Muscat is the capital and largest city in Oman. Muscat is unique in that it is situated between mountains, desert, and the sea. The city is also a natural harbor and serves as one of the most important cities of the old-orient, connecting trade between the Middle East, Europe, and India.
While the country of Oman is often overshadowed for tourism by its neighboring country the United Arab Emirates, it offers a unique perspective of the Middle East, which is EXACTLY why you need to visit!
Top 10 Things to do in Muscat:
Mutrah Souq is one of the OLDEST places in the Middle East and still retains much of its old-world charm. It is least crowded in the mornings and late afternoon; busiest in the evening hours after 6 pm. Shops sell Omani artifacts, textiles, and jewelry. Haggling is an art here, as discounts tend to be small. While cards are (usually) accepted, it is best to have cash on hand. Note: A “souq” (or “souk”) is a traditional Arab market.
While wandering the narrow alleyways of Muttrah Souq, it is easy to miss the Gold Souq! The Gold Souq is an extension of Muttrah Souq, and a wee bit difficult to find. However, it is worth visiting just to see the sheer amount of gold on display. To get there: Enter Mutrah Souq through a the main entry off Mutrah Corniche. Then, turn right immediately through the textile shops and turn left just before re-entering the corniche.
Muttrah Corniche stretches along the harbor. The Muttrach Corniche is good place to take an evening stroll and see the sunset.
Bum at the Beach
Qurum Beach and Qantab Beach are some of the most popular beach destinations in Muscat.
Qurum Beach is popular and near restaurants. However, as a popular beach, it can get crowded.
If you want a bit of seclusion, Quntab Beach is quiet and calm compared to the likes of Qaram Beach. Qantab Beach is rugged yet pristine. It also makes for a great overnight camping experience. That being said, you’ll need to bring your own food and drink (and camping supplies). Here, you can go for a short boat ride with a locals.
Note: Qantab Beach does not have facilities.
As if the beach was not inviting enough, the warm waters of the Gulf of Oman offer perfect temperatures to go swimming — and even explore what’s under the surface! Tours are readily available daily, and offer similar itinerary — dolphin watching followed by snorkeling. If you’re certified, you can even go scuba diving!
Oman is a mountainous region, so naturally, one of the best things to do in Oman is to go hiking. Wadi Shab is about an hour and half outside of Muscat (in Sur, Oman), but well worth the drive! It is a must-see for all adventure seekers. Expect to get wet on this 3km hike to the waterfall. So, waterproof your stuff! (Need I remind you again to put your phone in something waterproof, for heaven’s sake!) Go early as it temperatures rise later in the day. Bring water and snacks as well.
Bimah Sinkhole is one of the largest sinkholes in the world. (Sixth to be exact.) Bimah sinkhole was formed in limestone by a collapse of large cave chamber. Stairs lead down the bottom of the sinkhole where you can go for a refreshing swim (after your hike in Wadi Shab). Bimmah Sinkhole can be seen in conjunction with Wadi Shab, as they are (fairly) close to each other.
On the way to Wadi Shab, you can stop off to see Mazara Dam. If you intend to visit in the summer, expect that the water volume will be minimal. Nevertheless, Mazara Dam offers a nice place to have a picnic on the way to Wadi Shab. There are some small snack and ice cream places at the parking area.