Three days in Muscat


Oman is a culturally rich destination with diverse landscapes and enough to see and do to spend weeks on end exploring. The majority of travelers dedicate 10 days to two weeks in Oman when crafting an itinerary but there are travelers with extra limited time making Muscat the only stop as part of a larger itinerary (or a quickie weekend away, depending on where you’re based). The itinerary below works well if you’re in Oman for solely your three days in Muscat but it also works well as part of a larger itinerary if your three days in Muscat are the precursor to exploring more of the Omani landscape. Muscat helps lay the foundation for what is to come, giving travelers insight into the region’s cultural heritage and history, the country’s unique cuisine, and the beauty that lays around every bend in this gem of a destination.

Day 1: Beachside R&R in Muscat

Three days in Muscat

Depending on where you’re arriving from, your first day may be a half or full day — whatever it is, make the most of it by soaking up the sun in the Omani capital! While Muscat brings to mind souqs, mosques, and Old Arabia, it also has a gorgeous beach scene perfect for R&R.

We chose Al Bustan Palace as our home base in Oman (a great choice for Bonvoy points collectors), which was a great beachfront location to enjoy. Transparently, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Muscat. We chose Six Senses Zighy Bay as our ‘beach’ destination within Oman (Salalah could work for this, too) but sort of discounted Muscat for the beach. Al Bustan is located on a beautiful stretch of beach and while the overall vibe felt more pool focused than beach-focused, the moral is that spending time lounging in the sun and enjoying Oman’s natural landscapes is absolutely a draw in Muscat for many visitors. During our visit in late April/early May, temps were perfect, with days in the low 80s and nights only slightly cooler. After the sun sets, cozy up with a hookah on the beach.

Note: You could easily also visit the Mutrah Souq the first night depending on where you’re staying in Muscat.

Day 2: Sights, Sounds & History of Muscat

3 Days in Muscat

Muscat lays the foundation for what’s to come in Oman and allows travelers to begin diving into Omani culture through cuisine, religion, and local customs.

By day, consider some of Muscat’s largest draws like the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, one of the most impressive mosques in the region, the Royal Opera House Muscat, a magnificent cultural venue, or the Bait Al Zubair Museum. For the mosque, be sure to plan and dress accordingly. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts for men, and the same for women, plus head scarves for ladies. Verify opening hours and note that Friday is a holy day so non-Muslims should find alternate days to visit. For the Opera House, take a tour or check their schedule for performances or shows that might be taking place while you’re in the city. The Bait Al Zubair Museum is one of Oman’s largest art collections, which offers an insight into Omani culture and heritage through its exhibits of traditional clothing, jewelry, artifacts, and photographs.

In the evening, head to Muscat’s old town, known as Mutrah, and visit the Mutrah Corniche, a lively waterfront area. Take a stroll along the promenade, and visit the Mutrah Souq to browse traditional Omani goods. The souq was one of our favorites in the Middle East with a lot on offer but also a comfortable atmosphere (there’s just the right amount of haggling without it feeling at all overly assertive).

Dining in Oman, Three Days in Muscat
Dining at Bait al-Luban

Enjoy dinner at Bait Al Luban, an Omani outpost that’s a classic draw for visitors but a must nonetheless.

Day 3: Choose A Day Trip from Muscat

Traveling with an Infant in Oman

With just three days in Muscat, many visitors take a day to explore nearby locales that celebrate Oman’s natural beauty. Depending on your personal interests and what other elements you may be including in your Omani itinerary, one of the following day trips may work for you!

Option 1 // Head to the Daymaniyat Islands

The Ad Dimaniyat Islands, situated off the coast of Oman, are a pristine archipelago known for their breathtaking natural beauty and rich marine life. Known for  their crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life, the islands are a draw for daytrippers for a perfect boat excursion from Muscat. Designated as a nature reserve, the Ad Dimaniyat Islands boast a protected environment that serves as a sanctuary for marine species and offers exceptional opportunities for snorkeling, diving, and underwater exploration, making it a sought-after destination for nature enthusiasts and eco-tourism.

BEST FOR: The Beach Lover

Option 2 // Hike at Wadi Shab

Three Days in Muscat

For outdoor enthusiasts, Wadi Shab is a jaw-dropping natural wonder, known for its stunning turquoise pools, lush palm groves, and dramatic canyons. It offers adventurous hikers and nature enthusiasts an opportunity to head outdoors and delve into crystal-clear waters, explore hidden caves, and hike through picturesque landscapes surrounded by rugged cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

BEST FOR: The Outdoors Enthusiast, The Active Traveler

Option 3 // Day Trip to Nizwa

Traveling with an Infant in Oman

We chose to visit Nizwa from Jabal al-Akhdar but Nizwa is also an option as a day trip from Muscat for those with limited time in Oman. The former Omani capital, Nizwa is a historic city known for its rich cultural heritage and dramatic surrounding landscapes. A day trip should include the bustling souqs and a stop at the Nizwa Fort. A great option for history lovers and shoppers. It’s worth noting souq timing before going as the shops do close throughout the day!

BEST FOR: History Lovers, Culture Vultures, Shoppers

For those that have been to Muscat, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts! What were your must-sees and must-dos in Oman’s capital?

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.