12 Hours In Muscat
Muscat is a place of majestic beauty and wonder, filled with ancient buildings, classic Arabic styling and luxurious shopping malls. Below, the Cruiseabout team have compiled a guide showing how passengers can spend a day exploring Oman’s famous port capital.
8am – Visit The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Opened in 2001, this must-see attraction is one of the country’s most significant spiritual and cultural sites. A remarkable architectural feat, the mosque covers approximately 416,000 square metres and can accommodate 20,000 worshippers.
The structure boasts everything from Islamic geometric frameworks, stained glass panels and inscriptions of holy texts to an elaborate Persian rug, which was made over a period of 27 months and weighs 21 tonnes. The main prayer room features a dome that stretches 50 metres above the floor.
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is open to non-Muslim visitors each day, except Friday, from 8:30am to 11am. Visitors to the mosque should dress modestly; women must cover their hair and no visible tattoos are permitted.
10am – Walk Along The Mutrah Corniche
Head back along the coast and grow accustomed to the hustle and bustle of Muscat’s market life with a stroll along the Mutrah Corniche. This seafront promenade is popular with locals and tourists alike. In the morning, a lively fish market can be found here.
11am – Explore The Mutrah Souk
Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Muscat at this vibrant marketplace, where wares of all kinds can be found. Getting lost in the twists and turns of the souk is half the fun, while inspecting the market’s various goods – from spices and scarves to clothing and jewellery – is a pleasant way to while away your time.
12:30pm – Enjoy A Local Feast
Wander the streets in search of a restaurant at which to refuel and enjoy local Omani cuisine. Chefs often blend Indian and Arabian flavours and typical Omani dishes include gabooli, a mix of rice, dried fruit, mutton or beef, and hares, a meat stew. For something sweet, opt for dates and halwa, a dessert commonly found in India.
2:30pm – Gain New Insights At The Bait Al Zubair
This first-class museum is home to an assortment of artefacts spanning several centuries and provides great insight into Oman’s culture and traditions, both past and present. The complex also houses a garden complete with a miniature Omani village, a cafe, and a gift shop.
The museum is open Saturday through Thursday, from 9:30am to 6pm. It’s best to check the opening times during holidays and Ramadan.
4pm – Discover The Al Alam Palace
Situated in the heart of Old Muscat, the Al Alam Palace boasts a stunning blue and gold façade that never fails to capture the eye of visitors. While the inner grounds of the Palace is off-limits to tourists, you can still spend time wandering along the gates and taking photos of this architectural beauty, along with the nearby gardens and government buildings.
4:45pm – Unwind At Al Riyam Park
Featuring a playground and small amusement park, this verdant and picturesque park is a popular gathering place for Omani families and tourists. Al Riyam Park is also famous for its unique monument, which is in the shape of a giant incense burner!
6pm – Dinner And Dessert
Finish your day in Muscat with a final sumptuous meal in a local restaurant.
8pm - Return To Your Ship
After a full day of adventure and new experiences, head back to your cruise ship where rest and relaxation await you.
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