Flights to Muscat (MCT)

Flights to Muscat satisfy cravings for beaches and high-end dining. Make your way to the port for a culture fix.

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Flights to Muscat

Unlike some of its neighbours in the Gulf, Muscat is not massively built up or saturated with hotels and resorts. Yet the standard of hospitality here is high – nowhere more so than within the succession of beautiful beachside hotels. Surrounded by quality restaurants, beaches and high-end shopping options, it’s tempting never to venture further afield.

But to stay glued to the sunbed would mean missing out on what makes Muscat truly charming and unique: its carefully preserved history and traditions. Head for the port area of Muttrah and nearby Old Muscat, which teem with old forts from the Portuguese colonial days, and explore mosques, souks and museums. There’s a real sense of cultures coming together here, which is no surprise given the fact that Africans, Iranians, Europeans and, of course, Omanis made this alluring city their home centuries ago.

And, naturally, they came via the sea, which remains one of the biggest draws of this Omani city. These days, Muscat is a popular diving centre, both for those interested in the wrecks at Bandar Khayran and those who want to explore the marine life around the Daymaniyat Islands. If you want to keep your feet dry, dolphin-spotting trips can also be arranged.

It’s attractions like these that make flights to Muscat a top pick. Combined with a trip into Oman’s famous mountain regions, and it’s the kind of place where you could spend weeks and not get bored.

Understand Omani history

Of all the museums in Muscat, Bait Al Zubair is the most interesting, thanks to its collection of Omani weaponry, costumes and jewellery. There’s even a recreation of an Omani village in the self-styled ‘house that became a museum’, and the house itself is also intriguing as a symbol of old Omani wealth.

Al Saidiyah Street
+968 2208 4700

Go on marine adventures

The clear waters of the Gulf of Oman are popular with divers and water sport enthusiasts. Tourists can also go on dolphin- and turtle-watching trips. The best time to see the turtles is from July to October, when more than 20,000 of them arrive to Oman’s shores to lay eggs. One hotspot is the Daymaniyat Islands, an hour out of town.

Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve
Wadi Khuwayrat
Barka 320
+968 9955 6707

Watch a show at Royal Opera House

Muscat’s Royal Opera House, which opened in 2011, is proof that the city’s cultural output is growing by the year. Oman’s biggest and best entertainment venue, it attracts world-class performers. Add its landscaped gardens, cultural markets, high-end restaurants such as Al Angham and an arts centre, and it's a must-visit on the tourist trail.

Al Kharjiyah Street
Shatti Al Qurum
+968 2440 3300

Visit Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

Opened in 2001, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is a massive and fascinating destination for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. With detailed Islamic designs and a carpet that took 600 weavers four years to make, it can hold 20,000 believers at a time and offers a wonderful insight into the region’s culture.

Sultan Qaboos Street

Head for the hills

Muscat has many attractions, but no trip to Oman is complete without an excursion to the beautiful – and much cooler – mountain regions. Go through the Al Hajar Mountains to visit the ancient city of Nizwa and the fortresses built to protect towns, oases and date plantations from tribal aggression.

Nizwa Fort

Explore Muttrah Souq

Shopping in the Gulf isn’t all about high-end malls. The Muttrah Souq is a throwback to simpler times, with Omani and Indian traders hawking silver, gold, carpets, textiles and spices. It’s fascinating to experience, and bartering is all part of the fun. Peek into the nearby fish market if you’re there in the morning.

Hellat Scoral Lawatiya
Al Bahri Road
Muttrah Corniche

Mumtaz Mahal (Indian)

Mumtaz Mahal has been a Muscat institution for years now, offering good food and amazing views from a hilltop overlooking the city. A renovation has raised the experience to a whole new level, but the food remains a combination of classic dishes and innovative specialties. And the prices are reasonable too.

Way 2601
+968 24 605 979

Ubhar (Omani)

For an introduction to Omani cuisine, try Ubhar. This is one of most refined places to get a taste of Omani food – check out the camel biryani. There are also Arabic and European dishes on the menu. They do takeaways too.

Al Kharjiyah Street
+968 2469 9826

The Beach Pavilion (Seafood)

Very much on a par with the Beach Restaurant at Chedi Muscat, a meal here is an idyllic experience. Be sure to book a table alfresco, with the sandy location lit by torches and no sound but the gently lapping waves. Happily, the food is just as memorable.

Al Bustan Street
Quron Beach
+968 2479 9666

Beach Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat (Seafood)

Everything at The Chedi Muscat is five-star, but the romance of looking out on to the Gulf of Oman at the Beach Restaurant makes it very special. As the name suggests, it’s a seafood menu in the main. Try the grilled platter of lobster tail, red mullet, sea bream, jumbo prawn and calamari.

North Ghubra 32
Way No. 3215
18th November Street
+968 2452 4400

Bait Al Bahr (Seafood)

Another beachfront restaurant, Bait Al Bahr’s wide balconies are the perfect setting for some seriously impressive seafood dishes. This is more of a casual dining experience, and all the better for it. They even have lobster ice cream.

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
+968 24 776 666

Al Angham (Omani)

Located right by the Royal Opera House, Al Angham is a great pre-show choice – a really elegant dining hall offering Omani cuisine. The fish biryani is a firm favourite, cooked and presented beautifully. Be sure to book in advance – Al Angham doesn’t take walk-ins.

Royal Opera House
Between Al Shati Street and Al Kharjiyah Street
Shati Al Qurum
+968 220 7777

The Chedi Muscat

Set right on the beach, The Chedi Muscat is an elegant hotel with six restaurants, a Balinese spa, health club and three swimming pools. Even though it has the aura of an exclusive, secluded retreat, it's actually just a short taxi ride from the city centre.

North Ghubra 32
Way No. 3215
18th November Street
+968 2452 4400

Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa

Barr Al Jissah actually has three hotels. But for classic get-away-from-it-all luxury, go for Al Husn, where the rooms are palatial – literally – and the private beach is stunning. Its two restaurants are among the best in Muscat, and the city centre is only 15 minutes away.

Off Al Jissah Street
+968 24 776 666

InterContinental Muscat

The InterContinental is located in the centre of Muscat’s residential, government and diplomatic quarter. It is set on 35 acres of palm gardens and facilities include gym, sauna, Jacuzzi and two floodlit tennis courts.

Al Kharjiya Street
Al Shati Area
+968 2468 0000

Grand Hyatt

There is only one word to describe Grand Hyatt: opulent. This Arabian hotel does everything to look after its guests, and its location on the white sands of Shatti Al Qurum Beach is just as amazing as its wonderful rooms, restaurants and pools.

Shatti Al Qurum Diplomatic District
Muscat 133
+968 2464 1234

Crowne Plaza Muscat

A seaside resort with an enviable location on the cliff tops of Qurum Heights, Crowne Plaza Muscat is both an elegant retreat and a convenient base for those who want access to the main business and ministerial districts. Its panoramic terrace, pool and private beach are gorgeous, and the leafy gardens offer tranquillity.

+968 2466 0660

Al Bustan Palace

Muscat is ringed by out-of-town retreats, and Al Bustan – nestled between rugged mountains and the sea – is one of the best. It offers a neat blend of modernity, comfort and Arabian hospitality, as you'll see in everything from the atrium to the rooms and restaurants. The kilometre-long private beach tops off a glorious resort.

Al Bustan Street
Quron Beach
+968 2479 9666

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