From dazzling souks to scrumptious seafood
Oman’s traditional capital is home to serene hot springs, sleepy coves and magnificent mosques – where you’re bound to gain a sense of the finest Arabian living. Read on to discover what else is on offer in this enchanting city:
Go large at the Grand Mosque
The Middle East is renowned for its otherworldly Islamic architecture and its infamous Grand Mosque, which will blow your mind with its grandeur and magnificence. This marble-clad masterpiece was a gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos to celebrate his 30th year of reign – surrounded by lush lawns, four minarets, and a 50-meter high gold dome. It’s absolutely gigantic – so big that it can hold up to 20,000 people!
Klook tip: the magical prayer halls are a must-see here – but do make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing to be allowed to enter. For women this means the head, shoulders and legs must be covered, while men should wear long trousers with covered shoulders.
Trek through the dunes
It’s time to turn up the heat and get swept off your feet. Take a safari trip and out head to the gorgeous valley of Wadi Bani Khalid, located just south of Muscat. Enjoy the serenity of this enchanting valley with its blue-green flowing water and striking boulders. Next, strap yourself in for the ride of a lifetime as you head out to the dazzling red dunes for a daredevil Jeep ride.
Take a trip back in time to Nizwa
Surrounded by the dramatic backdrop of the Al Hajar mountains, this ancient city simply oozes Arabian charm. Desert oasis? Tick. Souk marketplace? Tick. It even has its own 17th-century fortress – the magnificent Jabreen Castle – the perfect backdrop for some statement selfies. This magnificent fortification features elaborately painted ceilings which is an incredible sight to see – so don’t forget to pack your camera! After, head over to the famous plantation of Birkat Al Mauz Village, rightly given its name of “Banana Pool” – because it’s one of the biggest banana-growing spots in the whole of Muscat.
Indulge in natural serenity
If you’ve come to Muscat after visiting its emirate neighbors Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you’ll definitely feel refreshed by its natural beauty. Head away from the city and in just under an hour, you’ll be on the coast. Be sure to pay a visit to the natural phenomenon, the Bimmah Sinkhole – a stunning, water-filled depression set in the ground’s natural limestone. Described as one of the most beautiful spots in the world, it’s an idyllic spot to take a dip. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t take any swimming gear.
Over the hills and far away
Take a unique excursion through the mountain range of Jebel Akhdar and discover hidden farmlands, serene valleys, and inhale the different scents of seasonal fruits and flowers that festoon the locals’ terraces. Don’t miss out on the incredible view from Green Mountain, one of the highest points in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia. Definitely Insta-worthy.
Bag a souvenir at Muttrah Souq
The glitzy Muttah Souk is a Muscat must-see. This is the place to go to buy all things Omani, whether you’re looking to gift to someone special or savor as a keepsake back home. From delicate pottery and exquisite jewelry to the distinctive Mandoos – decorated wooden chests – you’ll find it here. Most Arabian souvenirs are handmade and therefore one-of-a-kind. Be prepared to barter and come away with some real treasures.
Feel seriously serene in the hot springs
No trip to Muscat is complete without some relaxation time, and you’ll definitely deserve it after all your exploring. Enjoy the serene hot springs of Thowarah, known for their medicinal and rejuvenating properties. Since ancient times individuals have traveled from far and wide to reach this natural wonder, which can be found close by to Nakhal Fort in Rustaq. If you feel in need of a little relaxation time after hitting the sights, this hot spot is definitely the place to Zen out.
Sing-a-long at the Royal Opera House
This classic contemporary masterpiece is Muscat’s premier venue for shows of all kinds – be it music, dance, ballet, and more. The venue has seen Opera stars like Andrea Bocelli, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the breath-taking performance of Swan Lake by Mariinsky Ballet. Make sure you visit this stunning piece of Arabian architecture and admire its reflective white marble flooring and quintessential Omani design. If you’re not there to catch a show, you can come along and make the most of the Opera House while sipping on an espresso in one of the many bars and restaurants.