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12 Hours in Muscat

Rich in culture, history and beauty, Muscat, Oman, is flanked by the Al Hajar Mountains and the blue-green waters of the Sea of Oman. This thriving capital city has so much to offer — from mosques to museums, shops, beaches and palaces — so even if you have only 24 hours to spend, you’ll find plenty to do before your return to the comfort of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Short on time? Spend your day exploring the best the city has to offer or indulging in a day of relaxation.

Man in traditional Omani attire grins as he pours Arabic coffee for a new guest

Day

1

IF YOU WANT TO RELAX
  • Breakfast with a View.

    After the market, head to Tche Tche Café for breakfast with a view of the sea. Enjoy coffee on the shaded terrace and a sampling of omelets, crepes and manaeesh, savory, quiche-like pastries. 

  • A Walk in the Park.

    At Qurum Natural Park, you’ll find space, solitude and natural beauty. Birds, manicured lawns and a large lake at the center of the park are among the draws here, and it’s possible to walk all the way to the beach to explore more of Muscat’s natural beauty.

  • Take Your Tea.

    Return to Al Bustan Palace for afternoon tea in the Atrium Tea Lounge, where you’ll find uniquely flavored tea as well as stunning décor. Traditional Omani high tea includes your choice of teas, as well as Zaatar spiced grilled vegetables, bread, tarts and scones, all in a stunning setting. 

  • Spa Retreat.

    Indulge in a decadent afternoon at the Al Bustan Palace Spa, by The Ritz-Carlton. Opt for a signature massage to soothe sore muscles and release tension.

  • Night Cap.

    Although alcohol is primarily prohibited in Oman, you may drink in hotel bars and many restaurants. Enjoy a nightcap at one of two bars inside Al Bustan Palace and admire its beautiful architecture and décor before turning in. 

IF YOU WANT TO EXPLORE
  • Go Fish.

    The Muscat Fish Market, in the Muttrah area of town, is busy at sunrise, as fishermen begin bringing in their morning catches. Walk through the stalls to find an authentic, traditional look at Omani culture.

  • History Lesson.

    Visit the Bait Al Zubair museum for an extensive look at Omani history and culture. This palatial space includes six buildings of exhibits, a garden and a miniature Omani village and displays one of the largest permanent heritage and art collections in the country. 

  • Appreciate Architecture.

    At Grand Mosque Sultan Qabos, you’ll be intrigued by the stunning design. Domes, towers and elaborate décor — the mosque is home to the second-largest carpet in the world — are among the draws. And although this building is new, having been inaugurated in 2001, it’s destined for a place in the history books.  

  • Find a Guide.

    Explore Muscat by night with a custom tour of the Old Town of Muttrah, the Old Town of Muscat and the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. See the illuminated domes of the mosque, take in beautiful views along Muttrah Corniche, browse Muttrah Souk and explore Al Alam Palace before dinner at a local restaurant. This four-hour tour departs at 4:30 p.m.