Top 5 things to visit
The oldest souq (open-air marketplace) in Oman, Muttrah is a must see even if you don’t like shopping. The market is filled with authentic Arabic shops selling a wide variety of products. Bargaining is normal here, and you can almost always get a better price. One thing to remember is that the souq closes between 1 and 5 pm, and most of the locals come after dinner.
Royal Opera House
Opened in 2011, this building is fairly modern, however boasts a traditional Islamic architectural design which is simply amazing. If you are not able to see a performance, which can sell out months in advance, a tour through the building will suffice! As well as tours and concerts they offer workshops, lectures and art programs.
The Grand Mosque
This great mosque was built in 2001 in honour of the Sultan Qaboos. Before strolling through its beautiful gardens, you can enjoy the novelty of walking along the second largest carpet in the world beneath an immense chandelier hanging overhead. Women have to cover their hair and shoes must be removed before entering some of the halls. Entrance is free, but children under the age of 10 are not allowed inside the mosque. The mosque opens early in the morning and closes at 11 at night.
Qurum National Park
Opened to the public in 1993, Qurum National Park is the largest park in the city with a lot to offer. With a rose garden, a lake where you can row a boat, fountains and beautiful nature, it is a great place to let your children play in the shadow of the trees while you get some rest.
The Muttrah Corniche
A 3 km seaside promenade located in the district of Muttrah, the Corniche is bustling with locals and tourists before and after the hottest hours of the day. At the north end you will find a fruit & vegetable market and a fish market.
Things to keep in mind
All expats, but especially women, should be cautious with what they wear. Cleavage, shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. Women's ankles and hair must be covered when visiting a mosque. Taking a shawl of pashmina with you can be very helpful.
Temperatures in Muscat can be unbearable in the summer (April until October). If you are planning to visit during this season make sure to bring light, baggy clothes. Fortunately, temperatures are cooler from November to March, averaging around 25 degrees. If you are travelling with kids, make sure they drink plenty of fluids and stay out of the sun as much as possible.
Try to stay calm in every situation, and keep your cool. Do not raise your voice or make angry hand gestures (forbidden by law in Oman). Locals will not appreciate it if you show your anger publicly, so try to avoid this.
If you keep these things in mind while visiting Muscat, you will have a great weekend for sure!