Tradition and modernity merge in the soulful capital of Oman, the crown of the Arabian Peninsula. Resting on the sea, this quietly beautiful city is flanked by mountains and desert on one side and sandy beaches on the other, giving it the temperate climate of a Caribbean island. Every building is an architectural wonder featuring traditional domes and arabesque windows, and containing savory food and friendly natives.
Muscat is made up of three separate cities that have grown together over time. Ruwi, the commercial and diplomatic center. Muttrah, originally a modest fishing village that is home to the Muttrah Souq market. And Muscat proper, “the walled city,” home of the royal palaces.
As long as you avoid the scorching months of July and August, you can happily visit Muscat year-round. But, you’ll probably want to skip the Islamic holiday Ramadan. The entire city will be fasting, and most stores will shut during the day, making it difficult to grab a bite to eat.
From ancient palaces to stunning mosques, make sure you don’t miss Muscat’s most gorgeous historical sites. Wadi Shab is a breath of fresh air in this arid desert city. Featuring a lush waterfall and cool blue lagoons, this 40-minute hike attracts locals and tourists alike for a fun afternoon.
Buckle up, adrenaline junkies, and get ready for Dune Bashing. Professional drivers slide across the desert dunes at speeds guaranteed to make even the coolest cat hold on for dear life.
Despite its location in the desert, Muscat has tons of water activities to help you escape the heat. Head out on the water in search of Oman’s spinner dolphins, known for their acrobatic shows featuring leaps as high as ten feet and trademark barrel rolls. Or strap on your scuba gear and swim through 20+ dive sites and get to know Muscat’s underwater neighbors. You can also take a private charter to go deep water fishing, and come back with a prize that’s almost as tall as your tale.
Halwa is a gelatinous dessert that is a staple in Omani homes for a reason. Served with Kahwa, a somewhat bitter coffee, this pairing has many different variations which can be tasted at Al Hosni Omani Sweets and bought in over-the-top bejeweled containers as gifts for loved ones back home.