With two days in Muscat, you can enjoy the city’s landmarks, crystal-clear waters, and cultural attractions and still have time to explore Oman’s Hajar Mountains, forts, and time-warp villages. Here are some suggestions for an unforgettable 48 hours in this delightful Arabian city.
Get to know Muscat on a city tour, admiring must-sees such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Al-Jalali and Al-Mirani coastal forts, and Muttrah Corniche. Alternatively, catch a hop-on hop-off bus to explore more freely, or join a cruise on the Gulf of Oman, looking for wild dolphins or snorkeling in the aquamarine waters.
Some Muscat tours, including many snorkeling and dolphin-spotting tours, include lunch and extend into the afternoon. If you’re free, though, continue your sightseeing on a hop-on hop-off bus—a standard pass is valid for the entire day—or join an afternoon boat trip that spotlights Muscat’s rugged cliffs and steep-sided, hidden bays.
Come dusk, head out on an evening city tour. Muscat looks magical as multicolored lights illuminate its buildings and locals come out to stroll, eat, and shop. Most Muscat-by-night tours include time to shop at Muttrah Souk and finish with dinner at an Omani restaurant.
Oman’s northern interior beckons with mountains, towns, and forts built by its sultans and the Portuguese. Take one of the many full-day tours that showcase the sights and scenery. If history is your thing, head for Nizwa, the former capital, to discover its fort and souk before continuing to Jabreen Fort and the pottery town of Bahla. Alternatively, trace the loop of forts at Al Hazm, Rustaq, and Nakhl.
Continue your day trip this afternoon, heading deep inland. If you chose Jebel Shams, ride up this 9,824-foot (3,000-meter) mountain and marvel at Oman’s Grand Canyon below—a deep-sided gorge zigzagging to the far horizon. Several full-day tours highlight this natural wonder and round out the itinerary with stops at Nizwa and nearby villages.
Make your final night in Muscat memorable with a sunset dhow boat trip along the coast east of the capital. Watch the sun disappear below the mountains, enjoy the evening air, and view Muscat’s twinkling lights from the boat deck over fresh dates and soda.