Muscat Port is the capitol of Oman and has an extensive history that has many cultural influences. Some of the architectural styles include European, Arabic, African, and Indian styles. Muscat is surrounded by mountains composed of volcanic rock and sits in an attractive cove. The Muscat cruise port is located within easy walking distance of town. If venturing further away, it might be cost-effective to consider an excursion through your cruise line. Taxis are the main form of transportation, and often take several passengers at once. You can also book a taxi just for use by you and others in your party. English is broadly spoken.
Mutrah Souk offers several nice local products for sale, including jewelry made from famed Omani silver, earthen pottery, incense and embroidered items. A fish market is adjacent to the main marketplace. For your convenience, a number of shops in the souk accept credit cards. Muscat City Center is a large mall that has several stores to choose from, including Carrefour's, a European department store.
The Omani Halwah Factory and the Amouage Perfume Factory are both open to the public and offer excellent deals on their perfumes. Omani Craftsman's House sells authentic Omani crafts.
Things to See
Qasr Al Alam Royal Palace is located right at the waterfront and is probably one of the first sights you'll see. Oman's ruler resides here, and the palace itself isn't open to the public. However, you can take pictures of the exterior if you want to. The palace is guarded by two old forts of Portuguese origin, Mirani and Jelali. The inside of the forts are open to the public and house historical exhibits. Bait az-Zubair Museum has a number of exhibits about Oman's history.
The Grand Mosque is one of the largest in the world and has some beautiful decor. Highlights include the world's largest Persian carpet, marble paneling, and a chandelier made from Swarovski crystal. Most of the building can be toured by visitors. Women are required to wear a head-covering.
Muscat has an excellent park system. One of the best is Qurum National Park. It has extensive rose gardens, an amusement park, waterfall, and lake. Riyam Park also has rides for the kids. The Corniche area on the waterfront is a good place to enjoy the warm weather and find some restaurants. You can easily watch fishermen at work from here.
A nice treat located about 100km away is Wadi Shab. The wadi has an impressive network of caves and cliffs. The water is a sparkling green color.
Restaurants and Bars
Muscat offers cuisine that's generally very economical. Arabic food is mostly favored, but Indian food is also popular. Since Oman is fairly conservative in its practice of Islam, there are more coffeeshops and juice bars than bars that serve alcohol.
Automatic specializes in Lebanese dishes that include hummus, eggplant paste, and salads. Alexandria is often considered to have some of the best Indian food in Muscat. Some of their more popular dishes include chicken, potatoes, and Indian bread. Chedi Hotel Pizza Restaurant has very economical pizza and other dishes. Al Khiran has an extensive buffet.