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Top 15 Places To Visit In Muscat

Muscat, Oman

Muscat, Oman’s port capital, sits on the Gulf of Oman surrounded by mountains and desert. With a history dating back to antiquity, it mixes high-rises and upscale shopping malls with clifftop landmarks such as the 16th-century Portuguese forts, Al Jalali and Mirani, looming over Muscat Harbor.

From glittering sandy beaches to ancient forts, one can never run out of places to visit in Muscat. While Qurum Beach, with its food shacks and watersports, is perfect for those looking for a happening day out, the quieter beaches of Yitti or Al Bastun are ideally suited for travelers seeking a little quiet time. If you’re not one for the beach, you can also spend a happening day touring the many ancient forts around Muscat, with the Al Jalali Fort and the Mutrah Fort being only two of the many here.

Here are the Top 15 Places to Visit in Muscat, which are worth visiting on a Muscat trip:

1. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is Oman's biggest mosque with an area of 416,000 m2 and a capacity of over 20,000 worshippers; 8,000 people can fit inside and the courtyard can easily hold up to 12,000 people. This mosque is one of the few mosques in Arabia which allows entry for non-Muslim visitors. The mosque is a wonder of modern architecture and is a fusion of Omani, Islamic, and Middle-Eastern architectural styles.

2. Wadi Bani Khalid

Being one of the most famous Wadis of Oman, Wadi Bani Khalid is popular for its large pools of emerald green water surrounded by tall palm trees. Unlike other wadis in Oman that are dry in the summer months, Wadi Bani Khalid is known to have a constant flow of water throughout the year. The rocky canyon and cliffs of the Hajar Mountains make it breathtakingly beautiful and are often touted as the "desert paradise". Located just 2.5 km from Muscat, this is a favorite amongst hikers and is also a famous picnic spot.

3. Mutrah Corniche

Snaking its way along the coast, Mutrah Corniche is one of the most loved places in Muscat among locals and tourists alike. Offering splendid views of the sea, and the seaside promenade, the Corniche appears especially resplendent during the sunset as the waning light hits the shimmering waters at low angles. The Corniche crosses a few pristine gardens and sculpture parks along the way. The northern end of the Corniche has a little local Souq, that visitors can enjoy at their own leisure.

4. The Royal Opera House

A cultural goldmine, the Royal Opera House in Muscat invites all to a luxurious evening out. Clad in white marble exteriors and lavishly decorated theatres, the Opera House exudes opulence. The Opera House conducts musical performances on a regular basis, with a special emphasis on traditional Omani music. Several guided tours are offered here as well. The Opera House, home to over 50 high-end stores, is also among the most popular shopping places in Muscat.

5. Yiti Beach

Yiti Beach is one of the secluded and lesser-known beaches in Oman. It is well-known as a camping site outside the city of Muscat with small cliffs, coves, rocky edges, and a fairly isolated environment that’s ideal for parties or couples who’d enjoy their privacy. The beach has gorgeous soft sand and clear waters with fishing, swimming, camping, and simple day-trip picnic opportunities available. Located around 28 km from the city center of Muscat.

6. Qurum Beach

One of Oman’s most popular beaches, Qurum is a regular haunt among watersport lovers and leisure swimmers alike. The endless stretches of golden white sands are nearly always busy with joggers and strollers. The beach is also well known to command some of the best sunset views, making it a popular destination for evening walks. A number of food shacks and restaurants line the sands here, catering to the tired guests after a happening day outdoors.

7. Al Mirani Fort

Al Mirani Fort in Muscat was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. It, along with neighboring Al Jalali Fort, looks out to the Gulf of Oman and would guard the port of Muscat in the past. The Mirani Fort and Al Jalali Fort are located on either side of the palace. Although closed to the public, visitors can view this fort from outside. This fort was extremely instrumental in the downfall of the Portuguese. The fort has many ancient war tools on display.

8. Al Jalali Fort

Built during the Portuguese occupation of the 1580s, the AL Jalali Fort guards the harbor entrance towards the east. Accessible only via a steep flight of steps, the fort is a perfect place to enjoy a quiet self-guided hike. Although once serving as a prison, the Al Jalali Fort now serves as a Museum of Omani Heritage that is accessible only to dignitaries visiting the country. Exhibits at the Museum include cannons, muskets, maps, and much more. During military occasions, bagpipers perform at the fort battlements.

9. Bimmah Sinkhole

Brimming with dazzling turquoise water, the Bimmah Sinkhole is one of the most beautiful places in Muscat. Although the sinkhole was formed through years of rock erosion, local legends still hold that the swimming hole replaced a cavern that was created when a meteorite hit the spot.

As a result, the Bimmah Sinkhole was named Haweat Najm, or The Falling Star, by the Omani locals. A large concrete staircase leads all the way from the rock precipice to the pool. Although most people travel to the Sinkhole just to admire its beauty, the swimming hole is perfect for a quick dip. If you’re daring enough, you can also try your hand at cliff diving from the surrounding clifftops.

10. Omani And French Museum

Honoring the close relationship between the Omani and the French, the erstwhile Sultan Qaboos of Oman established the Omani And French Museum in 1992. The Museum is housed within the former residence of the French Consul, Bait Faransa, in the Old Quarters of the city. The collection at the Museum includes several historic photographs, along with some French ships, furniture, costumes, and much more.

11. Qurum Natural Park

Brimming with lush, flowering gardens, Qurum Natural Park is among the top tourist places in Muscat to enjoy a day picnic. The expansive green park, dotted with artificial waterfalls and pools, is interrupted only by a beautiful lake in the center. Boating is a popular activity in the lake here, which remains full throughout the year. The Natural Park features a small amusement park for very little children, with a variety of fun interactive rides. The mangroves here remain brimming with birds during the season, making it a must-visit for birdwatchers and photographers alike.

12. Mutrah Souq

Mutrah Souq is one of the oldest markets in the Arab world. This antiquity has perhaps increased its beauty, magic, and allure. Mutrah Souk or Al Alam Souk has been named after darkness because the crowded stalls and lanes do not allow the sun's rays to infiltrate through during the day and the shoppers need lamplights to see where they were going. The market used to be a source of supply for Omanis where they could buy their needs in the 1960s for simpler life requirements.

13. City Centre Qurum

Those who wish to experience an ultimate shopping session can visit the City Centre Qurum. From a food court to a gaming arena and from high-end brands to flea shops, this place has it all. With so many options around, the explorer in you will surely find something to explore and enjoy. Considered one of the top shopping destinations, this place attracts both locals as well as tourists equally. Apart from this, City Centre Qurum also houses “Magic Planet” which will surely keep you entertained for a while.

14. Al Araimi Boulevard

Al Araimi Boulevard is a destination for leisure shopping that has been designed along the lines of Westfield, London. The mall occupies a large area measuring 187,000 square meters spread over two floors in the prime location of Al Khoud within Muscat.

More than 200 retail stores are open for business here at present with a family entertainment center occupying the remaining 6,000 square meters. A 10-screen cinema greets the movie buffs inside the mall with 4D cinema being the main draw. Families find it convenient to do their household shopping at the Carrefour hypermarket and to drop into any one of the casual restaurants to enjoy their dinner.

15. Muscat Grand Mall

Situated in the heart of Muscat city, the Muscat Grand Mall is one of the largest shopping malls in the city. It has been designed to witness a convergence of modern brands and departmental stores and other outlets along with a traditional Arabic souk at place. The panoramic oasis present at the center of the mall makes up for a good photography spot. Being close to the Arabic Sea, one can clearly observe a panoramic view of the sea from the top floor of Grand Muscat Mall.

Besides this, there is much more to explore in Muscat!!!

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