Mutrah

Mutrah's main sites are clustered along the Corniche, which runs from the fish roundabout to Kalbuh Bay Park, about 4.5km east.

Old Muscat

The tiny, open-gated city of Muscat, home to the Sultan's Palace and the diwan (royal court), sits cradled in a natural harbour surrounded by a jagged spine of hills. Lying at the end of Mutrah Corniche, it makes a fascinating place to spend half a day with several sights of interest, including the new National Museum.

Ruwi

Oman’s so-called ‘Little India’ is the commercial and transport hub of the capital, with plenty of budget-priced places to eat, shop (especially along Souq Ruwi St) and socialise.

Qurm

Most of this area comprises modern shopping centres and residences, but there are several places to visit and a great beach.

Shatti Al Qurm & Al Khuwair

Near the Hotel InterContinental Muscat, along Way 2817, there is a highly popular, low-rise shopping complex by the beach. This is where you will find young Omanis cruising the loop in their new 4WDs, families strolling along the beach amid five-a-side footballers, and expats enjoying the Western-style cafe culture and shops. Many ministry and embassy buildings are bunched in this area.

Al Mouj

This up-and-coming sea-board development (Al Mouj means 'the wave') near Muscat International Airport is a relatively new social hub in the capital. Planned as a mixed residential, tourism and commercial development, it remains one of the few locations where expats can purchase property. The result, a decade later, is a thriving community comprising 69 nationalities. There's also a marina that hosts Extreme 40 sailing, Seaoman water-sports centre, a golf course designed by Greg Norman, fountains, restaurants and leafy pavement coffee shops.

Beaches

Although all beaches in Oman are public, many of the big hotels have attractive beachside facilities (pools, restaurants, gardens) open to non-guests for a fee. Women may feel more comfortable swimming in this environment than in the sea at public beaches. All beaches in Muscat are ‘public’, so there’s nothing to stop a keen walker starting at Qurm Nature Reserve and walking all the way to Seeb, a distance of some 20km or so.