000 worshippers and is one of the most beautiful and extravagant modern mosques in the world. Taking more than 6 years to build this mosque features a blend of Islamic, Middle Eastern, and Omani architectural styles. It is known to hold a Chandelier that extended to 14 meters and weighed 8,500 kilograms which was at one time the largest Chandelier in the world. It also houses the world’s second largest single piece carpet, which covers around 4,343 square meters containing 1,700 million knots, measuring 60x70 meters, weighing 21,000 kilograms
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is one of the only mosques in Oman that allows all visitors regardless of religion inside the prayer halls. The Mosque is also surrounded by well maintained gardens where you can get away from the noise and business of the city.
The area offers a distinct flavour of ancient arabian charm as you wander through the city’s oldest neighbourhood. The area is home to the two 16th century forts of Al Mirani and Al Jilali who overlook the Gulf of Oman, having protected the city from their towering position on the clifftops. Take a step back in time as you stroll through the area exploring its charms inlcuding the 500 hundred-year-old city wall.
Here visitors can trace the fascinating history and development of Oman and get a glimpse into the past and present lives of its people. It contains relics from Oman’s military, social, and cultural past. The extensive collection of Omani artefacts such as weapons, khanjars, jewellery, household items and costumes on display is very comprehensive and offers an insight into Arab and Omani heritage.
The complex consists of 5 buildings – Bait Al Bagh, Bait Al Dalaleel, Bait Al Oud, Bait Al Nahdhah, and Gallery Sarah apart from vast gardens and shops.
Bait Al Bagh, display the impressive collection held here including khanjars, traditional garments, coffee pots, and jewellery. Bait al Dalaleel showcases the lives lived by rural and urban Omani centuries ago. Bait Al Oud is a salute to Oman’s military past, contains military artifacts, old maps, and historical prints among other things. Bait Al Nahdhah is devoted to art. Gallery Sarah is one of Oman’s houses of contemporary art and even allows local Omani artists to sell their artwork abroad.
The Muttrah Corniche stretches for over three kilometres along the waterfront of Muscat’s fishing port. This elegant promenade offers an attractive stretch of latticed buildings and mosques which look particularly spectacular at sunset with the mountains and waters in the background. As you pass alongside fountains and pristine gardens, sample local delicacies and international cuisine in the many cafes and restaurants, or pick up some fresh fruit in the market at the northern end where a vegetable market sits along with a fish market and the dhow harbour, where the dhows anchor to unload the catches of the day.
Head to one of the oldest markets in the Arabian, one that remains virtually unchanged apart from hints of modernity. Get lost in the labyrinth of alleys and passageways present in this intriguing market maze where one can find an eclectic range of products: from rare, one-of-a-kind vintage artifacts to high-quality frankincense, gold and precious jewels to funky, hand-made purses. Navigating through the market may be somewhat confusing as you enter through a two-storey, domed gateway on the Corniche but getting lost in the Souq is half the fun of the place.
A long stretch of golden sand lies next to the refreshing waters of the Gulf. Lounge under the shade of a palm tree, hang out in Muscat’s hippest areas, or enjoy a relaxing bite at one of the many cafés that line the path. Dine in restaurants facing the water or explore the nature reserve that lies just beside the beach. You can also try your hand at some of the water sports available here like kite surfing, along with beach games like volleyball among others.
Head to the Mangrove Lagoon for an amazing time beside nature. This evergreen patch is constantly buzzing with marine and bird life. Take your time to soak in the beauty of the place – spot birds hiding in the canopy of the trees, and the numerous fish and other marine life playing peek-a-boo in the salty waters. Now declared a dedicated nature reserve, the lagoon is a breeding ground for fish species including mullet, sea bream and snappers.
That concludes our list of the best places to visit in Muscat. We hope you manage to fit in a visit to all the these top Muscat landmarks and attractions on your trip. You can opt for the Mystical Muscat Excursion to cover some of the major sites to see in one go and then opt fo the Twilight Dhow Cruise Excursion. Another great option is to customise your our tour with the help of our travel planner whom you can reach at +968 24400844 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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