Visiting Muscat is like stepping into a chapter from the 1001 Arabian Nights. All the buildings – old and new – have been built in the region’s traditional style, with domes, arched windows and intricate mosaics around every corner.
Nestled between the Hajar mountains and the Arabian Sea, Muscat is home to the Sultan of Oman as well as some of the best beaches in the Middle East.
Shop, eat and relax in the city or venture into the mountains to enjoy spectacular views and explore the 17th century forts of Nizwa.
Top things to see and do in Muscat
- Admire the elaborate modern architecture of the Grand Mosque (Ghala & Al-Ghubrah), opened in 2001 by Sultan Qaboos to celebrate his 30th year in power. The main prayer hall is home to the largest carpet in the world, measuring 70m x 60m.
- Relax in the relative seclusion of Bandar Jissah beach, one of Muscat’s many glorious sandy beaches, which offers some of the best snorkelling in the area.
- Shop for everything from spices and antiques to clothes and electronic goods in the exotic surroundings of Muttrah Souk. Keep an eye out for the Gold Souk, a corner of the main souk where you can make your own jewellery.
- Ride across the parks and beaches of Muscat on a purebred Arabian horse. You can loan horses from Qurum Equestrian School or Al-Sawahil Horse Riding.
- Learn about the history of Muscat from the age of the dinosaurs to the present day at Bait al-Baranda. Arranged inside an old 1930s house, this fantastic museum includes lots of interactive installations which will fascinate children and adults alike.
Tips for travellers
Take an hour-and-a-half drive from Muscat through the Hajar Mountains to the imposing Forts of Nizwa. Built in 1668 by Imam Sultan Bin Saif Al Ya'ribi, the main tower is full of ancient booby traps – including holes through which soldiers could pour boiling date syrup on any unfortunate attackers below.