Oman is a relatively new country with so much to offer unknown to the rest of the world. Not much is out there regarding places to visit in Oman with currently existing literature is mainly derived from another tourist’s perspective. Unsatisfied with the listings made by other tourists out there I have made a list of this list of the Top 7 Places to Visit in Muscat: From a Local’s Perspective.
The Top 7 Places to Visit in Muscat:
- Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat
- Royal Opera House Muscat
- The Walk at Al Mouj
- The Chedi Muscat
- Mutrah Corniche & Port, Muscat
- Al Sifah Beach
- Shangrilah Bar il Jassah
Taste of Oman Luxury Holiday
1) Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the largest of three Grand Mosques in Oman built and named after his Majesty the Sultan. The mosque took 6 years to complete and was inaugurated in 2001 in celebration of the King’s 30 year rule in the country. It can accommodate 20,000 worshipers at once and boasts one the most beautiful architectures while also housing a public library on its premises. The mosque is designed with a blend of Islamic, Persian and Omani architecture patterns and had the largest handmade rug in the world (now second to the UAE ) with one of the world’s largest chandeliers!
During prayer room visitation hours one should remember to dress conservatively. Meaning, no tight clothing, not showing skin and have a head scarf to cover one’s hair. Also, given that mosques don’t allow shoes in, and that the rug took 400 woman 6 years to weave, be prepared to take off your shoes at the main entrance of the prayer room.
Entrance to the mosque is free.
2) Royal Opera House Muscat
The Royal Opera House is the most beautiful work of architecture and luxury to be found in Muscat and all of Oman. Located 3 minutes away from Shatti il Qurum beach,it hosts some of the biggest international shows in the region. There is a strict dress code if you are attending any event which prohibits, jeans, slippers, sneakers, t shirts and so on.
However, you can always visit the exterior of the Opera house to bask at this architectural marvel, or better yet, hope in into on of the cafes found on premise. Britain’s Richoux Cafe or France’s FAUCHON on are some of the cutest cafe you would find on site. If you happen to visit during the summer month then there is also a bar on site to calm your nerve. Caramel Restaurant & Lounge is one of the hottest in the bar scene in the country and if a local’s favorite.
3) The Walk at Al Mouj
The Walk at Al Mouj is a must visit while staying as Muscat as it is one of the nicer area to explore for your Instagram and your stomach. The Wave is a foreign investment on the coastal side of Muscat that boasts a world class golf course, million dollar housing, International 5 star hotels and The Walk, with its vast array of dining options.
Head over to Gloria Jeans coffee for an afternoon drink and have dinner with the locals at Zahr el- Laymoun, a Dubai based Lebanese restaurant that doubles as an outdoor hookah lounge. If you are in the mood for fine dining and sceneries the Kempenski hotel has Indian and Thai offerings that serve wine while sitting seaside.
4) The Chedi Muscat
The Chedi Muscat is one of Oman’s most iconic names in the hospitality industry and hand’s down a local’s favorite. Set in the heart of Muscat, the hotel overlooks the water of the Gulf of Oman from its private beach. The hotel draws in Muscat locals looking for a mental break or a cold drink, it offers views that you would expect to find in the South of France if only they were sprinkled with Middle Eastern charm found in Oman. The Beach Restaurant on-site offers Mediterranean cuisine and alcoholic beverages on the seaside.
Tip: The Chedi is notorious for being a prime Instagram spot for the bloggers visiting Oman. Head over on your leisure day and watch the sun set on the hotel’s private beach.
5) Mutrah Corniche & Port Muscat
Mutrah is one of the culturally important districts of Muscat. Prior to the development era starting in the 1970’s in Muscat, Mutrah was the trade hub of the city as it harbors one of the most important ports of Oman’s early times.What was once home to Muscat & Oman (Oman’s official name at the time) richest merchant, still retains some of its old town feel. Although you won’t find much authentic Omani artifacts sold at its Souq as one would find at Nizwa souq, you could still witness the art of bargaining lingering from the early days.
Situated at the edge of the 4 km water front is an old watch water that resembles a fort of some kind. Park you car there and climb to the top for some of the most magnificent water views you could find in the area. Till you make the climb you would not even come to notice how turquoise blue and green the water really is. Make sure you visit in the afternoon or towards sunset so you can catch these views. Ideally, you would make a quick stop there on your way to Sifa Beach or Shangri-la Hotel.
PS: This insider tip is not covered in any of the travel blog I have come across. Thank me by sharing this if you end up going there!
6) Al Sifa Beach
Al Sifa Beach is a popular destination for day trips and partying by locals in Muscat. It is a 45 minutes drive from Muscat and offers a spectacular view of a secluded beach surrounded by mountains. Al Sifa Beach is primarily a young crowd destination where their main activities consist of DIY BBQ’s, swimming in the beach or having a drink. Jebel Sifa hosts a popular establishment in Muscat by the name of The Bank. In addition, Oman offers the privelege of camping and driving anywhere you desire on Al Sifah Beach. Finding a place to sleep after a beach party excursion would be no issue.
Unlike other beaches and beach establishments found in Muscat, where the locals tend to be conservative around their environment, Al Sifa is let loose kind of getaway. As such if you happen to be on a bro trip while visiting Oman, then Sifa is the place to visit!
7) Shangri-La Bar Al Jissah
If you happen to be visiting Oman on a high budget, you probably are already living there. Shangri-la Resort & Spa is more than just a hotel for tourist to stay in, it’s a major attraction for the local’s of Muscat. Be it a $25 breakfast or a $100 hangout, this hotel is worth every penny of it. As with most of the upscale resorts in Oman a private beach is a necessity. However, when you combine this private beach with rock formations and sea cruises you’re in for a good time.
It’s hard to classify the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa as a hotel; it’s an experience. You are cocooned by trees that guide you to your hotel from the second you drive in. Not to forget the Turquoise-blue waters that outline the scenery like you’ve never seen before in Oman. There are several restaurants within the hotel and the choices are wide for your cuisine of choice. Each restaurant comes with a view handpicked to match the cuisines that is offered.
As you can tell by now, Muscat’s Omani locals have a high standard of life and with that comes a high standard of luxury. Many establishments across Muscat maintain a high standard of cleanliness, decor and luxury. Be it eating $5 hummus plate for 3 people at Bait Al Turky, you won’t expect to dine in nothing but high standards of hospitality. Without being said, It is only appropriate that you are informed of the accommodation choices available at your disposal to enjoy your experience to the max.
Muscat Tours – Things To Do
If you are looking at visiting Muscat with a tour guide operator, here is a list of tours and day trips from Muscat.
Muscat In One Day
Avoid the Hop on hop off bus, seriously! It misses the most vital things to see in Oman and is a watered down tour of what is supposed to be a Muscat 101 kind of tour. Instead, for half the price of the bus tour, I recommend the following tour.
It covers the Grand Mosque, fish market, ministry district, museum, King’s palace and the a couple of forts.
Tip: If you are by yourself on this tour, ask the driver to stop by the Royal Opera House as well.
Tour duration: 4 hours
Nighttime Muscat Sight Seeing Tour
There is just something delicious about Muscat during the night time. Whether its the smell of fine cuisine in the street or the light that cover the city, Muscat is a night time city.
Facts are that Omanis are best described as nocturnal beings. Being the country with the third hottest summer in the world keep the local comfortable under the A.C’s. Which is also why Muscat beaches are ALWAYS empty before 5 pm.
A night tour stands to its own right when visiting Muscat.
Tour duration: 4 hours
For a complete list of affordable day trips from Muscat, read along here.
Places To Visit In Muscat During Winter
During winter, in adittion to the above listed places, I recommend visiting:
- Sliders Station restaurant in Al Qurum
- Love Street Muscat
- The Royal Opera House
The above places have the best views dining views in Muscat and are loved by the locals.
Where Should I Stay?- Hotels in Muscat City$80-120/night
Modern Hotels (under $120/night)
The Hotels mentioned below are all situated in downtown Muscat & offer the best value for money.Park inn offers a rooftop bar (one of the very few in Oman) and an American steak dining option. Ibis is a 5 minutes walk from Park inn with City hotel being closer to the main road. All 3 all within close proximity to all of the attractions and have been listed in order of preferential recommendation.
- Park inn Hotel Muscat
- City Seasons Hotel Muscat
- Ibis Hotel Muscat
Luxury Hotels in Muscat
Kempinski Hotel Muscat is located at The Wave establishment. It is one of the newest hotels to open in Muscat and offers valet parking for everyone who dines there. If you are looking for an eat,pray, love where the eat is the most important part for you, then I highly suggest staying at the Kempinski Hotel.
The Chedi Muscat. As someone who grew up on the same beach enjoyed by this hotel, I have to recommend it as key to tasting the joys the local’s are afforded on an everyday basis. It is situated next to the second most affluent neighborhood of the Sultanate, Al Azaiba, and offers proximity to the residential lives of Omani local’s.
Grand Hyatt Muscat overlooks the infamous so-called Love Street the local’s love so much. It sits a top a mountain that overlooks Love Street, the Ocean & the city of Muscat!
Visiting with family? Read our guide her
Is there any other place you like but is not included in the list? let us know in the comments below!