Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat Oman

What we did on our one day in Muscat

Since we were camping, we were staying outside of the cities on this trip, but there were still some things that we wanted to see during our one day in Muscat. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and the Mutrah souk, to name a few.

Visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque

We started the day by going to Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in the morning. It’s only open to visitors between 8 and 11 AM. The mosque was inaugurated in 2001 and has a capacity of 20,000 worshippers.

We really liked walking around the mosque, looking at the intricate decorations on the walls. I especially liked the carpet, that is done in one piece, the second largest in the world.

Visitors must be modestly dressed, which includes to cover knees and shoulders. Women must also cover their hair with a scarf. You can rent clothing if you don’t have anything appropriate, but this costs 2.5 OMR so it’s probably cheaper to pick up a scarf in the souk. Also, children below the age of 10 are not allowed in the main prayer hall.

There was plenty of parking space just outside and no entrance charge for visitors, which I always find sympathetic for religious institutions.

Souvenir shopping at Mutrah souk

From the mosque we drove back to Mutrah, in the east of the city, to visit the famous souk. As opposed to the mosque, parking was a nightmare here. The streets were narrow and crowded, and we finally found a parking spot on a residencial street after clearing some trash away.

The souk itself was lovely though. There is a large indoor area with many alleys, where you could probably get lost forever without a GPS. The souk is quite touristic in parts, but it’s still possible to make a bargain. Make sure you haggle for the goods and do compare prices! We bought some really nice scarves for 2 OMR each.

Shopping in Mutrah souk, one day in Muscat, Oman

After several hours of walking in the heat and crowds, we sat down at a small restaurant just by the souk and ordered some well deserved mint lemonades.

Strolling down Mutrah corniche

Very close to the souk is the Mutrah corniche, a relaxed waterfront promenade. From here, you have great views of both the city and the dock with dramatic mountain tops in the background. It’s a nice place to chill while the souk is closed in the afternoon.

Driving in Muscat

Traffic in Muscat was very different from that of the rest of the country. The streets are wide, three lanes or more, and the traffic is fast-paced and a little bit aggressive with overtaking on both sides. That being said, it was fine. I was really nervous about driving in Muscat since I don’t drive a lot these days, but for the most part it was okay. We missed a million exits and detoured around like crazy, but with plenty of time and a GPS you’ll get there eventually.

Preparing for a camping trip in Oman: all you need to know

Where to stay in Muscat

We only stayed in a hotel one night and camped the rest of the time, but we would definitely recommend Mutrah Hotel. It’s supposedly the first hotel in Muscat, but it doesn’t look very old at all. Everything was really clean and the staff were super nice and friendly. It’s located in Ruwi, close to buses and very easy to find off the main roads. This was a bonus for us as we arrived after dark and weren’t used to the traffic.

Our Oman itinerary for nine days

Visiting Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, OmanOne day in Muscat, Oman
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