- Place or Religious Monument
- Castle and fortress
- Place or Historical Monument
Muscat is the gateway to the Sultanate. It may be surprising at first glance, with its highways and other modern buildings. To capture the soul of the city and notice its charm, it is better to go to the Muttrah district, which has traditional architecture (blue and yellow faience domes and ornate balconies), a souq, and a nice promenade built along a bay.
While browsing the souq's slightly less touristy paths, I had the chance to stumble upon the area of the manufacturers of kummas (the Omanis' traditional hat). This part of the souk is particularly authentic, and a kumma is a good gift idea when having a stay in Oman.
The modern city has interesting monuments such as the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the Opera, which are also worth a visit.
Muscat's interesting character lies in this big gap between tradition and modernity, which is fairly typical of the country.
Muscat is the first place you have to see in Oman. It lets you soak up the local culture and get adapted prior to exploring the country. It's a very open town, there are lots of foreigners and the locals are very tolerant and open minded. Woman do not have to wear a veil. You can walk around in a t-shirt and trousers without any problems. But you should avoid provocation and not wear low cut tops or mini-shorts (despite the heat). The only places that will tolerate short clothing are the big hotel chains, night clubs and big restaurants - in other words, the places where foreigners and expatriates go.
When you are in Muscat don't miss Muttrah souk. It's in the old town. It's the perfect place to explore Omani culture. Once you've walked round the souk you can stroll round the traditional quarter. Avoid open displays of wealth (such as the latest camera hung around your neck) because these are poor areas. Theft is almost non-existent in Oman but it is simply more respectful.
Another place you should see are Muscat's beaches. I especially liked Yiti. It's still a wild beach that not many tourists know about. It's not easy to get to, and it's better to go there in your own car, rather than being dependent on taxis.