Why visit Muscat
Muscat is a warm, welcoming city surrounded by rugged, mountainous peaks and the beautiful beaches of the Arabian Sea. To look at, much of Muscat is very modern. With nearly a million inhabitants, it is Muscat that you will find Oman at its most contemporary, with luxurious 5 star hotels, exclusive restaurants and designer fashion boutiques. However, underneath this modern facade is the city's past remaining in the form of the port district of Muttrah and Muscat’s Old Quarter. Here you will find old Portuguese forts, colourful mosques and traditional Arabian buildings. Great tolerance is shown towards Western customs; however, Omani's retain strict morals concerning their own. The men still wear their floor length dishdashas with the women generally wearing open faced scarves. Visiting Muscat is an essential start or finish to a holiday to Oman and offers a greater understanding to this fascinating country.
Muscat's foundations date from the first century yet it didn't gain recognition until the fourteenth and fifteenth century when traders were attracted. The sixteenth century brought the Portuguese and until 1970 Muscat would lock its gates at night and citizens weren't allowed out.
Today the city is full of bustling souks selling piles of colourful cashmere shawls and antique silver jewellery. Sultan Quaboos has transformed the country and his greatest contribution being the Muscat's astonishing five towered Grand Mosque built in 1995 with his own money.
- Visit the Grand Mosque – a perfect blend of modern architecture and traditional values.
- Take a private speedboat for a morning of dolphin and whale watching.
- Relax on the beach at one of the stylish hotels.
- Play a game of golf on world class golf courses close to the city.
- Shop for scarf’s and frankincense in the traditional Muttrah souq.
- Visit the Muscat Royal Opera House and see world class performers grace its stage.
- Visit the a private home, now a museum, to see the collection of the Zubair family that showcases Oman's traditional heritage.
Beyond the Ordinary
Take a day trip up into the mountains to visit small villages and markets.