Barka is a thriving coastal town that has become something of a crossroads between the regional centres of Sohar and Rustaq. The old part of town, near the sea, is looking a bit sad as the traditional mud-built houses are being torn down to make way for a new corniche.
That said, there's still a traditional market of interest to visitors, and the fort restoration is nearing completion. As further compensation, the new suburb of Bahla has sprung up along the Muscat–Sohar Hwy with big shops and new restaurants transforming life in this once sleepy town. Many people head to Barka during the annual Muscat Festival around January or February, as nearby Naseem Park hosts many of the festival's attractions.