The capital of Oman, Muscat is an active port that blends past and present in perfect balance. With ancient monuments, such as the imposing Muscat Gate, tempered by modern marvels, like the breathtaking Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat has a quiet confidence in its pace of life. With sights and activities for the whole family, a trip to this ancient but thriving city offers a rare glimpse into a country that that has been shaped by a turbulent and fascinating past.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Muscat
Muttrah Corniche — The most ancient part of the city, Muttrah is the harbourside district from which modern Muscat sprang. Perfect for picnics and coastal walks backdropped by the Al Hajar Mountains, be sure to pay a visit to the grand bazaar, Muttrah Souk, where you’ll pick up a unique souvenir such as local cloth, gems, jewellery or spices.
Qurum — Further west along the coast is Qurum, Muscat’s main shopping district. With dozens of great boutiques, this is the place for a little retail therapy. The area is also home to Qurum Natural Park, a beautifully landscaped area with a manmade lake, playground and regular festivities, making it ideal for families.
Al Riyam Park — Offering views across Muscat’s striking old harbour, Al Riyam Park also has a small fun fair that is popular with locals and visitors both. At the heart of the park is a giant white tower in the form of an incense burner. Although a bit of a climb, it’s definitely worth the hike for the fantastic panoramas over the city and coast.
Bandar Khayran Reserve — Just a short boat journey from Muscat’s central marina, the Bandar Khayran Reserve boasts jagged, arid hills, bedecked with modest whitewashed houses. The waters themselves, meanwhile, are home to a rich variety of sea creatures from dolphins to coral reefs. If you’ve never been scuba diving, now may be your chance.
Things to See in Muscat
There are few better ways to see this ancient city than with a hop-on hop-off bus tour by Big Bus, pausing at any location that appeals. Whether you’re tempted by the ancient domes of the Muttrah Souk, the more modern Royal Opera House or the tallest clock in the country, which resides in Muscat’s parliament building, all the modern and ancient architectural delights peppering Oman’s striking capital are yours to explore.
Things to Do in Muscat
No visit to Muscat would be complete without a trip on the aquamarine waters of the Gulf of Oman. Why not see if you can spot some of the local wildlife with a dolphin tour from Muscat harbour? With over 20 species of dolphin in the region, you’ll have a great chance of seeing one of these majestic creatures dancing through the waves alongside your boat. Meanwhile, those looking to explore the desert could book a Wadi Al Abyadh 4x4 full day tour. Taking you through Oman’s famously diverse landscape, this jeep trip guarantees an unforgettable day out.
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