The capital city of Oman, Muscat is the place to go for a taste of ‘real Arabia’. Haggle in the markets, explore the palaces and forts and enjoy the feeling of discovering what has as yet remained widely undiscovered by the western world. You’ll even notice the locals staring at you with an amiable curiosity – they’re still not completely used to tourists, and that’s got to be a good sign…
AT A GLANCE
Sand dunes, sea and mountains surround this simultaneously modern yet classical capital city. Here in Muscat you can wander along winding roads dotted with centuries old markets before retiring to a five star hotel. So, get ready for the cliché – this really is the ‘’best of both worlds’’ if you love authenticity with a side of modern comforts.
WHAT TO SEE
Whilst you’re here, it’s worth taking a look at the area of Mutrah where you can stroll around the vibrant fish market and ogle at the rows upon rows of tuna and shellfish. Just a bit along from the fish market there’s also the labyrinthine Mutrah Souk, one of the oldest in the Arab world, selling everything from gold to pashminas, so prepare to get your haggle on, the local Omanis love a spot of hard bargaining.
Pods of dolphins visit the shores of Oman all year round and the chance of spotting these playful mammals cavorting amongst the waves is almost guaranteed whenever you go. There are plenty of trips you can hop on to for a few hours, or even a whole day if you want, so if you love a bit of wildlife (who doesn’t love dolphins?) this is a great way to spend some time in Muscat.
Finally, we can’t help but point you in the direction of Sultan Quaboos Grand Mosque. Although a relatively new construction (it was finished in 2001) the sheer scale and magnificence of this mosque is enough to take your breath away. Home to one of the largest hand woven prayer carpets in the world and an incredibly beautiful (and huge) chandelier, it’s hard to leave the building not feeling humbled, regardless of religion.
WHY WE LOVE IT
A place that feels a million miles away from the glamour and grandeur of Dubai, what we loved the most about Muscat was that it neither ignores its heritage in the quest to modernise, yet nor does it stubbornly reject all that modernity has to offer. Instead, Muscat is a prime example of a destination that elegantly combines the two, enabling it to offer its visitors an authentic taste of Arabia with all the comforts of the modern world close at hand.