Step into Muscat, the capital of Oman and surround yourself with an Arabian Nights setting in a modern context with traditional houses, well-kept winding roads and low-lying buildings. Beauty seems to have found a new address in Muscat where modernity walks hand in hand with tradition, lending a unique idiom and flavor to the city. Popular among evolved travellers, the city mesmerises visitors with its authenticity, natural beauty and rustic adventure terrain. Visit some of the exquisite mosques, forts, well-stacked museums, and bustling souqs or simply take a stroll at the silken beaches. Muscat is not only a history lover’s destination; it is also a gourmand’s favorite haunt and is well-known for its authentic hospitality. Located just 2 ½ to 3 hours away from India, Muscat is well connected via direct flights from various Indian cities and an ideal getaway for a long weekend.
We give you a list of must visit attractions in Muscat if you have just 48 hours to explore the city:
Royal Opera House in Muscat for musical performances
A state-of-the-art opera house exists in Muscat where world class operas and musicians perform round the year. The opera house complex consists of a concert theatre, auditorium, formal landscaped gardens, luxury restaurants and an art centre for musical, theatrical and operatic productions. Watching a performance at the opera house is a privilege one should not miss out on.
Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque for its architectural grandeur
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat is a real feast for the visual senses. The lavishly decorated mosque with its archways, courtyards, chandeliers, ornate doors, white marble floors and manicured lawns is an architectural marvel. The elegant carved arches lead to the courtyard and from there you can enter the huge main prayer hall, entirely decorated in white, blue and gold. An opulent Swarovski crystal chandelier hangs from the dome and the floor is covered with a handmade Persian carpet spanning 4,263 sq metres.
Amouage Perfume factory for its luxury scents
For a sniff of something exotic, head to Amouage factory where the most valued perfumes in the world are found. Amouage is a home-grown perfume brand that uses exotic ingredients like frankincense, roses, saffron and spices to make their trademark scent. Take a tour of the factory during which the guide explains the perfume production process. A whiff of this perfume is enough to feel like royalty.
Golf for sport lovers
Muscat has become the new golf destination in Oman and hosts three 18-hole grass golf courses located at Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club, Al Mouj Golf and Ghala Valley Golf Club.
Sailing and Dolphin watching
Oman is a sailor’s delight as it houses several world class yachts, cruises and a stunning marina. Take a coastal tour of Muscat and sail deep into the sea to watch hundreds of dolphins jump in the air acrobatically. There are also dive centers for professional divers to experience the beautiful marine life.
Explore Omani art and culture
The historical forts and castles of Oman are the country’s most striking cultural landmarks and a major draw for visitors today. Walk up to the gates of the Sultan’s ceremonial Al Alam Palace and get an insight into Omani life by visiting the Bait Al Zubair Museum or National Museum.
Middle East’s largest Aquarium
Built inside the Mall of Muscat, the aquarium is first of its kind in Oman and the largest in the Middle East covering 8,000 square meters of the mall and spanning three floors. The Oman aquarium showcases around 1000 types of Omani fishes and 30,000 marine animals including sharks, lobsters, turtles, rays, local corals, penguins and crocodiles. The main tank has a walk-through tunnel for visitors to get an up-close and personal look at the variety of fishes inside. In addition to the aquarium, the Mall of Muscat also has recreational city (Fabi Land), cinema complex with 14 lounges, more than 200 retail outlets and soon to open Snow Park.