Top Places to visit in Muscat - Your one day Guide to the top attractions
How to get around
Taxi There are taxis everywhere, but taxi meters are not that common. Therefore, I would not recommend getting around form attraction to attraction by taxi. It is hot outside and looking for a cab driver that doesn't try to screw you over wastes energy and lots of time.
Taxi is a good option though if you wish to just get from one point to an other e.g. Airport - Hotel
The Big Bus - Hop on Hop off
The Big Bus is an option to see all main sightseeing points of Muscat. It runs every two hours and has 10 stops.
Price: 68 USD when you buy online, 75.50 on – street price
Private Driver → my personal choice
The easiest, most efficient and probably most economical way to explore Muscat is to hire a private driver for a day. This is a very good option if you are several people and you can share the price. I stayed at the Radisson Blue Hotel and we booked thorough the hotel concierge. The driver stayed with us for 5 hours and we payed 35 Rial which is ~ 90 USD. It sounds like a lot, but if you are several people it is very much worth the price. It is very convenient to have a private car with AC that will drop you off and pick you up at every main entrance AND a driver who speaks Omani!
For more info on all you need to know before traveling to Oman read
Top places to visit in Muscat - Sightseeing Muscat
All the top Sights:
a) Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
b) Royal Opera House Muscat
c) Muttrah Souk
e) Riyam Park and Monument - The Giant Incense Burner of Muttrah
f) Al Alam Palace
g) Al Mirani Fort
Hotels in Muscat that offer day passes:
Top Places to visit in Muscat A one day guide to the top attractions in Muscat
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque Start your day nice and early with visiting the Grand Mosque of Muscat!
Conveniently located between the airport and downtown this glorious building of modern Islamic architecture will rise in front of you almost immediately upon landing in Muscat.
The mosque can accommodate 20'000 worshipers. The main prayer hall is stunning. You enter the gigantic room and you will be blown away by its beauty. The ceiling’s height is immense and filled with chandeliers. The handmade carpet measures 70meters by 60meters. It is the second largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world!
Important Info: Visitors are welcome to visit the Mosque free of charge.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque visiting hours
Saturday - Thursday: 8am to 11am
Men must wear decent clothing (no shorts, T – shirts are okay), and women must wear clothing to cover their bodies including head, hair and ears, arms to the wrists and legs to the heels.
It can get very hot in Oman so make sure to bring light long trousers. For women, I recommend to bring a light long sleeved shirt to put over your T – shirt before entering the Mosque and a scarf to cover your hair and ears.
If you travel with kids: Children under the age of 10 years will not be allowed to enter the main prayer hall.
Shoes: You must take your shoes off before entering the praying halls. There are allocated areas to stow your shoes before entering.
Time needed for visiting: plan to spend at least 1 hour. The prayer hall itself is beautiful, but the entire complex is worth proper touring.
Royal Opera House Muscat
Continue your trip and head to the Opera House. The entrance to the Opera House is 3 Rial (8USD) and you can either visit by yourself or take the tour (which is included in the price). If you are interested in modern architecture visiting is definitely worth it! The modern building was completed in September 2011 and is one of only three Opera Houses in the Gulf States. If you have the opportunity and time, try to get tickets to one of the performances as they often have spectacular shows. Adjacent to the Opera House is a Shopping Mall. Great to grab a cold drink or simply enjoy more air condition =)
Royal Opera house visiting hours: 8.30 am to 2.30 every day, except for Fridays. Time needed for visiting: 1 hour (with tour)
Muttrah, Muttrah Souk, Muttrah Corniche
After having enjoyed the beauty of modern Omani architecture, ask your driver to take you to Mutrah. Mutrah is one of the districts of Muscat. It is especially known for the Souk (= Market) and the port (= Muttrah Corniche). Muttrah has one of the biggest ports in the region and the two “Yachts” (which are sized closer to cruise ships) of his Majesty are usually docked at the harbor. With 154 meters of length the main yacht is the 4th longest private yacht in the world! After strolling around the market, enjoy a nice Omani lunch in one of the waterfront restaurants. There are many restaurants along the harbor for you to choose from.
Muttrah Souk opening hours: Morning: 8am to 1pm Afternoon: 4pm and 10pm
--> Keep in mind that you must bargain if you are interested in buying something at the market.
Main entrance to the market by the harbor.
After strengthening yourself with some delicious Omani lunch continue your trip towards Al Alam Palace. Along the road you will pass one of Muscat’s main landmarks: Riyam Monument - The Giant Incense Burner of Muttrah. Drive up to the Monument, there is a nice small public park called Riyam Park. From the Park, you will have a beautiful view of the Harbor Area.
Al Alam Palace and the Forts
Al Alam Palace was rebuilt in 1972 as a royal residence. The palace complex is massive. On both sides of the Palace stretches a cluster of impressive government buildings. Visitors are not allowed inside the Palace. Still, you can visit the surrounding areas. There is parking very close to the gate and you can take nice photographs of the golden blue building from there. Also, if you look to the right up to the hillside you will spot a fine section of the original city walls, punctuated with three large watchtowers.
From Al Alam Palace, you can then follow the road to the left and you will reach the oceanfront. Even more impressive than the front, is the backside of the Palace complex, which you will see from here. Aside from the Palace you will have a clear view of Al Mirani Fort and Al Jalaili Fort.
Congratulations! You have survived the heat and visited the main attractions of downtown Muscat! It is time to reward yourself!
Muscat has a long coastline with crystal clear blue water! There are several ocean-front hotels that offer day passes to visitors.
Here is a list of some of the most known hotels in Muscat that offer day passes:
The Grand Hyatt
Day Pass 10 OMR per adult (Pool access, no food included)
Opening hours: 9am to 9pm
Al Bustan Palace
Weekend prices: 20 OMR per adult, 10 OMR per child Weekday prices: 15 OMR per adult, 5 OMR per child
The pass includes the following services: A sun lounge with water and towels, all-day access to the Al Bustan Palace facilities, fitness center and water sport complex. Additionally, adults and children alike are invited to take part in any of the resort’s daily scheduled complimentary activities conducted by the recreation team, such as circuit training, yoga, aqua dance, or a tennis cardio class with the resort’s PBI tennis coach.
Shangri – La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa
Day pass 25 OMR for adults and 15 OMR for children
“A day in Paradise” which enables people to use the swimming pools and beach area facilities for one whole day as well as enjoy a buffet lunch.
Day Pass for adults OMR 10, 5 OMR for children
Surrounded by a lovely garden and palm trees, the Intercontinental Oman feels like you're on a private island.
Radisson Blue Hotel, Muscat (no beach!)
Adults 6 OMR , Kids 1 OMR
Lovely infinity pool with a waterfall. From 6am – 9pm