What to Do in Muscat? These Are The 6 Best Places to Visit!

A trip through Oman usually begins in the relaxed capital of Muscat. Stepping off the plane, you’re instantly in a different world. Everywhere you look, there are expensive cars, immaculate streets, beautiful architecture, and most people dressed in traditional clothing. Muscat is an extremely safe city that will certainly stimulate your senses and feels quite different from other capitals in the region. Are you curious about what there is to do? In this article, you’ll learn all about the best sights in Muscat!

Visit the Sultan Qaboos Mosque

A visit to the Sultan Qaboos Mosque is undoubtedly the highlight of your trip to Muscat. It’s the largest mosque in Oman and one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims. The mosque is constructed from about 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone and is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. This impressive structure will take your breath away, not only from the outside but also from the inside. Here, you’ll find the world’s second-largest Persian carpet, which measures a whopping 230 by 200 feet. Approximately 600 women spent four years creating its 1.7 million knots! As if that weren’t enough, there is also an enormous Swarovski crystal chandelier hanging above the carpet. It comprises 1,122 lamps and weighs 8 tons. The Sultan Qaboos Mosque is massive, with a capacity for 20,000 Muslims to pray simultaneously.

Here’s what you need to know before you go: The Sultan Qaboos Mosque is open to tourists from Saturday through Thursday, from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM. It’s closed on Fridays, so make sure you plan your visit for one of the other days. Women are required to wear long pants or a dress that covers the ankles and arms. A headscarf is also compulsory. You can rent a long dress and headscarf at the entrance if necessary. Men must wear long pants, and a short-sleeved t-shirt is sufficient. Entrance is free, and there’s ample parking at the mosque.

Immerse Yourself in Eastern Atmosphere at Kargeen

Kargeen is a hidden gem in Muscat. This restaurant has a great atmosphere, lovely decorations, and serves delicious food. You’ll be dining in a beautiful garden, adorned with many oriental Zenza lamps and other cool knick-knacks. Besides tasty food, you can also smoke a hookah here. Finding Kargeen Restaurant can be a bit of a challenge since it’s tucked away behind a parking lot. Once you’ve found it, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a small fairytale!

Update: Update: Kargeen is currently closed. If you hear or see that it has reopened, please let us know via our Instagram.

Walking Along the Muttrach Corniche

Muttrah is the historic part of Muscat and boasts a long and vibrant promenade called the Muttrah Corniche. At the end of the boulevard, you’ll find the harbor, often filled with expensive ships. From the parking lot near the fish market, you’ll have a stunning view of the entire promenade, the white buildings, and the mosque against the backdrop of mountains during sunset. This view, in particular, is a sight to behold. So, when in Muscat, don’t forget to take a walk along the Muttrah Corniche.

Wander Through the Muttrah Souk

Along the boulevard, you’ll find the entrance to the Muttrah Souk. This bustling market is a maze of narrow alleyways filled with small shops selling lamps, jewelry, spices, and clothing. Most shops open after 4:00 PM, so plan your visit for the late afternoon or evening. If you’re looking to snag a souvenir, remember that negotiating prices is very common. The souk is a fantastic place to experience the local culture, sights, and sounds, making it a must-visit during your trip to Muscat.

Climb Up to Al Mirani Fort

At the end of the boulevard stands Al Mirani Fort. This fort was built by the Portuguese during their occupation in 1580 as a strategic point to defend the harbor. From Al Mirani Fort, you’ll have a stunning view over the harbor, Muttrah, and the surrounding mountains. There’s a ticket office at the entrance, but during our visit, it appeared to have been deserted for some time, and we weren’t required to pay an entry fee. So, it’s well worth the climb to soak in the breathtaking views and appreciate a bit of Muscat’s history.

Royal Opera House

One of Muscat’s most beautiful structures is the Royal Opera House. If you’re a fan of classical music and architecture, you shouldn’t miss this attraction during your visit to Muscat! The Royal Opera House was built in 2001 by the former Sultan Qaboos, who was a great lover of classical music. Inside the Royal Opera House, you can take a short tour. There’s no entrance fee if you just want to admire the exterior. Of course, you could also attend a performance. You can find the schedule for the Royal Opera House on their official website. Remember to take a moment to appreciate this spectacular architectural gem when in Muscat.

Day trip to the paradisiacal Daymaniyat Islands

Your visit to Muscat wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to the Daymaniyat Islands. The Daymaniyat Islands are made up of nine heavenly islands located approximately 11 miles off the coast. The sea here is crystal clear and the underwater world is stunning. While snorkeling, you’ll come across brightly colored fish amidst the beautiful coral. There’s a chance you’ll spot sea turtles and a variety of other marine animals. The tour includes snacks and snorkel gear. You’ll be joining a solid boat with a small group of people.

Important: The islands are a protected natural reserve. While on a day trip, you can enjoy all the beauty, but make sure to always leave it untouched. Never touch anything in the sea, such as sea turtles or coral. This can be very harmful to the marine life. Let’s all do our part to preserve the underwater ecosystem for future generations.

Best Restaurants in Muscat

Start your day right at Cafe Bateel and order one of the healthy breakfast options from the menu. The charming terrace by the water with a view of the boats is a delightful spot, especially in the cooler morning hours. For a delightful dinner experience, head to Shiraz. Try their ‘A Persian Journey’ menu, a three-course meal with various small dishes, perfect for two. You’ll get to savor a diverse array of flavors from the Persian cuisine. Bait al Luban is an elegant restaurant serving classic Omani dishes. You’ll dine in a traditional manner, sitting on cushions on the floor. If you’re craving Lebanese cuisine, Zahr El-Laymoun is a top choice.

Our favorite places to Stay in Muscat

Accommodations in Oman, especially in Muscat, can be quite expensive. However, if you prefer a smaller and more intimate stay, we highly recommend Lana Villa as an absolute gem in Muscat. This charming B&B is run by Oliver, a German expat who moved to Oman a few years ago and will make you feel right at home. Besides the comfortable rooms, the extensive breakfast buffet is a major highlight. Expect fresh eggs, bread, dates, fruits, cheese, and much more to start your day.

If you’re looking for a larger yet affordable option, Royal Tulip Muscat is the best choice in Muscat. With rooftop pool, gym facilities, and a delicious breakfast, it offers great value for your money.

For the budget-conscious traveler, Fort Guesthouse is an excellent option. Though simple, it provides a comfortable stay in a prime location close to the souks.

Tip: These hotels are very popular, so if you plan to stay here, it’s wise to book your accommodation in Muscat right after booking your flight tickets.