Oman’s capital rests overlooking the coast of the Gulf of Oman, tucked away among the country’s mountains. Discover a city surrounded by neat gardens - with streets lined by palm trees and crumbling Portuguese forts providing a tangible link to the past. Explore an elegant array of domes, minarets and marbled Arabic archways, as you’re immersed in a city where a traditional conservative outlook mingles with a pragmatic modern approach.
Despite a relative boom in recent years, Muscat has clung to its old-world Arabian charm. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is the main mosque and an iconic landmark of Muscat. No fewer than 20,000 people cram inside below its towering minaret, which soars upwards for a stunning 90 metres. In the evening, lights shine on the exterior, and the dome glows like a mirage floating above the city’s rooftops. White and grey marble gleams inside, and you won’t miss the showpiece chandelier - which weighs in at a staggering eight tonnes. The handwoven carpet is no less impressive, created using 1.7 million knots.
The Mutrah area is rich with local culture. Wander among the groaning tables of the lively fish market and busy Mutrah souk. Mutrah Fort was constructed during the Portuguese occupation of the 16th century and offers views back down over the harbour. Things can get a little sticky in this humid climate, so head to the beach to enjoy a gentle breeze and unwind. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of indulgent stretches of soft sand, met by pristine water. Swim with fish and turtles or relax below the palm trees. Or take a cruise to spot spinner dolphins playing in the waters offshore.