I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I decided to visit Muscat, Oman, I just knew that I wanted a long weekend break away from Dubai, I didn’t want to have to travel too far, but I did want to experience a new country. As I was researching things to do in Muscat, I began to get more intrigued.
Muscat is the capital city of Oman and just one hour flight from Dubai. It is surrounded by mountains and desert and sits on the Gulf of Oman. It was the most stunning flight there, watching the mountains from above. I honestly couldn’t stop looking out the window the entire way.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase anything through a link, I may earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying sales. This is at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.
Where to stay in Muscat
While it’s enticing to stay at a five star resort on the beach, if you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, you’ll need to look a little further inland.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on views. The Royal Tulip Muscat is four star hotel offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains, starting at $45 dollars a night.
Things to do in Muscat
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
This is the only mosque in Muscat that welcomes non-Muslims. Having been to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi a few times, I wasn’t sure if the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque would wow me as much. But it did!
There are two features that will leave you in awe. The chandelier and the carpet. What’s so cool about a carpet? It’s the second largest carpet in the world (it used to be the first but was overtaken by the carpet in the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi) and it took 600 Iranian women 6 years to complete.
The chandelier is just as majestic, with 1100 lightbulbs and 600,000 Swarofski crystals. It even has a staircase inside to allow for maintenance access!
Be sure to dress appropriately when visiting. Women must cover their shoulders, knees and hair, while men must wear long trousers.
Walk one of the golden beaches at sunset
Staying at the W Muscat allowed me to step outside and be on the beach immediately. One of my favorite things to do anywhere I go is walk the beach at sunset. Especially quiet ones like this Qurum Beach.
Looking out onto the Gulf of Oman, the beaches in Muscat are golden and the water turquoise.
If you have a car on your trip, I recommend heading out a little further away from Muscat to check out some of the more secluded beaches along the 2000km Oman coastline.
Day trip to Wadi Shab &Bimmah Sinkhole
Wadi Shab and the Bimmah Sinkhole were what I was most looking forward to seeing on my trip to Muscat. Although it’s a bit of a drive outside Muscat (approximately 90 minutes), it’s definitely worth it.
While you can rent a car and make the trip yourself, I met up with some friends for the day and we went with the Grey Line organised tour. By not driving ourselves, we could take advantage of the spectacular mountainous views along the way.
First up on the tour was the Bimmah Sinkhole, Also known as Hawiyat Najm which, in Arabic, means ‘the deep well of the star’, it was initially believed that the sinkhole was created by a meteorite. However, it was later found to be due to the collapse of the limestone.
The downside to going with a tour rather than driving there yourself, is that there will be crowds. It would be incredible to have this place all to yourself.
Many people went in for a swim but I just popped in for a photo. There are signs around the sinkhole asking people not to jump from the rocks into the water. It is pretty dangerous with jutting out rocks and shallow areas, but of course others were ignoring these signs.
Next up was Wadi Shab. Once the bus stopped, we had a 45 minute hike to get there. I can’t stress this enough – wear suitable footwear! We did not. While it’s not a very difficult hike, there are some loose rocks and parts where you need to climb over small mounds. Flip flops are not ideal for this.
Don’t forget to bring your swim suit and a towel as, once you reach Wadi Shab, there is the opportunity to swim.
The tour stops for lunch along the way, which is included, and drops you back to your hotel in the evening.
Dolphin Watching & Snorkeling
If there’s one thing I love, it’s boats and the water. There were two options for booking this tour, the dolphin watching & snorkeling tour or just the dolphin watching. Due to time constraints, I chose to just do the dolphin watching but ended up being sorry I hadn’t chosen to do the snorkeling too!
We must have caught them on a good day as there were so many dolphins. Some would come up close to our boat and then swim away, as if they were playing a game. They would swim alongside or in front of the boat when we were moving too.
Although it was only a two hour tour (the tour with snorkeling is 3 hours) it felt like so much longer. After finishing playing with the dolphins, we headed back to the marina. We were pretty hungry at this stage and happened to stumble upon a restaurant right there in marina – Marlins Restaurant – with great service, stunning views and gorgeous food!
Royal Opera House
Even if you don’t plan on seeing a concert, the Royal Opera House is still beautiful to see, with it’s unique contemporary Omani architecture.
For a guided tour of the Opera House, this Muscat by Night tour lets you explore the city’s illuminated landmarks, as well as dinner at Al Angham restaurant.
If you’re planning a trip and looking for things to do in Muscat, I can highly recommend the above activities. Which of these activities would you be most excited about?
For help planning your trip, here are my go to websites:
For activities: Get Your Guide
For hotels: Booking.com
For flights: Skyscanner
For travel insurance: World Nomads