Cruise Port Atlas | Port Qaboos (Muscat), Oman Day Trips | Attractions

Port Qaboos (Muscat), Oman Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Muscat: Voyages of Discovery, Voyages to Antiquity, Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess, Costa, MSC Cruises

Key Attractions: Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Royal Opera House Muscat, Muscat Museums, Al Jaleli Fort, Al Mirani Fort, Nakhal Fort, Armed Forces Museum, Qurum Beach, Al Hooti Cave, Wadi Bani Khalid, Golf Courses, Scuba locations

Muscat Architecture

Port to Grand Mosque - approximately 15 KM
Port to Opera House - approximately 8 KM
Link to Full-Page Google Map

As in many Islamic countries, the mosques in Muscat are the most striking structures and none is more impressive than the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque which was completed in 2001. The Mosque has 5 minarets representing the five pillars of wisdom and includes a prayer rug that is the second largest carpet in the world and took 4 years to complete. The chandelier is the second largest in the world. 20,000 worshipers can attend a service at the mosque. Saturdays-Thursdays non-Muslims can visit the Mosque between 830am-11am. The second recent building of architectural significance is the Royal Opera House of Muscat which opened at the end of 2011 and brings a mix of local and international high culture to the Sultanate. The building offers not only opera but performances of ballet and performance art from cultures around the world. The building is built in an ornate Omani style and the grounds include beautiful gardens.

        

   

Photo of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque by Ian and Wendy Sewell

Omani Culture and History

Port to Museums - 3 - 5 KM
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Muscat has a significant number of museums that focus on natural history, national culture and Omani and Muscat history. These museums are located in the Muscat city area and in the Ruwi district. Among the most popular are the Omani Natural History Museum, the National Museum of Oman, the Children's Museum, the Muscat Gate Museum (above) and Bait Al Zubair. Admission ranges from 0,5 Omani Rials to 2 OMRs for adults.

        

   

Photo of Muscat Gate Museum by Pranav21391

Military Attractions

Port to Al Mirani and Al Jaleli Forts - approximately 5 KM
Port to the Sultan's Armed Forces Museum - approximately 3 KM
Port to Nakhal Fort - approximately 70 KM
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Within Greater Muscat there are a number of fortresses that offer tours including the Mirani Fort and the Jaleli Fort that overlook the Royal Palace and the Gulf of Oman. One of the most popular museums in the city is the Sultan's Armed Forces Museum in the Riwa district. Outside the city you can visit the Nakhal Fortress, strategically located at the base of the mountains.

        

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Photo of Nakhal Fort by Andries Oudshoorn

Muscat Beaches

Port to Qurum Beach - approximately 7 KM
Port to Al Bustan Beach - approximately 10 KM
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The long rocky coastline of Oman is broken frequently with flat sandy areas that invite beach goers and sun-lovers. The most popular large beaches in the immediate vicinity of Muscat are Qurum Beach (adjacent to the Crowne Plaza Hotel) and the Al Bustan Beach (southeast of the port and near the Al Bustan Palace Hotel). Between Port Qaboos and the Muscat area is the Mutrah Corniche, a beach road that offers parks that are great for a picnic. This is not a sandy beach area, but it is a great way to enjoy the beautiful seaside views.

     

   

Photo of Qurum Beach by Pranav21391

Natural Sights

Port to Al Hooti Cave - approximately 150 KM and 1 hour
Port to Wadi Bani Khalid - approximately 200 KM
Link to Full-Page Google Map

The rugged and mountainous terrain of the Muscat region of Oman includes a coastline with impressive cliffs and rock formations and underwater habitats (see Outdoor Activities below). Within driving distance of the port are several Wadi (river beds...often dry) and some impressive caverns with geological and natural wonders. The Al Hoota Cave is a two hour drive from Muscat, on the southern side of an impressive range which the road follows. The accessible part of the cave is about 1 km long and ends in a lake that contains unique blind fishes of various species. The verdant Wadi Bani Khalid is a narrow valley between steep rocky mountains about 200 KM southeast of Muscat which offers waterfalls, blue-green pools, and palm tree lined shores.

        

   

Photo of the entrance to the Hooti Cave by Nabieh

Outdoor Sports

Port to The Wave (golf course) - approximately 25 KM
Port to Ghala Golf - approximately 20 KM
Port to Bandar Khayran Reserve - approximately 40 minutes by boat
Link to Full-Page Google Map

Tourists and wealthy residents can enjoy a nice round of golf in the Muscat area’s several impressive championship courses including the Greg Norman designed The Wave course, on the shore not far from Qurum Beach, and the newly renovated Ghala Golf Course, which was previously a brown (sand) course. The natural terrain of Oman lends itself beautifully to golf courses with its undulating surface.

Scuba diving is a very popular activity for visitors. Bandar Khayran Reserve is a popular dive location accessible only by boat 40 minutes from the port.

              

   

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible