Inaugurated just over a decade ago, this contemporary Islamic mosque is, perhaps, the capital's greatest attraction and largest place of worship. The handwoven prayer hall carpet alone is a site to take in - its 1,700,000,000 knots took 4 years and 600 craftswomen to weave, and the carpet's total weight exceeds a staggering 21 tons. English-language tours are available to visitors.
The Royal Opera House is a relatively recent, yet critical addition to the Omani cultural scene where the Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said himself is a regular. Sleek on the outside, the white-stone building boasts elaborate inner décor that serves as backdrop to some of the world’s finest performances.
This privately-run museum belongs to the Zubair family, who have over the years carefully put together and maintained a unique collection of Omani cultural artefacts, ranging from coins and household items to ancient weapons and clothing pieces. Souvenirs are availble at the adjacent gift shop.
The family-friendly Qurum Natural Park along with the nearby outstretched beach make for a wonderful summertime day trip. The park is well-maintained, and features kids’ play areas aimed at various age groups. Food stalls are scattered around the park, and a few restaurants operate in close proximity to the beach.
The museum offers a complex insight into Oman’s past and showcases the country’s military prowess by displaying all sorts of military equipment, including vehicles, aircrafts and even boats. All visitors are assigned soldier escorts, who are often English-speaking and knowledgeable in military history.
Although no tours are offered inside the palace, the building (one of Sultan Qaboos' residences, now used primarily for ceremonial purposes) is worth a quick stop by when touring the nation's capital. Two 16th century forts (Mirani and Jalali) are located on both sides of the palace.
The historic forts of Al Jalali and Mirani date back to the 16th century, and (although closed for entry to the general public) define the cityscape of the Omani capital. The forts were formerly used as defense fortresses, and were constructed by the Portuguese during the colonial period. Come at sundown to capture the best views.
A few local companies offer dolphin-watching tours, which take travelers on short morning trips out into the sea, where wild dolphins roam free and sometimes present themselves to curious visitors. Some companies also offer fishing and/or snorkeling tours. Sidab Sea Tours P.O. Box 131, PC 114
This restaurant's extensive menu is not limited to Turkish cuisine alone, and features some of the finest seafood dishes around. Another highlight here is the bread - freshly baked and served warm straight out of the oven. The restaurant is highly popular with patrons - reservations recommended.
Located at The Chedi (a luxury resot in the heart of Muscat), The Beach Restaurant offers unbeatable views over the Gulf of Oman and serves exqusite International Fusion dishes with a special emphasis on seafood. With its unbeatable beachfront location and extensive wine list, a visit to the restaurant makes for a very special dining experience.
Kargeen Caffé's truly magical atmosphere is created by the lush garden seating area, where guests are served Asian and Middle Eastern dishes (pizza is also on the menu) by friendly staff wearing authentic Omani clothing. try the shawarma, biryani and shuwa (lamb wrapped in banana leaves).
The café serves up simple, yet delicious food (burgers and shawarma galore!) and some of the most decadent smoothies and desserts around. Close proximity to the Mutrah Souk makes this a great place to stop for a quick bite, or even enjoy a longer meal in the outdoor seating area.
This Italian establishment serves up all the delicious classics from pizzas to pastas and soups, along with some decadent cake for dessert to complement your meal. Special emphasis is laid on presentation and service, both of which are of impeccable quality.
Located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Duke's Bar is heralded as one of the finest in Muscat. With its variety of drinks, some food options (fish and chips a popular choice) and unbeatable views over the water, the bar is a perfect venue to unwind while listening to live music (frequently performed by the hotel pool).
This establishment features an upscale restaurant with an open kitchen, and (being one of the hottest clubbing venues in Muscat) is a great place to stay for your night out. Enjoy a drink in the lounge area (all lit blue!) or hit the dance floor with other local and international party-goers.
Al Ghazal Pub at the Intercontinental Hotel is one of the not-so-many establishments in Muscat that serves drinks and is open late into the night. Pool tables are available to use free of charge, and sports are often transmitted live on a large TV screen. Live band performances are frequent. There is a separate smoking room inside.
The Muttrah Souq is the number one shopping venue in Muscat - a must-visit for first-time travelers to Oman and bargain lovers. Browse through the endless colorful stalls and venture away from the souq's main artery into the smaller side-streets for even better deals. Do not be afraid to haggle - prices can often be brought down to a fraction of the initial amount.
The mall's impressive size lives up to the "grand" part in its name. Local and international brands, a large variety of eateries, a cinema and an international chain supermarket are all contained under one roof here. The top floor boasts a cosy shisha bar perfect for the after hours.
Located right across the road from the Muscat Gran Mall, the Avenues is home to middle- and upmarket brands. The mall features an impressive food court with everything from pizza to sushi on offer. There is a hyper market inside with one of the widest selections of groceries on the city, and children's entertainment areas are available as well.
The Muscat International Airport is the largest in Oman, and is located 32km away from the city. Some hotels in Muscat arrange courtesy shuttles for guests and offer pick-up services directly at the airport. The most convenient way of getting to Muscat on one's own is by taxi. Fares should be agreed upon prior to departure; paying in advance directly at the airport taxi counter is also possible. To reach the city by public transport travelers can use buses run by the Oman National Transport Company. There is a stop on Sultan Qaboos Highway, which is a short (200m) walk away from the airport.
Travellers can choose between several transportation options in Muscat. The first, so-called "Baiza" buses, circulate regularly around the metropolitain area picking up and dropping off passengers at various locations. These can be flagged down anywhere, and often do not have a visible indication of the destination, so enquiring with the driver is recommended. Fare is paid on board and is usually very low. A pricier, but, perhaps, more convenient transportation option are the white-and-orange minibuses (local taxis) that are readily available throughout. These can be shared with other passengers to decrease costs. It is customary for these minibuses to pick up passengers that are not headed for the same destination, and make several drop-off stops en route. Fares should be agreed upon before boarding. Buses run by the ONTC (Oman National Transport Corporation) are another, less popular option for getting around. These buses stop at designated locations only, and run less frequently. The main bus depot is based in Ruwi. Bus connections are available to a variety of destinations, including Muscat International Airport, Port Sultan Qaboos, Wadi Adei, Wadi Kabir, Mabelah, Muttrah, Al Almerat and the main residential areas of Muscat.
Taxis are widely available throughout the city of Muscat, and are easy to spot by their white and orange color scheme. Fares should be agreed upon prior to boarding. Some local taxi companies include: Allo Taxi +968 24697997 City Taxi +968 95103152 KMS Taxi +968 99331397 Saud Taxi +968 96600955
The Central Post Office is located next to Muscat International Airport, off Sultan Quaboos Highway. Other post offices are available throughout Muscat, and often do not have an exact address. Post offices can be found next to the British Bank in Muscat, in the Ruwi Commercial area near the Telecommunications Company, on the Muttrah Hospital campus and at further locations (listed on the website). Post cards and stamps can be purchased throughout the city (at various shops in the Muttrah Souq, for example).
Pharmacies are available throughout the city. Muscat Pharmacy City Centre Mall (next to the airport) +968 24558704 Al Ghobra, Nr. Al Maha Filling Station +968 24497264 (Open 24 hours) Al Sarooj Commercial Centre +968 24695536 (Open 24 hours) Ruwi (opp. Police station) +968 24794186 / + 968 24791144 / +968 24702542 (Open 24 hours)